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Posts Tagged: Marisa Neelon

RECs and county office staff update ANR leaders on current projects

UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food in West Oakland.

To get acquainted with the people at each ANR location, Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of research and extension, has been visiting research and extension centers and UCCE county offices and touring the facilities.

“I'm impressed with how passionate and dedicated you are to helping people,” said Lagrimini to UCCE Contra Costa staff after listening to their project updates. He has been impressed with the work he has seen at all of his ANR visits. 

On Sept. 6, Lagrimini visited Hopland Research and Extension Center, three weeks after the River Fire consumed about two-thirds of its property.

John Bailey, right, shows Mark Lagrimini the difference in fire damage to grazed pasture on the left side of the fence compared to the ungrazed areas at Hopland REC.

“While the River Fire damaged parts of the center, none of the main buildings, residences, livestock nor staff were hurt by the fire,” said John Bailey, Hopland REC interim director.

Scientists are invited to a site tour on Oct. 19 to learn more about research opportunities at Hopland REC. 

“With Hopland REC's extensive pre-fire historical data, plus immediate post-fire, pre-rain observations that we are collecting, we have the foundation to support relevant and timely research on the effects of fire and mechanisms of recovery,” Bailey said.

Marisa Neelon, right, shows Mark Lagrimini, left, and Mark Bell the kitchen where UCCE Contra Costa County nutrition educators can prepare food.

AVP Wendy Powers and Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, are joining Lagrimini for many of the visits to learn the latest about UCCE research and outreach and to answer questions from staff.

On Sept. 11, Rob Bennaton, UCCE director in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, introduced Powers, Lagrimini and Bell to UCCE staff in their Hayward offices, then took them to West Oakland to tour City Slicker Farms. UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food at the site.

“Success to us is putting food where people need it and giving them the skills to grow food,” said Rodney Spencer, executive director of City Slicker Farms.

Mark Bell popped into the office of Leah Sourbeer, nutrition program supervisor, to introduce himself.

In Concord, Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Contra Costa County, gave Powers, Lagrimini and Bell a tour of the new office space, which includes space for Master Garden volunteers, a kitchen for nutrition educators to prepare food and a lab for farm and IPM advisors to store and analyze samples.  

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

Staff from each unit delivered a presentation about their current projects for the ANR leaders, who were joined by Humberto Izquierdo, agricultural commissioner for Contra Costa County and Matthew Slattengren, assistant agricultural commissioner.

Charles Go, 4-H youth advisor, and Adan Osoria, EFNEP community nutrition educator, described how 4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption to improve community health and wellness. They launched 4-H2O at John Swett High School in Crockett. At the request of 4-H members, the local school board approved hydration stations and instructed the schools to provide water at meal times, Go said.

4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project that succeeded at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption.

Andrew Sutherland, Bay Area urban IPM advisor, described his research on baiting for cockroaches, subterranean termites and yellowjackets and outreach to educate pest control professionals to practice IPM in schools and multi-unit housing.

“I appreciate the work Andrew does,” said Izquierdo, noting that there is a need for pest management education, especially among the county's urban and immigrant populations.

After seeing all of the presentations, Bell said, “The enthusiasm you bring to your job is inspiring.”

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

After the visit, Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog on Sept. 14: “The programs we've seen in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties this week as well as Santa Clara County a couple weeks back are good reminders of the benefits to all of UC ANR when we have strong, relevant programs in urban areas. These programs not only help the clientele, directly, but help increase the visibility of UC ANR and all of its programs across both urban and ag areas.”

On Sept. 26, Powers, Lagrimini and Bell visited UCCE Riverside, then UCCE San Bernardino the following day.

“We spent yesterday in Riverside meeting with the teams from both UCCE Riverside and UCCE San Bernardino,” Powers wrote in ANR Adventures on Sept. 27. “It was very informative, particularly seeing the fresh ideas that are coming from some of the new staff. We were able to hear about the tremendous success that both counties are having truly working as a team across program areas and layering their efforts for increased program success and support.”

ANR Statewide Conference reaches maximum capacity

If you haven't registered for the ANR Statewide Conference yet, there's no guarantee space will be available. There are 653 people registered, including speakers and UC President's Advisory Commission members (PAC), for the conference being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Ontario April 9-12.

