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Names in the News

Baur named Western IPM Center director

Matt Baur

After leading the Western Integrated Pest Management Center through the global COVID crisis as acting director, Matt Baur has been named permanent director effective July 1 to lead the center into the post-pandemic future.

Baur, an IPM practitioner and entomologist by training, had been the Western IPM Center's associate director since 2014. 

“Like everyone, the center had to change the way we worked during the pandemic and some of those changes are likely to continue into our future,” Baur predicted. “The region we serve in the West is huge – Guam to Colorado, Alaska to New Mexico – and the remote technologies and virtual platforms we all became familiar with in 2020 can help us connect across those miles.”

Baur's goals for the center are to build on its successes and expand its outreach to serve new areas and audiences, promoting smart, safe and sustainable pest management across the region to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West. 

“The vision of the center is “A healthier West with fewer pests,'” he explained, “and that's something I care about deeply. I have two sons and promoting integrated pest management is one way I help protect their world.”

Baur sees a need to reconnect with the people who research and teach IPM, and plans to attend meetings and conferences for all the scientific disciplines involved in pest management. He also plans to expand the center's connections to communities that have been under-represented and under-served in the past.

“I believe it's vital that we not only listen to but represent all the stakeholders in the West affected by pests and pest-management practices,” Baur said. “There are voices we haven't heard and communities we haven't served well in the past, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to change that. Integrated pest management can be a way to promote environmental and social justice, and as a regional IPM center, we can be leaders in that.” 

Before joining the Western IPM Center, Baur worked as a research scientist at DuPont/Pioneer and was a research assistant professor at Louisiana State University. He received his doctorate in entomology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his bachelor's degree in biology from UC San Diego. He is a licensed pest control adviser in the state of California. 

Baur is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at mebaur@ucanr.edu. – Steve Elliott

Shum named director of Business Operations Center

Su-Lin Shum joined UC ANR as director of the Business Operations Center June 14, 2021. Shum will oversee the consolidated Business Operations Center in Davis.

Shum brings over 25 years of experience in financial management, budget oversight, and financial operations and analysis within the UC system and beyond. Throughout her career, she has specialized in finance and business services while serving as the director of finance and business services at Sierra College, the director of budget and finance at the UC Berkeley Library, the interim assistant dean for Finance and Administration at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and project manager and principal budget analyst at the UC Davis Budget Office.

While living in Canada, Shum served as the executive director of strategy and operations at the Pacific Carbon Trust Environmental Investment Agency and as director of corporate planning, reporting and program reviews/audits at the British Columbia Office of the Auditor General.

Shum earned an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, and a BA from the University of British Columbia.

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

Kawakami named associate director of statewide programs operations and RECs

Heather Kawakami

Heather Kawakami rejoined ANR as associate director of statewide programs operations and research and extension centers on June 7.

Kawakami, who has worked for UC since 1992, served as chief business officer for the Nutrition Policy Institute in 2017 and 2018. She has also worked in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, most recently as the business unit manager for the Department of Plant Sciences.

She earned a BA in medieval studies with a minor in Latin from UC Davis.

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

Haghverdi receives UCOWR Early Career Award 

Amir Haghverdi

Amir Haghverdi, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in irrigation and water management in the Environmental Sciences Department at UC Riverside, has been selected to receive the 2021 Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) Early Career Award for Applied Research. The national award recognizes outstanding early contributions in applied research related to water and promise of continued professional growth and recognition. 

Haghverdi's research focuses on developing and disseminating scientific knowledge, practical recommendations, and tools for sustainable urban and agricultural water resources management. His approaches include field research trials, laboratory analyses, and computer modeling to identify opportunities for synergy between research and extension activities. His main research themes include irrigation water management, root zone soil hydrology, and precision agriculture. He is also interested in applications of advanced data acquisition and mining techniques, including remote sensing, GIS (geographic information systems) and GPS (global positioning system) technologies, machine learning, and wireless sensors.

UCOWR is a consortium of academic institutions and affiliates invested in water resources research, education and outreach.  

4-H wins Diversity & Inclusion Award

The 2016-2019 UC 4-H Latino Initiative is the recipient of the Diversity & Inclusion: Expanding the 4-H Audience Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals.

Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, statewide 4-H director, and 4-H advisors Steven Worker, John Borba, Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, Russell Hill, Katherine Soule and Liliana Vega, and Lupita Fabregas, former 4-H Youth Development assistant director for diversity and expansion, developed, implemented and evaluated culturally responsive program models to attract and retain Latino youth, families and volunteers into 4-H.

The project focused on seven counties – Kern, Merced, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Sonoma – selected to represent rural, suburban and urban communities. The number of Latino youth participating in the 4-H program increased more than 250% in three years. Youth enrollment statewide grew from 1.1% of the school-aged population in 2016 to 1.9% at the end of 2019. All counties achieved parity – within 80% of Latino youth in the population – by the end of year three (except Orange County which withdrew in year two). Read more about the UC 4-H Latino Initiative at http://4h.ucanr.edu/Resources/Latino/.

The NAE4-HYDP Diversity & Inclusion Award recognizes outstanding effort and accomplishments in achieving, expanding and/or sustaining diversity in the NAE4-HYDP organization, programs, and/or audiences.

The UC 4-H Latino Initiative team will be recognized at the NAE4-HYDP Conference in Memphis, Tenn., on November 16 or 17. 

WEDA honors California Dairy Quality Assurance Program

The Western Extension Directors Association presented a 2021 Award of Excellence to the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program - Environmental Stewardship: A Public Private Partnership.

Launched in 1997, the program is led by Deanne Meyer, UCCE livestock waste management specialist, UCCE advisors Betsy Karle, Jennifer Heguy, David Lewis, Jeffery Stackhouse, Nicholas Clark, Randi Black and Daniela Bruno, and Denise Mullinax of the California Dairy Research Foundation. 

The California Dairy Quality Assurance Program is a voluntary partnership between the dairy industry, government and academia. It has been proactive in addressing environmental concerns, setting up a voluntary certification project before the adoption of water quality regulations that targeted nitrogen management. To protect California's air and water quality, more than 700 dairy farms have completed an on-site, third-party evaluation of their facility's manure management.

Uhde named Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellow 

Katherine Uhde

Katherine Uhde, UC Master Gardener Program coordinator in Santa Clara County, has been selected as one of 50 Bloomberg fellows to receive full scholarships to earn a Master of Public Health through the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Uhde's project will focus on environmental challenges. She is working with Lucy Diekmann, UCCE urban agriculture and food systems advisor for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, to develop project ideas that address public health practice needs.

“Generally, the project will focus on environmental health and wellness in Santa Clara County and the Bay Area,” Uhde said.

U.S. Golf honors Harivandi

Ali Harivandi

Ali Harivandi, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension turfgrass advisor, recently received an Ike Grainger Award from the United States Golf Association. 

A UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulturist based in Alameda County who specialized in turf, soil and water for 33 years, Harivandi served on the USGA's Turfgrass and Environment Committee and Green Section Research Committee. He is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert on recycled water use on golf courses and other landscape sites. His expertise in soil and water quality have been important to the USGA.

Each year, the USGA presents the Ike Grainger Award to individuals who have served the Association as a volunteer for 25 years. These dedicated men and women tirelessly give back to the game through a variety of roles. 

Harivandi was instrumental in encouraging the committee to seek out research to develop warm season grasses with greater drought tolerance and grasses that will some day be able to remain green during the winter in areas where bermudagrass has historically gone dormant.

Garvey wins ACE photo awards

Award-winning image of a monarch egg by Kathy Keatley Garvey,.

Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis communications specialist for UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won silver and bronze awards in a photography competition hosted by the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). ACE announced the awards June 22 at its virtual conference.

She captured the silver  with a Canon MPE-65mm lens and posted the image at https://bit.ly/3cUx358 Aug. 10, 2020, on her Bug Squad blog. 

“The purpose of my image is to draw attention to the dwindling monarch butterfly population,” wrote Garvey, who creates habitat for monarch butterflies in her family's pollinator garden. “They are on life support.” The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation reports that overwintering monarchs have declined 99% in coastal California since the 1990s. 

In addition to the silver award, Garvey won a bronze award for her photo series of male and female Gulf fritillaries, Agraulis vanillae, “keeping busy.”  Her post, “Fifty Shades of Orange, with a Touch of Silver,” appeared July 13, 2020, on her Bug Squad blog at https://bit.ly/2Q6cU3q

Wilen, Soule and Haviland among Distinguished Service Award winners

The Youth Retention Study Team won the Outstanding Research award. From left, John Borba, Chris Greer, Russ Hill, Mark Bell, Car Mun Kok, JoLynn Miller, Dorina Espinoza, Marianne Bird, Kendra Lewis, Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, and Wendy Powers.

