Posts Tagged: Gerry Spinelli
Spinelli named UCCE horticulture advisor
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 email@example.com.
Amaral named pomology, water and soils advisor
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
UCCE poster, newsletters win NACAA awards
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, 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 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.
Macon named livestock and natural resources advisor
Daniel Macon has accepted the livestock and natural resources advisor position in Placer, Nevada, Sutter and Yuba counties, effective July 1.
Macon, who operates a small-scale commercial sheep enterprise near Auburn, brings a combination of hands-on livestock production experience and applied scientific research and education/outreach experience.
Having been the herdsman at the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center, and most recently serving as an associate specialist for rangeland science and management in the UC Davis Plant Sciences Department, Macon is a familiar face to many in ANR. He is currently collaborating on a variety of research efforts, including on-ranch impacts, management and planning horizons following California's historic drought. He has also led producer enrollment, data collection and grazing-water-nutrient management tracking for a statewide integrated research and extension project on irrigated pasture. He is also leading a long-term project that will quantify direct and indirect impacts from predators on rangeland livestock operations across northern California.
Macon has also worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the California Cattlemen's Association, and was the founding executive director of the California Rangeland Trust. He is currently the vice president of the California Wool Growers Association and is a past president of the California-Pacific Section of the Society for Range Management.
Macon earned a Master of Agriculture in integrated resource management from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Science in agricultural and managerial economics from UC Davis.
“I have finally recognized that the parts of my earlier jobs that I most enjoyed involved the things I'll be doing on a daily basis as a farm advisor - teaching and doing research,” Macon wrote in his Foothill Agrarian blog. “Along with raising sheep, I feel as though I've finally figured out what I'm supposed to do in life!”
“I have enormous shoes to fill - Roger Ingram and Glenn Nader, who have proceeded me in these four counties, were incredibly productive and successful advisors.”
Spinelli named vegetable and irrigation advisor
Gerardo “Gerry” Spinelli joined UCCE on April 17 as an area vegetable production and irrigation advisor for Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.
Before joining UCCE, Spinelli had worked as agricultural specialist for the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County since 2015. He performed irrigation system evaluations, implemented an irrigation water and soil moisture monitoring project, and provided recommendations for irrigation management and improvements in irrigation systems, assisting the strawberry, lettuce, apple, vegetable and blackberry industries.
From 2010 to 2015, Spinelli was a graduate student researcher in the Plant Sciences Department at UC Davis, where his research focused on water stress and water use at the leaf and canopy level in almond orchards in California.
Spinelli grew up on an olive and vegetable farm on the hills overlooking Florence, Italy. He left Italy in 2007 to work 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, implemented a queen bee breeding program and built sewage lines for the Wavel refugee camp. In addition to English, he speaks French, Italian and Arabic.
Spinelli earned a Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy and a M.S. in international agricultural development from UC Davis and a M.S. in tropical agricultural development and a B.S. in agricultural sciences and technologies from the University of Florence, Italy.
Based in Modesto, he can be reached at (209) 525-6806, (530) 304-3738 (cell) and email@example.com.
Vela to lead News and Information Outreach in Spanish
Ricardo Vela joined UC ANR as manager of News and Information Outreach in Spanish (NOS) on May 15. As NOS manager, he oversees production of UC ANR radio, video and news releases for Spanish-language news media and will advise academics on effective outreach to the Latino community.
Before joining UC, Vela was the news director and main anchor for KVER-TV Univision in Palm Springs. Vela launched his journalism career in the third grade by starting a school newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He was the news correspondent for Univision News in Los Angeles bureau for over 10 years, then moved to San Diego where he was the news anchor/producer for the Univision affiliate for 14 years. In 2014, Vela moved to his hometown of El Paso, Texas, to be the news anchor/producer for KTDO-Telemundo 48.
In 1992, he won an Emmy for his story about a Latino family coping with their last days before dying of AIDS and preparing their children for their loss. In 2005, Vela received an Emmy for a news feature, “Los Trovadores del Siglo 21.”
In 2001, Hispanic Business Magazine named Vela one of the 100 most influential Hispanic journalists in the country for his journalistic vision to voice the needs of the Hispanic community in San Diego. He expanded his commitment to the community by writing a weekly column for the El Latino newspaper about issues pertinent to Hispanics in San Diego. In 2004, The San Diego Press Club honored his newspaper column and morning radio talk show, Voces de San Diego, which had been on the air only a few months, and he was named one of the 10 most influential Latinos in San Diego by Tijuana's Frontera newspaper.
On Feb. 28, 2006, the City of San Diego honored him with a proclamation of “Ricardo Vela Day” for his contributions to the Latino community through his radio show.
