ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

Posts Tagged: Russell Hill

Names in the News

Baur named Western IPM Center director

Matt Baur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shum named director of Business Operations Center

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

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

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

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

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

Kawakami named associate director of statewide programs operations and RECs

Heather Kawakami

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

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

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

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

Haghverdi receives UCOWR Early Career Award 

Amir Haghverdi

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

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

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

4-H wins Diversity & Inclusion Award

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

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

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

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

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

WEDA honors California Dairy Quality Assurance Program

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

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

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

Uhde named Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellow 

Katherine Uhde

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

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

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

U.S. Golf honors Harivandi

Ali Harivandi

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

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

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

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

Garvey wins ACE photo awards

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

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

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

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

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

Three counties win Newhall Family Foundation match

Funding from the Newhall Foundation will subsidize enrollment fees and help UCCE Fresno County launch a Teen Teaching Academy with entrepreneurial high school students from Valley STEM.

Last year, Mary Ciricillo, California 4-H Foundation director, secured a $73,000 gift from the Newhall Family Foundation for 4-H Diversity initiatives, including $36,500 for Santa Barbara, Merced and Fresno counties. In order to receive the $36,500 match, UCCE had to raise funds as well as deliver the program. 

“All three counties did it!” said Lorna Krkich, Development Services director.

4-H in Santa Barbara County used the Newhall Foundation funds outreach to more children in low-income families and Latino youth in Santa Maria Valley.

4-H advisor Russ Hill in Merced County, 4-H community educator Alena Pacheco in Fresno County, and Liliana Vega, 4-H community educator in Santa Barbara County, led the successful fundraising efforts in their respective counties.

“I shared the FY19 fundraising report with the executive director of the Newhall Foundation illustrating how much each county 4-H program garnered in private support since July 1, 2018,”Ciricillo said. “I am happy to share that he was very pleased and impressed by Russ, Alena and Liliana's efforts.”

With support from the Newhall Foundation, 4-H was able to offer fee waivers, leadership conference scholarships and reduced participation fees for Merced County youth.
Posted on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 5:01 PM

UC ANR to launch fourth annual #GivingTuesday campaign Nov. 27

On Nov. 27, ANR is once again participating in #GivingTuesday—a 24-hour global giving challenge—a movement about ordinary people coming together to do extraordinary things. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season. For ANR, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to raise funds for UC Cooperative Extension county programs, research and extension centers and statewide programs. To help Californians recover from recent wildfires, adapt to climate change and escape persistent pockets of poverty, the needs in the coming year will be great, and year-end giving is an opportunity for donors to assist.

“UC Cooperative Extension professionals have a deep passion for their work and a dedication to the communities they serve. While most deliver their research and programs quietly every day, it is especially incredible to witness their response to disaster; for example, recent wildfires saw local UCCE offices responding immediately with vital information for coping with the fires, care for livestock and pets, as well as service in food banks and other volunteer needs,” said VP Glenda Humiston.

UC Cooperative Extension staff and 4-H members took care of evacuated farm animals at the fairgrounds, and in Siskiyou County, partnered with local agencies to create and distribute Pet Emergency Evacuation Plan pamphlets.

“Giving Tuesday gives us an opportunity to talk about our research and outreach to enhance food systems and create thriving communities, as well as all the other positive things everyone in ANR is doing to make life better for Californians,” Humiston said.

For UC ANR stakeholders, #GivingTuesday presents an opportunity to support the many programs and services that strengthen California communities each day and more importantly, during times of crisis. Last year, over $76,000 was raised on #GivingTuesday to support UC ANR programs including the 4-H Youth Development Program and UC Master Gardener Program.

“As residents of California, we're all each other's neighbors—we lend a helping hand, we share information, we care about our community. That's what our #GivingTuesday #NeighborCA campaign is all about.” said Emily Delk, director of annual giving for UC ANR.

“This year, I'm excited to share that we will have two match challenge funds. One supporting the California 4-H Foundation and one for all UC ANR.” said Delk.