Wendy Powers, associate vice president, announced the 2018 winners of the biennial Distinguished Service Awards on April 11 at the UC ANR Statewide Conference in Ontario.

Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards 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.

Awards were given for outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, and outstanding leader. Winners for each category are listed below.

Outstanding Research - Youth Retention Study Team

The Youth Retention Study examined the retention and drop-out rates (nearly 50 percent) of first year 4-H members. The team looked at re-enrollment trends over a seven-year period to understand the phenomena of why youth leave the 4-H program. While the focus of the study was on California, the team has engaged multiple states in this 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. Two of the factors they found reducing retention were a lack of communication and the inability to understand and navigate the 4-H program. 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. 

The Youth Retention Study Team includes

  • JoLynn Miller, CE Advisor - UCCE Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership
  • Kendra Lewis, Academic Coordinator - UC ANR Statewide 4-H Program
  • Marianne Bird, CE Advisor - UCCE Capital Corridor MCP
  • John Borba, CE Advisor - UCCE Kern
  • Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, CE Advisor - UCCE Riverside and San Bernardino
  • Dorina Espinoza, CE Advisor - UCCE Humboldt and Del Norte
  • Russell Hill, CE Advisor - UCCE Merced, Mariposa and Madera
  • Car Mun Kok, CE Advisor - UCCE Lake and Mendocino
  • Sue Manglallan, CE Advisor - UCCE San Diego
  • Kali Trzesniewski, CE Specialist – UC Davis, Department of Human & Community Development

Outstanding Extension - David Haviland

David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension entomology and integrated pest management advisor in Kern County, won the Outstanding Extension award.

David Haviland has been the UC Cooperative Extension entomology advisor in Kern County and affiliated IPM advisor with the UC IPM Program since 2002. He has developed an exemplary extension program to address the needs of clientele and support continued productivity in the third largest agricultural output county in the nation. Haviland's extension program is based on continuous needs assessment, applied local research to solve problems, collaboration with multiple partners, and extension programming focused on grower and pest control adviser adoption of improved pest management practices. Haviland uses his research outputs to drive his prodigious extension program. This includes 430 presentations to more than 32,000 people, primarily to farmers and pest control advisers. Haviland has developed a national and international reputation through publishing the results of his research in peer-reviewed scientific publications, and by giving national and international presentations.

Outstanding New Academic - Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule, UC Cooperative Extension director and youth, families and communities advisor in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, won the Outstanding New Academic award.

Katherine Soule has been the youth, families and communities advisor since 2013 and director of Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties since 2017. Soule has guided programming to increase diversity and reach of the 4-H Youth Development Program. She has more than doubled overall youth participation to more than 16,000 youth in the two counties and increased Latino youth participation by almost 500 percent in less than 4 years. In addition, Soule has built a multicultural, bilingual UC CalFresh staff that focuses on developing sustained engagement with partnering school districts, administrators, teachers, families and other community-based organizations. In the previous two years, the UC CalFresh staff provided nutrition education to more than 17,000 youth; more than 8,500 families and community members attended community events where they received nutrition education; led peer educators in the participation of 4,700 hours of programming and engaged more than 6,600 students in nutrition and physical activities education. The Statewide 4-H Director said, “Despite the large assignment, she has provided incredible leadership in both program areas in both counties.” In partnership with 4-H volunteers and the California 4-H Foundation, she has raised $300,000 annually from grants and gifts to support and advance 4-H programming in Santa Barbara County. This youth, families and communities program also serves as the model for program integration and growth.

Outstanding Leader - Cheryl Wilen

Cheryl Wilen, UC Cooperative Extension area integrated pest management advisor for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, won the Outstanding Leader award.

Cheryl Wilen is the area integrated pest management advisor for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. Throughout her 23-year career, Wilen's work has represented outstanding leadership through a continual focus on positive changes.  Wilen has been an effective leader in the Statewide IPM Program, ANR and the western region. In this role, she has provided significant input on CE advisor performance and advancement evaluations, represented IPM advisors to UC IPM leadership, and coordinated the annual extension planning meeting for IPM advisors and affiliated advisors. In addition to significant leadership in UC IPM, Wilen was the ANR Strategic Initiative Leader for Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases from 2014 to 2017. She led development of the strategic initiative goals and worked with Program Teams and Workgroups to address these goals. Wilen's leadership style is a direct reflection of her approach to research and extension. If she identifies an important unmet need, then she seeks to address it. Similarly, when she identifies a leadership need that she is capable of meeting, she steps up to help the organization move forward. Her leadership is consistently pragmatic and focused on results.