“At this point, we are accepting applications to attend because we're exceeding capacity of the facility,” said Sherry Cooper, director of Program Support Unit. “New registrations will not be confirmed until you receive an email or phone call confirming your registration, so please wait for confirmation before making travel plans.”

Among those registered are 145 UC Cooperative Extension advisors, 71 UCCE specialists, 26 academic coordinators and administrators, 20 Agricultural Experiment Station faculty members and nearly 350 administrative and programmatic staff.

The President's Advisory Commission will meet on Monday afternoon and PAC members have been invited to stay to hear California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross speak Monday evening, ANR leaders discuss “Charting a Sustainable Future for ANR,” and President Janet Napolitano speak on Tuesday.

The agriculture and natural resources industry leaders who serve on PAC will also join ANR members Tuesday morning to listen to keynote speaker Antwi Akom, UCSF and SFSU professor and founding director of Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Lab (SOUL) and co-founder and CEO of Streetwyze. His talk is titled “Race, Space, Place and Waste: How Innovation, Education, and Inspiration Can Fearlessly Catalyze California Towards Becoming the World's Leader in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management.”

If you plan to tweet about the ANR Statewide Conference, the hashtag is #UCANRconf2018.

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 1:42 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

IGIS plans next steps based on program review

Glenda Humiston
In 2017, an ad hoc committee was appointed to carry out ANR's routine five-year statewide program review of our Informatics and Geographic Information Systems (IGIS) Program. Associate Vice President Powers and I extend a thank you to the committee for their time commitment and thoroughness in examining the program and providing recommendations to UC ANR's Program Council (PC). The time and effort of IGIS Director Maggi Kelly and staff to provide information and PC's review of the report and recommendations are also greatly appreciated.

Given limited personnel and a short time since startup, IGIS has made significant contributions throughout ANR. There is a great need for the program within and beyond ANR, and IGIS personnel have shown impressive results in reaching out to the wider ANR community and external partners.

Here is a summary of the direction and next steps I provided to the IGIS Program Director:

  • IGIS should focus on expanding capacity and reach with drones and prioritize investing in new technology.
  • IGIS will work with the REC Directors to develop a call process to identify science leads who are interested in taking over full ownership of one or more of the flux towers.
  • IGIS should discontinue its involvement with cataloguing dark data, but work with ANR Communication Services and Information Technology office (CSIT) to inform ANR academics that digitized documents are available in the ANR repository.
  • Associate Vice President Powers and I will meet with Program Director Kelly to further discuss the proposal to re-characterize IGIS from a statewide program to a statewide academic service.
  • IGIS will develop a business plan to continue to scale up services that are in demand by UC ANR academics and offer services in a way that decreases reliance on central funds.
  • IGIS should update its website to clearly articulate to whom resources and services are available. When IGIS is not able to provide a service, to the degree possible, it should act as a clearing house and refer clients to other providers.
  • IGIS should incorporate evaluation methods that focus on the effectiveness of workshops and services and the extent of IGIS' reach.

I look forward to working with IGIS as it pursues these and other opportunities that may arise.

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:20 PM
Focus Area Tags: Innovation

Names in the News

Wang joins UCCE as vegetable and irrigation advisor

Zheng Wang

Zheng Wang joined UCCE on March 5, 2018, as an area vegetable production and irrigation advisor in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Wang was a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University-Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, where he had conducted cutting-edge and applied research and extension work on vegetable crop production since 2015. His federally funded and state-funded projects integrated minimal tillage, vegetable grafting and use of microbial biostimulants to optimize local and regional vegetable operations. From 2011 to 2014, Wang was a graduate research assistant at University of Kentucky. His research focused on the effects of production systems and tillage applications on vegetable drought tolerance and endophytic bacterial dynamics.

Wang earned a Ph.D. in crop science from University of Kentucky and an M.S. in agriculture from Western Kentucky University. Wang, who is fluent in Chinese, earned a B.S. in agronomy from Shenyang Agricultural University in China.

Wang is based in Modesto and can be reached at (209) 525-6822 and zzwwang@ucanr.edu.