A website is up with links to all of ANR's programs, Research and Extension Centers and UCCE offices: ucanr.edu/givingtuesday. It invites donors to designate programs or locations to which they wish to donate.

The website contains a toolkit for county offices and programs to participate. It includes:

  • Sample tweets and social media posts
  • Custom images to include in social posts
  • Templates for “unselfies.” Donors may take photos of themselves holding an unselfie sign and share on social media how they are giving.

The UC Master Gardener Giving Tuesday website is at http://mg.ucanr.edu/givingtuesday.  

The 4-H Youth Development Program also has its own website at http://4h.ucanr.edu/GivingTuesday.

Although not as well-known as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people who are swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year. 

This year Development Services has set a goal of collecting a total of $100,000 for 4-H and UC ANR from 300 or more donors on #GivingTuesday. Last year UC ANR and 4-H received nearly 300 gifts.

“The #GivingTuesday #NeighborCA campaign is a fun way for people in all ANR programs to give to the programs most important to them,” said Delk.

Posted on Friday, November 2, 2018 at 5:43 PM

Cybersecurity and UCPath to change the way ANR does business

When ANR joins UCPath in the spring, it will introduce new technology that will ultimately unify and standardize payroll, benefits and human resources systems for all UC employees. As we adopt new technology to modernize ANR business systems, we are strengthening our online security measures.

In a recent webinar to prepare ANR office managers and others for the transition to UCPath in the spring, John Fox, Human Resources executive director, brought in Dave Krause, manager of web development and applications programming, to discuss multi-factor authentication to access online systems, and Emily LaRue, associate director of the Business Operations Center, to discuss the impact of UCPath on the Business Operations Center.

Multi-factor authentication

To use an online system that is operated by UC Davis for ANR, such as the time reporting system, KFS, Aggie Buy or AggieTravel, an ANR employee logs into a form. Historically, once your credentials are “authenticated” against a database hosted by UC Davis, you are redirected to the system and off you go. Another step is being added to protect the system from hackers. A tool called “Duo” will ask you for a second form of authentication.

“Duo seamlessly adds this second form of authentication right in the login form,” Krause said. “For this example, I have preset Duo to send the second authentication to my phone as a 'push notification' (a mobile phone alert that appears onscreen while the phone is still in locked mode). Duo will also happily call you or send you a code to use instead.” 

Once the user clicks “approve,” the website immediately accepts the second authentication and opens the site.

Mobile phones, tablets and Apple watches are among the devices supported by Duo. “It doesn't take up much space on your device,” Krause said.

For employees who don't have mobile devices for authentication, physical tokens that connect directly to your computers will be available. Currently, only mobile devices are eligible for enrollment. More information about tokens will be available soon.

If you lose or forget your device or token, UC Davis IET Express help desk can send you a temporary access code.

UC ANR will be rolling out Duo for its identity management system next year. Volunteers, affiliates and collaborators will have unchanged access.

“We are now inviting all UC ANR employees who use UC Davis systems to enroll in Duo via a smartphone or tablet,” Krause said. “Be sure you use a device that is with you when you work!”

For details on Duo enrollment and setting it up, go to http://ucanr.edu/mfa.

Impact of UCPath on Business Operations Center

Becoming its own business unit with UCPath will increase ANR's visibility as equivalent to the 10 campuses and change its business relationship with UC Davis. In addition, ANR's responsibility for compliance and accountability will take on even greater importance. Implementation of UCPath will create some changes to ANR's Business Operations Center, including the location of ANR's UCPath payroll team, work assignments and responsibilities, and systems and processes.

“For the first several weeks, everything will seem different!” LaRue said.

Personnel action entry functions for new hires, terminations and pay changes will be performed by ANR HR or the UCPath Central Team. A single ANR BOC Payroll unit composed of a payroll manager and three staff members will be located in Davis. The BOC will be responsible for audits and additional reporting and there will be new terms, different business processes, and different routing of forms and documentation.

