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Posts Tagged: Cheryl Wilen

Names in the News

Mohamed joins Kearney to research alfalfa irrigation

Moneim Mohamed

Abdelmoneim “Moneim” Mohamed joined UC ANR as project scientist – alfalfa irrigation management Feb. 1. 

Mohamed will be working with Khaled Bali conducting research to identify the best irrigation management practices on alfalfa to enhance water use productivity while minimizing environmental impacts. The project focuses on crop growth and agronomic performance as affected by irrigation management, salinity and other factors. 

Prior to joining UC ANR, Mohamed was an agricultural scientist for the Tropical Research and Education Center at the University of Florida. His previous work focused on modeling and optimizing the performance of moving sprinkler irrigation. He has also studied precision and automated irrigation.

After receiving his Ph.D. at Washington State University, Mohamed was an irrigation engineer for WSU Skagit County Extension Center working with extension agents and growers on improved irrigation practices, irrigation systems efficiency evaluation, and crop water use efficiency. 

Mohamed earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from Zagazig University, Egypt, a master's degree in land and water resources management: irrigated agriculture from IAMB, Italy, and a doctorate in biological and agricultural engineering from Washington State University.

Mohamed is based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center and can be reached at amohamed@ucanr.edu and (509) 781-4129 and on Twitter @moneim_z.

Brim-DeForest receives outstanding paper award

Whitney Brim-DeForest

The Weed Science Society of America honored Whitney Brim-DeForest, UCCE rice and wild rice advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Placer and Sacramento counties, with its award for Outstanding Paper: Weed Science.

The award-winning paper, Phenotypic Diversity of Weedy Rice (Oryza sativa f. spontanea) Biotypes Found in California and Implications for Management is co-authored by Elizabeth Karn, biologist in U.S. EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs and former ANR staff research associate; Teresa De Leon, Short Grains Rice Plant Breeder for the California Rice Experiment Station and former UC Davis postdoc research scholar; Luis Espino, UCCE rice farming systems advisor for Butte and Glenn counties and UCCE director for Butte County; and Kassim Al-Khatib, UC Davis Melvin D. Androus Endowed Professor for Weed Science and Director of the UC Weed Information Center. 

From left, Luis Espino, Elizabeth Karn, Teresa De Leon and Kassim Al-Khatib, co-authors of the Weed Science Society of America award-winning paper.

Over the past four years, Brim-DeForest, who holds the UC ANR Presidential Endowed Fellowship in California Rice, has focused her research on weedy rice, an emerging and important pest in California rice systems. In a relatively short amount of time, she and her team have conducted extensive research on California weedy rice including its genetics, identification, competition with cultivars, emergence, herbicide susceptibility, and even drone mapping. 

The award was presented during the organization's virtual annual meeting Feb. 15. 

DPR honors Spray Application Pest Management Alliance Team

Lynn Wunderlich. Photo by Evett Kilmartin

In a ceremony on Feb. 18, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation presented a 2020 IPM Achievement Award to UC Spray Application Pest Management Alliance Team – El Dorado County for their achievements in reducing risk from pesticide use. 

The Spray Application Pest Management Alliance Team, which includes industry and UC ANR members, is led by Lynn Wunderlich, UCCE farm advisor for the Central Sierra. The team aims to minimize the incidence of agricultural pesticide drift and reduce the risk of pesticide illness though training. The team developed an air blast sprayer calibration training program to increase pesticide applicators' adoption of best practices when using air blast sprayers. The training program is interactive and offers practical experience in key training topics. 

“The highly effective training and the extensive outreach completed by the team make the Spray Application Pest Management Alliance Team an excellent recipient of an IPM Achievement Award,” wrote the person nominating the team.

The Spray Application Pest Management Alliance Team includes

  • Wunderlich, UCCE farm advisor, Central Sierra
  • Franz Niederholzer, co-principal investigator and farm advisor, UCCE Yuba, Sutter, Butte counties
  • Maria Alfaro, community educator specialist, UC Statewide IPM Program
  • Catherine Bilheimer, California Department of Pesticide Regulation grant manager
  • Lisa Blecker, Pesticide Safety Education Program coordinator, UC Statewide IPM Program
  • Stephanie Bolton, communications & sustainable winegrowing director, Lodi Winegrape Commission
  • Matt Bozzo, chair, Yuba-Sutter Spray Safe; farm manager, Golden Gate Hop Ranch, Yuba City
  • Luis Espino, UCCE rice farming systems advisor, Colusa, Glenn, Yolo counties
  • Ken Giles, professor, UC Davis Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department
  • Gwen-Alyn Hoheisel, Washington State University regional extension specialist
  • Petr Kosina, Content Development Supervisor, UC Statewide IPM Program
  • Peter Larbi, UCCE spray application specialist, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • Ray Lucas, former videographer UC ANR Communication Services
  • Tunyalee Martin, associate director for communication, UC Statewide IPM Program
  • Louie Mendoza, Butte County agricultural commissioner
  • Cheryl Reynolds, instructional designer, UC Statewide IPM Program.
  • John Roncoroni, UCCE weed science farm advisor emeritus, North Coast
  • Marcie Skelton, Glenn County agricultural commissioner
  • Rhonda Smith, UCCE viticulture advisor emeritus, Sonoma County.
  • Matt Strmiska, former Adaptiv CEO.
  • Emily Symmes, former Area IPM advisor, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter-Yuba, Tehama counties
Cheryl Wilen