Sosnoskie returns as UCCE agronomy and weed advisor

Lynn Sosnoskie

Lynn Sosnoskie joined UCCE on Feb. 26, 2018, as an area agronomy and weed management advisor in Merced and Madera counties. 

Before returning to UC, Sosnoskie spent a year at Washington State University as an assistant research faculty member tasked with extending the reach of the WSU weed science team in the Columbia Basin. From 2012 to 2016, Sosnoskie was an associate project scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, working with UCCE specialist Brad Hanson to partner solutions-based research needs of growers with an increased understanding of the biological and environmental factors that impact weeds and weed control in California's specialty crops. From 2006 to 2011, she held a postdoctoral research professional position at University of Georgia, where she contributed to weed control research and outreach efforts in upland cotton and fresh market vegetables.

As a weed scientist, Sosnoskie is interested in the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds, the preservation of effective chemical control strategies through the judicious use of herbicides and the adoption of non-chemical control practices, automated weeders, the effects of drought on the composition of weed communities, perennial weed management, and improving our understanding of weed biology and ecology to maximize vegetation control. With respect to agronomy, Sosnoskie evaluates crop responses to temperature, as well as water availability and water quality, and the epidemiology and management of diseases like Fusarium Race 4 in cotton. She collaborates on a variety of crop issues such as soil salinity and fertility management. 

Sosnoskie earned a Ph.D. in horticulture and crop science from The Ohio State University, a M.S. in crop and soil science from University of Delaware, and a B.S. in biology from Lebanon Valley College.

Based in Merced, Sosnoskie can be reached at (229) 326-2676 and lmsosnoskie@ucanr.edu. You can follow her on Twitter @LynnSosnoskie and @agronomyweedsci.

Zalom and Goodell receive international lifetime IPM awards

Frank Zalom Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Peter Goodell, UCCE integrated pest management advisor emeritus, and Frank Zalom, professor and UCCE specialist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis, received lifetime achievement awards at the Ninth International IPM Symposium March 19 in Baltimore.

Zalom is a past president of the 7,000-member Entomological Society of America, co-founder of the International IPM symposia, and served as director of UC ANR's Statewide IPM Program for 16 years.

“Dr. Zalom continues to advance the science and implementation of IPM,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “His integrity, service and respect for all are legendary.”

Read more about Zalom's contributions at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24248.

Pete Goodell Photo by Todd Fitchette
Goodell retired in 2017 after serving 36 years as an advisor with the UC Statewide IPM Program, which was established in 1980. His accomplishments have been recognized with two Distinguished Service Awards from UC ANR, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists, and even being named by US News and World Report as one of the “Ten Most Indispensable Americans.”

Read more about Goodell's career at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24248.

Surls receives 2018 Bradford Rominger Ag Sustainability Leadership Award

Rachel Surls

Rachel Surls, UCCE sustainable food systems advisor for Los Angeles County, is this year's recipient of the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award. Surls received the award from the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at the Celebrating Women in Agriculture event in Davis on April 3.

Surls has been committed to community gardens, school gardens, and urban agriculture since long before our cities took notice. For 30 years, she has worked at the UC Cooperative Extension Office in Los Angeles County, helping to bring city-grown food into the mainstream.

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

“In her three-decade career with UCCE, Rachel has developed a strong program addressing some of our most critical issues in sustainable agriculture,” says Keith Nathaniel, the Los Angeles County Cooperative Extension director. “She does so with innovative strategies, working with all aspects of the LA community. After 30 years doing this work, she continues to be active in the community she serves.”

In Surls' career, gardening has been a tool to build science literacy for schoolchildren, to increase self-sufficiency for communities impacted by economic downturn, and to create small businesses for urban entrepreneurs. As the interest in and support for urban agriculture has grown, she has been in the heart of Los Angeles, ready to respond to the needs of the city's farmers and gardeners. – Aubrey Thompson

Linquist honored with Rice Research and Education Award

Bruce Linquist

The Rice Technical Working Group presented Bruce Linquist, UCCE specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, and a team of rice researchers with the Distinguished Rice Research and Education Award Feb. 21 during their annual conference in Long Beach.

