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Posts Tagged: Ryan Tompkins

Names in the News

Solins joins UC ANR as new environmental horticulture advisor 

Joanna Solins

Joanna Solins joined UC ANR on Oct. 3 as a UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties.

Solins will focus on research and outreach related to urban plants, landscaping and climate change, while building relationships with county and municipal governments, nonprofits, landscape and tree care professionals, nursery growers and utilities, among others. She also will support the UC Master Gardener coordinators in her assigned counties, collaborating to extend knowledge and resources to community members.

“My core goals are to improve the climate suitability and ecological performance of urban landscaping and promote the equitable distribution of benefits from urban plants,” Solins said.

After attaining a bachelor's degree in environmental studies at Vassar College, Solins began her career leading outreach education programs for the New England Aquarium and writing for educational publishers. She also worked in communications at the Coral Reef Alliance in San Francisco before starting graduate school at UC Davis, which culminated in a master's in geography and Ph.D. in ecology.

Solins' research at UC Davis combined field studies and geographic information system analysis to investigate plant communities, tree canopy and soils along urban creeks in the Sacramento area. She also carried out postdoctoral research on green stormwater infrastructure, urban forest composition, and the water demand of urban vegetation across California, and contributed to projects examining residential landscaping and urban heat in Sacramento.

Solins is based in Sacramento and can be reached at jsolins@ucanr.edu or (916) 875-2409.

Mar named UCCE organic materials management advisor 

Stephanie Mar

Stephanie Mar joined UC Cooperative Extension on Oct. 3 as the assistant organic materials management advisor serving Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. Mar is responsible for investigating ways to divert organic wastes from landfills to alternative end markets, such as circular food economies, composting and wastewater reclamation.

“To me, waste doesn't have an end life, just a next life,” said Mar. “A lot of people don't know what happens to their waste after the garbage truck comes or they flush a toilet, so a part of my job is to understand what we are wasting and what happens to it.”

Mar attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a master's degree in public health focused on environmental science and engineering, and a master's degree in city and regional planning focused on land use and environmental planning. She also has a bachelor's degree in public health from UC Berkeley.

Much of Mar's professional experience, like her time working for the City of Berkeley, is centered on community outreach and policy development, two strengths that she believes will serve her well in this new role.

Previously, Mar worked as a public health analyst for UC San Francisco and as a social research analyst with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services too. Both of which strengthened her understanding of policy and program development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

“Research gives us a lot of information, but then there's a need for translation from what we know to what it actually means,” she said. “There are a lot of people doing different things [to manage their waste], so there's a need for coordination and dispersal of information." 

Mar's background in policy development is something she'll rely on to operationalize the research being done by herself and her colleagues.

Behavioral change is one of Mar's anticipated challenges in this role. Even if research and policy efforts yield successful results, encouraging the community to adapt can be an uphill battle. 

“Sorting trash, for example, is more of a mental burden than a physical one,” she explained. “We know what the research says and what we need to do, it's just about developing the market to make it happen.”

Mar is based out of Irvine at the South Coast Research and Extension Center and can be reached at samar@ucanr.edu.

Dobbin named UCCE water justice policy and planning specialist 

Kristin Dobbin

Kristin Dobbin has joined UC ANR and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist focused on water justice policy and planning. 

Originally from Utah, Dobbin comes to Rausser College from UC Los Angeles' Luskin Center for Innovation, where she was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow. Dobbin pairs her love for rural communities, community natural resource management and environmental justice organizing with a strong belief that research can and should play an important role in advancing policy. She hopes to leverage her new position, the first of its kind for UC, to uplift community water managers and impacted residents as leaders and experts in conversations surrounding water management and access.

“It's a dream and a responsibility to be assuming a role that so perfectly weds research and impact,” Dobbin tweeted about her new UC Cooperative Extension water justice policy and planning specialist role.

Dobbin earned her Ph.D. in ecology with an emphasis in environmental policy and human ecology from UC Davis and B.A. in environmental analysis from Pitzer College in Claremont. Prior to graduate school, she worked for the Community Water Center – a grassroots environmental justice organization that advances community-driven solutions for water justice in the Central Valley. 

