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Posts Tagged: October 2020

New research identifies UCCE disaster management needs

From left, UCCE small-farm team members Jesus Ontiveros Barajas, Marianna Castiaux and Jacob Roberson distributed COVID-19 safety kits to small-scale farmers in Fresno County. Photo by Carmen Mendoza

Californians have been dealing with wildfires, the pandemic, power shutdowns, excessive heat and drought, sometimes all at the same time. In every county, UC Cooperative Extension is there to assist community members.

To better serve their clientele, nearly three-quarters of UC Cooperative Extension employees say they need professional development related to disaster response, according to a new study led by Vikram Koundinya, UC Cooperative Extension evaluation specialist in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology.

Koundinya and coauthors Cristina Chiarella, UC Davis doctoral graduate student researcher; Susan Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for the Central Sierra; and Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources academic coordinator, surveyed UC ANR personnel to identify existing disaster management programs and future needs. Their research was published in the October 2020 edition of Journal of Extension.

“It's becoming so common that our folks are being put in the role of responding to disasters, while not having much training or background to do so,” Kocher said. 

After the Camp Fire, Tracy Schohr sampled stream water in Butte County to test for livestock owners who worried whether it was safe for animals to drink.

“And, it's really cross-disciplinary,” she added. “Right now, our nutrition folks are doing so much with assisting their communities with food access during COVID. Others, like Faith Kearns, have been working hard to address drought and help clientele weather drought impacts. There are the individual events like the LNU Lightning Complex fires [wildfires caused by lightning strikes in Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Yolo counties that burned from Aug. 17 to Oct. 2, 2020], but really, so many of us are currently doing disaster work across our disciplines and that role will only continue to expand with climate change-induced disasters. Once you frame it as ‘disaster work' you can start to see how our system needs to be much more prepared and to learn from and collaborate with each other and with disaster organizations.”

The survey showed that about one-third of the 224 respondents had been involved in preparing for, responding to, or helping communities recover from disasters. Respondents also noted a variety of needs related to disaster preparedness, response and recovery systems, procedures, materials and equipment, and educational materials.

“UC ANR personnel reported a need for professional development related to understanding how we fit into broader disaster response systems (73%) in California, what Extension resources are available for disaster response (63%), how the landscape of disaster risks in California communities is changing (62%), how communities can mitigate or manage disaster risks (62%), how to develop pre-established networks within the organization for responding to disasters (52%) and coordination with local and state entities (48%),” Koundinya said.

The authors note in the journal article, “Even though UCCE has been playing a critical role in disaster response for decades, because of the size and geographic spread of the UCCE system, disaster management approaches and materials have tended to develop piecemeal on a program-by-program and often county-by-county and disaster-by-disaster basis.” 

Betsy Karle takes a forage sample to assess whether it was safe for cattle to be moved onto pasture that was not burned but had received ash from the Camp Fire. Photo by Tracy Schohr

The article, “Disasters Happen: Identifying disaster management needs of Cooperative Extension System personnel” can be viewed at

“We recommend that the findings be used for designing professional development on the topics and needs identified by the respondents,” said Koundinya.

In her blog ANR Adventures, AVP Wendy Powers, wrote about the report, “The tables identifying needs are of particular interest to me and perhaps something the Learning and Development team might think about for future trainings.” 

Posted on Friday, October 30, 2020 at 11:09 AM

Zoom backgrounds with ANR and UCCE logos available

UCCE Zoom background

When ANR employees attend meetings via Zoom, now they can use blue backgrounds that feature the UC ANR or UC Cooperative Extension logos. The images serve to remind your associates who you represent as well as mask distracting objects around you. The professional images were designed by Will Suckow, senior artist in Communication Services.

The files can be downloaded from the Communications Toolkit in the ANR portal. To download the UC ANR Zoom background, click on UC ANR under Logos and Templates Downloads.

To download the UCCE file, click on UCCE under Logo & Templates Downloads.

In Zoom's video settings, it is important to make sure the camera is set to 16:9 so the video format will fit the background.