Outstanding Team - Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team

The Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team won the Outstanding Team award. From left, David Lewis, Greer, Bell, Deanne Meyer, Jeffery Stackhouse, Betsy Karle and Jennifer Heguy.

This team of CE specialists and CE advisors has provided outstanding service to California's dairy farmers as a partner in the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) through applied research, development of monitoring methods and tools, and implementation of educational programs to help dairy farmers comply with state water-quality law. The team developed the educational component of the “Environmental Stewardship Short Course,” delivering 377 short course workshops (750 classroom hours) throughout the state to date. They developed tools for producers including a lab manual for manure analysis, an e-learning module for sampling methods and an on-line decision support tool. These extension products were based on a prodigious research record including 15 peer-reviewed papers. The Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team is an excellent example of UC ANR academics working together and with government and industry partners under the Sustainable Natural Environment Strategic Initiative. As a result of the team's work, the industry quickly reached a 95 percent compliance rate with water quality reporting requirements.

Dairy Quality Assurance Environmental Stewardship Program Team includes

  • Deanne Meyer, CE Specialist – UC Davis, Department of Human & Community Development
  • Betsy Karle, CE Advisor and UCCE Director– UCCE Glenn
  • Jennifer Heguy, CE Advisor – UCCE Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced
  • David Lewis, CE Advisor and UCCE Director – UCCE Marin and Napa
  • Jeffery Stackhouse, CE Advisor – UCCE Humboldt and Del Norte

 

 

Names in the News

Natalie Price
Price joins UC ANR as NFCS advisor

Natalie Price joined UC ANR on April 3, 2017, as the nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Los Angeles and Orange counties. She will work with local organizations and school districts to provide culturally sensitive nutrition education and programs. In addition, Price will collaborate with the larger ANR team of nutrition researchers to address issues related to health and food security.

Before joining ANR, Price worked as a nutrition specialist for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. She worked with school districts to implement fruit and vegetable taste tests, train staff, and create new wellness policies and committees.

Price earned a master's degree in public health/community health sciences and a bachelor's degree in international development studies, both from UCLA.

Price is based at the UCCE Los Angeles County office in Alhambra and can be reached at (626) 586-1948 and nmprice@ucanr.edu.

Stephanie Larson
Larson named Range Manager of the Year

The California Society for Range Management honored Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension director and livestock and range management advisor in Sonoma County, naming her Range Manager of the Year at the Cal-Pac Society for Range Management meeting April 4, 2017. 

The award recognizes her years of research and extension work, conducting a diverse program that focuses on animal husbandry, rangeland ecosystem services and development of niche markets for local livestock producers. Larson helped local rangeland owners develop water quality plans and comply with Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulations. She initiated a “Notice of Intent” system for Tomales Bay watershed land owners that documents water quality and best management practices. This system has been adopted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board and was later extended to Napa and Sonoma Creek watersheds.

With nearly 1 million acres of rangeland in Sonoma and Marin counties, Larson works with rangeland owners and managers to develop strong stewardship principals and best management practices. Larson assesses ecosystem service management and is currently exploring payments for services, such as carbon sequestration, water capture and biodiversity. During her career she has conducted hundreds of local education meetings on livestock production, animal identification, biosecurity, wool marketing, livestock judging, predator control including non-lethal methods, parasite control, range weed management, riparian management, water quality, electric fencing, ranch and grazing planning, estate planning, soil health, vegetation monitoring, grass-fed and organic certification, and grazing for endangered species. Larson also teaches range management at Santa Rosa Junior College. She served as a board member, then president of the Cal-Pac Section and as a board member for the national society 2010–2013.

David Lewis
Lewis receives Bradford Rominger Award

David Lewis, UC Cooperative Extension watershed advisor for Marin County, is this year's recipient of the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award.

For 17 years, Lewis has served as a UC Cooperative Extension advisor, helping farmers, ranchers, conservationists and other stakeholders solve challenging and contentious issues surrounding the health of their watersheds.

