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Posts Tagged: Lenya Quinn-Davidson

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Violini joins Government and Community Relations

Sheron Violini
Sheron Violini joined UC ANR on April 6 as associate director of Government and Community Relations. Violini will help UC ANR members develop and nurture relationships with local government officials. She will also support programs to promote community awareness of UC ANR.

Violini has 28 years of leadership experience in the California State Legislature. During her tenure, she served as the deputy secretary of operations for the Senate Rules Committee. She founded the Senate Training office, which is responsible for mandatory training, as well as courses to help legislative staff develop soft skills.

Early in her career, Violini served as chief of staff for Orange County legislator Dick Ackerman. This role taught her how to forge relationships on both sides of the aisle and in both houses. She brings extensive knowledge of how Capitol and district offices operate as well as the legislative and budget process. 

Violini earned an M.A. in cultural resources management from California State University, Sacramento and a B.A. in history from UC Davis. She is an International Coach Federation Professional Certified Coach, certified by Thrive Global and B.J. Fogg's Tiny Habits programs. She looks forward to using her motivational interviewing and appreciate inquiry skills to empower UC ANR staff as they connect with their local government officials and the public.

“I am so pleased to have Sheron join our team,” said Anne Megaro, government and community relations director. “Not only does she have fantastic expertise and knowledge in government relations, she is passionate about professional training and will be a great resource for UC ANR employees to build effective communication skills.”

Violini is a fourth-generation Californian, raised in Monterey County on a working cattle ranch. She was a member of the Buena Vista 4-H club where she completed both livestock and home economics projects. Violini is excited to give back to UC ANR and the programs that helped launch her career.

Violini is based at the UC ANR building in Davis in cubicle 160 and can be reached at (530) 341-4661 and

Quinn-Davidson to lead UC ANR Fire Network 

Lenya Quinn-Davidson

Lenya Quinn-Davidson has been named director of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources' Fire Network, effective April 1. UC ANR's statewide Fire Network will build connections and capacity among UC ANR scientists, practitioners, land management and regulatory agencies, policymakers and communities to work toward fire resilience in California. 

To meet the challenge of wildfire, UC ANR has hired several new UC Cooperative Extension fire advisors and staff to study issues related to wildfire and to assist Californians with their preparations. Quinn-Davidson and the Fire Network will provide critical coordination and connection across geographies and disciplines ranging from forestry to food safety to livestock to water.

Quinn-Davidson has served as a UC Cooperative Extension fire advisor for the North Coast since 2016. During her three-year term as the Fire Network director, she will continue her research program and continue to build capacity among landowners, tribes and other communities to use prescribed fire throughout the state. Quinn-Davidson also leads the international WTREX program, focused on empowering women and other underrepresented people who work in fire.

 “I'm honored to take on this new role, and I can't wait to further grow, connect and support our fire efforts within UC ANR,” Quinn-Davidson said.

She is based in Eureka at the UCCE Humboldt County office and can be reached at (707) 445-7351 and

Read the full announcement at

Singh named UCCE tech and innovations advisor for small farms 

Manpreet Singh

Manpreet Singh began working on Feb. 15 as a UC Cooperative Extension technology and innovation advisor for small farms and serves Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Madera and Merced counties.

Singh is responsible for testing and evaluating new technologies that can resolve challenges that small farms experience. With a variety of technological advancements becoming available, Singh will help small farms determine the feasibility and economic impact of their options. His role will not only prioritize crop production efficiency, but postharvest and marketing of crops as well.

A few areas of concern that are top of mind for Singh are weed control and water efficiency. “Weed control is a major part of agricultural operations and a logistical nightmare,” he said. “Since I did a lot of research in irrigation, I also want to help small farms adapt to smart irrigation controllers.” 

Singh earned a master's in horticulture, specializing in vegetable science, and a bachelor's in agriculture from Punjab Agricultural University in India. During his master's program, Singh focused his research on hybrid breeding of melons. 

After completing his master's, he moved to the United States to join the Ph.D. program at Texas Tech University where he worked as a teaching assistant for Principles of Horticulture labs. His Ph.D. research focused on limited irrigation strategies for vegetable production in West Texas.

“In the past, I did some extension work, but I never had a chance to work directly with the farmers. I'm ready to do some applied research that involves the farmers. So, this job provides me a great opportunity to do those things,” said Singh. 

Singh is based out of the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center and can be reached at

Ott to advise growers in Tehama, Butte, Shasta and Glenn counties 

Jaime Ott

Since the beginning of this year, Jaime Ott has been settling in at UC ANR as the new UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor for Tehama, Butte, Shasta and Glenn counties. 

