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Names in the News

Resnick named director for community nutrition and health 

Amira Resnick

Amira Resnick joined UC ANR as director for Community Nutrition and Health on Feb. 15.

"We look forward to Amira bringing her enthusiasm and experience to help continue the growth of our nutrition and health work across the state," said Associate Vice President Wendy Powers. "Our historical impact in these areas – and more recently the growing concerns around COVID-19 and food security – highlight the importance of and need for this work.”

Prior to joining UC ANR, Resnick was senior manager with Alliance for a Healthier Generation based in Los Angeles. In that position, she has spearheaded new, innovative multisectoral partnership development, secured funding opportunities, and implemented projects to advance environmental and systemic change toward whole child health. Previously, as Statewide Family Services coordinator with Telamon Corporation, she led program implementation across 17 Migrant Head Start sites with 500 employees, serving over 1,000 families. 

Resnick holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California and a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Michigan.

“The position will further refine our vision for growth in the areas of nutrition and health and will oversee the network of nutrition and health work implemented across the state through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program; CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program; and UC Master Food Preserver program,” said Mark Bell, vice provost of strategic initiatives and statewide programs.

Resnick is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at arresnick@ucanr.edu.

Roman named BOC associate director 

Tracy Roman

Tracy Roman joined UC ANR as associate director for the Business Operations Center on Feb. 15. 

For the past 27 years, Roman worked for UC Davis Stores (Bookstore) in multiple positions, the last decade as the associate director of finance. She also was the bookstore's coordinator of commencement for students, served on the UC Student Health Insurance Plan committee and was a member of UC Davis' administrative management group called ADMAN. 

During her tenure with the bookstore, Roman coordinated the student health vending machine, got SNAP accepted on campus, developed “Relax and Restore” (an event to help student de-stress during finals week), helped get an Amazon store located on campus, and served as project manager for Equitable Access. 

Roman is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at tlroberts@ucdavis.edu.

Fernandez named associate director of statewide programs operations and RECs 

Maru Fernandez

Maru Fernandez joined ANR as associate director of statewide programs operations and research and extension centers on Jan. 24.

Fernandez, who has worked for UC since 2011, served as Financial Services Supervisor for the UC ANR Business Operations Center in 2020 and 2021. She has also worked in Contracts and Grants Accounting at UC Davis, as a fund manager. 

She earned a B.S. in entrepreneurial management and marketing from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Fernandez is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at mefernandez@ucanr.edu.

Waisen named UCCE vegetable crops and small farms advisor 

Philip Waisen

Philip Waisen joined UC Cooperative Extension as a vegetable crops and small farms advisor in Riverside and Imperial counties on Jan. 10.

He is developing research and extension programs focused on pest and disease management and plant nutrient management in vegetable agroecosystems. 

Prior to joining UCCE, Waisen was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he worked on Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education-funded research projects on nematode and soil health management in tomatoes, peppers, cucurbits, asparagus, banana and brassicas. During 2021, Waisen served as a part-time lecturer teaching plant pathology, research methods, and horticultural sciences courses for his alma mater, the Papua New Guinea University of Technology.

He earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in plant pathology/nematology, plant and environmental protection sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a B.S. in agriculture and plant disease at Papua New Guinea University of Technology.

Waisen is based in Indio and can be reached at pwaisen@ucanr.edu and (760) 342-2467.

Levy named UCCE water specialist 

Natalie Levy

Natalie Levy joined UC Cooperative Extension on Jan. 3 as an associate specialist for water resources serving Orange County. 

Levy will be designing and conducting water-related research and extension activities focused on the needs of both urban and agriculture systems. Based at the South Coast Research and Extension Center, she assists with the Climate Ready Landscape Plant irrigation trials, a collaborative Specialty Crops Multistate research project being conducted at several Western academic institutions. The data collected from the deficit irrigation trials are used to assess vigor and overall performance of landscape plants to identify low-water use plants that can be successfully grown in each climate and soil type.

Prior to becoming a UCCE specialist, Levy was a staff research associate at South Coast REC assisting with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation's study of storm and non-storm runoff within urban landscapes in OC. Before joining UC ANR, she worked for ecko360 as terrestrial division director, developing custom aerial imaging and modeling solutions for plant production systems. 

She earned a Ph.D. in agricultural and extension education and evaluation and an M.S. in agronomy, both from Louisiana State University, and a B.S. in environmental science from UC Berkeley. 

Levy is headquartered at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. She can be reached at nlevy@ucanr.edu.  

Morris joins UCCE Santa Clara as agricultural liaison 

Julie Morris

Julie Morris joined UCCE in Santa Clara County as agricultural liaison, a new UCCE position supported by the county Agricultural Division and UC ANR, on Jan. 3. Morris will facilitate and expedite agricultural projects in Santa Clara County.

“Julie will advance our mission to support economic and community development of local farms and ranches by coordinating across county departments and community groups to enhance food access and public health,” said Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner Joe Deviney.

Morris will help agricultural producers navigate the complex regulations and coordinate efforts for policy change and regulatory simplification. By working closely with a variety of partners, including farms and ranches, landowners, policy advocates, decisionmakers, community stakeholders and others, she will be instrumental in developing and administering new systems, policies, processes and programs supporting healthy food systems. 

