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Obrist joins UC ANR as vice provost for academic personnel and development 

Daniel Obrist

Daniel Obrist joined UC ANR on Aug. 15 as the vice provost for academic personnel and development. Obrist will initially hold a 50% appointment through the end of 2022 before assuming the role full-time on Jan. 1, 2023.

Currently, Obrist is a professor and the chairperson of the Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. His academic and educational background includes ecology and ecosystem science, hydrogeology, atmospheric and environmental sciences, and soil science.

He has published over 85 peer-reviewed publications including in high-impact scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Geoscience, Nature Reviews, and PNAS, and has a strong record of extramural research funding. Obrist has given more than 230 conference and seminar presentations.

“I am excited to contribute to the important mission of UC ANR to bring research and knowledge generated by the UC system to the people of California,” he said. “In my role, I will strive to support academic personnel at UC ANR and help recruit additional outstanding scientists to further ANR's mission. As I said during my interviews, a guiding principle of mine is to further sustainability and protect natural resources, and I am committed to supporting Californians in adapting to a fast-changing environment.”

Obrist will be based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 464-8301 and dobrist@ucanr.edu.

Norville named fire advisor in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties 

Tori Norville

Tori Norville started on Aug. 1 as the new UC Cooperative Extension fire advisor for Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties.

In this capacity, Norville will work with residents and organizations within the wildland-urban interface to encourage and cultivate fire-adapted communities. She aims to provide education and outreach on home hardening, defensible space and the importance of forest and fuel management on the landscape.

While pursuing her bachelor's degree in forestry and natural resources at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Norville became interested in “disturbance ecology” – how factors such as disease, insects and fire affect landscapes and environments. 

“Many of the forest health problems we are seeing are stemming from a lack of disturbance, which traditionally was fire,” Norville said. 

Her understanding of fire and its effects deepened during her master's degree studies in forestry science (also at Cal Poly SLO), as well as through her seven years with CAL FIRE at the Jackson Demonstration State Forest in Mendocino County. She worked as the Registered Professional Forester for its Timber Sales Program, and then the Research and Demonstration Program. 

Norville's firsthand experiences from the past few fire seasons have helped shape her goals and approach. She hopes to “work holistically with disturbances” – specifically fire – on the landscape to foster healthy forests and ecosystems that are adaptable and resilient, while also researching the environmental and social aspects of fuel-reduction projects and prescribed fire.

“Hopefully, I can begin to change the perception of fire from something we need to fear, to something we respect,” she said.

Norville, based at the UCCE office in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, can be reached at trnorville@ucanr.edu.

Atim named UCCE specialist in abiotic stress 

Jackie Atim

Jackie Atim began working as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist affiliated with UC Merced on July 11, based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.

Atim's work will include applied research focused on abiotic stress, which includes plant stress caused by extreme temperatures, high salinity, floods, drought or nutrient deficiency. In particular, she will be studying the genetic makeup of sorghum, its resistance to drought and the value it contributes to byproducts such as bioenergy. 

California, as Atim explained, is an ideal place to study drought resilience given its semi-arid climate and water challenges. She is hopeful that California will establish sorghum as a climate-smart crop for forage and grain to address the challenges facing water-stressed production systems.   

Furthermore, Atim will focus on “transforming science that can be consumed by ordinary farmers and growers alike.”

While Atim understands the importance of research-based decision-making, she also recognizes the challenges that non-academic audiences experience when applying such information. As a start, Atim anticipates collaborating with communications experts to simplify research findings and create visually appealing resources. 

Before joining UC ANR, Atim worked as a plant pathologist for the National Agricultural Research Organization based at Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Uganda. In addition to pathology, Atim has expertise in plant breeding and entomology.

Atim earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture and education from Kyambogo University in Uganda. She has a master's degree in plant biotechnology from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate in agriculture, plant breeding and entomology from the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom.

Atim can be reached at jatim@ucanr.edu. Follow her on Twitter @JackieAtim2.