Dobbin is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at kbdobbin@berkeley.edu and on Twitter @kbdobbin.

Shive named UCCE forest and fuels management specialist 

Kristen Shive

Kristen Shive has joined UC ANR and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist focused on forest and fuels management.

Bringing more than 20 years of experience in conservation, forest and fire management, and ecology, her work broadly focuses on restoring fire to fire-adapted ecosystems, prioritizing areas for restoration, and understanding shifting fire regimes. Prior to joining UC ANR, Shive led the forest program science team for The Nature Conservancy's California Chapter and was the director of science for Save the Redwoods League. She also has worked for the National Park Service in Alaska, California and Wyoming, most recently as the fire ecologist for Yosemite National Park.

She earned her master's degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D. in ecosystem science from UC Berkeley. 

Shive is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at kshive@berkeley.edu and (630) 917-5170 and on Twitter @klshive.

Bacon joins NPI as policy analyst 

Kassandra Bacon

Kassandra Bacon joined the Nutrition Policy Institute on Oct. 12 as a project policy analyst.

Bacon earned her Master's in Public Health with a concentration in public health nutrition and Graduate Certificate in Food Systems at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and B.S. in nutritional sciences from the University of New Hampshire, Durham. 

During her academic journey, she contributed to several research projects pertaining to sustainable food systems, program evaluation, and improvement of public nutrition policy. Additionally, her experience includes program coordination and evaluation, data analysis, and development of communication materials to advance equity-based public health solutions.

At NPI, Bacon will continue to support public health nutrition through policy and program evaluation. She will work on projects related to nutrition and increasing consumption of drinking water and in childcare and universal school meals. 

Bacon is based at UC Office of the President in Oakland and can be reached at kabacon@ucanr.edu.

Rodriguez joins 4-H as advisor in Northern California 

Matt Rodriguez

Matt Rodriguez joined UC Cooperative Extension on Sept. 5 as a 4-H youth development advisor for Nevada, Placer, Sutter and Yuba counties. As a 4-H advisor, Rodriguez implements extension education and applied research programs grounded in positive youth development theory. He also provides expertise to enhance volunteer engagement in 4-H youth development programs.

Rodriguez earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland's School of Public Health in the Department of Family Science. His dissertation, “Influence of Latinx Fathers' Behaviors, Cognitions, Affect, and Family Congruence on Youth Energy Balance-Related Health Outcomes,” investigated Latinx father involvement in the context of youth energy balance-related behaviors. During his doctoral training, Rodriguez also supported several USDA-funded research initiatives involving Latinx fathers and youth. His recent publication, "Predictors Associated with Fathers' Successful Completion of the FOCUS Program,” investigated a sample of fathers in Texas who participated in a child welfare parenting intervention.

Rodriguez currently co-chairs the Men in Families focus group at the National Council on Family Relations. He was also recently elected as Section Counselor for the American Public Health Association's Health Informatics Information Technology section.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Rodriguez was a professional web developer for several large nonprofits in the Midwest. Growing up in a multicultural family with ancestry deriving from Puerto Rico, Japan, Nigeria and England, he embraces the importance of cultural diversity and competency in his family science research.

Rodriguez is based in Auburn and can be reached at (530) 889-7391 and mrro@ucanr.edu and on social media @MattR_Rodriguez. 

Martinico named human-wildlife interactions advisor 

Breanna Martinico

Breanna Martinico joined UC Cooperative Extension as a Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor on July 5. She will work on issues that involve wildlife as agricultural pests and beneficial species. She will be conducting a needs assessment to learn about priority issues in Napa, Lake and Solano counties.  

Martinico is a wildlife biologist and ecologist, specializing in ornithology. Her past research addressed the role of birds on farms as pests and pest control agents. She has worked on projects investigating the important role farmland plays as habitat for California birds. In other work with the USDA Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, she investigated the implications of agricultural land-use and pest management practices on raptor ecology and conservation.

Martinico is a UC Davis graduate with a B.S. in wildlife fish and conservation biology, MS in avian sciences, and has nearly completed her Ph.D. in ecology.  