LuRue expects the following to remain the same:

  • Payroll (time and leave reporting) processing

          o   Timely submission for all organizational units

          o   Time Reporting System review and corrections as needed

  • Service level

          o   ANR UCPath Hypercare Team – Group devoted to resolution of ANR employee issues

  • Processing of financial transactions

          o   BOC-Kearney – UCCE (Gifts excluded)

          o   BOC-Davis – Statewide programs, Research and Extension Centers and administrative units

For more information about UCPath changes, visit the website at https://ucanr.edu/ucpath.

 

Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 6:38 PM

Names in the News

Jones named UCCE forestry advisor

Michael Jones

Michael Jones joined UCCE on Oct. 1, 2018, as the area forestry advisor in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties. He specializes in forest entomology with a focus on forest health and integrated pest management of invasive and endemic forest pests.

Jones completed a Ph.D. in entomology from State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a B.S. in environmental biology and management from UC Davis.

Prior to joining UCCE, Jones was a graduate student and research project assistant at State University of New York. He developed and maintained research projects on delimitation, management, and biological control of the invasive forest pest emerald ash borer in New York. From 2010 to 2013, Jones was a research associate in the UC Davis Department of Entomology, in collaboration with the US Forest Service, Forest Health Protection in Southern California. He participated in a variety of forest pest research projects involving the detection, evaluation and management of endemic and invasive forest pests. He has been active in leading training activities for land managers and land owners in the field identification and management of forest pests, and training and supervising field crews in the collection of field data. As an undergraduate at UC Davis, he worked on sudden oak death with David Rizzo's lab group in the Department of Plant Pathology.

Based in Ukiah, Jones can be reached at (707) 463-4495 and mjones@ucanr.edu.

Sanchez named UCCE woody biomass specialist

Daniel Sanchez

Daniel Sanchez joined UCCE on Sept. 1, 2018, as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in woody biomass utilization in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC Berkeley. Sanchez is an engineer and energy systems analyst studying the commercialization and deployment of energy technologies that remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Sanchez's work and engagement spans the academic, nongovernmental, and governmental sectors. As an assistant Cooperative Extension specialist, he runs the Carbon Removal Lab, which aims to commercialize sustainable negative emissions technologies, and supports outreach to policymakers and technologists in California and across the United States.

Sanchez earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. in energy and resources at UC Berkeley.  He completed a B.S.E in chemical and biomolecular engineering at University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to joining the faculty of UC Berkeley, Sanchez was a AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow serving in the Office of Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO). He has previously held positions with the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, Green for All, and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Sanchez is located in Mulford Hall and can be reached at (215) 593-4493 (cell) and sanchezd@berkeley.edu. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_L_Sanchez.

Larbi named UCCE ag application engineering specialist

Peter Larbi

Peter Larbi joined ANR on Aug. 13, 2018, as a UCCE area agricultural application engineering specialist at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Prior to joining ANR, Larbi had been an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Systems Technology in the College of Agriculture at Arkansas State University since 2014. He developed an integrated teaching and research program related to agricultural systems technology; developed and managed research in precision agriculture, agricultural machinery systems, remote sensing and sensor technology; and provided service to the university, college, local community and general scientific community. Larbi held a joint appointment in the Division of Agriculture at University of Arkansas.

From 2012 to 2014, Larbi was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems at Washington State University. From 2011 to 2012, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center.

Larbi earned a Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering from University of Florida and a M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in agricultural engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.

Larbi can be reached at (559) 646-6577 and palarbi@ucanr.edu.

Pyle joins Sierra Foothill REC grassland research team

Lysandra Pyle

Lysandra Pyle joined ANR on Aug. 15, 2018, as an assistant project scientist. Working closely with project directors at UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center and Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC), Pyle is leading a multistate research project investigating biotic and abiotic drivers of native grass recruitment on degraded intermountain rangeland and identifying potential management actions that can be used to improve large-scale restoration efforts.

Most of her field work and project development is being done from EOARC, which is in close proximity to the Oregon and California intermountain field sites. 