“Officially I am covering walnut, prune, almond and olive in these counties,” Ott said. “But since there is only one other advisor in my office, Josh Davy, the joke is that he covers anything with feathers, fins and fur – and I cover anything with chlorophyll.”

Ott said she hopes to help California agriculture become more robust, profitable and sustainable – economically, socially and environmentally – far into the future.

“I want to help serve as a bridge, communicating the needs of the growers in my area to the researchers on UC campuses to make sure that we are doing the right research, research that will help to move our production systems forward,” she explained.

After growing up in El Dorado County, Ott earned her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from UC Davis. She received her M.S in marine science from the College of William & Mary, and then joined the Peace Corps, through which she worked with farmers in Zambia to raise tilapia. 

Since returning from Africa in 2014, Ott has been working in the lab of Greg Browne at UC Davis and pursuing her Ph.D. in the Department of Plant Pathology. Her research has focused on which Phytophthora species are affecting almonds and walnuts in California and the ways the pathogen is introduced into orchards.

“My experience in Zambia really highlighted how powerful information can be, and I want to make sure that California growers have access to all of the practical information that UC and UC Cooperative Extension scientists are generating,” she said.

Ott, based at the UCCE office in Red Bluff, can be reached at and (530) 527-3101.

Justin Tanner joins UCCE as grape advisor 

Justin Tanner

Justin Tanner joined UC ANR on Jan. 3 as a UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor for San Joaquin, Stanislaus and southern Sacramento counties. 

Tanner is responsible for implementing an innovative extension education and applied research program to address high-priority production issues in wine and table grapes including pest, disease, and water management.

Specifically, he supports entry-level growers who are seeking basic viticulture and pest management practices, while providing experienced growers information on new technologies to remain competitive. All producers face mounting pressures from increased regulatory and environmental compliance requirements as well as cost-competitiveness in an increasingly global marketplace.

Tanner attended Colorado State University and earned a Ph.D. in horticulture, focusing on germplasm conservation of temperate fruit trees. He also attended Texas A&M University, where he earned a master's degree in horticulture for citrus virology, as well as a bachelor's degree in agriculture for environmental soil science.

As a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, Tanner designed and implemented research projects at Oakville Station in Napa County. During his time there, he investigated various factors that affect wine grape production such as examining the effects of cluster thinning and irrigation practices on grapevine red blotch virus-positive vines to evaluate the efficacy of cultural management practices on mitigating virus impact on grape quality and yield. He also conducted trials to identify rootstock and scion combinations as well as trellis systems to optimize production under warming climate conditions.

To understand the needs and challenges of the growers he supports, Tanner is working closely with growers, industry leaders, the Lodi Winegrape Commission and pest control advisers in the region.

“I see the spread of grapevine leafroll-associated virus by the vine mealybug as a huge challenge for grape growers within San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties,” said Tanner. “As vine mealybug reproduces prolifically and spreads easily, controlling this invasive pest will require an integrated pest management approach with a concerted and sustained effort at the community level.”

Tanner is excited to contribute to the success of grape growers and the wine industry using a science-based approach. “The growers and pest control advisers I have already had the opportunity to meet with have been kind, intelligent and hardworking people who I enjoy working with,” he said. 

Tanner is based at the UCCE San Joaquin County office in Stockton and can be reached at

Lazicki brings vegetable expertise to Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties 

Patricia Lazicki

Patricia Lazicki started on Feb. 1 as the vegetable crops advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension in the Capitol Corridor, comprising Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties. She aims to develop an extension and applied research program that supports growers through industry, regulatory, and environmental changes, while increasing the profitability and resilience of the vegetable industry.

“I'm excited for the chance that this position gives to do holistic, applied, scientifically rigorous research that encompasses crop health, pest management, soil health, water dynamics and economic sustainability,” Lazicki said. “In particular, this region has long been a hub of California's processing tomato production and I'm excited for the opportunity to learn from and support local growers, pest control advisers and allied industry within this important crop.”

Lazicki said she's also looking forward to working with UCCE's team of vegetable crop advisors across California to develop integrated pest management approaches for emerging pests and pathogens. 

After growing up in southern Chad and northern Cameroon, Lazicki has spent much of her adult life doing research in annual cropping systems in West and Central Africa and across the U.S.

She earned her bachelor's degree in international agricultural development with a minor in soil science from UC Davis, her master's in soil science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Ph.D. in soils and biogeochemistry from UC Davis.