Gyawaly named IPM advisor 

Sudan Gyawaly

Sudan Gyawaly joined UC Cooperative Extension on July 5 as an area integrated pest management advisor serving Butte, Sutter, Yuba, Glenn, Colusa and Tehama counties.

Prior to becoming an IPM advisor, Gyawaly was an associate specialist at UCCE in Stanislaus County, where he studied tree nut pests, including walnut husk fly, navel orangeworm, and Pacific flatheaded borer. Before that, he was a post-doctoral researcher at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, studying pest management on vegetables and fruit trees on small farms.

In his new role, Gyawaly is learning about the crops and pest situation in the region by talking with growers and other stakeholders. He plans to develop a need-based applied IPM research and extension program for orchards, tree nuts and other crops grown in the region.

He earned an M.S. in entomology from West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in entomology from Virginia Tech.

He earned his undergraduate degree in agriculture in his native Nepal, then worked in rural areas of Nepal for a couple of years, providing sustainable vegetable production and pest management trainings to growers before moving to the United States in 2009 for graduate studies.

Gyawaly is based in Oroville and can be reached at (530) 538-7201 and sgyawaly@ucanr.edu. Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sudan-gyawaly-987320221.

Padasas named nutrition and health advisor 

Irene Padasas

Irene Padasas started as UC Cooperative Extension community nutrition and health advisor for Tulare, Kings, Madera and Fresno counties on June 13.

Padasas will design her education and research programs for communities based on their priority needs within the broad areas of healthy lifestyles, health equity, food, nutrition, water security and safety, and climate change and health.

As part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' work to promote healthy families and communities, Padasas also will support the efforts of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program in California and the Cal Fresh Healthy Living, University of California Nutrition Education Program.

After earning a bachelor's in special education at the University of the Philippines Diliman, and a master's in developmental psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University, Padasas received her Ph.D. in human sciences – with a specialization in global family health and well-being – from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. 

In Nebraska, Padasas played a significant role in extension programs that promote positive and healthy child and adolescent development, such as co-developing curriculum for UpStarts, a program that provides youth entrepreneurship and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education for high school students in rural areas. 

She also led the analyses of qualitative data from the Ecological Approach to Family Style Dining, a research intervention program that aims to support young children's health and nutrition in early childcare centers subsidized by USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Padasas' current research centers on social and cultural factors that shape the quality of life and well-being of families.

“To serve our communities more effectively as an advisor, I'm focused on exploring the role of culture in health communication to better understand adoption and acceptance of health and nutrition education programs in the community,” Padasas said.

Padasas is based at the UCCE office in Tulare and can be reached at iopadasas@ucanr.edu and (559) 684-3300. 

Ellsworth joins Capitol Corridor 

Susan Ellsworth

Susan Ellsworth joined UC Cooperative Extension in January as director for the Capitol Corridor, which serves Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties.  

Her priority as county director is supporting Capitol Corridor staff and helping programs to thrive, while continuing to deepen her knowledge about food systems and community vitality. Ellsworth runs a small olive oil operation in conjunction with her family and said she is thrilled to be back in the Sacramento Valley after 10 years in the Bay Area.

Prior to joining UCCE, Ellsworth worked for the Alameda County Resource Conservation District as a food systems specialist with a focus on supporting new entries to farming and ranching. She has a background in urban agriculture – including serving as co-founder of Common Good City Farm in Washington D.C. – as well as in facilitation and conflict resolution related to natural resource management. 

Ellsworth earned a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Colby College and a master's degree in community development from UC Davis.

Ellsworth is based in Woodland and can be reached at (530) 574-9947 or sellsworth@ucanr.edu

Moore, Conrad, Yu, Dampier join IT staff

From left, Heather Moore, Chun Yu, Natalie Conrad and Stephen Dampier.

Information Technology recently hired four more IT experts to assist UC ANR employees.

Heather Moore has joined the IT Help Desk team as a computer resources specialist. She serves as the primary point of contact for ANR staff and affiliates with computer hardware, software, mobile and other technology needs and problems affecting individuals and departmental technology and network connections.

