Posts Tagged: Brook Gamble
Extra special congratulations are in order for the 2020 Tuleyome graduating class of certified California Naturalists. On Friday, March 20, via Zoom, the California Naturalist Program certified its latest class of California Naturalists while practicing appropriate physical distancing to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
Students met by video to present their capstone service-learning projects, including topics as diverse as nature journaling with kids, discovering soil types of field trip locations, cataloging game camera photos, unlocking the potentials of Zooniverse, building a new container for composting, and more.
California Naturalist Program Director Greg Ira remarked to graduates that he is encouraged to see people finding refuge in the natural world in this difficult time. "Who knew that social distancing would bring so many people closer to nature?," Ira said. "How wonderful would it be to see a blossoming of natural history from this event? And who better to help guide these potential naturalists than a newly minted California Naturalist like yourself."
VP Humiston has announced the winners of the 2015-16 UC ANR Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) awards, which recognize and reward outstanding individual and team performance of Agriculture and Natural Resources staff.
STAR awards allow managers to nominate staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, creativity, organizational abilities, work success and teamwork. The nominations were reviewed by a panel, which made recommendations to me.
The following are the names of the 2015/2016 ANR STAR Award recipients and comments from those nominating them.
Fourteen individuals won awards:
- Steve Dreistadt, Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program – “We at UC IPM, and those throughout ANR who have worked with him, respect and value Steve's integrity and commitment to communicating high-quality scientific information to solve pest problems.”
- Leah Haynes, Master Gardener Program in UCCE Ventura County – “Her work in Ventura County is known throughout the state for excellence and high achievement. Ventura County Master Gardeners are ‘On Fire' with activity and excitement – Leah is a big part of that.”
- Melissa LaFreniere, UCCE in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties – “Her contribution to our nutrition education team is invaluable, and she is always working behind the scenes to suggest and implement the most efficient way possible to deliver our programming. She is an exemplary employee with exceptional creativity, organizational and teamwork skills.”
- Chinh Lam, Integrated Pest Management Program – “Chinh's greatest skills are his ability to listen to input without becoming defensive, analyze the changes that should come from them, and do the work to make those changes happen. I appreciate his forward thinking and exceptional team and project management skills.”
- Cole Smith, UCCE in Santa Clara County – “Cole has exceeded the expectations of TAC and UCCE for the compost program by developing a strong and diverse volunteer force and consistently delivering effective workshops on composting and waste reduction. His passion and interest in expanding the program has contributed to its notoriety and success.”
- Heidi Von Geldern, Contracts & Grants – “Heidi is committed to helping our customers and improving our team to assist UC ANR. She provides outstanding customer services. We rely on Heidi for her calm assessment of problematic situations and her directed strategies to resolve them.”
- David White, Human Resources-Affirmative Action – “David went above and beyond in collecting and analyzing data in response to a comprehensive USDA NIFA review. He developed creative formulas to improve the required reports, and worked long hours to meet short deadlines.”
- Asian Citrus Psyllid Public Education Campaign Team: Jeannette Warnert, Tyler Ash, Myriam Grajales-Hall, Alberto Hauffen, Ray Lucas, Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell and Mark Hoddle – The campaign successfully helped convey to California citrus tree owners the threat posed by ACP and the steps they can take to mitigate the hazards. UC ANR's Strategic Communications team thoughtfully brought together several key resources and components to execute an outreach plan, resulting in positive, quantifiable results.
- UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in Central Sierra: Wendy West, Gretchen Birtwhistle, Hector Ochoa, Natalie Alfaro-Perez, Monica Drazba, Emily
The STAR winners received their awards at the Special Staff Meeting and Recognition Event June 16 at the UC ANR building in Davis.
The UC ANR California Naturalist program received a national honor in September, being named the “program of the year” by the Alliance for Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP). California Naturalist associate director Sabrina Drill, the UC ANR Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, attended the ANROSP annual conference in Tennessee to accept the award and lead a roundtable discussion on increasing diversity through collaborations with community colleges and conservation corps.
The program of the year award comes three years after California Naturalist began certifying naturalists and one year after its status in UC ANR was elevated to statewide program.
“When we were recognized by UC ANR as a statewide program, we arrived in the sphere of Cooperative Extension in California, and now, with this award, we've arrived at the national level,” Drill said.
In recent months, the California Naturalist program has posted a number of achievements:
- The organization passed the milestone of 1,000 certified naturalists, who have, combined, logged more than 30,000 volunteer hours.
- The number of partner organizations has grown from five in 2012 to 28 in 2015.
- The first biennial statewide California Naturalist conference attracted 200 participants in 2014. The second conference is scheduled for September 2016.
- A new academic coordinator, Gregory Ira, was hired. He is based at the UC ANR facility in Davis.
- A new California Naturalist online portal was established to log volunteer hours and serve as a communication and collaboration tool.
- New bio-region modules are being written to accompany the California Naturalist Handbook, a textbook for certification classes.
- A comprehensive instructor training manual has been completed.
Adina Merenlender, UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist based at the UC ANR Hopland Research and Extension Center; community educational specialists Brook Gamble and Shayna Foreman, based in Hopland and at the UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center, respectively; and business manager Meggin Lewman, based in Hopland.