Martinico is compelled by the co-existence and mutual benefits of humans and wildlife in agroecosystems and is committed to working to find solutions that benefit both people and wildlife. She is excited to be part of UC ANR where she can develop a research and extension program that has the power to increase knowledge and adoption of management practices that promote ecological sustainability and increase farm viability in California.

Martinico is based in Napa and can be reached at bmartinico@ucanr.edu or (707) 253-4141.

Forest Stewardship Education Initiative wins award

Forest workshop participants. Evaluators praised the forestry team for following up with participants to determine impacts.

UC ANR's Forest Stewardship Education Initiative received the national Family Forest Education Comprehensive Program Award from the National Woodland Owners Association and the National Association of University Forest Resources Programs.

The award is shared by the UC ANR forestry team which includes co-principal investigators: Susie Kocher, UCCE forest and natural resources advisor for the Central Sierra; Mike Jones, forestry advisor for Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties; and Kim Ingram, Forest Stewardship Education Initiative academic coordinator. 

Other UC ANR forestry team members include Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties; Ricky Satomi, forestry and natural resources advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Placer, Nevada and Butte counties; Ryan Tompkins, UCCE forest and natural resources advisor for Plumas, Sierra and Lassen counties; Rob York, UCCE specialist and co-director of Berkeley Forests; Bill Stewart, UCCE specialist emeritus; Rachelle Hedges, Berkeley Forests project and policy analyst; and Ariel Roughton, Berkeley Forests research stations manager. 

The initiative – developed in 2019 as a project through input by the Forest Landowner Education and Outreach Working Group of the California Governor's Forest Management Task Force – is focused on educating private forest landowners to better understand, manage and protect their forests by developing a forest management plan, engaging with natural resource professionals, and taking advantage of cost-share opportunities that can help them meet their management goals.

The program was implemented using three-day forest stewardship workshops prior to COVID-19 and an educational construct involving self-study in advance of online sessions with resource educators during the pandemic. 

Currently the program involves nine weekly online sessions and one in-person field day. Completion of the workshop series entitles participants to an initial site visit by a resource professional. To date, 335 individuals attended, with 98% indicating improvement in the understanding of forest management planning, 89% planning to consult with a professional, and through May 2022, 49 participants have had site visits from professionals using the program's $800 stipend that supported the visit.

Evaluators felt that the sessions reflected “Excellent submission and programming,” and that it was “Highly complementary that personnel follow-up with participants AFTER the program to determine impacts cited.” Some were also impressed when recognizing the narrative that program managers would like to reach more private landowners about participating in the program using a benefit/barrier assessment.

One evaluator commented, “This is a very high-quality program. It easily rates very high in each of the criteria categories. The nomination package was thorough and it is evident that those involved in the development and delivery of these workshops are knowledgeable and passionate about landowner and professional education. Kudos to California!”

“Our funder CAL FIRE was so pleased with the program that they funded an expansion starting in 2022, which includes additional field days for people not in the workshops, and additional outreach to broad audiences across the state,” Kocher said. “We have funding for two community education specialists and a communications person, which are under recruitment.”

The award was presented on Sept. 22 at the 2022 Society of American Foresters national convention in Baltimore, Maryland.

Roche and multi-state team win NIFA Partnership Award 

Leslie Roche

Leslie Roche, UCCE rangeland management specialist, received on Oct. 6 the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Partnership Award for Multi-State Efforts on behalf of the National Connections Team for Forest and Rangeland Resources.

The certificate reads, “NIFA recognizes the National Connections Team for Forest and Rangeland Resources, based at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, for developing a webinar series around Renewable Resources and Extension Act critical issues. The team's goal for the webinar series was to strengthen RREA programming by increasing renewable resource Extension and outreach professionals' capacity to provide scientific and technologically relevant content. It showcased innovative programming developed by forest and range professionals from Land-grant universities across the nation. Evaluations showed the series had both national and global appeal. Additionally, the webinar series were influential with participants indicating that they had learned ways to enhance their own programming.”