Cheryl Wilen, emeritus IPM advisor, was a technical advisor to All Kids Academy Head Start, Inc. in San Diego County, which received an IPM Achievement Award for its exemplary pest management program at 14 child care centers. This nonprofit organization's IPM program focuses on strong communication, careful monitoring, and active prevention to manage pests. AKA Head Start, Inc. partners with experts to find the most effective, lower-risk options to protect children in its care from pests and pesticide risk.

“One thing that they did that influenced me to nominate them is that they not only did a lot of IPM policy and implementation work in the school, they also provide information and resources to the parents/guardians to extend IPM information for their homes as well,” wrote the person who nominated the project. 

Moncloa to guide Maine 4-H through intercultural competence program

Fe Moncloa

Fe Moncloa, UCCE 4-H youth development advisor in Santa Clara County, has been named the 2021 Visiting Libra Diversity Professor at the University of Maine from January through June.

Through a virtual appointment, Moncloa will guide University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development staff through the development and implementation of an intercultural competence professional development program. This project is part of a larger effort to increase the ability of University of Maine Cooperative Extension to foster inclusivity, diversity and access, particularly the statewide UMaine 4-H program. This project will serve as a template to expand diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to other UMaine departments. 

“In addition, my UMaine partners will lead four weekly Learning Circles to unpack intercultural communication,” Moncloa said. “I will teach an intercultural conflict styles workshop for all 4-H professionals in partnership with UMaine and will present a seminar to graduate students.” 

Moncloa is on sabbatical through Sept. 30, 2021.

 

 

 

Names in the News

Spinelli named UCCE horticulture advisor

Gerry Spinelli

Gerardo Spinelli joined UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego County as a production horticulture advisor on Oct. 12, 2020. He will work with nurseries, floriculture and controlled environment plant production.

Prior to joining UCCE San Diego, Spinelli worked for the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz county since 2015 in irrigation and nitrogen management for strawberry and lettuce. He collaborated with Michael Cahn, UCCE advisor and technical expert for the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency's conservation program, to promote the adoption of CropManage to optimize nitrogen and irrigation in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

He has also worked on nutrient and pest management in vegetables, lettuce hydroponic production and anaerobic soil disinfestation in banana at University of Hawaii, Manoa, and was a UCCE farm advisor for irrigation and vegetables in Stanislaus County. He also worked in Honduras on an irrigation development project providing technical assistance for smallholder corn and watermelon growers, and in London designing and installing landscape irrigation systems. He also lived in Lebanon, where he introduced integrated pest management in apple and olive production, rebuilt irrigation channels for tobacco and vegetable growers, began a queen bee breeding program and built sewage lines for the Wavel refugee camp.

Spinelli grew up in Italy on an olive and vegetable farm on the hills overlooking Florence and is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish.

He earned a B.S. in agronomy, an M.S. in tropical agriculture at the University of Florence, and a Master of International Agricultural Development and Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy at UC Davis, focusing on plant physiology and water stress in almond orchards.  

Spinelli is based in San Diego and can be reached at (858) 822-7679 and gspinelli@ucanr.edu.

Amaral named pomology, water and soils advisor

Doug Amaral

Douglas Amaral joined UCCE in Kings and Tulare as pomology, water and soils advisor on Oct. 1, 2020.

Before joining UCCE, Amaral was a project scientist and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. His research has focused on the physiology and biochemistry of plant nutrient uptake, and molecular and genetic aspects of nutrient acquisition and tolerance in citrus, almonds, pistachios and other crops.

Amaral, who was born and raised in Brazil, is fluent in Portuguese and English. He earned a Ph.D. in plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, an M.S. in plant nutrition and soil fertility at Federal University of Lavras, Brazil, and a B.S. in biological sciences at University Center of Lavras, Brazil.