A longtime rancher and co-founder of T.O. Cattle Company, Morris is an advocate of local food systems. Her family's ranch direct markets grass-fed beef to customers throughout California. She was communications and government affairs manager at Earthbound Farm and has experience with federal and state agriculture policy, food access issues, and regulatory and compliance standards. She is also the former executive director of Community Vision San Benito County, part of the Community Foundation of San Benito County.

Morris holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Diego State University and is a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership program, a two-year fellowship focusing on community involvement and leadership.

Morris is based in San Jose and can be reached at (408) 201-0674 and jfmorris@ucanr.edu.

Clemons named UCCE director for Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties 

Rita Clemons

Rita Clemons joined UC ANR as UCCE director in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties on Dec. 1, 2021. By assuming administrative responsibilities for the three counties, Clemons' hiring allows Darren Haver, Janet Hartin, Chris McDonald and Stephanie Barrett to focus on their research and extension.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Clemons was the regional center director for Cambridge College-Southern California, creating visibility for the college by developing strong partnerships and relationships with local community organizations. She managed day-to-day operations; recruited, interviewed and recommended faculty; supervised faculty and staff; resolved complaints from constituents; represented the college at events; assessed academic and student service needs; recommended new programs and developed agreements to market the college.

The Pomona native began her corporate career working in human resources for law firms in Los Angeles. She moved to higher education, first as a recruiter for Claremont Graduate University's School of Politics and Economics, and eventually becoming a program administrator for the School of Information Systems and Technology.

Clemons earned a degree in paralegal studies at the Southern California College of Business and Law, bachelor's degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix, and a master's degree in management with a concentration in leadership at Claremont Graduate University.

Clemons is based in Moreno Valley and can be reached at rlclemons@ucanr.edu.

Urban IPM team wins CDPR IPM Achievement Award

From left, Karey Windbiel-Rojas, Siavash Taravati, Niamh Quinn, Andrew Sutherland

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation presented a 2021 IPM Achievement Award to Karey Windbiel-Rojas, associate director for Urban & Community IPM, and fellow UCCE advisors Andrew Sutherland, Niamh Quinn and Siavash Taravati for their integrated pest management work in urban settings. 

The advisors play important roles in encouraging IPM implementation in urban settings throughout California. As urban IPM advisors, they conduct research, provide training and publish resources to promote IPM adoption. Their research topics include urban IPM, organic herbicides, bait-only cockroach management programs, bedbugs, rodent and coyote management in the wildland-urban interface, red imported fire ants, and municipal IPM. 

They received the award during a virtual meeting on Feb. 22.

WeedCUT wins CDPR IPM Achievement Award

From left, Cheryl Wilen, Tunyalee Martin, Chinh Lam

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation also presented a 2021 IPM Achievement Award to the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) and members of the UC Integrated Pest Management Program for science-based tools and resources to control invasive weeds in California.

With funding from the DPR Alliance Grants Program, Cal-IPC and Tunyalee Martin, associate director for communications, Chinh Lam, IT supervisor and lead programmer, and Cheryl Wilen, emeritus IPM advisor, published the “Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control” manual and released an interactive online tool called WeedCUT, which helps users make informed decisions about managing weeds without using chemicals.

“We're very fortunate that DPR has funded version 2 of WeedCUT to add herbicide information,” Martin said. “This will make the tool a complete, one-stop shop for natural areas weedy plant management.”

Tate honored by Society for Range Management 

Ken Tate

Ken Tate received the Society for Range Management's 2022 W.R. Chapline Land Stewardship Award on Jan. 10 during the society's annual meeting in Albuquerque. The award recognizes exceptional accomplishments and contributions in range management. 

Tate, professor and Rustici Endowed Specialist in Rangeland Watershed Sciences with UC Cooperative Extension and UC Davis, has contributed to the conservation of California's rangelands over the past three decades. His research and extension focus on natural resources and sustainable agricultural enterprises. Recommendations from his work have had significant impacts in guiding ranchers and state and federal land management agencies.

Tate has led multiple teams to develop research, education and extension programs to proactively address concerns about fecal microbial pollution from rangeland cattle.

Early in his career, he worked to inform public interest groups on the risk of pathogenic contamination of San Francisco's drinking water supply. Working with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Tate helped stakeholder groups identify management practices to reduce risks of drinking water supplies being contaminated by livestock-borne Cryptosporidium parvum, allowing ranching families to continue sustainable grazing practices on Bay Area watersheds. Since then, he has led numerous collaborations to examine the movement of other pathogens; bacterial indicators of water quality such as fecal coliforms and Enterococci; and hormones and pharmaceutical products common in rangeland cattle production.

Tate has published 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and secured over $14 million in research and extension grants. His scientific leadership and expertise in the livestock grazing-environmental quality-human health nexus have been sought out nationally and internationally. Most importantly, Tate has become a trusted source of information through his work with private landowners, public land managers, conservation groups, regulatory agency staff and policymakers to support science-based decision-making.

Sanden honored by American Society of Agronomy 

Blake Sanden

Blake Sanden, emeritus UCCE farm advisor, received an Honoree Award from the California Chapter of the American Society of Agronomy.

As a result of Sanden's research, many almond growers started to put more water on their trees. And average Kern County almond yields increased by 65% between 2002 and 2011 compared to the previous 15 years, the Almond Board of California wrote in a story on its website

Sanden retired in 2018 from his 26-year UCCE career.

“He was a champion on re-evaluating the water requirements for almond trees, which prior to his investigation was too little,” said Bob Curtis, the retired former director of agricultural affairs for the Almond Board of California.