Vela earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at Instituto Tecnologico de Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and a bachelor's degree in mass communications/journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. He also studied film and video at the Art institute in Chicago.
Vela is based at the Rubidoux Building in Riverside and can be reached at (951) 781-2151 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANR women graduate from UC Women's Initiative Program
They were among a group of mid-career women, both staff and faculty, selected from all UC locations to participate in this special program created to improve the professional development and advancement of women at UC.
The four-session program was designed by the Systemwide Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and UC Systemwide Talent Management, and delivered by CORO, a nonprofit leadership development organization.
- Cultivate a vibrant, professional network of women that spans the UC system
- Give women access to top UC leaders—women and men—so they can interview and learn from them about their diverse leadership approaches and journeys
- Strengthen participants' skills and confidence through hands-on practice with a range of tools and skills in the areas of:
- Professional development and impact
- Strategic relationship building
- Developing and delivering a compelling narrative regarding one's professional accomplishments and vision
- Negotiating at work
- Peer coaching
The program is designed for mid-career women, both faculty and staff, who demonstrate the potential to advance their careers at UC. Last year, Katherine Webb-Martinez and Tunnyalee Martin participated in the training.
Van Eenennaam tapped for national research strategy
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine sought nominations for scientific leaders across various disciplines to be part of an activity that will develop a compelling strategy for food and agricultural research for the next decade and beyond. Nominations were sought for transformational thinkers across the scientific enterprise (including but not exclusively limited to the agricultural sciences) to be considered for the study committee. These include individuals on the frontier of scientific disciplines that would be of value but are not traditionally associated with food and agriculture.
In addressing its statement of task, the study committee will offer a strategic and ambitious view of the opportunities for fundamental and applied interdisciplinary research that is both grounded by a deep scientific understanding of food and agricultural challenges and elevated by the breakthrough potential of insights and tools from newly converging disciplines in the food and agriculture setting.
Susan Wessler, the Neil A. and Rochelle A. Campbell Presidential Chair for Innovations in Science Education and distinguished professor of genetics at UC Riverside, is co-chair of the committee.
For more information about the study, visit http://nas-sites.org/dels/studies/agricultural-science-breakthroughs/who-we-are-agriculture-breakthroughs/committee.
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
“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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at firstname.lastname@example.org and Roche at email@example.com.
Rebecca Ozeran joined UCCE on Sept. 12 as the area livestock and natural resources advisor in Fresno and Madera counties.
Raised in Yuba City with a passion for animals and the land that supports them, Ozeran plans to focus her research, outreach and extension education efforts on current issues impacting livestock producers and land managers in both counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Ozeran was a range management intern for the Bureau of Land Management in the Salt Lake City field office. Her duties included collecting inventory, utilization and rangeland trend data, checking livestock compliance on BLM allotments and collaborating with local archaeologists to ensure compliance with archaeology requirements before grazing permit renewal. From July 2014 to May 2016, Ozeran was a graduate research and teaching assistant for the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at Montana State University.
She earned a B.S. in animal science with a minor in Spanish from Cal Poly, and an M.S. in animal and range sciences with a certificate in applied statistics from Montana State University. Her thesis studied patterns and risk factors of cheatgrass invasion in Montana foothills rangelands.
Ozeran is based in Fresno and be reached at (530) 415-2555 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Axelson joins UCCE as forest health specialist
Jodi Axelson joined UCCE on June 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in forest health in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at UC Berkeley.
Axelson's broad research interests include forest resilience, adaptive management and forest disturbance; specifically, she is focused on forest dynamics and response to insect disturbances from outbreaks of bark beetles and conifer defoliators using a range of methods including dendrochronology. Learn more about her research at http://ourenvironment.berkeley.edu.
Prior to joining UCCE, Axelson was employed by the British Columbia government as a forest entomologist with Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. In this position, she was responsible for forest health issues in an area covering 42,000 square miles comprised of distinct wet- and dry-belt ecosystems. She gained considerable experience in taking into consideration timber, wildlife and land stewardship objectives when performing insect monitoring, treatment and risk-mitigation.
She earned her B.S. in geography from the University of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), an M.S. in geography from the University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Victoria.
Axelson is based at the UC Berkeley campus and can be reached at (510) 642-8459 and email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @DisturbedDendro.
Haghverdi joins UCCE as urban water specialist
Amir Haghverdi joined UCCE on July 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at UC Riverside. His research focuses on integrated urban water management.
Prior to joining UCCE, Haghverdi had been an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, performing research and extension on irrigation and water management, since July 2015.