Pyle completed a Ph.D. in rangeland and wildlife resources from University of Alberta, Canada, and a B.Sc. in biology from University of Regina, Canada.

Prior to joining ANR, Pyle worked on contracts specializing in biodiversity monitoring and rangeland ecology while finishing a Ph.D. in rangeland and wildlife resources at the University of Alberta, conferred in April 2018. From November 2017 to March 2018, Pyle was a vascular plant technician with Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) at the Royal Alberta Museum. There, she identified vascular plants collected by ABMI technicians during the field season and contributed to publications.

Pyle also consulted as a plant community data analyst at Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association from January 2017 to March 2018, where she analyzed plant community data collected from the Aspen Parkland and Assiniboine Delta rangeland ecoregions, identified reference communities, and determined how they transition with disturbances such as grazing.

Her Ph.D. characterized the composition and diversity of grassland seed banks in two main studies: identified the diverse disturbance legacies and management histories of pastures on plant communities, seed banks, soils, and rangeland health, and examined legacy effects of pipelines on seed banks and biological soil crusts in native mixed grass prairie.

Pyle is based in Burns, Ore., and can be reached at (306) 551-1108 and lapyle@ucanr.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @GrasslandNerd.

Caeton named UCCE 4-H advisor

Nathaniel Caeton

Nathaniel Caeton was promoted to 4-H youth development advisor for Shasta, Tehama and Trinity counties on Aug. 1, 2018. 

Prior to accepting his current position as 4-H youth development advisor, Caeton had served as the 4-H community education specialist since 2013. He was responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the 4-H Youth Development Program in Shasta and Trinity counties.  During that time, he worked diligently to strengthen existing program relationships, while developing new relationships through outreach and collaboration. His master's work at CSU Monterey Bay combined multiple disciplines and built knowledge in the areas of learning theory, instructional design, instructional technology, interactive multimedia, assessment and evaluation. This enabled Caeton to plan, design, develop, implement and evaluate instructional programs. This work culminated in the creation of an electronic portfolio and capstone project, which involved the design and development of a one-hour e-learning module on diversity awareness for adult volunteers. He also actively volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America and the Civil Air Patrol.

Caeton earned an M.S. in instructional science and technology from CSU Monterey Bay and a B.A. in social sciences from CSU Chico.

Based in Redding, Caeton can be reached at (530) 224-4900 and nwcaeton@ucanr.edu.

Mahacek inducted into National 4-H Hall of Fame

Richard Mahacek
Richard Mahacek, UC Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development advisor in Merced County from 1976 to 2012, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame on Oct. 19 for his lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H.

Mahacek was one of 15 people inducted during the ceremony at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

“We are proud to recognize the 2018 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision and leadership they have shown toward young people during their many years of service to 4-H,” said Jeannette Rea Keywood, National 4-H Hall of Fame Committee chair.

Mahacek joined a 4-H Club in Sonoma County when he was 10. During his 35-year 4-H career, Mahacek placed an emphasis on mechanical sciences and engineering projects. His work included development of curricula and activities in science processes, robotics, computers, GIS/GPS, bio-security and environmental issues, such as watersheds and wildlife habitats.

In 1988, Mahacek was a member of the team that developed the 4-H SERIES (Science Experiences and Resources for Informal Educational Settings) curriculum, which was funded by the National Science Foundation and Kellogg. SERIES was the first comprehensive pragmatic science education curriculum to join 4-H's traditional projects. In 2004, Mahacek served on the national leadership team for 4-H SET (Science, Engineering and Technology), a program that succeeded SERIES. Now known as STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math), the project aims to enhance young people's interest in developing the knowledge and skills needed for the 21st century's technically oriented careers.

The crowning achievement of his career was the development of the 4-H Junk Drawer Robotics curriculum in 2011. The curriculum shows how to engage children in building robotic devices with rubber bands, Popsicle sticks, medicine dispensers and bamboo skewers – the kinds of things people already have around the house. The robotics program develops skills that go beyond science and engineering. The children learn communications, teamwork and critical thinking.