“I know I'm biased, but I believe that in the long-term healthy soils underlie healthy crops, environments and communities,” Lazicki said. “I hope to work with growers in my counties to figure out ways to adapt soil health-promoting practices to local needs without sacrificing short-term economic sustainability.”

Based at Woodland, Lazicki can be reached at and (530) 219-5198.

Martinez Resendiz joins NPI as project policy analyst 

Erica Martinez Resendiz

Erica Martinez Resendiz joined the Nutrition Policy Institute on April 3 as a project policy analyst. 

Martinez Resendiz, who began her work at NPI as a graduate student, received her master's and bachelor's degrees in public health with a concentration in public health nutrition from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She is passionate about working alongside individuals and communities, food security, health education and early childhood nutrition. 

Her previous work experience includes helping individuals navigate basic needs community resources, breastfeeding promotion, and nutrition education for participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

As a graduate student at NPI, she gained experience conducting telephone and in-person surveys, developing interviews and surveys, collecting plate waste data, administering 24-hour dietary recalls for children, and creating nutrition workshop materials. Martinez Resendiz brings these skills to continue collaborating on NPI projects evaluating the transition to freshly prepared school meals, school meals for all and farm to corrections programs. 

Martinez Resendiz is based at UC Office of the President in Oakland and can be reached at

Orta-Aleman joins NPI as project scientist 

Dania Orta-Aleman

Dania Orta-Aleman joined the Nutrition Policy Institute on March 1 as a project scientist. She will be supporting NPI's collaborative School Meals for All evaluation project.

Orta-Aleman is a nutrition epidemiologist with a doctorate in human nutrition from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a master of public health degree in epidemiology and biostatistics from UC Berkeley. 

Orta-Aleman has over 10 years of experience working on public health nutrition and food insecurity research projects, domestically and internationally. Her past research focused on enhancing services for participants in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the affordability of high-protein foods, and the effect of federal food programs on meat and other high-protein foods purchasing.

Orta-Aleman is based at UC Office of the President in Oakland and can be reached at

Noble joins Contracts & Grants 

Emilee Noble

Emilee Noble has joined Contracts & Grants as a research administrator 3. She will be assisting principal investigators and UCCE advisors with grant proposal preparation. She will provide resources and expertise to better understand contract and grant administration and successfully administer sponsored awards.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Noble worked at UC Davis in the Sponsored Programs Office. 

The Woodland native enjoys drawing, reading, taking up the art of bonsai and physical activities from working out to riding dirt bikes.

Noble is located in cubical 234A in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at and (530) 236-7364.

Humiston wins WAAESD leadership award 

Glenda Humiston

Vice President Glenda Humiston will be honored with the 2023 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Leadership Award for the Western Region. The award is presented to leaders who personify the highest level of excellence by enhancing the cause and performance of the regional associations and ESS in achieving their missions and the Land-Grant ideal. 

“Glenda served as WAAESD chair during a time when the regional office was experiencing some internal issues. Glenda's leadership was essential to managing through those tough times,” said Bret Hess, executive director of the Western Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors.

“On the national level, Glenda served as the Chair of the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy's (ESCOP) Budget and Legislative Committee (BLC),” he said.

As chair of this committee, Humiston served as the ESCOP representative to the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities Board on Agriculture Assembly's Budget and Advocacy Committee and Committee on Legislation and Policy.

“She also served on an ad hoc infrastructure committee that was formed by the APLU BAA to address the rapidly declining facilities operated by colleges of agriculture,” Hess said. “Glenda's leadership was instrumental in all of these committees. She is well-known for her no-nonsense approach, coupled with her vast experience in the political arena, she helped move the needle. 

“For example, she helped the system develop a longer-term strategy for justifying annual federal appropriations requests in support of capacity research funds that are allocated to State Agricultural Experiment Stations. She also played a pivotal role in creating awareness among congressional leaders that the nation must address the infrastructure challenges colleges of agriculture are facing.”

Humiston will be presented the award at the Fall ESS Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Sept. 24-27.

Becker named Society of Nematologists Fellow 

Ole Becker

J. Ole Becker, UC Riverside professor of Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Experiment Station, has been named a Society of Nematologists Fellow.  

Nematodes are tiny, thread-like roundworms that feed on fungi, bacteria, other nematodes, and plants. While feeding, nematodes can induce plant deformation, which interfere with water and nutrient uptake, severely impacting plants' ability to grow. They also create wounds that can leave roots vulnerable to infection by other disease-causing organisms in the soil.  