She also provides phone and in-person diagnosis, prioritization and support for all walk-in, telephone, email and web-based requests for assistance, logging service tickets in a tracking system. 

Before joining UC ANR, she graduated from Sierra College in the spring of 2022, with an AA degree in business information. Previously she was a para educator at Sierra Elementary School in Rocklin.

Chun Yu has joined the IT Team as an IT service desk analyst. As part of the highly service-oriented ANR IT Service Desk team, he serves as a primary point of contact for ANR staff and affiliates for assistance with computer hardware, software, mobile and other technology needs.

He earned a bachelor's degree in computer science at Sacramento State University. 

Natalie Conrad has joined the IT team as an information systems analyst. She brings 13 years of experience in the printing software and hardware industry.

"I am excited to expand the Help Desk team and am looking forward to assisting all departments throughout the organization," Conrad said.

Moore, Conrad and Yu are based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at Help@ucanr.edu.

Stephen Dampier is the new IT trainer. He will be helping UC ANR employees with accessibility of websites, how to use Zoom, how to use Site Builder, and how to use the Integrated Web Platform (IWP). 

He has been a user interface (UI) developer and engineer for about 20 years, working for startups. 

“If you've used OpenTable to make a restaurant reservation or have used Tallie Expense Software or bought something from PotteryBarnKids.com, then you may have used my UI,” Dampier said. “I am passionate about good user experience, accessibility and love the challenges of search engine optimization.”

Prior to his UI career, Dampier was a photographer and a fine arts photography teacher at the University of Central Florida and the San Francisco Art Institute. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts and was an exhibiting artist for years. 

Dampier added, “I was also a drummer for a long time in various punk and rock and roll bands. I've built my own offshore fishing boat, which I use to fish the San Francisco Bay, Tomales Bay and the big blue Pacific Ocean. You'll see me come and go on my Aprilia Falco motorcycle or my beast of a diesel truck on rare occasions.” 

Dampier is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at sdampier@ucanr.edu

Harper named Agriculturalist of the Year 

John Harper receives Agriculturalist of the Year Award. Photo by Glen McGourty

John Harper, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties was named Agriculturalist of the Year by the Board of Directors for the Redwood Empire Fair. 

“John's service to our ranchers, wool-growers and ecologists cannot be overstated,” said Jennifer Seward, Redwood Empire Fair CEO. “He has provided more than a lifetime of service to our communities.”

For the past 31 years, Harper has served Mendocino and Lake counties as the UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, and as UCCE director in both counties for about 15 years.

Harper's achievements include ranch water-quality management planning, sheep shearing and wool classing schools, development of the first UCCE livestock and natural resources web pages, rangeland grass and plants identification workshops, meat harvest and processing feasibility studies, a beef quality assurance program, utilizing sheep grazing for canopy floor management of vineyards, and ranch road workshops.

Harper also produced videos on range monitoring for residual dry matter and stream restoration methods and co-developed an online rangeland ecology and management course. 

The award was presented to Harper at a special pre-fair kickoff Director's Dinner on Aug. 6.

AAEA lauds bee paper 

Honey bee photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Several scientists from UC Cooperative Extension and UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics have been recognized by the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association for co-authoring a paper recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology. 

The paper, “Balancing Bees and Pest Management: Projected Costs of Proposed Bee-Protective Neonicotinoid Regulation in California,” received the award for “Outstanding Published Paper Which Significantly Contributed to Transdisciplinary Work of Specialty Crops Industries.”

Co-authors Rachael Goodhue, Agricultural Experiment Station professor at UC Davis, UCCE specialists Ian Grettenberger and Houston Wilson, and emeritus UCCE specialists Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Robert Van Steenwyk, and Frank Zalom shared in the award.

Their co-authors include Kevi Mace, Jessica Rudder, Hanlin Wei and John Steggall of UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Tor Tolhurst of Purdue University, and Daniel Tregeagle of North Carolina State University.

There has been a recent effort from state and national governments to regulate neonicotinoids – a critical crop protection tool for many pests. Without mitigation measures, they can be harmful to managed pollinators, including bees. 

