Posts Tagged: regents
On Nov. 17, state Sen. John Laird was invited to the UC Regents' Public Engagement and Development Committee to discuss his support for the university. Laird described his instrumental role in what he called the “resuscitation” of UC Cooperative Extension by championing the state's historic increase to UC ANR's budget.
“We basically got an over 50% increase to try to bring it back to where it was at least a decade ago,” said Laird, who is chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education. He credited the agricultural community in Monterey County for initiating the push to restore UCCE funding.
“I think it's really a feather in the cap for UC because it is something that reaches into every agricultural county of the state and is really appreciated,” Laird, a UC Santa Cruz alumnus, told the regents.
While touring Santa Cruz County, Laird recalled meeting a young farm employee who reduced water consumption 15% in the farm's greenhouses by following the advice of a local UCCE farm advisor. The senator noted that the UCCE advice helped the Watsonville native, a person of color, get off to a successful start in the agricultural field.
Laird said UC needs to publicize more success stories like that. “I think that story really demonstrates the difference that is made … Here is UC Cooperative Ag Extension giving advice to somebody who is starting probably a 35- or 40-year career and saving a bunch of water right off the bat.”
To view the excerpt of his discussion with the regents, visit https://youtu.be/aL524U8z0qM.
UC President Michael Drake and UC regents were treated to virtual tours of UC ANR similar to the tour taken by legislators on Nov. 20.
On Dec. 2, UC regents Charlene Zettel, Cecilia Estolano and Richard Lieb, alumni regent Debby Stegura and Anne Shaw, secretary to the regents, took a 90-minute tour via Zoom. They were joined by members of the UC President's Advisory Commission Corinne Martinez, Connie Stewart, Paula Daniels and Stuart Van Horn.
On Dec. 8, President Drake was joined by UC regents Michael Cohen and Hadi Makarechian, student regent Jamaal Muwwakkil, alumni regent Eric Mart, regent-designate Cheryl Lott and student regent-designate Alexis Atsilvsgi Zaragoza.
In introducing the virtual tour, VP Glenda Humiston explained that UC ANR does much more than they would see that day. “This is just to pique your interest,” she said.
Before the tour, “learning boxes” containing samples of almonds, smoke-tainted wine, moringa powder, California grown coffee and many other items related to the presentations were shipped to the participants to give them a more interactive experience.
For example, while discussing the impact of wildfires, Stephanie Larson, livestock range management advisor and director of UCCE in Sonoma County, invited the participants to reach into the learning box for the two small wine samples to taste first the regular wine, then the wine made from grapes exposed to wildfire smoke to see if they could detect the smoke taint. Another popular item was the Shot Hole Borer ID kit which included a real (dead) shot hole borer in a vial with a magnifying glass and damaged wood sample.
During the presentations, tour participants were encouraged to write their questions in the Chat feature of Zoom and presenters followed up with information. They also engaged with questions and conversation at points during the tour.
The regents said they were very impressed with the work that UC ANR does. They urged UC ANR leadership to tell more people about UC ANR programs and let urban legislators know that the programs affect all 40 million Californians, not just rural communities.
At the end of the tour, Humiston said, “This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more research going on.” She invited them to see more of UC ANR on actual field tours when coronavirus restrictions ease.
President Drake said he liked seeing the connection between globally important issues such as wildfire, climate and carbon soil sequestration and UCANR research. “It's good to know we're actively involved. Thank you for your hard work and contributions.”
Presenters included Missy Gable, director of the UC Master Gardener Program; Jim Farrar, director of the Integrated Pest Management Program; Greg Ira, director of the California Naturalist Program; Lorene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute; Kamal Khaira, director of CalFresh Healthy Living, UC; Cecilia Arellano Ibarra, former CalFresh Healthy Living, UC Youth-led Participatory Action Research participant and UC Davis sophomore; Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, director of the 4-H Youth Development Program; Alexis Peña, senior at Buhach Colony high school and past Juntos 4-H program participant; Francisco Salazar, UC Merced student and past Juntos participant; Jhalendra Rijal, area IPM advisor; Ashraf El-Kereamy, UCCE specialist and director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center; Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, small farms advisor; Mike Mellano, third-generation flower grower in San Diego County, UC President's Advisory Commission member and California representative for the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching; Betsy Karle, dairy advisor; Yana Valachovic, forestry advisor and UCCE director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties; and Larson.
Behind the scenes, many people contributed to the tour's success.
The story map framework of the virtual tour was introduced and supported by Shane Feirer and Robert Johnson of the Informatics and GIS Program, then Kathy Eftekhari, chief of staff and Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, created the story map working with the 16 presenters to develop content. Ricardo Vela, manager of News and Information Outreach in Spanish edited most of the videos. Many people helped to assemble and ship learning box items, including 4-H members who sewed more than 40 COVID-19 masks as samples of their work in civic engagement.
A self-guided version of the virtual tour will be posted online in the new year.