Junk drawer robotics is one part of a three-track robotics curriculum. The other tracks are virtual robotics, in which participants build virtual robots on computers, and robotics platforms, which employs commercial robot building kits for materials. The package of robotics programs was the No. 1 selling 4-H curriculum in the nation in 2011. Mahacek was also a driving force in the community in founding the UC Merced Engineering Service Learning Program Castle Science and Technology Center. This facility used a former US Air Force facility to provide hands-on science experiences to the youth of the county.

Mahacek received many honors for his contributions to 4-H and UC Cooperative Extension. In 1988, he received distinguished service awards from the state and national 4-H associations. The Merced County Farm City Ag Business Committee presented him its Agri-Education Award in 1992. Mahacek received the “Hands-On Heroes Award” at the Merced County Children's Summit.

Mahacek said the 4-H program has evolved during his tenure, but it has not changed its core objectives.

“We went from being a predominantly ag program to including many other topics. Our members used to live in just rural settings, but now they come from the suburbs and urban neighborhoods,” Mahacek said. “But we're still promoting the concept of working together and gaining confidence by learning practical skills.”

The National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents or 4-H National Headquarters/National Institute of Food and Agriculture based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.

Wilen recognized for contributions to nursery industry

Cheryl Wilen, left, receives award from Loren Oki.

Cheryl Wilen, area IPM advisor based in San Diego County, was presented the Research Award by the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC) for her contributions to the nursery industry at the CANGC Convention in San Diego on Oct. 10, 2018. 

“This award acknowledges Dr. Wilen's many significant contributions over her career that have benefited the California nursery and landscape industry,” said Loren Oki, UCCE environmental horticulture specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis and co-director of UC's Nursery & Floriculture Alliance, who presented the award to Wilen.

Wilen specializes in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for ornamental plant production and maintenance in nurseries, greenhouses, field production, floriculture, turf and landscape, which has resulted in the use of pesticides in a more prescriptive manner and the development of alternative strategies to more efficiently control pests of ornamental plants. Although her primary research focus is the management of weeds, snails and slugs, her other areas of research include the Asian citrus psyllid, disease management in floricultural crops, nematode management in tomatoes, invertebrate pest management in nurseries, vertebrate pest management, mitigating pesticide contamination in surface water runoff, and soil solarization. 

Wilen also recently received the UC ANR Distinguished Service Award for leadership. She has served ANR as the acting and interim director of the Statewide UC IPM Program, leader of the Endemic and Invasive Pest and Disease Strategic Initiative, member of Program Council, organizer of the Pest Management Coordination Conference, chair of several UC ANR search committees, and chair and member of the South Coast Research and Extension Center Research Advisory Committee. 

Her current and previous professional service includes chair of the Basic Science Section Western Society of Weed Science, chair of Teaching and Technology Transfer Section Weed Science Society of America, chair or co-chair of meetings of professional organizations including the California Weed Science Society, and has served or is currently serving as a member of various committees of the Weed Science Society of America, Southern California Chapter of the California Association of Pest Control Advisers, Steering Committee of the 2015 International IPM Symposium, and the CANGC Research Advisory Committee.

The CANGC Research Award recipient is selected by their peers and colleagues from industry and academic community.

4-H teams bring home NAE4-HA awards

4-H staff from left, Dagmar Derrickson, Tamekia Wilkins, Marianne Bird, Claudia Diaz Carrasco, Charles Go, Lilliana Vega and Keith Nathaniel.

Katherine Soule, UC Cooperative Extension director and youth, families and communities advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and community educators Janelle Hansen, Andrea Hollister, Laura Pena, Dagmar Derickson, Shannon Klisch, Melissa LaFreniere, Yezenia Romero, Yudilia Tomsen, Miguel Diaz, Betsy Plascencia, JaNessa Willis and Lisa Paniagua won the Excellence in Healthy Living Programming Award for the Western Region. The team also won the NAE4-HA Excellence in Healthy Living Programming for California. The Excellence in Healthy Living Programming Award recognizes outstanding efforts and impacts of NAE4-HA members in healthy living programming, evaluation, and/or research projects.