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation began crafting regulation in 2018 to mitigate neonicotinoid dangers to managed pollinators. As a result, three papers were written estimating potential economic impacts on California farmers for mitigating neonicotinoid risk. Those findings were then incorporated as CDPR began finalizing the regulation. The second of the three papers on neonicotinoids received the award. 

Names in the News

Kron named north coast IPM advisor

Cindy Kron

Cindy Kron joined UC Cooperative Extension as area-wide IPM advisor for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties in September 2019. 

Before joining UCCE, Kron studied the three-cornered alfalfa hopper as a research entomologist for USDA in their Crop Disease, Pests and Genetics research unit. She tested cover crop species as feeding and reproductive hosts of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper in addition to testing commercially available biocontrol agents against the different life stages of the treehopper. She collaborated with a UC Davis colleague to create a degree-day model that predicts the ideal timing to implement cultural control measures with the greatest impact on treehopper populations. 

Kron has researched a variety of insects including a two-year vineyard study on the population dynamics of Virginia creeper leafhopper, western grape leafhopper and variegated leafhopper. For her dissertation, she investigated the biology and behavior of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper and its relationship with vineyards. She also studied the effects of temperature on the developmental rate of the invasive European grapevine moth and reared brown marmorated stink bugs for USDA fumigation studies.

“My experiences have motivated me to help growers, stakeholders and the industry solve agricultural pest management problems through applied research and identifying IPM strategies and tactics that are economically feasible and implementable while having the lowest environmental impact,” Kron said.

Kron earned her bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology, with a minor in agricultural pest management, and her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis.

She is based in Santa Rosa and can be reached at ckron@ucanr.edu.

Nocco named UCCE specialist in soil-plant-water relations

Mallika Nocco

Mallika Nocco joined UC ANR in September 2019 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in soil-plant-water relations, based in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis.

After five years as a health care representative in the corporate world, Nocco decided to pursue her interest in soil, plants and the conundrum of sustainable agriculture.

She earned a Ph.D. in environment and resources and a master's degree in soil science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Nelson Institute's Environment and Resources Program. She earned her bachelor's degree in cultural studies/comparative literature and philosophy from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Nocco is based at UC Davis and can be reached at manocco@ucdavis.edu. Follow her on Twitter @mallika_nocco.

Harper honored as Range Manager of the Year

John Harper, center, shown with Mel George and Harper's wife, Amy.

The California-Pacific Society for Range Management honored John Harper, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties, with its Range Manager of the Year Award.

“He has advanced an exceptional program of extension education and public service that has been exemplary in gathering and evaluating scientific information and extending information to the range livestock industry and agencies locally and statewide,” wrote Mel George, emeritus UCCE range specialist,in his letter nominating Harper for the award.

Early in his career, Harper helped local ranchers evaluate grazing management practices and develop ranch management plans to address water issues associated with grazing and rangelands in the early 1990s. He was instrumental in developing the Rangeland Watershed Program's Ranch Water Quality Planning Short Courses and associated educational materials that led to the development of water quality plans for more than 2 million acres by more than 1,000 ranchers in California, according to George. In 2012, the Western Extension Directors bestowed an Award of Excellence on the Rangeland Watershed Program.

An early adopter of social media for outreach, Harper developed the blog UCCE Livestock and Range Topics and integrated the use of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into his suite of information delivery methods.  

In 2012 Harper became California's representative to the Rangeland Partnership, which is responsible for the Rangelands West and Global Rangelands website. He provided leadership to industry in the use of social media to communicate about rangelands and their management. 

Harper also improved access to university information and publications by the California Cattlemen's Association and other agricultural organizations. He has been developing new content, digitizing and archiving old publications and revamping the California Rangelands website and the UCCE Livestock & Range Beef Cattle web page.

Over the last few years, Harper has invested considerable time in economic development in Mendocino and Lake counties.

“He has been a central figure in the development of plans for a multi-species slaughterhouse to serve niche marketers on the north coast,” George wrote. “This would create jobs and strengthen the farm-to-consumer marketing of meat products. Likewise, he has worked with individuals to develop wool processing facilities and cheese making enterprises that will increase economic activity and potentially create jobs.”