Vice President Glenda Humiston introduced alumni regent-designate Debby Stegura to UC Cooperative Extension staff and their community partners and clientele in Sonoma County on Nov. 15.
After visiting Beretta Dairy, Bayer Farm Park and Gardens, Sheppard Elementary and Stuhlmuller Vineyards, Regent Stegura tweeted:
“Blown away by @ucanr tour of @UCCESonoma work—Beretta dairy, @UCMasterGarden, @Stuhlmullerwine, @California4H. Saw #kincaidfire reach, how to prepare better for future fires. @ucanr work benefits all of CA. Thank you!”
The retired business litigator and UC Davis alumna was joined on the tour by Anne Shaw, secretary and chief of staff to the regents, and Michael Bedard, UC state government relations legislative director.
Stephanie Larson, UCCE director for Sonoma County, led the tour, which first visited Beretta Dairy.
“It's so nice to have a dairy advisor,” Sonoma County dairy farmer Doug Beretta said, crediting Randi Black, UC Cooperative Extension dairy advisor, with providing the technical assistance he needed to apply for a grant to reduce methane emissions.
Black, who joined UC ANR in 2017, helped four local dairies obtain grants totaling $2.5 million and said the projects propose to reduce emissions by 9,327 metric tons of CO2 equivalent over the next 5 years, which is comparable to removing 2,028 passenger vehicles from the road for a year.
Beretta talked about the work he has done at the dairy, based on UC research, to improve water quality. David Lewis, UCCE director for Marin and Napa counties, noted that similar manure management and water-quality work is being implemented by UCCE clientele in his counties.
Discussing the hardships created by low milk prices in the dairy industry, Beretta said he appreciated UCCE's agricultural ombudsman Karen Giovannini guiding producers who want to sell value-added products through the permitting process.
From the dairy, Stegura and the group met with Mimi Enright, UC Master Gardener Program manager for Sonoma County, UC Master Gardener volunteers and Julia Van Soelen Kim, North Bay food systems advisor at Bayer Farm Park and Gardens.
Collaborating with Bayer Farm, the Master Gardeners have been expanding outreach to Spanish-speaking members of the community. In addition to all of the traditional Master Gardener outreach, the Master Gardeners in Sonoma County have been actively promoting firewise landscaping to help Sonoma County residents better prepare for wildfires. Using UC ANR materials is critical, Enright said, to assure people the recommendations are based on scientific research.
After the Kincade Fire, when growers and gardeners asked if produce grown outdoors was safe to eat, Enright said UCCE Sonoma County could tell them, based on local research, it was safe to eat if consumers removed outer leaves and washed the produce and that the health benefits of eating fresh produce outweigh any trace contamination.
UCCE has been leading a coalition of community partners and government organizations to educate the community on reducing food waste and increasing food recovery. When PG&E announces public safety power shutoffs, they promote composting food that can't be eaten so it doesn't end up in a landfill.
“This kind of service in communities is not as well-known about UC as the campuses,” Humiston commented to the regent.
Across the street from Bayer Farm, Diego Mariscal, 4-H program assistant, has been collaborating with Sheppard Elementary School. It is one of several schools in the county providing 4-H afterschool clubs and other 4-H programs designed to nurture the next generation of Latino leaders. Last spring, Mariscal worked with families to build a 4-H soccer league for elementary school children. Parents, college and high school students were trained by 4-H to teach children teamwork, soccer skills and healthy eating habits. More than 200 new underserved youth participated in 4-H programs in Sonoma County during the 2018-2019 year.
A few of the soccer players, proudly wearing their green 4-H soccer uniforms, told the group what they liked about 4-H. 4-H All Star Corrianna E., who participates in the 4-H teen program, shared her experience in 4-H and expressed gratitude to the program for helping her overcome her shyness to become a strong public speaker. Corrianna's mother, Naomi Edwards, also shared her experience as 4-H Council President for Sonoma County.
The tour's last stop was at Stuhlmuller Vineyards, where vineyard manager John Gorman told Stegura and the group that California's preeminent grape growing region relies on UCCE for sound advice to manage pests and emerging problems.
“You want to know what's a good cultural practice? Rhonda Smith has answers backed up by hard science,” Gorman said of the UCCE viticulture advisor.
Larson introduced new UC IPM advisor Cindy Kron, who succeeds recent retiree Lucia Varela. Kron is launching an IR-4 project to study pesticides for olives, which isn't a big enough market to interest private investment in research. She's also monitoring pears for brown marmorated stink bug because early detection is key to controlling the pest. Spotted lanternfly isn't in California yet, but grapes are among its favorite hosts so Kron is working with UC Master Gardener volunteers and other community members to watch for the exotic pest.
The Kincade Fire destroyed fences and scorched the rangeland at Stuhlmuller Vineyards, forcing Gorman to sell the cattle. He showed the group where the fire failed to advance at the fire break created by the lush vineyards. As a result of the Kincade Fire, Gorman wasn't able to sell his petite verdot, chardonnay and cabernet grapes to wineries. To prove to the insurance company that smoke damaged the crop, his crew picked 30 tons of grapes for testing.