The multi-state team was led by Mark Thorne (University of Hawaii-Manoa) and Barb Hutchinson (Rangelands Partnership/University of Arizona) and includes Kris Tiles (University of Wisconsin), Retta Bruegger (Colorado State University), Adam Downing (Virginia Tech), Sheila Merrigan (Rangelands Partnership/University of  Arizona), Martha Monroe (University of Florida), Dave Bogner (University of Arizona), Elise Gornish ( University of Arizona), and Roche.

The web-based conference series can be viewed at https://globalrangelands.org/rreasp/webinars.

4-H receives national recognition

From left, Stephanie Barrett, JoLynn Miller and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty.

At the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals annual conference, UCANR 4-H was recognized. Fe Moncloa, 4-H advisor for Santa Clara County; Martin Smith, UCCE specialist; Charles Go, former 4-H advisor for Contra Costa County; and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, statewide 4-H Youth Development director and interim director of County Cooperative Extension, received awards for 25 years of service to the organization. JoLynn Miller, 4-H youth development advisor, received the distinguished service award for 7 to 15 years of service to NAE4-HYDP. Stephanie Barrett, 4-H community education supervisor for Southern California, received an achievement-is-service award for serving 3 to 7 years.

 

 

Posted on Friday, October 28, 2022 at 10:49 PM

UC asks Congress to fund agricultural research and infrastructure

Jim Costa and Glenda Humiston met while Humiston was in Washington D.C. to testify before the House Committee on Agriculture for the 2022 Farm Bill review.

UC Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources Glenda Humiston led a delegation from California to meet with congressional members and staff on March 6-11 to discuss specific benefits of UC ANR in their districts and the importance of strong federal funding to support programs, including Cooperative Extension, 4-H youth development, nutrition education, and the research and extension centers.

The California delegation was part of the Association for Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET), which held their annual meeting and (virtually) visited Capitol Hill for the 40th year to jointly request agricultural appropriations that support the land-grant mission.

The UC delegation met with staff from 27 congressional offices via Zoom to discuss the many critical agriculture needs facing California and the nation. They explained how UC is at the forefront of conducting research to understand and solve problems facing the agricultural industry and encouraged Congress to provide the highest possible funding levels in FY 2022 and FY 2023.

“This year, our request included something new – $365 million for agricultural research infrastructure,” said Anne Megaro, UC ANR director of government and community relations. “We have been working with Congress to include significant infrastructure funding in President Biden's Build Back Better legislation, and we are continuing to make this request through annual appropriations.”

Bringing UC's facilities up to modern standards with necessities such as high-speed broadband would provide capacity for cutting-edge research such as precision agriculture, remote sensing and growing space for CRISPR-based research. It would also ensure that U.S. research can continue to meet the agricultural and natural resource needs of the nation.

Humiston was joined by emeritus UCCE advisor Bill Frost, rancher Dina Moore, nurseryman Mike Mellano, Ish Herrera of California Forward, and Alejandra Sanchez of Driscoll's who shared how UC ANR research and outreach have improved their businesses, lives and communities.

“Our local UCCE advisors have given so much to our communities up and down the state; this is just one way I like to give back in support of their efforts. Congress needs to know how valuable ag research and education is, and how much we trust and depend on UC,” said Herrera, California Forward director of regional stewardship.

Rounding out the group were several UC ANR leaders, including deans David Ackerly, Helene Dillard and Kathryn Uhrich.

Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener Program director; Ryan Tompkins, UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor for Plumas and Sierra counties; and Jairo Diaz, director of Desert Research and Extension Center shared examples of their work throughout the state to adapt to living with wildfire, climate change and drought, and to improve Californians' health and wellness.

“As an extension forester, wildfire not only drives our applied research, but also affects the communities we live in and serve,” said Tompkins. “CARET provides opportunities to share real-life experiences of how federal funding supports UC forest and wildfire research, outreach, and education that have meaningful benefit for communities throughout California.”

Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 3:39 PM

Legislative staff attend virtual wildfire tour

UC ANR hosted a wildfire virtual tour for state legislators, legislative staff and agency officials Nov. 16.

UC ANR hosted a wildfire virtual tour for state legislators, legislative staff and agency officials Nov. 16. Vice President Glenda Humiston introduced the UC Cooperative Extension advisors, a program coordinator and a Master Gardener volunteer who shared real-world examples of how UC research and tools are helping Californians prepare for and mitigate wildfires in their homes, communities, and wildlands.