For many years, Harper has organized what may be the only sheep shearing school in the U.S., creating new careers for the students while filling a need for sheep shearers. All 28 slots of his 2019 Beginning Sheep Shearing School were filled within 2 minutes of registration opening.

Harper received the award at the California-Pacific Society for Range Management Section Meeting Oct. 17.

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2019 at 11:02 AM

PAC discusses strategic plan and urban agriculture

At the recent President’s Advisory Commission meeting, President Napolitano praised UC ANR’s work in “areas of critical importance.”

Downtown Oakland was the site of the biannual UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) meeting on Aug. 9, which included a Q&A session with President Napolitano, program presentations from UC Cooperative Extension county directors Rob Bennaton and Igor Lacan, and updates from deans Helene Dillard (UC Davis), Keith Gilless (UC Berkeley) and Kathryn Uhrich (UC Riverside), as well as Executive Associate Dean John Pascoe (filling in for Dean Michael Lairmore, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine). 

In her opening remarks, UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston introduced Mark Bell, the division's new vice provost for statewide programs and strategic initiatives. Bell spoke about the strength of the UC system, the diversity of programs offered by UC ANR statewide, and his plans to leverage the strong volunteer and staff base of programs like UC Master Gardeners and 4-H.

Humiston also offered updates on the division's strategic plan and the significant progress made in implementing its key goals. Associate Vice President Tu Tran then gave a presentation on the division's financial situation, which he titled “A Fiscal Plan for Success.” Tran addressed UC ANR's place in the state budget and its revenue projections through FY 2021-22, which includes significant growth in major gifts and fundraising.

Jerry Lohr, right, congratulated fellow PAC member Grant Davis on his new position as director of the state Department of Water Resources.

Bennaton and Lacan both gave spirited and enthusiastic presentations that were received well. Bennaton, who serves as county director for Alameda and Contra Costa counties as well as UCCE urban agriculture advisor for the Bay Area, discussed the benefits of urban agriculture and the assortment of activities going on in community development, habitat restoration and youth programming.

Lacan, also a UCCE environmental horticulture advisor for the Bay Area and co-director in San Mateo and San Francisco counties, talked about the diverse and richly rewarding work he spearheads in urban forestry. His work currently focuses on sustainable management of urban trees and urban water.

Following lunch, UC President Napolitano offered glowing remarks about UC ANR's contributions and the long-term strategy reflected in the division's new strategic plan. She said she was particularly impressed by ANR's recent work in water, childhood obesity, nutrition education, and Asian citrus psyllid, calling them “areas of critical importance.” She also praised Humiston's leadership in the area of tech innovation and partnerships.

During a Q&A period, the president engaged PAC members on various issues such as potential public-private partnerships that could involve UC ANR, targeted approaches to advocacy and deferred maintenance needs for UC writ large but also for UC ANR and its research and extension centers system, specifically.

The deans gave updates on research and activities occurring at their respective colleges and school.

The next PAC meeting is scheduled for December, also in Oakland. 

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 5:06 PM
  • Author: Mike Janes

Travel funds available for UCCE specialists, AES faculty to collaborate with off-campus ANR academics

ANR will be making additional travel support available for UC Cooperative Extension specialists to collaborate with ANR academics off-campus, including UCCE advisors in the counties and ANR academics at the RECs in fiscal year 2017/18.

With the level of funds available, each specialist may apply for up to $2,500 for FY 2017/18 (travel reports must be submitted within 45 days of travel, and funds must be expended by June 30, 2018). These travel funds must be utilized by the UCCE specialists only and cannot be used for out-of-state travel.