During and after the devastating fires in the North Bay, Larson, who is also a UCCE livestock and range management advisor, assisted livestock owners to gain access to their burned properties; this ensured their animals got food and water. She also organized resource meetings for landowners affected by fires, helping them apply for funding from government agencies and insurance companies for animal, forage and facility losses.
Larson also said her new grazing database Match.Graze has been well-received by ranchers and landowners in Sonoma and Marin counties who want to use grazing to reduce fire fuels. Land managers and grazers can sign up at ucanr.edu/matchgraze to hire sheep, goats, cattle and horses to manage fire fuels.
The regent tours in Sonoma Country and Fresno County were coordinated by Anne Megaro, government and community relations director. She is planning future tours for regents at UC South Coast Research and Extension Center and other locations in the spring.
“UC ANR touches the lives of thousands of people in rural communities and urban centers alike,” said state Senator Anna Caballero, after meeting UC Cooperative Extension staff and stakeholders in Fresno County. Caballero joined UC Regent Cecilia Estolano for a tour Sept. 25 to see results of ANR's work with small-scale farmers, 4-H youth and UC Master Gardener volunteers.
“On my tour, I saw how ANR is a valuable partner across generations and communities for Californians who grow our food, and green our neighborhoods,” Estolano said. “From urban 4-H chapters to Master Gardeners to culturally connected crop advisors and nutritional instructors, ANR is keeping California on the leading edge of agriculture, health and healing.”
Joined by Vice Provost Mark Bell, UCCE Fresno County Director Karmjot Randhawa, and Anne Megaro, government and community relations director, Caballero and Estolano began the tour with a visit to the Thao family farm, where they learned about specialty crops – such as jujubes and moringa – grown in the area by Southeast Asian farmers. UCCE farm advisor Ruth Dahlquist-Willard described growing and marketing moringa and her work to help bring resources to disadvantaged farmers to help improve their prosperity. Michael Yang, UCCE Hmong agricultural assistant, talked about delivering UCCE information to farmers in Hmong via his radio program.
Next, they visited Street Saints, a program of the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, and learned how they created an afterschool program to keep low-resource youth in Southwest Fresno safe. The Street Saints, who partnered with 4-H, described for the senator and regent how they promote healthy choices to deter young people from engaging in gang activity in their urban setting. Using 4-H's evidence-based curricula, Street Saints offers a safe place for youth after school where participating youth develop employment skills through 4-H activities such as sewing classes, STEM Teen Teachers, “Mindful Me” to improve physical and emotional health, and working in a community garden.
“It was exciting to see the interaction between the senator and regent with the UCCE stakeholders,” Randhawa said. “Both seemed really engaged in the work and asked questions. It's vital for them to see how we engage with the community and how the community amplifies the research and support we provide. They met small farmers and 4-H members who have built businesses based on their work with 4-H and Cooperative Extension. They met with Master Gardeners. It was fantastic for them to experience, rather than be told, how we deliver ANR's mission.”
Megaro got the impression Caballero and Estolano enjoyed meeting some of the Californians who have bettered their lives by participating in ANR programs.
“I think they both knew us mostly for our rural agricultural work, but this tour really showed them how we're active and present in urban communities to effect change and how we partner with community-based organizations to further our reach.” Megaro said. “We also talked about how the sites we visited were just one example of the programs and services we provide throughout the state, and how we are looking to increase resources so we can build out our programs to serve more people.”
“I just wanted to say how excited I am to hear your presentation. ANR is a part of UC I know the least about and just to get a taste of what ANR does and its reach is really exciting to me,” Regent Lark Park said to VP Glenda Humiston.
Humiston delivered an overview of UC ANR to the UC Board of Regents during their July 18 meeting at the UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center.
The regents appeared inspired by the description of Californians throughout the state benefiting from UC ANR research and outreach. Following her presentation, Humiston answered questions and offered to give interested regents tours of ANR activities. She immediately received requests.
“You do so many valuable things, not only in the agricultural community, but as you highlighted, a lot of times in the urban areas,” Regent Richard Leib said to Humiston.
Turning to his fellow regents, Leib asked, “How do we get this message out to the policymakers, to the legislators who are funding these projects? Because it's such a valuable thing that the organization is doing, but unless you've been touched by it, you might not know it's UC.”
Chair John Perez agreed, saying, “I think your frame is the right one. There are counties where we don't have a campus, but we have a presence.”
Park requested an ANR tour, saying, “You really opened my eyes to the importance of ANR to our overall mission and all the public policy problems facing the state. I'm really excited to learn more and advocate more for this.”
Anne Megaro, government and community relations director, is working with leadership to plan tours for regents in Fresno, the Napa-Sonoma area and Southern California.
Watch a 30-minute video of Humiston's presentation and the UC regents' comments following her presentation at https://youtu.be/0sdYykYgakI.