Fourteen legislative and agency staff members joined the virtual morning tour across California's landscapes.

Ryan Tompkins, UC Cooperative Extension forest and natural resources advisor, discussed his forest management research and shared photos of live fires – some taken from his own front yard this year. Andy Lyons, Informatics and GIS program coordinator, showed them tools such as drone imagery and mapping that can be used in real time to fight fires. 

Clio Tarazi, UC Master Gardener volunteer and retired urban planner who helped UC ANR pioneer defensible space training and Firewise Landscaping in Sonoma County, described how UC Master Gardeners worked one on one with residents, helping them reduce fire risk around their homes and neighborhoods.

Lenya Quinn-Davidson discussed her work with prescribed fire.

Lenya Quinn-Davison, UCCE fire advisor, discussed her work with prescribed fire, training women and people from other underrepresented groups in fire careers (WTREX), and bringing together non-traditional partners to build capacity to improve fire resiliency. 

“Inviting legislators and their staff to witness the work we do hand-in-hand with their constituents is critical to making informed policy,” said Humiston. “Wildfire resiliency is of utmost importance, and UC has the tools and expertise to build California's capacity to prevent and reduce the damage from catastrophic wildfires. No matter where you live in California, wildfire affects all of us.” 

For guests who expressed interest in seeing a live prescribed burn, Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, is arranging visits.

Posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 10:15 AM
  • Author: Anne Megaro

Names in the News

Richards named ag land acquisitions academic coordinator

Chandra Richards

Chandra Mercedes Richards joined UC Cooperative Extension as agricultural land acquisitions academic coordinator II for San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside counties on May 10.

As an agricultural lands acquisition academic coordinator II, Richards aims to better support San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego counties through the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) grant program. 

“More specifically, I will be identifying and addressing regional barriers to land use planning, connecting producers with ANR services and climate-smart technical assistance providers, supporting grant applications and agricultural assessments, and ultimately protecting agricultural systems in perpetuity,” she said.

The East Coast native has lived in California for 11 years and is rooted in San Diego. Prior to joining UC ANR, Richards was a conservation ecologist at the greater San Diego Resource Conservation District, where she led the agriculture, forest health, and habitat restoration programs and supported climate-smart agriculture through planning, education, and technical assistance. She also was a key grant writer and project implementation leader.

She earned a Ph.D. in soil biogeochemistry from UC Berkeley and double B.S. degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Pennsylvania State University.

Richards is based in San Diego and can be reached at cmrichards@ucanr.edu.

Bayless named Master Gardener Program coordinator

Aliya Bayless

Aliya Bayless has been named the UC Master Gardener Program coordinator for Tulare and Kings counties. She joined the UC Master Gardener Program in 2016 when she decided to start her own garden and, in her words, “didn't know anything about gardening.”

Bayless is originally from Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, located along the Caspian Sea, but has been a resident of Visalia since 2006. Although she grew up in the city, she learned to love plants (mostly house plants) from family members including her grandmother, father and aunt. When she was an adult, her dad finally bought a piece of land that he had dreamt of for many years. It was on this new property that he started his own garden with a lot of fruit trees and berries. Bayless helped him as much as she could, but like many gardeners, her main job was pulling weeds.

“Since then, I've learned a lot about gardening, met amazing people and enjoyed every minute of volunteering. I'm very excited to start my new journey as a program coordinator and hope that I will be able to help with the program and future projects,” she said. 

Bayless is based in Tulare and can be reached at ambayless@ucanr.edu. – By Melissa Womack

Lewis selected to deliver ESA Founders' Memorial Lecture

Vernard Lewis, left, shown with Andrew Sutherland at Villa Termiti in Richmond

Vernard Lewis, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, has been selected to deliver the Founders' Memorial Lecture at the 2021 annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America, set Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Lewis is a national and international authority on drywood termites and is known for his pioneering research on detection innovations and nonchemical methods of control. A nationally recognized urban entomologist, Lewis's research encompasses a variety of urban pests including ants, bed bugs, cockroaches and wood-boring beetles. He has authored and co-authored more than 150 refereed and trade magazine articles and book chapters on termites and household insect pests. 