UC ANR values the work of AES faculty across the three partner campuses. As the recognized lead for the California Agriculture Experiment Station, UC ANR receives federal Hatch funds to support the AES mission and distributes those funds to the three partner campuses to manage and support AES faculty. In recognition of the importance of the partnership between UC ANR academics and AES faculty, UC ANR is expanding the travel support program to include AES faculty as part of a pilot program. Upon completion of a request, UC ANR will support travel by AES faculty to meet and work with UC ANR county-based or REC-based academics. Support is limited to $1,000 per AES faculty member with a cap on the total pool of funds available set at $25,000 for FY17-18. Additional support may be available through the campuses; AES faculty should consult their departments or colleges to determine if additional support is available. Travel support must be used by the AES faculty member for his/her own travel to plan and execute research or present research findings at meetings hosted by UC ANR academics.

Completing a short online survey is the only step to apply for these funds.

A brief survey form is accessible from your ANR Portal. The direct link is http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=18400. The survey asks 

•        Name and title of specialist requesting support

•        Project/Program name

•        Brief project description (one paragraph)

•        Collaborating advisors

There is no deadline for applications for these travel funds, but they must be expended in the fiscal year 2017/18.

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 4:35 PM

Names in the News

Light joins UCCE as agronomy advisor

Sarah Light

Sarah Light joined UCCE on July 5, 2017, as an area agronomy advisor in Sutter, Yuba and Colusa counties.

Light earned a dual M.S. in soil science & botany and plant pathology from Oregon State University and conducted her graduate research in potato production at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Eastern Oregon. Light, who speaks Spanish, also holds a B.A. in Latin American studies with a minor in Spanish literature from Brandeis University.

Prior to joining UCCE, Light was working as a Biological Science Technician for the USDA Agricultural Research Service on a project that evaluated the impact of biochar application on soil water properties. Light volunteered with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program in Malawi and worked for several years in small-scale farms and gardens in the Bay Area.

Light is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-7515 and selight@ucanr.edu.

Milliron named UCCE orchards advisor

Luke Milliron

Luke Milliron joined UCCE on June 12, 2017, as an area sustainable orchard systems advisor in Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Milliron worked as an agronomy technician at Dellavalle Laboratory, Inc. since April 2016. He was responsible for soil and plant tissue sampling in almond, walnut, grapevine and processing tomato systems. He also supported grower irrigation management with neutron probe, pressure chamber and watermark readings.

From January 2015 to March 2016, Milliron was a UC Cooperative Extension horticulture intern, funded by the Almond Board of California and the California Dried Plum Board. During his internship, he was based in UCCE Sutter-Yuba and San Joaquin counties where he worked on 20 UCCE trials in almond, prune, walnut, processing tomato and landscape horticulture. Milliron also assisted UCCE farm advisors on visits with almond, prune, walnut and tomato growers, wrote newsletter articles and delivered talks to growers and pest control advisers.

Milliron earned an M.S. in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis. His research focused on the measurement of almond tree water stress during winter dormancy. He earned a B.S. in agricultural science, with an option in crops and horticulture from California State University, Chico.

Milliron is based in Oroville and can be reached at (530) 828-9666 and lkmilliron@ucanr.edu and on Twitter @MillironLuke.

Satomi joins UCCE as forestry advisor

Ricky Satomi

Ricky Satomi joined UCCE on May 15, 2017, as an Area Forestry and Natural Resources Advisor in Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.

Satomi earned an M.S. in forestry from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in forestry & natural resources and society & environment from UC Berkeley.

Prior to joining UCCE, Satomi worked as a research associate with the UC Wood Biomass Utilization Group, analyzing wood utilization capacity in California. His master's thesis focused on productivity and cost tracking of forest fuel mastication treatments using open source geospatial analysis. He also developed interactive web and audiovisual platforms to enhance delivery of forest management practices to the public. From 2009 to 2013, Satomi was a field forester working on inventory and management plans for land ownerships throughout Northern California.

Satomi is based in Redding and can be reached at (530) 224-4900 and rpsatomi@ucanr.edu.

Montazar joins UCCE as water management advisor

Ali Montazar

Aliasghar Montazar joined UCCE on June 1, 2017, as an area irrigation and water management advisor in Imperial and Riverside counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Montazar was a project scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis for three years. From 2011 to 2014, he was a research associate in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis. He is also a former associate professor at the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering at the University of Tehran, Iran. Montazar has more than 15 years of research, extension, teaching and technical consulting experience and has served in several leadership positions in agricultural water management and irrigation engineering in California and abroad.