UC ANR Zoom background
Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 2:24 PM

Learning & Development: Call for mentees, life in a pandemic, analyzing data, mitigating bias

Webinar archive Recordings
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Upcoming webinars (what's in the pipeline?)
  Extension Delivery
  Building Support
  Office, Team, & Personal Development

Call for 2021 WebANR Presenters
Do you have a topic you would like to present or recommend for WebANR Cafe' Thursday (Third Thursdays @ Noon-12:30 pm)? Topics should cover one of these themes: Extension Delivery, Building Support, and Office & Team/Personal Management. Please fill out this survey with your proposal. We will add your recommendation to our WebANR planning process and let you know if we will proceed with it.

Call for Mentee Applicants: ANR Staff Mentorship Program (January-October 2021)
Mentee application
due Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, by 5 p.m.

ANR Learning & Development is delighted to announce a call for mentee applicants to ANR's THIRD annual staff mentorship program!

This program will pair staff mentees who seek professional development with mentors from across UC ANR. The program will provide a supportive structure in which mentees can cultivate contacts, better understand ANR, gather information, explore challenges and enhance effectiveness as they design their personal growth and career paths.

The 9-month mentorship program (January-October 2021) will consist of

  • Regular monthly meetings (conference video/calls) with your mentor,
  • CliftonGallop Strengthfinder survey for both mentors and mentees
  • Three group sessions: Mentee orientation, CliftonGallop Strengthfinder ® Workshop, Completion & Debrief

ANR Learning & Development will cover the cost for your participation. The program will be limited to 10 people. If you are interested, please fill out the survey by Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, by 5 p.m. to be considered.

In selecting mentees for the program, an ANR Staff Assembly Subcommittee will consider each applicant's survey responses, length of time with ANR, unit/location, and role. Our goal is to include a broad range of participants from across the division. For more information on mentoring relationships read more here.

Methods to Analyze Surveys: Part 1 Continuous Quantitative Data
Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020
10 a.m. – Noon
Register for virtual interactive trainings

Highlighting CE examples to build program planning and evaluation capacity. This 8-part series is being offered a la carte. Select whatever interests you! Participants will gain…

  • Understanding of levels of quantitative data (e.g., nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio)
  • Understanding of the different measures of central tendency and variability
  • Hands-on experience analyzing and reporting frequency distribution in pre/post tests

Hands-on experience running a paired samples t-test in Excel, interpreting the results,
and reporting the findings (Planning and Evaluation Capacity Building)

The Benefits of Working with the California 4-H Foundation
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020
10 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

An opportunity to learn more about the foundation's role and mission. Not just for 4-H advisors and staff, but also for CDs and others. With Mary Ciricillo. Zoom access:  - 1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656  - Webinar ID: 751 701 428

Claudia Rankine Reading and Lecture, Just Us: An American Conversation (UC Davis Campus Community Book Project)
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020
4 p.m.
Register here

The Campus Community Book Project and the Vice Chancellor's Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are proud to support “Just Us: An American Conversation,” featuring award-winning writer Claudia Rankine. In a series of revelatory, funny and ingeniously written essays that mix text and visuals, Rankine questions what it means to interrogate white privilege, liberal politics, white male aggression and much more. Coming the day after the U.S. presidential election, this virtual event, like Rankine's intimate book, promises to bring us into a necessary conversation about what we don't know. As Rankine says, “It's all right to not know; it's what you do with your not-knowing.” Register here.

Life in a Pandemic: Finding Balance Between Personal and Professional Lives
Join Extension professionals in a 4-week webinar series

Register here

Parenting in Pandemic Times
Barbara Dunn Swanson & MacKenzie Johnson, Iowa State University
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020
10 a.m.-11 a.m.

Help for the Helpers: Accepting Support and Adjusting Expectations
Lisa Washburn, University of Tennessee
Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020
10 a.m.-11 a.m.

