Posts Tagged: California Naturalist
The UC California Naturalist (CalNat) Program is seeking nominations from across the University of California System for a Lead Scientist. The program is looking for a UC academic who is widely recognized in environmental science, conservation biology, ecology, global change, natural history, or related fields. The Lead Scientist will work with the CalNat program director to enhance the academic profile and connections of the program.
The primary purpose of this advisory role is to ensure continued high-level academic involvement and rigor for UC California Naturalist including the forthcoming Climate Stewards course. This new role opens an opportunity for a UC academic to connect directly with a growing public of amateur naturalists, community scientists, and environmental stewards (>4,000 statewide). The Lead Scientist will chair the Program Advisory Committee, which is made up of UC academics and external partners who meet online quarterly to help ensure that CalNat courses and community events reflect the latest state of knowledge in environmental science and informal science education. This role would benefit academics interested in research and extension focused on natural history, environmental education, climate communication, natural resource management, and diverse public participation in scientific research in California's ecosystems.
The Lead Scientist should have some service experience in their field such as with scientific societies and editorial boards. The program is asking for a three-year commitment with the opportunity to renew once. This is a university service opportunity and there is no salary or stipend attached to this role, but reimbursements for approved travel and expenses will be provided according to available unit funds. The program encourages self-nominations or the nomination of candidates who have acknowledged they would be interested.
For more information and the nomination form, please visit http://calnat.ucanr.edu/leadscientist. The deadline for nominations is April 24, 2020.
California Naturalist is a statewide program of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), a statewide organization that brings UC research in agriculture, the environment, youth development and nutrition out to local communities to improve the lives of all Californians.
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."
IGIS and the California Naturalist Program are pleased to help celebrate the launch of a new information portal on climate adaptation. The California Adaptation Clearinghouse was officially launched at the California Adaptation Forum in August in Sacramento. The site was developed by the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Geospatial Innovation Facility, CalNat and IGIS.
The Clearinghouse is a database-driven platform with a wealth of curated resources for climate adaptation. The site originated out of Senate Bill 246, which mandates OPR to provide resources on climate adaptation for local governments, regional planning agencies, and other practitioners working on adaptation and resilience. The database also contains sea-level rise resources collected by the Ocean Protection Council under Assembly Bill 2516. It's an amazing resource for anyone looking to strengthen climate change preparedness in their local government, community, or business.
The database includes numerous planning resources that have been developed and vetted by experts in the field. For example, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network has a how-to guide for local governments on developing equitable, community-driven climate preparedness plans, which you can find in the Clearinghouse. There are also examples of vulnerability assessments, local plans, and funding strategies. The majority of resources are hosted by other organizations, but unlike a Google search all the resources in the Clearinghouse have been reviewed, annotated, and cataloged by subject matter specialists.
To help find resources, the Clearinghouse has a number of search options, including more than a dozen topic categories adapted from Safeguarding California, the state's overall roadmap for building climate change resiliency. You can also search by Type of Impact (e.g., drought, sea level rise), Resource Type (e.g., case study, assessment, policy guidance), and of course an interactive map. Each resource has a descriptive blurb so you can quickly find what you need.
Adaptation planning can be information intensive, so the Tools and Data section of the website is devoted to helping people find data and crunch the numbers. Interested in rangelands? Check out the CA Landscape Conservation Cooperative's compiled Threat Assessments to California Rangelands. Sea level rise? Perhaps the CosMos modeling tool from USGS, or the Surging Seas tool from Climate Central. Like all resources, each tool and dataset has a user-friendly description, a technical summary, a bit about the data, and links to the source. One of our favorites is the California Energy Commission's Cal-Adapt, which includes both historical and projected climate data downscaled for California.
Providing a more personal perspective, the Clearinghouse also contains stories about climate adaptation from individuals, community groups, and businesses. The stories were collected by the UC ANR California Naturalist Program and their vast network of certified naturalists. The climate stories are diverse and compelling, from a concerned grandmother who becomes engaged in a community choice energy program, to a solar project engineer working to strengthen measures to prevent heat stroke in field staff. An interactive Story Map developed by IGIS helps users find stories from their area, some of which even have audio or video clips so you can hear the story in the speaker's own words.
Climate adaptation is complicated, but information portals like the Clearinghouse allow anyone to tap into the incredible amount of work that has already been done in California and elsewhere. Rather than reinvent the wheel, local agencies can build upon vetted guidelines from similar areas. We are all fortunate that the State of California has invested in a platform to share curated resources for the long-term, because climate adaptation is already part of the new normal. More resources are in the pipeline, so check it out and then check back often to see what's new.
We recognize the program's accomplishments in their first five years – development of a new education and service program, creation of a network of more than 47 statewide partner institutions, and training over 2,600 Certified California Naturalists who have contributed over 140,000 hours of volunteer service (as of June 2018) – promoting the stewardship of California's natural resources.
To guide the program into the future, below is a summary of the direction and next steps for the California Naturalist Program:
1. Until recommendations in #2 below are addressed, roll out Climate Stewards as a continuing education opportunity within the UC California Naturalist program.
2. Revisit the current models that are being used to deliver the California Naturalist curriculum to consider an expansion in on-line instruction, post-course community engagement, and new UC ANR tools for program evaluation.
3. Continue efforts in equity, diversity and inclusion to increase the program's reach to new and underserved clientele; and focus the next needs assessment on the course participants since the first assessment was focused on partner organizations and instructors.
4. Develop a method to systematically collect success stories that are aligned with the UC ANR public value statements and metrics to illustrate contribution to UC ANR condition changes.
5. Add members to the Program Advisory Council who are external to UC ANR.
I look forward to working with the California Naturalist Program as it pursues these and other opportunities that may arise. In particular, I hope to explore how to incorporate more community and citizen science activities and expand collaboration with other UC ANR programs. Best wishes for the ongoing success and growth of the California Naturalist Program!
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”