“While there is no doubt that Blake had a big impact on California growers, he also had an impact on new farm advisors, including myself, as he was always there to help and transfer his knowledge and experiences to us as we started our new job as farm advisors,” said Mohammad Yaghmour, UCCE orchards advisor in Kern County.

Sanden received the award during the American Society of Agronomy's convention held via Zoom Feb. 1-3.

Scow and Sperling elected to National Academy of Engineering 

Kate Scow

Kate Scow and Daniel Sperling, UC Davis professors, have been elected as members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Kate Scow is a distinguished professor emeritus of soil microbial ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. The academy honored her for “elucidating the role of soil microbial communities in polluted ecosystems and their responses to agricultural management practices,” according to an NAE statement.

Dan Sperling
Daniel Sperling is a distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering, and environmental science. He is founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies and of the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and Economy at UC Davis, and an international expert on transportation whose work has helped pioneer new fields of study to create more efficient, low-carbon and environmentally beneficial transportation systems.

The newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE's annual meeting on Oct. 2.

 

Ronald wins Wolf Prize in Agriculture 

Pam Ronald

Pam Ronald, UC Davis plant geneticist, has been named the recipient of the 2022 International Wolf Prize in Agriculture, given by the Jerusalem-based Wolf Foundation in recognition of her “pioneering work on disease resistance and environmental stress tolerance in rice.”

Ronald is a distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, having joined the faculty in 1972, and is also affiliated with the UC Davis Genome Center and the Physical Biosciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The Wolf Foundation noted her work isolating a gene that allows rice to survive two weeks of flooding and increases yield by 60% compared to conventional varieties. “Her discoveries show an advanced understanding of fundamental biological processes and enhance sustainable agriculture and food security,” the foundation said in its announcement of her prize.

Flood-tolerant rice varieties are now grown by more than 6 million subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh. The committee noted that those two countries lose more than 4 million tons of rice each year to flooding, enough to feed 30 million people.

Ronald founded the UC Davis Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy to provide the next generation of scientists with the training they need to become effective communicators. She and her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer who retired in 2020 as the market garden coordinator for the UC Davis Student Farm, are the authors of Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food.

The foundation has been giving its $100,000 prizes in agriculture and other disciplines since 1978, honoring scientists and artists from around the world “for their achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations amongst peoples.” – Kat Kerlin

Getts, Haviland, Nobua-Behrmann appointed to CISAC

From left, Tom Getts, Beatriz Nobua-Behrmann, David Haviland

UC Cooperative Extension advisors Tom Getts, David Haviland and Bea Nobua-Behrmann have been selected to serve on the California Invasive Species Advisory Committee.

This group advises the Invasive Species Council of California, which is composed of the secretaries of California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Health and Human Services Agency, and the Office of Emergency Services.

 

Names in the News

Syrett joins ANR's front desk in Davis

Selena Syrett

Selena Syrett joined the ANR team as the receptionist for the ANR building in Davis in November. She had been working as a temporary employee at the front desk since September.

Syrett comes to UC ANR from the retail world of Nordstrom Rack, where she held jobs as a cashier and stockroom employee for four years. Prior to that, she taught high school students virtually over the summer and worked as an administrative assistant at Mare Island Home Health in Vallejo. She earned a B.A. in linguistics from UC Davis. 

Syrett is located at the front desk of the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at smsyrett@ucanr.edu and (530) 750-1200. 

Beck joins Hopland and Sierra Foothill RECs

Jackie Beck
Jacalyn “Jackie” Beck joined UC ANR as an academic program management officer for Hopland and Sierra Foothill research and extension centers on Oct. 25. She is charged with developing and managing the research programs at both Hopland REC and Sierra Foothill REC.

“My personal background is in interdisciplinary wildlife science and I am looking forward to expanding research and education at Hopland and Sierra Foothill in new and unique ways,” Beck said. “We will definitely continue to focus on our historic strengths (e.g., oak management and livestock research), but I will also be looking to bring on more integrated studies, creative pursuits, and social science programs.”

Beck will help the REC directors manage existing projects, recruit new researchers, assist with finding and winning funding, and develop collaborations, both among researchers at each REC and between the two RECs.

“My goal is to create a more unified vision for academic programs at the two sites and to facilitate projects that utilize the amazing resources at both,” Beck said.

She earned a Ph.D. in fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University and a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries science at Pennsylvania State University. As a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow prior to joining UC ANR, Beck studied African lion and domestic cattle interactions, collecting data within Tanzanian national parks and non-protected areas. While working as a research coordinator for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources from 2014 to 2016, she implemented bat conservation efforts.

John Bailey, Hopland REC director, would like her to meet many members of the ANR community. “I'm hoping that the introduction will lead to people contacting her and remembering that our two RECs are great places to work,” he said.

Beck is based at Sierra Foothill REC and can be reached at jacbeck@ucanr.edu.

Eissa joins Environmental Health and Safety

Essam Eissa

Essam Eissa joined UC ANR as an environmental health and safety specialist in July.

From 2016 to 2020, Eissa served as an inspector with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  He worked from 2001 to 2016 in the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Criminal Investigation as a senior environmental engineer. 

In 2002, he received a certification of professional negotiation skills from the California State Department. In 1993, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services recognized Eissa with a Certificate of Achievement for Incident Commander/Scene Manager.