Montazar, who is fluent in Persian and Arabic, earned a Ph.D. in irrigation and drainage from University of Tehran, Iran; an M.S. in irrigation structures from Tarbiat Modares University, Iran; and a B.S. in irrigation engineering from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

Montazaris is based in Holtville and can be reached at (442) 265-7707 and amontazar@ucanr.edu.

Chen named nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor

Wei-ting Chen

Wei-ting Chen joined UCCE on Aug. 29, 2016, as the area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Chen worked for a health communications firm based in Atlanta, Ga., where she managed health communication projects for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and led user research and evaluation efforts for web-based health communication products.

At Johns Hopkins University, she developed an urban agriculture summer training program for low-income inner-city teens, led the founding and operations of the university's first community garden, conducted a literature review on the topics of community food security and farm-to-school through the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and surveyed SNAP recipients at farmers markets about their experience with fruit and vegetable incentives. Her dissertation combined her interest in poverty, social policy, and food system issues and examined public assistance-dependent mothers experience as consumers in the food system and how they made food decisions for their households. From 2005 to 2008, Chen, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, worked for the California Charter Schools Association coordinating its board and leadership development program.

She earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in sociology at Johns Hopkins University and her B.A. in political science and sociology at UC Davis.

Chen is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7429 and wtgchen@ucanr.edu.

Megaro joins ANR as government and community relations director

Anne Megaro

Anne Megaro joined UC ANR as government and community relations director on Aug. 28. In her new role, Megaro will guide UC ANR employees in nurturing relationships with government officials and will monitor legislation that could affect UC ANR. She will also develop programs to promote community awareness of UC ANR.

Megaro, who earned a Ph.D. in animal science from Cornell University and a B.S. in animal science and management from UC Davis, brings a solid understanding of agriculture, science and the UC system along with knowledge of California's legislative processes.

“We're absolutely thrilled to have someone of Anne's caliber and credentials on board at UC ANR,” said Vice President Glenda Humiston. “Her hiring is a real coup for us and couldn't come at a more critical time. Educating our elected officials about the value of ANR research and outreach is always important, but especially as we try to increase investment in research infrastructure to address issues such as water, wildfire, invasive pests, food insecurity and other challenges facing the state.”

For the past five years, Megaro has been the California State Senate Committee on Agriculture's consultant. As the sole agriculture committee consultant for the Senate, Megaro planned legislative hearings, conducted independent research and analyzed agricultural bills to advise senators and staff on policy and legislative issues. She collaborated with senators, assembly members, governor's staff, legislative staff, government agencies, stakeholders and members of the public to resolve issues related to specific bills or policies.

“With the goodwill she's developed and contacts she's made in the state Senate, coupled with her ability to work with UC Cooperative Extension county directors and Research and Extension Center directors on effectively engaging policymakers at the local level, Anne will elevate UC ANR's ability to connect people with the data they need to make informed policy decisions,” Humiston said.

Megaro is based at the ANR building in Davis in Room 178 and can be reached at (530) 750-1218 and ammegaro@ucanr.edu.

Haver named interim associate director of REC system

Darren Haver

Darren Haver has agreed to serve as the interim associate director of the Research and Extension Center system, effective Oct. 1, 2017. Haver has served as the UC Cooperative Extension water resources advisor in Orange County since 2002, director of South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine since 2009 and director of UC Cooperative Extension in Orange County beginning in 2011.

“Darren brings a wealth of experience to this position,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president and interim REC director. “We continue to develop a plan to address administrative vacancies and look forward to working with him in this interim role.”

Haver will serve in this capacity until June 30, 2018, or until a new director is appointed. He will succeed Lisa Fischer, who plans to retire from UC ANR in September after five years as associate director of the REC system.

“Under her direction, each REC has developed a strategic plan to set the course for the future and numerous capital improvements have been made to the RECs, including new office and conference spaces,” said Powers. “We wish Lisa the very best as she takes on new adventures.”