Most vegetable crops, as well as trees and vines, are susceptible to nematode infection. Becker, a 30-year member of UC Riverside's Department of Nematology, works on ways to stop the worms while having minimal impact on the surrounding environment.  

“He has truly been at the forefront of developing innovative, integrated methods for treating these pests,” said Andreas Westphal, UCR professor of Cooperative Extension in nematology based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, who works with Becker. “Some techniques he pioneered have changed entire industries.”

For example, Becker developed seed coatings that protect against nematodes, since plants are most susceptible to them right when they germinate. Seed treatments dramatically reduce the amount of chemicals required for crop protection and are safer for the individuals applying the chemicals. 

Becker is also internationally recognized for developing innovative biological methods of nematode treatment, which involve the addition of organic materials to the soil that stimulate the worms' natural enemies, or changing the soil in other ways that suppress worm populations. Methods like these not only help control plant-parasitic nematodes, but also hugely reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture. 

“He truly has set an example working with both chemical and biological means, which are equally important,” Westphal said. “Many scientists really focus, and only go one route. Becker exemplifies how to cover both to achieve maximum effectiveness.” 

See full story by Jules Bernstein at


Names in the News

Martinez joins UCCE in Kings County

Vanessa Martinez

Vanessa Martinez joined the CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE Kings County team as a nutrition educator on March 1. In this position, she hopes to bring success to the program and motivate individuals to make positive changes and create a healthier lifestyle by making good nutrition choices.

In her free time, Martinez loves to take hikes with beautiful sceneries, preferably with a view of the ocean. She also loves to spontaneously take trips and be able to cross off places off of her travel bucket list.

With a bachelor's in psychology, in the near future Martinez hopes to continue her education in graduate school to enhance learning and skills needed to dedicate the best of herself to her career with CalFresh Healthy Living, UC in Kings County. Martinez can be reached at

Purdy joins UCCE in Shasta County

Margaret Purdy

Margaret Purdy joined CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE Shasta Cluster as an administrative assistant on March 22. She recently relocated from the Bay Area, where she had over 13 years of experience working in nonprofit and theatre arts administration.

Purdy brings a combined background in customer service, database management, digital and arts marketing and communications, and radio production and promotions. She has been a volunteer staff member at KFJC 89.7 FM in Los Altos Hills since 2006, where she won a College Radio Award for Outstanding Spot Production in 2011.

Purdy earned a Bachelor of Arts in theatre from Humboldt State in 2004, and an Associate of Arts in radio production from Foothill College in 2012.

She will be based in the nutrition education program building in Redding and can be reached at and (530) 224-4301.

Spalding joins KARE as ag supervisor II

Dan Spalding

Dan Spalding joined the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center staff as an agricultural supervisor II on March 22.

Previously, Spalding worked as a field scout in row crops and as a pest control adviser in fruits and nuts. More recently, he worked as a farm supervisor for Wonderful Citrus and Sun Pacific Farming. 

Spalding's family roots run deep in agriculture. He grew up working on his family's farm and studied agriculture from high school through college, earning an A.S. in Plant Science from College of the Sequoias in Visalia and a B.S. in fruit science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.     

Spalding is based at KARE and can be reached at

Callahan named SAREP agritourism coordinator 

Rachael Callahan

Rachael Callahan joined the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program SAREP team as the statewide agritourism coordinator on March 29. She has devoted her career to strengthening vibrant and sustainable food systems.

Over the past 10 years, Callahan has worked for nonprofit organizations promoting urban farming and food security in Washington, D.C., building a robust local food system on the island of Nantucket, Mass., and showcasing sustainable agroforestry techniques in southern Belize. In each of these settings, she has seen the power of agritourism to provide resiliency to farmers, inspire and educate the public, and connect the community. 

Callahan holds a bachelor's degree in international affairs from the University of Georgia, a master's degree in global environmental policy from American University, and certificates in agroecology, permaculture design, and urban agriculture.

She is eager to connect with, learn from, and share ideas with California farmers and ranchers. Callahan is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at

Avery King
King joins UC ANR as senior artist

Avery King joined UC ANR as senior artist on April 5. He brings 16 years of graphic design experience. Most recently, he was the graphic designer for Mariani Packing Co. in Vacaville, where he managed their package design and marketing materials.

Throughout his career, King has engaged in design projects tailored to a wide array of audiences, ranging from home appliance companies and electronics to dried fruit consumers. He has also supported several nonprofit organizations with his design skills.