Eissa earned bachelor's degrees in agriculture engineering and environmental/safety engineering from West Los Angeles College. He also earned a bachelor's degree in international law and criminal justice from Solano College. He was designated as a chief environmental engineer by the United Nations in Brindisi, Italy, in 2012.

Eissa is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1364 and eeissa@ucanr.edu.

Capitol Corridor small farms team expands

From left, Pang Kue, Asia Saechao, Fam Lee and Yurytzy Sanchez have joined Margaret Lloyd's small farms team.

Margaret Lloyd, UCCE Capitol Corridor advisor, has expanded her small farms team to include Hmong, Mien and Spanish-speaking community educators. 

Pang Kue took trainings from The Interpreter Advantage and Bridging the Gap (UC Davis) and is certified as a Superior Hmong Speaker. She has been a Hmong linguist for over 10 years, providing professional language services for clients including UC Davis Medical Center, leading Hmong language study groups, teaching cultural etiquette, and volunteering in her community. Kue can be reached at pykue@ucanr.edu

Asia Saechao is a queer, nonbinary descendent of Indigenous Khmu and Iu Mien refugees of the Secret War in Laos who settled in Richmond - homeland and ancestral lands of the Huchiun band of Ohlone.

Before joining UC ANR, Saechao worked with an environmental nonprofit to develop culturally relevant environmental education for youth of color in Oregon's greater Portland area. They now work to reimagine tools for Iu Mien and Khmu learning, storytelling and archiving. In addition to serving Mien and Hmong farmers with UC ANR, Saechao serves as senior program coordinator for Iu Mien Community Services. Saechao can be reached at asisaechao@ucanr.edu.

Fam Fin Lee was a strawberry grower for six years in Elk Grove and got to know Lloyd through farm visits and annual meetings. Her parents, who are lu-Mien, were farmers in Laos and in Thailand.

Born in Laos, Lee moved to the U.S. in 1979. Initially living with her family in an apartment with three Chinese families, Lee learned to speak Cantonese before learning English. Lee can be reached at fllee@ucanr.edu.

Yurytzy Sanchez grew up on a peach farm and raised goats, sheep, chickens and cattle in the Central Valley. The first-generation college graduate did an internship in Washington D.C. while earning her bachelor's degree in international relations from UC Davis. She also volunteered, then interned at the UC Davis Student Farm. After graduation, Sanchez took a farming position at The Cloverleaf Farm, where she co-owned and managed an eight-acre organic vegetable and stone fruit farm. Sanchez can be reached at ygsanchez@ucdavis.edu.

The small farms team is based at the UCCE office in Woodland. To read more about them, visit https://ccsmallfarms.ucanr.edu/About.

ESA recognizes Dara, Sutherland, Perring 

Surendra Dara

Three UC ANR entomologists were recently honored by the Entomological Society of America.

Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, received the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Section award for Outstanding Contributions to Agricultural Entomology.

Andrew Sutherland, UCCE urban integrated pest management advisor for the Bay Area, was honored for exceptional service to the society's Certification Corporation Board. He has been actively involved in developing ESA certification programs that are designed to help pest management professionals demonstrate their knowledge and skills to advance their careers.

Andrew Sutherland receives ESA award for exceptional service to the society's Certification Corporation Board.

Thomas Perring
This year, the ESA launched the Certified Integrated Pest Management Technician credential. "The new CIT credential gives pest management professionals who are relatively new to the field a way to get a leg up in their career and gain a competitive edge," Sutherland said.

As reported previously, Thomas Perring, a professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, received the ESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.

The awards were presented Nov. 2 during ESA's annual meeting in Denver.

Pourreza elected to Club of Bologna

Alireza Pourreza
Alireza Pourreza, UC Davis assistant professor of Cooperative Extension in biological and agricultural engineering, was elected to the prestigious Club of Bologna in October.

The Club of Bologna is a world task force on agricultural mechanization. The Italy-based club is comprised of 96 members from 28 countries, representing research, industry and international organizations around the world. Pourreza is one of four new members this year and the only full member from California.

“It's a great honor for me to represent U.S. and California in the Club of Bologna,” he said. “Becoming a full member has been my dream since I first joined the club as a temporary member in 2016. I'm eager to get involved with club activities and pursue California's priorities and needs in mechanization and smart farming.”

Pourreza runs the Digital Agriculture Lab at UC Davis, which uses novel sensing and mechanization technology to help California growers get the most out of their crops and resources.

His lab has developed a virtual orchard that can simulate any orchard down to the tree level using aerial sensing data collected with drones. It allows growers to examine their crops in virtual reality and run experiments to determine how much sunlight each plant is getting, as well as how to optimize resources. This prevents overuse of resources that can waste water and have detrimental long-term effects on the plants.

His team has also developed a mechanical spray backstop to catch spray pesticide particles that would otherwise be released into the air when being applied to trees.

Noah Pflueger-Peters' full story is at https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/alireza-pourreza-elected-club-bologna.

Meng and CalFresh team win innovation award

From left, Martha Lopez, Chris Wong,Yu Meng, Paul Tabarez and Rigo Ponce of UCCE Imperial County's nutrition team. Shown in 2019.

Yu Meng, UCCE youth family and community advisor, and the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC team in Imperial County were honored by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences West Region with the Innovative Youth Development Program Award for Team Project.

Their “Engaging Underserved Youth in Nutrition Education and Community Development through Youth-led Participatory Action Research Program” was designed to engage youth to address nutrition, healthy behaviors, and other public health issues based on social justice principles.