The Bradford Rominger award, given by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis, honors individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist.

“David epitomizes the very fiber of character that this award celebrates,” said Kenneth Tate, Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Science at UC Davis and 2012 Bradford Rominger award recipient. Tate praised Lewis's ability to “put his quiet, honest, credible manner to good work” to help build trust and understanding so communities can have frank discussions about the challenges facing their watersheds.

Lewis's accomplishments include helping to reduce the dairy pollution hurting the oyster beds of Tomales Bay and helping ranchers reduce erosion on their property, letting them play a key role in conserving critical coho salmon habitat and protecting the water quality of North Coast rivers.

Lewis received the award at the “Shepherds of Sustainability: Celebrating Leadership in Watersheds, Rangeland, and Livestock Sustainability” event held in Davis on April 19, 2017.

Helen Dahlke
Dahlke chosen as ThinkWater Fellow

Helen Dahlke, UC Davis professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water, is one of 10 leaders in water education, outreach and extension selected to be a ThinkWater fellow for 2017–2018. The ThinkWater fellowship builds a cohort of scholars and professionals engaged with water-related issues and teaches them how to apply systems thinking to their ongoing work. The fellows work in positions that allow them to integrate systems thinking into program design, education and outreach involving a broad range of audiences, such as farmers, community members, volunteers and youth.

Fellows will learn from Derek and Laura Cabrera, faculty at Cornell University and founders of Cabrera Research Lab, a proven method for teaching the universal rules underlying systems thinking approaches and methods that is suitable for all ages and populations. While learning and applying systems thinking, the fellows will be participating in a research study to determine the utility of the relatively brief but intensive systems thinking training for education, extension and outreach activities around complex water-related issues.

The fellows will develop and implement a comprehensive plan to integrate systems thinking into their water education, extension and outreach work in the geographic area they serve.

Adina Merenlender
Merenlender named Society for Conservation Biology president-elect

Adina Merenlender, UCCE specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, was elected President-elect for the Society for Conservation Biology.

Merenlender hopes to focus on increasing SCB's engagement with people who do conservation practice on the ground and to work with SCB's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to engage more people who are not currently represented in environmental science in SCB. She also hopes to work with SCB's new executive director on financial sustainability at the global, section and chapter level.

The Society for Conservation Biology is an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss and restoration of biological diversity. The society's membership comprises a wide range of people interested in the conservation and study of biological diversity: resource managers, educators, government and private conservation workers and students.

Posted on Friday, April 28, 2017 at 11:21 AM

ANR reaches out to donors on #GivingTuesday

Last year, 4-H in Placer County was successful in attracting donations through its #GivingTues campaign.
This year ANR will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season. 

Last year, the 4-H Youth Development Program and UC Master Gardener Program successfully participated in #GivingTuesday campaigns.

“Our goal for 4-H was to raise $10,000 and we exceeded our goal with donations totaling over $13,000,” said Andrea Ambrose, acting director of Development Services. 4-H programs in 17 counties participated. In Placer County, the robotics team got their friends and family involved to promote #4HGivingConfidence on social media, leading Placer County to collect the largest amount for the 4-H Youth Development Program.

Although not as widely recognized as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year.

“#GivingTuesday is a wonderful opportunity for all ANR programs to augment their funding with private donations,” said Ambrose.

A website is being created with links to all of ANR's programs, Research and Extension Centers and extension offices. Donors will be invited to designate the program or location to which they wish to donate. The URL for the #GivingTuesday website will be announced in ANR Update soon. 

ANR will provide a toolkit for county offices and programs to participate. It will include:

  • A customizable letter to send to stakeholders
  • Templates for “unselfies.” Donors may take photos of themselves holding an unselfie sign and share on social media how they are giving.
  • Sample tweets and social media posts
  • Sample thank you note
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 12:29 PM

UC Research to Policy Conference puts science into action

Jason Delborne described the roles of a scientist in policy as outlined in Roger A. Pielke, Jr.'s book "The Honest Broker": pure scientist, issue advocate, science arbiter and honest broker.
A diverse group of UC scientists working on agricultural, natural resources and food issues came together at the First Research to Policy Conference to explore how to use research to effectively engage in public policy. The event, hosted by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was held on the UC Davis campus on Oct. 12-13.