Avery earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science at UC Berkeley. He will be based in the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at

Quinn-Davidson honored with ANREP Early Career Award

Lenya Quinn-Davidson
Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UCCE area fire advisor for Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity and Mendocino counties, received the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals' Early Career Award on May 26, during the virtual ANREP 2021 Conference.

In presenting the award, ANREP stated “Quinn-Davidson has shown outstanding leadership in advancing the practice of prescribed fire in her region, California, and across the nation. As the first fire advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, she has kickstarted the practices of prescribed fire on private land in California by organizing workshops, the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council, training exchanges, and the first prescribed burn association in the West. She developed the first women's training exchange to increase female leadership in wildland fire and continues to coach organizers nationwide. She co-founded the Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association, which helps landowners build skills in burn plan development, permitting and implementation. She influenced state policy by helping craft successful legislation and joining CALFIRE's cadre of experts developing the California Certified Burn Boss program. Her success has been demonstrated by adoption and dissemination of practiced and extension methods she pioneered throughout California and the West.”



Names in the News

McPherson joins ANR as Bay Area UCCE regional director

Frank McPherson

Frank McPherson joined UC ANR on Feb. 3, 2020, as a regional director for UC Cooperative Extension serving Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, and Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center. He is highly experienced in providing service to external and internal customers.

Prior to joining ANR, McPherson was director of Customer Service at San Jose-based BD Biosciences, where he led the Customer Service division of 75 employees and provided direction to clinical and research applications support, education services, technical support, contract administration and other teams.

From 2000 to 2013, McPherson served as a senior manager at Applied Materials where he led a team of highly skilled account service representatives; directed and managed Contact Center start-ups across the globe, negotiated contracts; and interfaced with planning, purchasing, order fulfillment and logistics to meet customer requirements.

From 1998 to 2000, as a manager at Air France, he was in charge of customer support for clients in Canada, the United States and Mexico. As a director of operations at Global Discount Travel from 1995 to 1998, McPherson managed 200 staff members with 2,000 accounts nationwide. From 1985 to 1995, as a superintendent in the US Air Force, he was in charge of command posts and operation centers.

McPherson holds a bachelor's degree in business management from University of Maryland and a master's degree in business management from Troy State University in Alabama. He is fluent in German.

He is based at the UCCE office in Concord and can be reached at (925) 608-6674 and

Mada appointed ANR chief information officer

Sree Mada

After a long open search, Sree Mada has been named chief information officer, effective March 1, 2020. 

Mada has 22 years of technical, functional and business experience in the field of Information Technology. During his career, he has demonstrated strong expertise in enterprise technical solutions in various complex business transformative implementations.  

Mada joined UC in 2012, and in 2014 he joined ANR as program manager for UCPath. 

“UCPath successfully went live last October thanks in no small part to Sree's skills and commitment to UC ANR's mission, and to his colleagues and the team he led,” said Tu M. Tran, associate vice president for Business Operations. 

In his new role as chief information officer, reporting to Tran, Mada will be responsible for moving ANR to new technology platforms and readying our systems for an improved cybersecurity environment. He will also be responsible for implementing modern solutions for programmatic, business and administrative computing, in addition to building an organization that delivers efficient and effective technical solutions to advance the education, research and service mission of UC ANR. 

Mada holds certifications from the Project Management Institute and the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, in addition to earning a bachelor's degree in statistics and political science and a master's degree in computer science and applications from Osmania University, India. 

Mada will be located in office 173 in the ANR building at 2801 Second Street in Davis and can be reached at (908) 346-0196 and

Brown named director of Staff Human Resources

Bethanie Brown has assumed the role of director of Staff Human Resources effective Feb. 1, 2020.

Brown, who was associate director of Human Resources, now is responsible for staff recruitment and compensation, organizational development/workforce planning, UCPath Human Resources operations and employee/labor relations. Brown continues to report to John Fox in his role as executive director for Human Resources. Brown's expanded role over Staff Human Resources will allow Fox to focus on initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion, employee engagement and career development. Fox also continues to serve as ANR's Title IX and non-discrimination officer.

Tina Jordan, Academic Human Resources manager; Jodi Azulai, ANR Learning & Development coordinator; and David White, principal Affirmative Action analyst and Title IX investigator continue to report to Fox. 

Master Gardeners welcome three new program coordinators

Danica Lea Taber
Danica Taber, Katherine Uhde and Kali Burke became program coordinators for the UC Master Gardener Program last fall.

Growing up in Denver, Danica Taber explored plant cultivation as a student at University of Colorado Boulder by volunteering at the university greenhouses to help care for the phenomenal teaching collection. 