With their guidance, students conducted video interviews capturing classmates' comments about cafeteria food and preferred snacks. Based on what they learned, the students recruited new members to deliver gardening and cooking lessons as well as advocate for a farm-to-school program and more garden space to benefit the whole school.

At another school, students audited food waste in their cafeteria. To reduce food waste, the students asked administrators to create a “Share Table” where students can leave unopened and untouched food for other students to pick up and eat. Meng anticipates the change will benefit more than 400 low-income youth at the school.

They partnered with Career Technical Education teachers, which boosted youth participation from dozens to hundreds. The collaboration has led to youths creating physical activity videos and developing a survey to find out how active their peers have been during the pandemic. 

During the past three years, the Imperial County team worked with three school districts and 300 youth, indirectly benefiting 7,100 students through policy and environmental changes that schools made. Pre- and post-program surveys show that students reported their willingness to suggest solutions or recommendations for making their school/community a healthier place rose from 29% to 93%.

Koundinya honored for evaluation training

Vikram Koundinya

Vikram Koundinya, UCCE evaluation specialist at UC Davis, received the American Evaluation Association's Excellence in Extension Evaluation Training Award.

The award recognizes his efforts in conducting extension evaluation training of outstanding quality for UC Cooperative Extension professionals. His extension evaluation-capacity building program includes statewide trainings, trainings to specific project teams of extension advisors, and one-on-one consultations with extension advisors, UCCE specialists, academic staff and students.

The award was presented to Koundinya Nov. 9 during the association's 35th annual conference, which was held virtually.

 

Names in the News

Woodmansee named UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor

Grace Woodmansee
Grace Woodmansee will join UC Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County as a livestock and natural resources advisor on Jan. 4, 2021.

For the past four years, Woodmansee worked as a research assistant and UC Davis student in the UC Rangelands lab to address management challenges on grazing lands.

“As an undergraduate research assistant at the Chico State Beef Unit, I discovered my passion for rangeland science and management a discipline that combines my interests in social, ecological and livestock production research,” said Woodmansee, who completed her Master of Science in agronomy at UC Davis in November.

“I am very excited to join the community of Siskiyou County and to work with ranchers and land managers to identify research priorities, develop projects and address challenges related to livestock production and natural resource management,” she said.

Woodmansee will be based in Yreka and can be reached at gwoodmansee@ucdavis.edu.

Marandi joins Program Planning and Evaluation

Leyla Marandi
Leyla Marandi joined UC ANR's Office of Program Planning and Evaluation as a program policy analyst on Nov. 30. She works with Katherine Webb-Martinez, Kit Alviz, and Chris Hanson to evaluate UC ANR's programs and contribute various annual reports. Marandi will be managing the UC Delivers Blog and will assist colleagues who want to contribute an impact story.  

Before joining UC ANR, Marandi worked for local government and nonprofits on community wellness and food security. She learned UC Cooperative Extension was working toward the same goals. In her last position at the Center for Ecoliteracy, she managed their California Food for California Kids initiative, which works statewide to increase public schools' commitment and capacity for serving fresh and locally grown foods.

She earned a B.A. in political science from UCLA and a Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California.

Marandi is based in Oakland at UCOP and can be reached at (510) 987-0100 and leyla.marandi@ucop.edu.

Vargas promoted to community education supervisor 1

Rosa Vargas
Rosa Vargas has been promoted to Community Education Supervisor 1 for CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, working for UC Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Vargas, who holds a Master's in Public Administration and a bachelor's degree in business administration, both from California State University, Stanislaus, began working for CalFresh Healthy Living, UC in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties as a Community Education Specialist II in March 2019.

As a public health professional, she has experience coordinating and implementing programs focusing on activity promotion, healthy eating, chronic disease management, maternity management, and tobacco cessation for adults and youth.

Vargas is based in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at rivargas@ucanr.edu.

 

Sutherland and almond advisors honored for IPM work

Andrew Sutherland
UC Cooperative Extension pest management advisors recently received honors from the International IPM Symposium for their work promoting safe and sustainable pest management.

Andrew Sutherland received an award of excellence for integrated pest management practitioners at academic institutions, and the California Almond IPM Team received a team award of excellence.

The honors are awarded to people or teams based on demonstrated results in:

  • Reducing human health risks
  • Minimizing adverse environmental effects from pests or pest-management activities
  • Improving economic returns by reducing input costs or improving product or service quality
  • Documenting outcomes such as reduced pesticide use, hazard reduction, improved economic returns or positive environmental impacts
  • Developing or implementing innovative strategies
  • Working successfully with teams

Sutherland is being honored for his pioneering work as the first Area Urban IPM Advisor in California, a position he has served since 2012. With no prior program or predecessor to follow, he was faced with the task of serving the IPM needs of over 15 diverse stakeholder groups ranging from structural, industrial and household pest control operators to retail store staff, housing and lodging managers and childcare providers. Some of the focus areas of his program include bed bugs, cockroaches and termite remediation and reduced-risk pest management in childcare facilities and low-income multi-unit housing. One of Sutherland's notable projects was the development of a clearinghouse website for bed bug prevention and management information, serving site-specific and state-specific client groups in the Western United States.

California Almond IPM Team in 2019

The California Almond IPM Team, composed of UC Cooperative Extension advisors and others, is being recognized with the Award of Excellence - Team as a role model for the implementation of integrated pest management practices.