Haghverdi earned his B.S. in irrigation engineering from University of Tehran, Iran, an M.S. in agricultural engineering - irrigation and drainage from Bu-Ali Sina University, Iran, a Ph.D. in irrigation and drainage engineering from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, and a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Haghverdi can be reached at (951) 827-4774 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saitone named ag economics specialist
Prior to joining UCCE, Saitone had been a project scientist for ARE since July 2015. Before returning to UC Davis, she worked for OnPoint Analytics, an economic consulting firm in the Bay Area, where she conducted research on a wide variety of agricultural industries including meatpacking, dairy, eggs, broilers and sugar beets.
Saitone earned her B.A. in economics at Sonoma State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis.
Saitone can be reached at (530) 752-1870 and email@example.com.
Bautista named 4-H STEM coordinator
Jessica Bautista joined ANR on July 5 as the 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) academic coordinator.
Prior to joining ANR, Bautista was a graduate research assistant in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside. Bautista's area of research interest focused on molecular biology and genetics in plant developmental biology.
As a native Californian and a first-generation student born to Mexican migrant parents, Bautista speaks Spanish and has fostered various methods to make her research accessible and advocate for STEM career paths for underrepresented communities. In 2012, Bautista co-founded UCR's Plant Discovery Day in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. This annual outreach event is filled with interactive science demonstrations for elementary school students in the community. She has also presented her research and discussed her career path annually since 2013 at workshops geared towards teaching and empowering young Latina women to pursue higher education and various career options.
Bautista completed a B.S. in biotechnology (chemistry minor) from California State University Northridge and a Ph.D. in plant biology from UC Riverside.
Bautista is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1341 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pourreza wins international prize for HLB detection
Newly appointed UC Cooperative Extension agricultural engineering advisor Alireza Pourreza has been awarded the 2016 Giuseppe Pellizzi Prize by the Club of Bologna, an honor presented every other year to the best doctoral dissertations focused on agricultural machinery and mechanization. The Club of Bologna is a world taskforce on strategies for the development of agricultural mechanization.
Pourreza, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2014, worked on early detection of Huanglongbing disease of citrus. Huanglongbing, an incurable disease that is spread by Asian citrus psyllid, has seriously impacted citrus production in Florida. The disease has been found in commercial and residential sites in all counties with commercial citrus.
Early detection allows growers to remove infected trees before the disease can spread to healthy trees. Currently HLB infection is confirmed when leaves with yellowing blotches are submitted for PCR testing, which is expensive and time-consuming. However, the yellowing can be also symptomatic of other conditions, such as nutrient deficiency.
"We discovered we could see the symptoms of Huanglongbing using a camera, a set of cross-polarizers and narrowband lighting before it is visible to the human eye," said Pourreza, who is based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
He said the yellow blotches on HLB-infected leaves are caused by starch accumulation.
"If we could detect abnormal levels of starch in the leaf, we could tell it is affected with HLB," Pourreza said. "Starch showed the ability to rotate the polarization plane of light. We used this optical characteristic to develop the sensing methodology."
Pourreza said the team has patented the technique and is working on developing a commercial product. He is seeking funding to continue the research in California, where, to date, HLB has only been detected in isolated Los Angeles neighborhoods. Asian citrus psyllid is found in important California commercial citrus production regions from the Mexican border to as far north as Placer County.
4-H Youth Development team wins national diversity award
4-H Youth Development advisors Dorina Espinoza, Russell Hill, Fe Moncloa and Keith Nathaniel and 4-H associate director Shannon Horrillo have won the National Extension Diversity Award for systematically enhancing the intercultural competency of 4-H personnel and others in California.
The award, given by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), honors the team for creating and using Intercultural Development Inventory© to shift organizational culture. This shift includes mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among diverse people.
To meet the needs of a culturally and ethnically diverse youth population in California, they created a professional-development intervention for 4-H academics and staff. The Intercultural Development Inventory© is a cross-culturally generalizable, valid and reliable assessment of intercultural competence. Calling themselves the Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrators, they applied the strategy over three years, providing 176 hours of intercultural communication feedback sessions, learning communities and regional conferences to enhance the intercultural competence of 65 4-H personnel.
Evaluations demonstrated that after the intervention UC 4-H Youth Development Program personnel had acquired skills and characteristics to become more culturally competent. The program has moved from focusing on similarities across diverse people that can mask deeper recognition of cultural differences to recognizing the complexity of dimensions of diversity.
The action plan and resulting positive change provides the potential to improve hiring and professional development nationwide by replication in other states. A summary of California's IDI professional development activities can be found in the National 4-H Latino Youth Outreach: Best Practices Toolkit, Professional Development.
The National Extension Diversity Award will be presented on Nov. 13 at the 129th APLU Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.