“We focused on fostering a good dialogue and facilitating co-learning among attendees,” said event co-chair Leslie Roche, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist in rangeland management. “We hosted university faculty, statewide CE specialists and academics, and county-based CE advisors—as well as local policymakers and leaders from non-governmental organizations and statewide programs.”

UC researchers who have successfully engaged in the public policy arena provided numerous models of linking research and policy. There were five key take-aways for scientists:

-          Honest broker role – Present policymakers with various policy options, based on sound research. Have a clear understanding of the science behind your messaging. Use qualitative data to tell the story of the hard quantitative data.

-          Active engagement – Be part of informational and oversight hearings. Empower communities to take action and foster community engagement.

-          Build coalitions – Collaboration is imperative. Develop unexpected allies and foster long-term relationships, realizing it may take some time to bear fruit.

-          Disseminate information – Share your data in user-friendly formats. Target local community, Legislature and state agencies to inform policies. Get your science into trainings and continuing education programs. Leverage your coalition to expand the circulation of your research results.

-          Target messages – Develop a strong, concise message to deliver your research. Use an emotional connection – “Old-growth oak woodlands” versus “oak woodland.”

Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted the multiple levels of engagement for researchers in the policy arena, with different roles matching different needs – some take a center stage, while others play imperative behind-the-scenes roles.

Keynote speaker Jason Delborne, associate professor of science, policy and society at North Carolina State University, encouraged engaging the public. “Science is a social process,” he said, noting that community and public engagement is often key to successfully applying research to policy. Delborne also touched on the tension between expertise and democracy, commenting that we can't always resolve it and often we have to learn to live with this tension.

From left, Mindy Romero, Lorrene Ritchie, Thomas Harter, David Lewis and Yana Valachovic, shared what they have learned from engaging in policy.

A diverse set of researchers shared their perspectives from experiences in engaging in policy. The panel included Thomas Harter, Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy and UCCE specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis; Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute; Mindy Romero, founder and director of California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis Center for Regional Change; and Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor and county director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. They discussed the importance of building strong science-based programs, actively engaging local communities and building coalitions of support.

From left, Amrith Gunasekara, Tina Cannon Leahy, Anne Megaro, Rebecca Newhouse and Juliet Sims described how they use research to shape policy.

Guests from both government and non-government organizations who use research to shape policy shared their perspectives on translating science to decision-making.

“Science is the foundation for developing programs,” said Amrith Gunasekara, science advisor for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Tina Cannon Leahy, attorney with the State Water Resources Control Board, noted that policymakers and decision-makers are often looking for a clear, “black-and-white” answer, while for scientists, there is “no answer,” but rather information.

Anne Megaro, consultant to the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Rebecca Newhouse, consultant to the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, both emphasized the importance of making sure science is accessible and digestible.

Juliet Sims of the Prevention Institute explained how her organization uses both published scholarly literature and community stories to effectively inform its advocacy platform.

Keynote speaker Rachel Morello-Frosch, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, introduced the concept of moving from “translational research” to “transformational research,” a shift that requires deep community engagement in meaningful ways to effect policy change.

During a breakout session, participants discuss current research that has policy implications.

In the afternoon, four breakout sessions were offered: “Policy structures and opportunities for engagement” with Robert Waste, “Relational approaches to science communication and engagement” with Faith Kearns, “Putting it into practice–UC ANR case studies” with Dave Campbell, Clare Gupta and Lucas Frerichs, and “Navigating policy engagement: Education vs advocacy,” with Adrian Lopez and Kit Batten. These training modules helped participants build technical skills and analytical frameworks for successful policy engagement.

The Research to Policy Conference was a forum to exchange ideas and share perspectives, continuing to bridge the gap between science and policy communities. It challenged attendees to be open to new ways of thinking, shared innovative outreach methods and showcased how research can have an impact in the policy arena.

“The event brought cross-fertilization and co-learning between disciplines – nutrition, forest management, water quality – and there were common themes that resonated for all participants,” said event co-chair Gupta, assistant UCCE specialist in public policy and translational research.

VP Glenda Humiston wrapped up the policy conference by saying, "Good science is vital for good policy. It's great to see UC folks enhancing these skills to bring science together with policy."

For more information on applying research to policy, contact Frerichs, UC ANR government and community relations manager, at (530) 750-1218 or lfrerichs@ucanr.edu, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at cgupta@ucdavis.edu and Roche at lmroche@ucdavis.edu

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