Amaral is based in Hanford and can be reached at (559) 852-2737 and amaral@ucanr.edu.

UCCE poster, newsletters win NACAA awards

Michael Rethwisch and Kassandra Allan won a national NACAA award for their applied research poster, “Dingy cutworm pheromone lures are not highly attractive to the closely related granulate cutworm.”

Three California state winning entries received national recognition at the recent annual meeting and professional improvement conferences of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) held virtually in late September and early October.

Michael Rethwisch, UCCE field crops advisor for Riverside County, and student assistant Kassandra Allan won a national NACAA award for their applied research poster, “Dingy cutworm pheromone lures are not highly attractive to the closely related granulate cutworm.” Rethwisch was also selected to give a presentation on comparative insecticide efficacy for lygus bug control.

The UC Dairy Newsletter was a national finalist entry and western regional winner in the Team Newsletter competition. UCCE advisors Jennifer Heguy, Daniela Bruno, Joy Hollingsworth and Betsy Karle collaborate on the newsletter.

The University of California Cooperative Extension Subtropical Horticulture News by Sonia Rios, UCCE subtropical horticulture advisor for Riverside and San Diego counties, was the western regional winner for individual newsletter.  

CAPCA honors Wilen for "Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture" 

Cheryl Wilen

Cheryl Wilen, UCCE integrated pest management advisor emeritus for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, received the 2020 Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture award by the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA).

The Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to California agriculture. The former leader of UC ANR's Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative is known for her research and development of integrated pest management strategies for the turf, ornamental horticulture and nursery industries. Over the course of her career, Wilen has helped reduce the use of toxic pesticides, cut the cost of pest control and promote the use of environmentally sound methods in production.

Wilen, who retired from her 25-year UC ANR career in July, received the award during CAPCA's virtual annual conference on Oct. 12. She is currently on recall to serve as interim director for UCCE in San Diego.

4-H Youth Retention Study Team receives national award

The 4-H Youth Retention Study Team also received ANR's Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Research in 2018.

The 4-H Youth Retention Study Team received the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Professionals' “Susan Barkman Award for Research and Evaluation” Oct. 20, during the association's virtual conference.

The Youth Retention Study examined the retention and drop-out rates (nearly 50%) of first year 4-H members over a seven-year period to understand why youth leave the 4-H program. They found a lack of communication and the inability to understand and navigate the 4-H program contributed to attrition. These findings led to development of a handbook for families to navigate the 4-H program and a Project Leader Checklist for implementing the 4-H project experience. 

While the study focused on California, the team has engaged multiple states in an effort to document the national scope of this issue, and used the data to develop tools and strategies for addressing and extending that information through peer-reviewed articles, workshops and training.

The Youth Retention Study Team includes

  • JoLynn Miller, UCCE advisor for the Central Sierra
  • Kendra Lewis, University of New Hampshire State Specialist for Youth & Family Resiliency and former UCCE academic coordinator for evaluation for UC ANR Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program
  • Marianne Bird, UCCE advisor for the Capital Corridor
  • John Borba, UCCE advisor in Kern County
  • Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, UCCE advisor for Riverside and San Bernardino counties
  • Dorina Espinoza, UCCE advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties
  • Russell Hill, UCCE advisor for Merced, Mariposa and Madera counties
  • Car Mun Kok, UCCE advisor for Lake and Mendocino counties
  • Sue Manglallan, UCCE advisor emeritus in San Diego County
  • Kali Trzesniewski, UCCE specialist in UC Davis Department of Human & Community Development

Ronald becomes first woman to receive World Agriculture Prize

Pam Ronald, a UC Davis distinguished professor, whose work has revolutionized plant molecular genetics, has become the first woman to receive the World Agriculture Prize.

Ronald is recognized for her history of major discoveries in plant molecular genetics. In 1995, she isolated a key immune receptor that revealed a new mechanism with which plants and animals detect and respond to infection. Her discovery in 2006, with UC Davis plant scientist David Mackill, of a rice submergence tolerance gene facilitated the development of high-yielding, flood-tolerant rice varieties that have benefited millions of farmers in South and Southeast Asia.

The award ceremony will be virtually held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 from Nanjing Agricultural University, Jiangsu Province, China.

Read the full story by Amy Quinton at https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/plant-pathologist-pamela-ronald-named-gchera-world-agriculture-prize-laureate.

UCCE integrated pest management expert retires after 25-year career

Cheryl Wilen
UC Cooperative Extension integrated pest management advisor Cheryl Wilen retired in April after serving UC Agriculture and Natural Resources in a wide variety of leadership and academic capacities during her 25-year career. To help with transitions in the San Diego County UCCE office, Wilen accepted a six-month assignment in May to continue serving as interim director.