JoLynn Miller, UC Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development advisor for the Central Sierra, won Excellence in 4-H Volunteerism Award for the North Central Region. Miller was part of a team with members from the North Central Region that created the National 4-H Volunteer E-Forum.

At the state level, Kendra Lewis, academic coordinator; Sheila Bakke, 4-H program representative in Solano County; Gloria Gonzalez, 4-H SET program representative, Valerie Williams, 4-H program representative, and Shannon Horrillo, statewide 4-H Youth Development Program director, won the 4-H Military Partnership Award

The purpose of the 4-H Military Partnership Award is to recognize the individual or team who has created a positive Extension image through his/her/their leadership and citizenship as it relates to the development of the 4-H Military Partnerships on U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and/or U.S. Navy installations and in the community as it pertains to Reserve Component service members and families.

John Borba, 4-H youth development advisor for Kern County, was honored with the 25 Years of Service Award, Steven Worker, 4-H youth development advisor for Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties received the Meritorious Service Award for service in 4-H programs for 15+ years. Charles Go, UC Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development advisor for Alameda and Contra Costa counties, received the Distinguished Service Award for more than 7 years of service. Go also has begun serving as western regional director on the NAE4-HA Board. Soule received the Achievement in Service Award for 3 to 6 years of service in 4-H programs.

They received the awards Oct. 10 at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Verdegaal inducted to San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall of Fame

Paul Verdegaal, left, is presented with Ag Hall of Fame award by Stockton Chamber of Commerce Special Events Director/Leadership Stockton Director Timm Quinn.

Paul Verdegaal, who retired after serving more than 30 years as UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor in San Joaquin County, was inducted into the San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall of Fame on Oct. 18. Donald Rough, who was a UCCE pomology advisor, will be inducted posthumously.

“Verdegaal helped remove the stigma that Lodi could not grow premium wine grapes through exhaustive research, leadership and work with growers,” wrote Bob Highfill, marketing and communications manager for the Lodi Winegrape Commission, in the Stockton Record.

“During Verdegaal's tenure as farm advisor, the grape and wine industry in San Joaquin County flourished. Thirty years ago, there were 43,370 acres of grapes cultivated in San Joaquin County. In 2017, there were close to 100,000 acres. In 1986, Lodi was first recognized as an American Viticulture Area, but many, including the University, still felt that premium wine varietals could not be grown commercially in the Valley. Verdegaal worked hard to change that stigma.”

Kabashima honored with Urban Tree Legacy Award

John Kabashima, right, receives Urban Tree Legacy Award.
John Kabashima, UCCE environmental horticulture advisor emeritus, received the Urban Tree Legacy Award by the California Urban Forests Council and the San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council at a ceremony in San Diego on Oct. 26.

Kabashima's varied research and extension programs have included the management of insects, diseases, and biological control of exotic and invasive pests. 

Kabashima, who retired in 2015 after 28 years of serving the nursery and landscape industry and homeowners in Orange and Los Angeles counties, continues to lead the battle against invasive shot hole borer pests that spread fusarium dieback, threatening trees in Southern California. On Oct. 3, Kabashima gave a presentation at an urban forest summit for public agencies, reviewing current pest concerns relating to trees for San Diego County and what the county needs to do to defend against future invasions.

He has provided testimony for the California Legislature to fund further research into these destructive pests. In January, Kabashima was instrumental in bringing together university scientists, federal and state government representatives, county agricultural commissioners and nonprofit organization leaders for a summit in the state capitol to coordinate their efforts to battle invasive pests.

Kabashima received his bachelor's degree in agricultural biology from Cal Poly Pomona, master's degree in pest management from UC Riverside, an MBA from Pepperdine University and a doctorate in Entomology from UC Riverside.  In 2014, he was inducted into the Green Industry Hall of Fame, and in 2016 he received the Arboriculture Research Award from the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.

Read more

 
E-mail
 
Webmaster Email: jewarnert@ucanr.edu