Harper honored by California Wool Growers

John Harper

John Harper, UCCE livestock advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties, received the California Wool Growers Association's Golden Fleece Award at their annual meeting Aug. 19 in Cambria.

The Golden Fleece Award is presented each year to a living and active member of the California Wool Growers Association or a public official who through his or her position has made a lasting contribution to the California sheep industry. This is the “un-sung hero” award. Recipients are intended to be those individuals who have given unremitting support and service to the California sheep industry and received little recognition for their efforts.

“John Harper was honored with the California Wool Growers Association Golden Fleece Award for his unrecognized contributions as livestock/natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties to the California sheep industry over the years,” said Erica Sanko, CWGA executive director. “John is known statewide and nationally for his sheep shearing and wool grading schools, which provides a much-needed resource of qualified sheep shearers for the California sheep industry.”

Since 1990, Harper has been hosting the UC Cooperative Extension Sheep Shearing School, which is the only program of its kind in California. At the five-day intensive course, more than 300 students from California, other states and other countries have been trained to shear sheep, giving them skills to start a new and profitable career. Harper, who serves as secretary for the Mendocino/Lake Wool Growers Association, has also authored or co-authored more than 350 research-based articles and publications.

Ingram honored by Nevada County Fair board

Roger Ingram

Roger Ingram, UCCE advisor emeritus, was named the 2017 Blue Ribbon Award recipient by the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors. The award was created by Western Fairs Association (WFA), a nonprofit trade association serving the fair industry, to recognize those who support and contribute to the quality of their local fair. During opening ceremonies on Aug. 9, Ingram was recognized for his contributions to the agriculture programs at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Ingram's involvement with the fair began in 1986 when he joined UC Cooperative Extension as the 4-H/livestock and natural resources advisor in Nevada County. At the Nevada County Fair, he organized and conducted a livestock judging contest until 1995. He has been instrumental in coordinating carcass quality programs for fair animals and working with exhibitors and leaders to understand the data and to use it to improve their feeding and management practices.

From 2006 to 2011, Ingram gave a series of agriculture-related presentations at the fair as part of the workshop series coordinated by the Nevada County Resource Conservation District.

“For decades, Roger has been an advocate of local youth in agriculture, particularly the youth at the Nevada County Fair,” said Rea Callender, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “His contributions to the agriculture programs at the Fairgrounds have educated adults and children.  Whether it's participating in the annual farm day, assisting with agricultural youth programs, serving as a guest speaker in the seminar series at the fair, or assisting the kids at the fair – his work is invaluable.”

 

Putting Youth on the Map wins UC tech award

The University of California recognized 10 teams from across the system with the 2017 Larry L. Sautter Award. Putting Youth on the Map won a Golden Award. The Center for Regional Change's interactive website provides analyses of California youth well-being and curricula on how to use them. The website is a resource for researchers and policymakers, as well as youth and adult advocates, who are working to ensure the well-being of young people in the state.

The annual award, which is sponsored by the UC Information Technology Leadership Council, recognizes collaborative innovations in information technology that advance the university's mission of teaching, research, public service and patient care, or that improve the effectiveness of university processes. The award encourages collaboration and solution sharing across the UC system. Systemwide Chief Information Officer Tom Andriola announced the winners Aug. 8 at the UC Computing Services Conference in San Diego.

Nancy Erbstein, who holds a research faculty appointment in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology, is the principal investigator for the project. UC Cooperative Extension advisors Charles Go, Russell Hill, Anna Martin, Fe Moncloa, Terri Spezzano and Steven Worker; UCCE nutrition education coordinator Dennis Carrasquilla, UC CalFresh director David Ginsburg and former Youth, Families and Communities Program director Constance Schneider contributed to the development of Putting Youth on the Map.

The resource was created with support from The California Endowment, UCANR, the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California and Sierra Health Foundation.

The Putting Youth on the Map website is at http://interact.regionalchange.ucdavis.edu/youth.

 

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