Mindfully Maintaining Your Emotional Health
Kendra Lewis, University of New Hampshire (Yes, Kendra! A former UC ANR 4-H employee!)
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020
10 a.m.-11 a.m.

Training and Development UC Davis - Fall Webinar Series: Forward, Together
Nov 5, 9, 13
Dec 2, 3  
Noon – 1 pm
Please register in advance

This free webinar series is open to all staff and will focus on providing positive support, tools and resources as we continue moving forward, together. Attend any or all sessions in the series, presented by our subject matter experts from various departments across the organization. 

How To Host Engaging Webinars (
Monday, Nov. 9, 2020
10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Register Here

The COVID-19 crisis means that Extension professionals are using webinars even more frequently to extend knowledge and information. Creating engaging online learning experiences for our clientele and peers is critical to our success in this new virtual environment. While this webinar will focus on using the Zoom meeting platform, most of the content is applicable to other virtual meeting tools. In this virtual event, we'll be discussing how to:

  • Plan a webinar by answering a few key questions about audience and objectives;
  • Anticipate and troubleshoot technology issues (including security);
  • Optimize video conference features to meet your learning objectives;
  • Structure a meaningful online experience that meets participants needs;
  • Use a range of tools and strategies to keep participants engaged (polls, surveys, chat, etc.);
  • Use more advanced video conferencing features (e.g., rooms, settings);
  • Use Zoom recordings on other platforms (YouTube, Facebook Live, Google Drive);
  • Archive chat to create educational content for other platforms; and
  • Refocus webinars as Learning Circles for more focused and engaged small group work.

In partnership with Delaware State University Cooperative Extension, eXtension Foundation staff will be guiding this discussion.

Food Resiliency Spotlight Series Webinar #9 Farm Labor During the Pandemic: Critical links between Essential Work, Farmworker Health and Food System Resiliency
Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020
10 a.m.-11 a.m. 
Register to attend here

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of society's most essential workers in maintaining food system resiliency while also exacerbating many of the pre-existing structural challenges and inequities they face. Farmworkers, in particular, have experienced unique challenges in maintaining healthy, safe and sustainable livelihoods during the pandemic given dense living and working conditions, vulnerable legal status, and lack of equal protection under labor law. In this webinar, participants will learn about key findings from the COVID-19 Farmworker Survey as well as other innovative efforts to adapt farmworker research, outreach and policy work to the COVID-19 context. Speakers include:

  • Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, executive director, California Institute for Rural Studies
  • Nayamin Martinez, executive director, Central California Environmental Justice Network
  • Susana Matias, assistant Cooperative Extension specialist, UC Berkeley
  • Erik Nicholson, founding partner, Pandion Strategy

Methods to Analyze Surveys: Part 2 Discrete Quantitative Data
Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020
10 a.m. - Noon
Register for virtual interactive trainings

Highlighting CE examples to build program planning and evaluation capacity. This 8-part series is being offered a la carte. Select whatever interests you! Participants will gain…

  • Understanding of situations for using categorical data analysis
  • Understanding of the types of analyses for measuring categorical evaluation data (e.g.: Chi-square, contingency tables and logistic regression) via an Excel demonstration

Experience identifying appropriate types analyses for large and small samples; Planning and Evaluation Capacity Building

Methods to Analyze Surveys: Part 3 Qualitative Data
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020
10 a.m. - Noon
Register for virtual interactive trainings 

Highlighting CE examples to build program planning and evaluation capacity. This 8-part series is being offered a la carte. Select whatever interests you! Participants will gain…

  • Understanding of types of qualitative analysis that can be done on open-ended survey data for program evaluation

Hands-on experience of coding qualitative data and extracting themes using Excel, and reporting the findings; Planning and Evaluation Capacity Building

Food Resiliency Spotlight Series Webinar #10: Reducing Food Costs and Improving Sustainability
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020
10 a.m.-11 am.
Register to attend here.