Linquist has been collaborating with rice researchers at the University of Arkansas, the USDA in Jonesborough, Ark., and Louisiana State University on advancing irrigation management practices to achieve sustainable intensification outcomes.

While rice has historically been grown in flooded fields, the researchers have been introducing aerobic periods during the growing season (also known as alternate wetting and drying). The practice has been shown to reduce CH4 emissions and water use. Read more about the rice project at http://news.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/2018/03/27/bruce-linquist-distinguished-rice-research-and-education-award.  – Ann Filmer

Doug Parker

Parker re-elected to national water resources board

Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water Resources, has been re-elected by the delegates of the Universities Council on Water Resources to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. Parker, who is the past president of UCOWR, an association of universities and organizations leading in education, research and public service in water resources, will begin his next three-year term with the UCOWR Board meeting on June 28 at the joint 2018 UCOWR National Institutes for Water Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, Penn.

UCOWR strives to facilitate water-related education at all levels, promote meaningful research and technology transfer on contemporary and emerging water resources issues, compile and disseminate information on water problems and solutions, and promote informed decisions about water issues at all levels of society. 

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Legislators admire California-grown products at Ag Day at the Capitol

Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, right, chats with 4-H'er Bella chats with 4-H member Bella and Humiston.

Ag Day at the Capitol was held in Sacramento on March 20. This year's theme was “Climate-smart, California Grown,” honoring the environmental stewardship and innovation of the state's farmers.

Dozens of legislators attended Ag Day at the Capitol, stopping at UC ANR's booth to examine the various varieties of citrus from Lindcove Research and Extension Center and marveling at the different shapes and sizes of avocados grown at South Coast Research and Extension Center.

Assemblymember Anna Caballero takes a photo of the fragrant and unusual Buddha's Hand citron.
4-H members talked to visitors about their rabbits, poultry, goats and other projects.

Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins of San Diego, who became the first woman to lead the California Senate on March 21, held Sheldon 4-H club member Bella Albiani's hen as she talked with her and VP Glenda Humiston.

Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for Delta crops in San Joaquin, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano and Contra Costa counties, answered visitors' questions about research and agronomy. 

Sean Hogan, academic coordinator for Informatics and Geographic Information Systems (IGIS) Program, showed visitors some of the information drones can gather and how researchers and farmers can use the data.

On March 19, the day before the event, Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations; Tyler Ash, marketing and social media coordinator; Pam Kan-Rice, assistant director of news and information outreach; and Meredith Turner of UC State Government Relations, visited the offices of legislators to invite them to visit the UC ANR booth at Ag Day. 

Assemblymember Shirley Weber, left, listens as Glenda Humiston and Anne Megaro explain ANR's research on citrus and avocado varieties.

“Ag Day is one of the most highly attended events at the state capitol, and I am so pleased that UC ANR was there to show legislators and the public all the great research and public service that we have to offer California, ” said Megaro.  “There is nothing like a hands-on experience and being able to see, touch and smell actual fruit grown by the University. The best part? When they realize the food they already enjoy at home came from our agricultural research.  It's a great example of UC at work.”

Assemblymember Matthew Harper checks out the citrus varieties.

To educate legislators and staffers about some of the benefits Californians receive from research made possible with state funding, they handed out bags of Tango mandarins – the seedless, easy-to-peel citrus variety developed by UC Riverside genetics professor Mikeal Roose and sold as Cuties and Halos – along with the 2017 UC ANR annual report.

The annual event is hosted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture in partnership with California Women for Agriculture and the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.

More photos and a video below. To see Twitter coverage of this year's Ag Day at the Capitol, look for the hashtag #AgDay2018.

Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, center, holds the hen of Bella Albiani of the Sheldon 4-H club while talking with her and Glenda Humiston.
Assemblyman Mike Gipson of Southern California visited the booth to learn about ANR research.
Senator Richard Pan stopped by to express his support for agriculture and told Anne Megaro he once taught a class for UC Davis College of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences.
Northern California grower Assemblymember Brian Dahle visited with Humiston and Bella.
Senator Bill Dodd and Humiston discussed the 2018 California Economic Summit that will be held in Santa Rosa in November.
Assemblyman Devon Mathis expressed his support for ag tech development in the valley.
Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 11:31 AM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H, Agriculture

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