In 2012, she moved to Santa Barbara, where she gained growing experience. “I was fortunate enough to serve as the manager for UCSB's research greenhouses and teaching collections. I got a crash course in IPM, and I also began to appreciate how valuable invested volunteers are,” says Taber.  

After completing master's degrees in public affairs and environmental science at Indiana University-Bloomington, Taber moved back to the area to live with her husband.

Taber is based in Santa Barbara and can be reached at (805) 893-2125 and

Katherine Uhde
Katherine Uhde started as the UC Master Gardener program coordinator in Santa Clara County in November 2019. Uhde transferred from UCCE Alameda County, where she was part of the UC CalFresh Healthy Living Program and led a gardening education program for older adults in partnership with the UC Master Gardener Program of Alameda County.

Originally from Iowa, Uhde earned her B.S. in kinesiology, public health option from Iowa State University, where she studied human nutrition, exercise science and public health. After graduating, she moved to Kansas where she coordinated regional food access programs and led statewide farmers market, food policy, and school health initiatives, including the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, which served over 5,000 eligible older adults through 19 local agencies and 450 certified farmers. Uhde also managed a weekly farmers' market on the capitol grounds in Topeka. She holds a Master Gardener Home Horticulture Certificate from Oregon State University Extension.

“Katherine is passionate about community policy, systems and environmental changes that are sustainable, protect the environment and promote healthy lifestyles. We are delighted to have her as part of the UC Master Gardener Program,” said Lucy Diekmann, UCCE urban agriculture and food systems advisor.

Uhde is based in San Jose and can be reached at (408) 282-3138 and

Kali Burke
Kali Burke joined UC ANR as the program coordinator for the UC Master Gardener Program and UC Master Food Preserver Program in San Francisco and San Mateo counties in September.

Burke earned a bachelor's degree in sociology at UC Santa Cruz. After graduating, she pursued her interests in food, agriculture and education. Working with the local farm and garden community for close to 10 years now, she has experience in both the programs and operations sides of small nonprofits.

Burke is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7425 and

Read more about the new UC Master Gardener program coordinators at

Almond Pest Management Alliance Team wins IPM award

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

The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team received an award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Environmental Protection Agency for their vigorous promotion of IPM and acting as a hub for growers, pest control advisers, researchers and others to organize their collective efforts and rapidly respond to arising pest issues.

The Almond Pest Management Alliance Team serves as a role model for the implementation of integrated pest management practices in California. The team consists of UC IPM advisors David Haviland, Jhalendra Rijal and Emily Symmes, industry researcher Bradly Higbee of Trécé, USDA scientist Charles Burkes and Bob Curtis of the Almond Board of California.

The team encouraged the adoption of mating disruption for managing navel orangeworm, a major pest in almond orchards, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. After they began demonstrating that mating disruption proved to be an economical pest control method in orchards, they saw a rapid rise in growers adopting the technology. Kern County showed a 26% countywide increase in the adoption of mating disruption from 2017-2018.

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

PCAs and growers who participated in UC Almond Pest Management Alliance activities were surveyed – an average of 93.8% of participants stated that information that they received was considered when making pest management decisions.

The Almond Pest Management Alliance Team also received a California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition sponsored by Assemblyman Rudy Salas.

A three-minute video about the Almond Pest Management Alliance Team can be downloaded at

Raul Calderon, second from left and legislative intern for Assemblyman Rudy Salas, presented a California State Assembly Certificate of Recognition to David Haviland, Brad Higbee, Chuck Burks, Jhalendra Rijal, Stephanie Rill and Bob Curtis.

Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse win CSAC Challenge Award

Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Jeffery Stackhouse

The California State Association of Counties honored UCCE Humboldt County advisors Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Jeffery Stackhouse and the Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association with one of its 18 Challenge Awards to recognize county innovation and best practices. As part of the award, CSAC wrote a story at and produced a video about their efforts. The video is posted at

In 2017, Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse developed the Prescribed Burn Association, which has steadily grown. The association is composed of landowners, nonprofits, volunteer firefighters and other community members who work together to carry out prescribed burns on private land. Until the association was created, most landowners and community members  lacked access to prescribed burn information and training.

In 2017, Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse developed the Prescribed Burn Association, which has steadily grown. The association is composed of landowners, nonprofits, volunteer firefighters and other community members who work together to carry out prescribed burns on private land. Until the association was created, most landowners and community members had lacked access to prescribed burn information and training.