Wilen earned a bachelor's degree in horticulture at the University of Maryland, a master's degree in horticulture at University of Arizona and a doctoral degree at UC Riverside. Following graduation, Wilen worked a year at UC Riverside as a post-doctoral fellow.

In 1995, Wilen was hired by UC ANR to conduct applied research in the turf, ornamental horticulture and nursery industries to develop and promote the use of integrated pest management in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties. She shared her results and information generated by scientists across the university with growers and pest control advisers to reduce the use of toxic pesticides, cut the cost of pest control and use environmentally sound methods in production.

Over the years, Wilen was frequently tapped to take on leadership roles while maintaining her academic program. She served as acting and interim director of the Statewide UC IPM Program, program leader of UCCE's Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative, and as county director in San Diego County. Wilen also had opportunities to take sabbatical and study leaves to improve her Spanish-speaking skills, learn about international participatory extension methodology and receive training on research methods to study snails and slugs.

“I love working with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources,” Wilen said. “The positions I held matched well with my professional and personal style. I always felt that I was responsible for choosing my destination and the journey to get there, whether that was my career or my research and extension programs.”

Wilen said she also valued the relationships she developed over the years in her job.

“I met and became friends with people in UC that I would never have been so lucky to know without the opportunities afforded me by serving on diverse committees,” Wilen said. “If I could give one piece of advice to early career people, it would be not to look at these requests as ‘but I'm so busy, I can't do it,' but rather, ‘this will expand my network and my worth to UC and the communities we serve and pay off in the long run.'”

Wilen has been awarded the honor of emeritus status, which will continue her academic relationship with UCCE even after her stint in the director post is complete.

“I have a couple of grants I'm continuing to work on,” she said.

She also has plans to do things that she didn't have time for while working full time.

“Plans for my free time include entering sweepstakes, organizing electronics cables, continuing to paddle with my outrigger canoe club, exploring the outdoors, travel, volunteering and enjoying time with my partner and the rest of my family,” she said.

Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 8:48 AM

PAC meets virtually, thanks President Napolitano for her service

President Napolitano met with the PAC via Zoom to thank the members for time and advice during her seven years as UC president. She plans to step down from the office Aug. 1.

The President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources met via Zoom April 9 as everyone was sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. Jean-Mari Peltier, PAC chair, welcomed the PAC members for their last meeting with President Janet Napolitano. Last September, Napolitano announced that she will step down as UC's leader Aug. 1.

President Napolitano commended ANR for its flexibility in response to the COVID-19 crisis. ANR is “the University of California for large parts of the state and we're proud that you are,” she told VP Glenda Humiston, adding that ANR is performing well under her leadership.

Napolitano thanked the PAC members for contributing their time and advice during her seven years at the UC helm, calling ANR “essential to UC identity as land grant university.” The commissioners thanked the president for her support for ANR. In response to questions about building support for ANR with her successor, Napolitano recommended taking the new president out of Oakland for site visits to learn about ANR. She described her visits to Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Humboldt County and other ANR sites as “eye opening.”

In her update about ANR, Humiston reported that despite the coronavirus pandemic's disruption to public gatherings, all ANR programs are still serving communities. “I'm really impressed with the innovative ways they are finding to deliver outreach,” she said, adding that advisors are adapting, for example, doing ranch visits via phone. Humiston also described the UC ANR Governing Council's tour of the South Coast Research and Extension Center in February to see how ANR engages urban Californians. She noted that a regents tour of South Coast REC planned for April 23 has been postponed until after the pandemic passes.

Karen Ross, secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture, joined the group to discuss how CDFA is responding to food system disruption resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. “I am optimistic about agriculture; we are so innovative and resilient,” Ross said, adding that she is concerned about funding for UC ANR and UCCE. She recommended seizing the moment while consumers are thinking about the food system to educate people about UC ANR's role.

Building on their December meeting, the PAC members continued their discussion of the future of the commission. They discussed recommendations to ensure the success and sustainability of ANR as well as the PAC. 

They recommended the role of PAC members include

  • Communication & advocacy
  • Engaging as a strategic tool for problem solving
  • Being a connector to industry leaders
  • Supporting fund development
  • Advising on strategy and mission priorities

To make their membership meaningful, the commissioners said they would like

  • Greater active involvement
  • Knowing they add value
  • Feeling connected with ANR and other PAC members
  • Sharing critical information

Although the PAC usually meets twice a year – in the spring and fall – the PAC agreed to meet again via videoconference in May or June to discuss and approve the new PAC charter.