California produces over 400 commodities. Cattle help to make these industries sustainable while keeping your food costs low. Many commodities have byproducts and waste associated with them prior to consumer point of purchase. Ruminant animals have the digestive tract to upcycle these materials to high quality, nutritious foods and fiber. Join us for a discussion on commonly fed by-products in California and understand the value of public research to improve the quality of life for Californians.

Writing Strong Impact Statements
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020
10 a.m. – Noon
Register for virtual interactive trainings

Highlighting CE examples to build program planning and evaluation capacity. This 8-part series is being offered a la carte. Select whatever interests you! Participants will gain…

  • Experience organizing your program activities into themes using condition changes
  • Experience connecting your project/program outcomes to condition changes and public values

Understanding of how to write strong impact statements; Planning and Evaluation Capacity Building

Unconscious Conscious: Understanding and Mitigating Bias (UC Davis)
Jan. 27, 2021, 9 a.m. – Noon
April 29, 2021; 1 p.m.– 4 p.m.
Register here

Participants will be introduced to theory and language in understanding implicit and explicit bias. Using personal reflection, experiential exercises and case studies, participants will gain greater awareness when they engage in bias and gain essential knowledge and skills (tools) in how they recognize and mitigate biases in both personal and professional domains.

Master Excel for Data Science Course (LinkedIn Learning)

Data strategies are universal in ANR in both research, program development, outreach and in our business units, Excel will become even more popular as a bridge tool for non-data scientists doing more work, more often, with data. This learning path is the perfect entry point to the world of data-centric projects and skills.

Do you need a LinkedIn Learning account? Contact to request one.

Is It YOUR Story To Tell? blog article
By Karl Bradley

In a meeting a few years ago, we were discussing the aspects of what we did that might be interesting to the general public. Pretty quickly it was suggested that we have a "rumor mill" button on our website. A little "behind the curtain" of what was going on. While this would probably peak visitors curiosity, the message it would send about our organization could be damaging. Is it your story to tell? Gossiping is one of, if not the most destructive actions anyone can take on another person. Read Story

Accessibility Tool Recommendations eXtension Foundation
Posted by
Rose Hayden-Smith

Here are some terrific accessibility tool recommendations from @Ptreadwell:

"We've been working on accessibility for a while now and have compiled most of our resources online at: One source we found invaluable when getting started was the Office of Accessibility from the Minnesota IT Services site. They were generous in sharing, and allowing us to adapt, their Accessibility Quick Cards (pdf link), which we printed and distributed to our system. Recently, we've been working on re-framing the accessibility discussion, shifting to a broader effort at digital inclusion. This, of course, increases the challenge but is, I think, necessary as we move forward." (From the Digital Dialogue Series: Co-Learning to Build a Good Food System.)


Everyone can learn something new.
ANR Learning & Development

Posted on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 2:23 PM

Open Enrollment begins; UC ANR employees get special rates

Open Enrollment will take place from 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

UC is offering the same high-quality health plans as last year, with minimal increases in premiums — ranging from $0 to $12 per month. There are a few important changes you should know about, including increases to some medical plan cost-sharing amounts, a new administrator for Flexible Spending Accounts and enhancements to legal insurance benefits.

Correct (and lower!) medical plan rates for UC ANR employees

Next week you can expect to receive information in the mail about UC's annual Open Enrollment. As you review the benefits information booklet mailed from UCOP, please note the health plan prices in the UCOP booklet aren't for UC ANR employees - the UC Blue & Gold rates for UC ANR employees are lower than those published by UCOP. 

UC ANR and UC Davis are part of a pilot program for the next several years so UC Blue & Gold rates in the UCOP booklet are NOT the rates for UC ANR employees. The correct, lower rates for UC ANR employees are reflected in the UC online benefits portal (when you log in to sign up for your benefits) as well as the UC Davis Human Resources Open Enrollment website.

These pilot-program rates apply to employees in the ANR Business Unit, which currently doesn't include UCOP-based ANR employees and CE Specialists based at UC Riverside.

Explore the Open Enrollment website at to find more information about the changes and your benefits plans.