The concept of a prescribed burn association is catching on. Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse have presented the Humboldt County model to numerous counties around the state.

Beyond the benefit of prescribed burns for land management, Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse say the association brings together groups that have traditionally been at odds – ranchers, people who work in timber, environmentalists and cannabis growers.

“Instead of being on opposite sides of an issue, people are gaining understanding for the other side,” Stackhouse told CSAC. “It has opened the door for real, honest communication between different groups that otherwise would not be happening. Having people work together who have been on different sides of the community really is amazing.”

Meyer receives Water Quality Stewardship Award

Deanne Meyer

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board presented its Water Quality Stewardship Award to Deanne Meyer, a UCCE specialist in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, on Feb. 6.

Meyer studies livestock waste management, lectures in the Department of Animal Science and advises agricultural and environmental majors. She is also the environmental stewardship module coordinator for the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP), part of the California Dairy Research Foundation.

Meyer has provided technical advice and comments in developing the North Coast Regional Water Board's dairy program. She provides technical expertise at CDQAP workshops to help dairy operators comply with the requirements of the Regional Water Board's dairy permit. Meyer also served on the Technical Advisory Committee for the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Alternative Manure Management Program. Meyer is currently working with Regional Water Board staff on a contract to test manure and soil on 30 North Coast pasture-based dairies to assist dairy operators in developing a nutrient budget for Nutrient Management Plans.

The Executive Officer's Water Quality Stewardship Award is an annual award given to an individual or group whose exceptional work contributes to the preservation and enhancement of surface water and groundwater quality in the North Coast Region. 

4-H Camping Advisory Committee receives national research award

From left, Jennifer Henkens, 4-H program representative; Marianne Bird and Connie Coutellier, director of Camp Wyandot.

The American Camp Association recognized the California 4-H Camping Advisory Committee with its 2020 Eleanor P. Eells Excellence in Research in Practice Award. Marianne Bird, 4-H youth development advisor in Sacramento County and chair of the 4-H Camping Advisory Committee, accepted the award on behalf of the team on Feb. 12 At its national conference in San Diego.

The Eells Award recognizes programs that apply innovative, quality research or evaluation findings to improve program practice, and share their findings with others.

Since its inception in 2004, program evaluation and improvement has been a focus of the California 4-H Camping Advisory Committee. However, engaging the 25 or more local, volunteer-run camps in program assessment proved challenging.

To engage camps in data and the program improvement process, the committee embraced the use of “data parties” to share results and encourage dialogue with the camps participating in the current study. A data party gathers stakeholders to analyze or interpret collected data.  The committee invited camps to bring a team of three to six people (4-H teen leaders, adult volunteers and professional staff) to explore statewide findings, as well as data from their own camp. Teams then created an action plan for improving their programs.

The event encouraged buy-in and a sense of ownership to the data.  Participants reported new insights and greater understanding of the data, and cited changes they had made to their programs as a result. Since initiating the data party format four years ago, participation in the statewide evaluation has grown from nine to 22 camps.

“When those engaged in programming understand and embrace data, then is an evaluation truly useful,” said Bird. “These are the people who can make change happen. For California 4-H, the camp data party has been the key to opening dialogue and improving our programs."

At UCCE’s suggestion, Humboldt waives air-quality fees for public benefit burning

A Mendocino County Fire Safe Council member sets a prescribed burn during a UC ANR fire retreat. Photo by Lenya Quinn-Davidson

“I thought you all might enjoy this bit of good news from Humboldt County. Yesterday reminded me of the important role we at UCCE can play in these types of local issues,” wrote Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UCCE area fire advisor in Humboldt County.

Concerned about habitat loss and fuel buildup on private lands in Humboldt County, Quinn-Davidson and Jeff Stackhouse, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, recently formed a Prescribed Burn Association.

Thanks to Senate Bill 1260, which was signed into law last year, air districts are receiving grants from the California Air Resources Board to support local prescribed fire programs. 

Stackhouse and Quinn-Davidson attended the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District Board meeting Sept. 18 in Weaverville to suggest their district subsidize the air quality permit fees for prescribed burners.

Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Jeff Stackhouse suggested that their district subsidize the air quality permit fees for prescribed burners. The board accepted all of their suggestions.
“All of our suggestions were incorporated into the plan,” Quinn-Davidson said.

“Our district has decided to use some of these grant funds to subsidize air quality permit fees for prescribed burners in the district. This is welcome news to those of us with the PBA who have been working for the last year to alleviate air quality permit fees, which can be $250 to $1250 for bigger projects. For our PBA burns, air quality permit fees are one of our biggest project costs, and now those fees will be waived.”