 

Posted on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 1:36 PM

Names in the News

Soule named assistant vice provost for CE

Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule will serve as ANR's new Assistant Vice Provost for Cooperative Extension. She will start her new duties on July 1, 2020, and continue to serve as UCCE director for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and as UCCE youth, families and communities advisor. The role was previously held by Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty until she assumed the role of Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program director.

“We are excited to have Katherine on the Cooperative Extension administrative team! She brings a breadth of Cooperative Extension experiences and leadership skills,” said Mark Lagrimini, vice provost for research and extension. “Katherine is known for her innovative, collaborative, and strengths-based leadership. She cares deeply about improving lives and working environments for her unit, her community and ANR.”

Soule earned her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, Athens in 2013 and became the UCCE youth, families and communities advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. In 2017, she accepted an additional appointment as UCCE director for these counties. She was elected as UC ANR's Academic Assembly Council president for a two-year term ending in June 2020.

"As the assistant vice provost of Cooperative Extension, I look forward to supporting the development and successes of new and existing county directors,” Soule said. “I hope to promote collaborative, cross-county communication, while focusing on identifying and meeting the needs of county directors across the division. We are all most effective when we learn from and support one another, so I look forward to connecting with academics, county directors, ANR leadership and other UC ANR personnel in this new role."

Choe, Dara and IPM team honored by Pacific Branch of ESA

Dong-Hwan Choe
UC ANR scientists Dong-Hwan Choe, Surendra Dara, David Haviland and Jhalendra Rijal received awards for their exemplary work from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America. The PBESA presented its annual awards on April 20, at a virtual ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Choe, UCCE specialist in the UC Riverside Department of Entomology, won the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Award.

“Since joining the faculty at UC Riverside in 2011, [Choe] has developed an outstanding research and extension program dealing with the major urban structural pests and related issues in the western United States,” wrote Mike Rust, UC Riverside entomology professor, in his nomination letter.

His research includes exploiting the role of semiochemicals and behavior to control social insects and developing novel ant baits.

“Dr. Choe has been at the forefront of developing hydrogels as carriers of baits to control ants and yellowjackets. Developing cost-effective and environmentally safe delivery strategies has always been a major problem facing the use of ant baits in agriculture and urban setting. His pioneering biodegradable alginate beads promise to be a major advancement,” Rust wrote.

Surendra Dara
Choe also participates in workshops for agricultural pest control advisers, UC Master Gardeners and urban pest control operators.

Dara, UC Cooperative Extension entomology and biologicals advisor for San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, won the Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.

This annual award recognizes individuals who made outstanding contributions in research and outreach in the area of IPM. Dara's new IPM model has been well-received and its impact has been documented in a UC Delivers story. Dara is the first UC ANR scientist to receive this award and fourth from UC since the Pacific Branch began offering awards in this category in 2009.

The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team won the Entomology Team Work Award. The team consists of UC IPM advisors David Haviland and Jhalendra Rijal, former UCCE advisor Emily Symmes, UCCE Kern County staff research associate Stephanie Rill, industry researcher Bradly Higbee of Trécé, USDA scientist Charles Burkes and Bob Curtis of the Almond Board of California.

The team encouraged the adoption of mating disruption for managing navel orangeworm, a major pest in almond orchards, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. After they began demonstrating that mating disruption proved to be an economical pest control method in orchards, they saw a rapid rise in growers adopting the technology. Based on a survey of pest control advisers and growers conducted in the early 2019, the anticipated use of navel orangeworm mating disruption for the 2019 season in San Joaquin Valley was 32%, as opposed to the 7% adoption in 2017. Kern County data showed a 26% countywide increase in the adoption of mating disruption from 2017-2018.

The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team. From left, DPR Director Val Dolcini, Brad Higbee, Chuck Burkes, Jhalendra Rijal, David Haviland, UCCE staff research assistant Stephanie Rill, and the Almond Board’s Jesse Rosemond, Bob Curtis, Rebecca Bailey and Jenny Nicolau.

For more than a decade, the team conducted research on navel orangeworm, spider mites, leaffooted bug and ants that laid the groundwork for IPM adoption. For the past three years, the team put these IPM practices on display using nine demonstration orchards across the San Joaquin Valley as part of CDPR Pest Management Alliance and Almond Board of California grants.

The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team received an award in February from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Environmental Protection Agency

Three UC Davis faculty members were also selected for prestigious awards: Lynn Kimsey, Walter Leal and Robert Kimsey.

The Pacific Branch covers provinces/states in Canada, U.S. and Mexico on the Pacific Coast. 

Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 12:47 PM

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