Team members are UC Cooperative Extension advisors David Haviland and Jhalendra Rijal, former Cooperative Extension advisor Emily Symmes, Brad Higbee, who retired from Paramount Farming Company, and Charles Burkes of USDA-ARS.

For more than a decade, the team conducted research on navel orangeworm, spider mites, leaffooted bugs and ants that laid the groundwork for IPM adoption in almond orchards. The team's efforts pushed mating disruption along the IPM continuum from basic to applied research, applied research to demonstration plots, demonstration plots to extension, and extension to adoption and implementation against California's key pests of almonds. The team represents a prime example of the impacts that can be achieved through multi-organizational collaborative efforts. These collaborative efforts included private farming companies, university and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists, extension specialists, growers and their associated commodity board.

For a full list of award winners, see https://ipmsymposium.org/2021/awards.html.

Blackburn honored by Alameda County Board of Supervisors

Mary Blackburn (on left before 2020)

Mary Blackburn, UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, was honored Dec. 8 by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors with a resolution for her 50-plus years of work to help older adults, pregnant teens and other vulnerable people in Alameda County improve their health.

Blackburn, who has worked for UC ANR since 1990, joined the supervisors via Zoom to accept the honor and said she hopes the recognition motivates young people to serve their communities.

Noting her career began amid the racial unrest and turbulent times of the 1960s, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson said, "These kinds of accomplishments were pioneering."

Watch the 10-minute presentation at https://youtu.be/PbTwfcU7nBc and read more about Blackburn's career at https://bit.ly/2ShbLUj.

Drill appointed to NUEL Steering Committee

Sabrina Drill
Sabrina Drill has been appointed to the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) Steering Committee for a three-year term (2021-2023). She succeeds Fe Moncloa, who previously held the position. 

NUEL encourages work across programmatic areas to serve the diverse needs of urban communities.

“My own area of interest, from the natural resources viewpoint, is to look at and extend the ways that urban ecosystems can enhance the resilience of cities,” Drill said. “For example, on the engineering side, this can mean applying nature-based solutions, such as floodplain restoration and rain gardens, to improve water supply and quality and to reduce the impacts of flooding. It also means benefiting urban communities by making sure that they have equitable access to the physical and mental health benefits of natural areas – in other words, paying special attention in park-poor lower income areas, and working to reduce barriers to access to nature for communities of color.”

Other extension personnel may focus on nutrition, community gardening and food deserts, or the needs of urban youth for positive development opportunities.  

NUEL seeks to support extension academics working in these areas by providing professional development opportunities and promoting multistate collaboration and knowledge sharing for research and extension programming.

Parker named president of National Institutes for Water Resources

Doug Parker
Doug Parker, director of UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources, has been named president of the National Institutes for Water Resources. NIWR is the organization of Water Resources Research Institutes, including California Institute for Water Resources, across the U.S. There are 54 NIWR institutes, one in every state and the District of Columbia and the territories. 

NIWR cooperates with the U.S. Geological Survey to support, coordinate and facilitate research through the annual base grants, national competitive grants, coordination grants, and in operating the NIWR-USGS Student Internship Program. 

 

Stoddard and Daugovish receive vegetable research award

Scott Stoddard, UCCE vegetable crops farm advisor for Merced and Madera counties, and Oleg Daugovish, UCCE strawberry and vegetable crop advisor for Ventura County, were presented the Oscar Lorenz Vegetable Research Award during the Vegetable Crop Program Team meeting Dec. 11.

The UC Davis Plant Sciences Department established the Oscar Lorenz Vegetable Research Award and presents it annually to individuals contributing to vegetable research.

Stoddard, who has been with Cooperative Extension for 22 years, focuses his research program primarily on tomatoes, sweet potatoes and melons, with an emphasis on plant fertility, variety evaluation, pest management and particularly weed management.

“He is THE California sweetpotato expert, collaborating with other U.S. sweetpotato production areas on variety development and evaluation,” said Brenna Aegerter, who presented Stoddard's award. “He has also made great contributions to pest management in sweetpotato. Scott is a great colleague and researcher. He is practical, grower-oriented, hardworking and has great ideas.”

“Oleg has contributed to development of Chateau herbicide for celery and strawberry, and several herbicides in strawberry,” said Steve Fennimore, who presented Daugovish's award. “He currently is a key member of a group that is developing precision soilborne disease management strategies for strawberry and vegetable crops in rotation with strawberry. Oleg is a master of languages besides Russian and English. He has learned Spanish and I have heard several of his extension presentations in this language and he is fluent. He is engaged internationally and has done several projects in Africa and the Middle East to help poor farmers in developing countries.”

Oscar Lorenz, a UC Davis professor of vegetable crops from 1941 to 1982, is remembered as an exceptional scientist, administrator and for his dedication to the California vegetable industry.

Each Lorenz award recipient will receive a plaque and a check for $1,000. 

Scott Stoddard
Oleg Daugovish (right)

Outstanding work recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

Outstanding work recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. Awards highlight the use of innovative methods and the integration of research, extension and leadership by UC ANR academics. Award categories include outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, and outstanding leader.

Congratulations to the 2020 DSA recipients!