Virtual benefits fair

UC's systemwide Benefits Fair opens online at on Oct. 27 and is available 24/7 until Open Enrollment closes on Nov. 24. Explore virtual booths with resources and videos, and representatives available to answer your questions.

UC welcomes all employees to UCPath

In a milestone for UC, all faculty and staff across the system will be enrolling for benefits on UCPath this year. Whether you're new to UCPath or a long-time user, check out an Open Enrollment webinar for tips on navigating the enrollment process and an overview of this year's choices and changes. Then, sign into your personal account at UCPath to make your changes. You have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, to make changes.

2021 highlights

New administrator for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

Discovery Benefits is the new FSA administrator, offering one account, one card and one mobile app for your Health and DepCare FSA — simply snap a photo with your phone to submit a claim or documentation.

Don't forget: unlike your other benefits, you need to re-enroll in your Health and/or Dependent Care FSA each year.

Legal Insurance

New Diversity and Inclusion services are being added to further support the needs of UC's diverse population, including domestic partnership agreements, funeral directives, hospital visitation authorizations, and gender identifier changes on government-issued documents.

Lower premiums for Supplemental and Expanded Dependent Life Insurance

Premiums for Supplemental and Expanded Dependent Life Insurance are decreasing an average of 7%.

Premium increase for Voluntary Long-Term Disability

Premiums for Long-Term Disability are increasing an average of $10.50 per month. Costs vary depending on age, earnings and date of hire. 

Related news:
Survey respondents report high satisfaction with UC-sponsored health plans


Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 9:41 AM

UC ANR seeks new, larger property for Hansen Agricultural REC

UC ANR is selling Faulkner Farm in Santa Paula and seeking 40 to 70 acres on the Oxnard Plain to expand Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

After many years of discussion and on the recommendation of the Hansen Advisory Board, UC ANR has decided to sell the 27-acre historic Faulkner Farm in Santa Paula, the home of the Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC) since 1997. The property went up for sale on Sept. 21, 2020. Bids are due in a closed bid process, as required by the Stull Act, by Nov. 17, 2020.

The mission of HAREC is to support and maintain University research and extension activities for the sustainability and benefit of agriculture and natural resources in Ventura County. To continue and expand efforts in support of the mission, proceeds from the sale will be used toward the purchase of a new property. UC is actively seeking 40 to 70 acres on the Oxnard Plain that will lend itself to the types of research most relevant for our area. We are also exploring potential areas of collaboration with California State University Channel Islands, which is expected to lead to synergies and long-term sustainability of education and research programs. An internal strategic planning process and expert panel review of the UC ANR Research and Extension Centers as well as local stakeholder surveys will inform the direction and scope of the future HAREC facility.

During the transition, UC Cooperative Extension will continue to operate out of the county government building on 669 County Square Drive in Ventura and critical research and education projects will continue.  

The main impetus of the move is that acreage is limited on the Hansen REC site and the microclimate is not representative of the Oxnard plain, home to the highest-value agricultural commodities in Ventura County. Additionally, over time the costs of maintaining the historic buildings – the house is 126 years old and the large barn is 134 years old – became more of a financial burden than anticipated. Repairs are costly and modifications are difficult due to the restrictions for historic properties. These expenses reduce HAREC's ability to best serve Ventura County's agricultural sector and fulfill the wishes of Saticoy farmer Thelma Hansen, who left the University a sizable endowment to support research and extension for the benefit of Ventura County agriculture. 

For many years, the HAREC site has supported a wide variety of agricultural and horticultural research projects, extension meetings, agricultural literacy programs and field trips for K-12 youth, and training of Master Gardener volunteers who maintain a beautiful demonstration garden as well as gardens around the historic home. The farm also has an extensive collection of avocado, citrus and cherimoya varieties as well as other tropical and subtropical fruit trees, such as mangoes, figs, bananas, guavas and papayas. 

Despite the upheaval a move will create, UC ANR is committed to expanding and enhancing programs and opportunities for community participation at a new site.


Posted on Monday, October 26, 2020 at 1:58 PM

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