The air board's original plan was to subsidize projects with a focus on wildfire risk reduction. At the meeting, she and Stackhouse encouraged them to broaden the scope and include all projects that have a public benefit, including burns focused on habitat restoration, range improvement, forest improvement, cultural resources, etc., in addition to fuels reduction. 

“We suggested that they tie the subsidy program to Public Resources Code 4475, which was amended through SB1260 to include an expanded definition of ‘public benefit burning.' They accepted our suggestion and amended the rule to reflect this broader suite of project types, which covers most of the great burning we're all doing in the North Coast: oak woodland restoration, medusahead/starthistle/blackberry control, coyote brush/coastal rangeland/prairie burning, understory fuels reduction, etc. With this cost relieved, we can start thinking about planning more projects and bigger projects! Yesterday, a 300-acre burn would have cost $1,250 (permit) + $65 (smoke management plan). As of today, those costs will be $0.”

The district's proposal also recommended excluding federal agencies and timber companies from the subsidy program, but Quinn-Davidson and Stackhouse asserted that any entity doing work that benefits the public should have equal access to the subsidy. In response, the Board voted to expand the program to include federal agencies and timber companies.

“Based on what air district staff said at the meeting, it sounded like this would save landowners about $14,000 to $18,000 per year in fees district-wide. I think it'll be even more than that in the coming years, with all the interest we have in prescribed fire,” Quinn-Davidson said.

“We're still working with the district to think about longer term solutions to their fee structure, but in the meantime, this is a fabulous step in the right direction!” Quinn-Davidson said.


Posted on Monday, September 30, 2019 at 3:01 PM

Livestock and poultry owners asked to take survey on fire impact

Sheep at Hopland Research and Extension Center were moved out of the line of the River Fire.

People raising cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, swine, horses, llamas, alpacas, aquaculture species or other production-oriented animals in California who have experienced at least one wildfire on their property within the last 10 years are being asked to participate in a Fire Impact and Risk Evaluation (FIRE) survey.

“We will aim to quantify the impact of wildfires in different livestock production systems,” said Beatriz Martinez Lopez, director of the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “The idea is also to create a risk map showing areas more likely to experience wildfires with high economic impact in California.

“This economic and risk assessment, to the best of our knowledge, has not been done and we hope to identify potential actions that ranchers can take to reduce or mitigate their losses if their property is hit by wildfire.”

Martínez López, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Medicine & Epidemiology at UC Davis, is teaming up with UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisors and wildfire specialists around the state to conduct the study.

The research team includes

  • Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Ventura County
  • Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE advisor in Fresno and Madera counties
  • Stephanie Larson, UCCE livestock range management advisor in Sonoma and Marin counties
  • Sheila Barry, UCCE livestock and natural resourcesadvisor, in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties
  • Josh Davy, UCCE livestock, range and natural resources advisor in Tehama, Colusa and Glenn counties
  • Max Moritz, UCCE wildfire specialist, UC Santa Barbara
  • Luke Macaulay, UCCE rangeland planning and policy specialist at UC Berkeley
  • Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UCCE wildfire advisor in Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity and Mendocino
  • counties
Wildfire in Tehama County. Photo by Josh Davy

“The idea came up in a conference in San Diego, just when we had several ongoing wildfires and we were discussing how poorly are some areas prepared for this and the need for better emergency planning, coordination and response when not only people, but also large animals are involved,” Martínez López said. “We hope this study will provide the foundation to advance in this direction.”

“Right now, we have no good estimate of the real cost of wildfire to livestock producers in California,” said Rebecca Ozeran, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Fresno and Madera counties. “Existing UCCE forage loss worksheets cannot account for the many other ways that wildfire affects livestock farms and ranches. As such, we need producers' input to help us calculate the range of immediate and long-term costs of wildfire.”

Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and range management advisor for Sonoma and Marin counties, agreed, saying, “The more producers who participate, the more accurate and useful our results will be.”

“We hope the survey results will be used by producers across the state to prepare for wildfire,” said Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, “And by federal and private agencies to better allocate funds for postfire programs available to livestock producers.”

The survey is online at It takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of properties the participant has that have been affected by wildfire.

“Survey answers are completely confidential and the results will be released only as summaries in which no individual's answers can be identified,” said Martínez López. “This survey will provide critical information to create the foundation for future fire economic assessments and management decisions.”

The team would like your help in encouraging livestock producers who have experienced wildfire to participate in the FIRE survey.

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