Outstanding Research – Carlos Crisosto

Carlos Crisosto on right

Carlos Crisosto, UC Cooperative Extension postharvest physiology specialist, has demonstrated an exceptional research program with impacts on both the California food industry and consumers through his work on postharvest handling of tree fruits and nuts. His work has had a significant impact – reducing food loss, improving fruit quality and safety, and expanding markets for California agriculture. Highlights of Crisosto's work include his incorporation of consumer perceptions into the measurement of fruit quality, collaborative development and implementation of protocols for fruit ripening, transportation and retail handling, and research into consumer perceptions of different cultivars. His outstanding research has been coupled with an outreach and education program that included extension through site visits, in person workshops, short courses, manuals, popular articles, websites and collaboration. In addition to his academic successes, Crisosto was awarded the Industry Distinguished Service & Achievement Award by the California fig industry in recognition of supporting cultivar development and improving marketing and utilization of dried and fresh figs over his career. The success of Crisosto's program is a testament to the outstanding work in applied research that can be accomplished through UC ANR.

Outstanding Extension – Andrew Sutherland

Andrew Sutherland with palm weevil

Andrew Sutherland has shaped his pest management program based on his clientele needs since the beginning of his career at UC ANR in 2012 and has had great success implementing pest management programs in urban areas. He has done an extensive amount of work on bed bug, termite and cockroach control. He has worked with several agencies including structural pest control businesses, public health nurses, multi-family housing managers and UC Master Gardeners to deliver practical information on pest management. One ongoing project that has both a public health and an environmental impact in California is bait station systems for control of subterranean termites. The project is evaluating efficacy and costs associated with bait systems and looking into alternatives to liquid termicides, which have been identified as serious environmental contaminants in CA's surface water systems. His work has benefited urban populations in general, but has also reached under-served communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sutherland has made a major effort to reach out to Hispanic audiences, producing materials in Spanish and hosting public presentations and outreach events in low-income areas of his territory. He has worked with industry leaders collaborating on applied research projects considering economic challenges when designing programs that would be beneficial and relevant to his clientele.

Outstanding New Academic – Mae Culumber

Mae Culumber

Mae Culumber has been the CE nut crops advisor in Fresno County since June 2016. She has developed an outstanding applied research program in only 4 years, which addresses clientele needs and is in alignment with the ANR Strategic Vision. Her work provides innovative solutions to identify orchard management practices that maximize the efficient use of water and nutrient resources, and promote biochemical and physical soil characteristics that will lead to improvements in soil health and enhanced vigor and productivity of nut crops. Culumber's work primarily focused on innovative efforts that improved food system productivity. She established successful collaborations with advisors and specialists from UC Cooperative Extension, faculty from UC Davis Plant Sciences, and scientists from USDA-ARS Davis and Parlier to examine greenhouse gas emissions, and soil biochemical carbon and nitrogen dynamics in newly established orchards after whole orchard recycling. Her leadership of this basic and applied research team is exceptional for a newer advisor in the Assistant rank. Culumber recognizes and invests in developing useful information, strategies and trainings to impact and improve clientele practices, that also have statewide public value by protecting California's natural resources.

Outstanding Team – AB 589 Water Measurement Training Team

Khaled Bali speaks at an AB 589 Water Measurement Training in Cottonwood.

This team of CE specialists and advisors rapidly developed and coordinated a training program that met the needs of UC ANR's farming and ranching clientele, in a cost-effective and timely manner. California Senate Bill 88 requires all water right holders who have previously diverted or intend to divert more than 10 ac-ft per year to measure and report the water they divert to the State. For most ranchers and diverters impacted by SB 88, complying with the reporting requirements is expensive and burdensome. The cost and availability of professionals to design, install and calibrate diversion measurement systems resulted in a grass roots effort by California Cattlemen's Association and California Farm Bureau to seek an educational alternative for surface water diverters. With support from the University of California, Assembly Bill 589 (AB 589) was introduced and carried. It passed through the Assembly and the Senate with no opposition and was signed by Governor Brown. The bill allows diverters that complete the UC course to install and maintain measurement devices to comply with SB 88, saving them time and money. Working with industry (California Cattlemen's Association) and regulators (State Water Resources Control Board), the UC team provided a huge service to farming and ranching clientele, and the state. This is a true testament to UC ANR's ability to work with groups of differing interests in order to reach a common goal. The UC team has conducted 20 workshops since the bill was passed and certified over 1,200 diverters. One letter of reference indicated a cost savings of more than $4,000 on his ranch alone.

The AB 589 Water Measurement Training Team includes:

  • Larry Forero, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, Shasta County
  • Khaled Bali, UCCE irrigation water management specialist, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • Allan Fulton, UCCE irrigation and water resources advisor, Tehama County
  • Daniele Zaccaria, UCCE associate Cooperative Extension specialist, UC Davis
  • Theresa Becchetti, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Stanislaus County
  • Josh Davy, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, Tehama County
  • Morgan Doran, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, UC Cooperative Extension Capitol Corridor
  • Julie Finzel, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Kern County
  • Cari Koopmann Rivers, former UCCE director, Siskiyou County
  • Glenn McGourty, UCCE director and farm advisor, Mendocino County
  • Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE livestock advisor, Fresno County
  • Devii Rao, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, San Benito County
  • Tracy Schohr, UCCE livestock and natural resource advisor, Plumas-Sierra and Butte counties
  • Scott Stoddard, UCCE director and farm advisor, Merced County
  • Matthew Shapero, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Ventura & Santa Barbara counties
  • Rhonda Smith, UCCE viticulture advisor, Sonoma County
  • Laura Snell, UCCE director, Modoc County
  • Jeff Stackhouse, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Humboldt & Del Norte counties
  • Julé Rizzardo, assistant deputy director, Division of Water Rights, State Water Resources Control Board-Sacramento
  • Kyle Ochenduszko, deputy public works director, City of Benicia
  • Brian Coats, senior water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
  • Jeff Yeazell, water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
  • Chuck Arnold, water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento

Outstanding Leader – Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule holds a number formal leadership roles in ANR including leading several statewide programs locally, serving as director of UCCE in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and as Academic Assembly Council president. Soule holds informal leadership roles as a mentor and colleague. Outside of ANR, she leads a national working group, is a local non-profit board member, and leads research and development for a professional organization.When Soule became county director (July 2017), she began strategic planning focused on building relationships with key stakeholders (administrative, clientele, academics, and community partners) and addressing the needs, opportunities, and challenges UCCE faces in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Her efforts focused on improving fiscal management, increasing understanding of UCCE, and eliminating program inefficiencies.

Soule uses strengths-based leadership and her leadership position to support and communicate the goals of academics' programs and their successes, while ensuring the fiscal resources needed to carry out their visions. She recognizes the strengths and expertise of those she leads and provides others with meaningful opportunities to develop shared visions and long-term objectives. She has supported the development and advancement of several team members, who have completed advanced degrees while working for UCCE, taken higher-level positions, and increased their professional contributions to their respective fields. She is sought throughout the ANR system to provide guidance and support for academics, statewide leaders and other personnel.

RECs and county office staff update ANR leaders on current projects

UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food in West Oakland.

To get acquainted with the people at each ANR location, Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of research and extension, has been visiting research and extension centers and UCCE county offices and touring the facilities.

“I'm impressed with how passionate and dedicated you are to helping people,” said Lagrimini to UCCE Contra Costa staff after listening to their project updates. He has been impressed with the work he has seen at all of his ANR visits. 

On Sept. 6, Lagrimini visited Hopland Research and Extension Center, three weeks after the River Fire consumed about two-thirds of its property.

John Bailey, right, shows Mark Lagrimini the difference in fire damage to grazed pasture on the left side of the fence compared to the ungrazed areas at Hopland REC.

“While the River Fire damaged parts of the center, none of the main buildings, residences, livestock nor staff were hurt by the fire,” said John Bailey, Hopland REC interim director.

Scientists are invited to a site tour on Oct. 19 to learn more about research opportunities at Hopland REC. 

“With Hopland REC's extensive pre-fire historical data, plus immediate post-fire, pre-rain observations that we are collecting, we have the foundation to support relevant and timely research on the effects of fire and mechanisms of recovery,” Bailey said.

Marisa Neelon, right, shows Mark Lagrimini, left, and Mark Bell the kitchen where UCCE Contra Costa County nutrition educators can prepare food.

AVP Wendy Powers and Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, are joining Lagrimini for many of the visits to learn the latest about UCCE research and outreach and to answer questions from staff.

On Sept. 11, Rob Bennaton, UCCE director in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, introduced Powers, Lagrimini and Bell to UCCE staff in their Hayward offices, then took them to West Oakland to tour City Slicker Farms. UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food at the site.

“Success to us is putting food where people need it and giving them the skills to grow food,” said Rodney Spencer, executive director of City Slicker Farms.

Mark Bell popped into the office of Leah Sourbeer, nutrition program supervisor, to introduce himself.

In Concord, Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Contra Costa County, gave Powers, Lagrimini and Bell a tour of the new office space, which includes space for Master Garden volunteers, a kitchen for nutrition educators to prepare food and a lab for farm and IPM advisors to store and analyze samples.  

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

Staff from each unit delivered a presentation about their current projects for the ANR leaders, who were joined by Humberto Izquierdo, agricultural commissioner for Contra Costa County and Matthew Slattengren, assistant agricultural commissioner.

Charles Go, 4-H youth advisor, and Adan Osoria, EFNEP community nutrition educator, described how 4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption to improve community health and wellness. They launched 4-H2O at John Swett High School in Crockett. At the request of 4-H members, the local school board approved hydration stations and instructed the schools to provide water at meal times, Go said.

4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project that succeeded at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption.

Andrew Sutherland, Bay Area urban IPM advisor, described his research on baiting for cockroaches, subterranean termites and yellowjackets and outreach to educate pest control professionals to practice IPM in schools and multi-unit housing.

“I appreciate the work Andrew does,” said Izquierdo, noting that there is a need for pest management education, especially among the county's urban and immigrant populations.

After seeing all of the presentations, Bell said, “The enthusiasm you bring to your job is inspiring.”

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

After the visit, Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog on Sept. 14: “The programs we've seen in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties this week as well as Santa Clara County a couple weeks back are good reminders of the benefits to all of UC ANR when we have strong, relevant programs in urban areas. These programs not only help the clientele, directly, but help increase the visibility of UC ANR and all of its programs across both urban and ag areas.”

On Sept. 26, Powers, Lagrimini and Bell visited UCCE Riverside, then UCCE San Bernardino the following day.

“We spent yesterday in Riverside meeting with the teams from both UCCE Riverside and UCCE San Bernardino,” Powers wrote in ANR Adventures on Sept. 27. “It was very informative, particularly seeing the fresh ideas that are coming from some of the new staff. We were able to hear about the tremendous success that both counties are having truly working as a team across program areas and layering their efforts for increased program success and support.”

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