The Founders' Memorial Award was established in 1958 to honor the memory of scientists who made outstanding contributions to entomology. On Nov. 2, Lewis will give a presentation on the life and legacy of African-American entomologist and civil rights advocate Margaret Collins.

To read more about Lewis' career, see https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24625 and to learn more about Margaret Collins see Bug Squad https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=47649.

Tompkins recognized for fire safety

Ryan Tompkins shown with walls he built to demonstrate how fire moves on home construction.

The Plumas County Fire Safe Council announced Ryan Tompkins, UC Cooperative Extension forestry and natural resource advisor, as one of two new recipients in its Fire Safe Recognition Program on May 13.

Mike Flanigan of Flanigan-Leavitt Insurance nominated Tompkins for the award for playing a significant role in improving the community's fire safety and emergency preparedness.

“Ryan Tompkins has been a huge part of the progress made with the Quincy Firewise USA initiative,” Flanigan said in his nomination letter. “He is currently the UC Cooperative Extension Forester for Plumas, Sierra, and Lassen counties where his research focuses on forest restoration and post-fire restoration. He successfully received certification in his own neighborhood – Galleppi Ranch. He is thorough and keeps the committee focused. We on the Quincy Firewise Committee are very grateful for Ryan's professional input and support.”

Tompkins started his own firewise community four years ago. “Just my little neighborhood HOA of 36 residences,” Tompkins said, “but when I joined UC ANR, I really felt that I needed to focus on making the entire town of Quincy (over 2,000 residences) a Firewise USA Site to serve all the facets of our community and we did it this May!”

“Also, last December, we helped the Sierra Brooks community outside of Loyalton become the first NFPA Firewise USA Site in Sierra County! I'm now working with Sierra City (another community in Sierra County) on their assessment. I see value in the NFPA Firewise USA site program because it focuses on empowering residents to educate, outreach, and work together as a community in wildfire preparedness. It certainly isn't a panacea, but it's a start and a good way to engage folks.”   

South Coast REC honored as community service partner

A student harvests a carrot grown in a school garden.

Since October 2019, the Saddleback Valley Adult Transition Program and the South Coast Research and Extension Center have been developing a vocational training program for adult transition program students. As a result of this partnership, South Coast REC was recognized as Community Service Partner of the Year.

Starting on April 16, students began assisting with propagating vegetables in the South Coast REC greenhouse, harvesting, postharvest processing, maintaining vegetable crops, pruning, irrigating, and detecting and identifying insects. This unique partnership allows students to learn skills that can be applied in various settings vocationally, at home and on campus. UC Master Gardener volunteers helped them develop a more robust school garden.

“As the community starts to reopen, we look for further integration of the fruits and vegetables produced within our micro businesses for all students,” wrote Principal Raymund Bueche. “This includes the processing of produce and vegetables in the Educafe and Esperanza kitchens for student consumption and the addition of fresh items including smoothies and juices in Hope Café, a student-run coffee cart, and The Cutie Pie Café, a student-run restaurant.”

This project has also been embraced by Orange County Local Partnership Agreement, a group spearheaded by Chapman University to bring together organizations serving special needs and at-risk youth with training and on-the-job experiences as they transition from school to the workforce.

 

 

Posted on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 1:49 PM

Names in the News

Coyne named Master Gardener volunteer engagement coordinator

Marisa Coyne

Marisa Coyne is now the academic coordinator - volunteer engagement for UC Master Gardener Program as of April 8. Coyne joined the Program after serving as a part-time community education specialist for the 4-H Youth Development Program with UCCE Marin County since September 2018.

“Marisa is filling a new full-time position and we are delighted to have her as part of the UC Master Gardener community,” said Missy Gable, director of the UC Master Gardener Program.

Coyne will strengthen and further the work of the Program by enhancing professional development opportunities, collaborating with UC ANR academics to ensure successful volunteer-academic partnerships, and sharing stories of UC Master Gardener volunteers' many accomplishments and successes. She is passionate about creating opportunities for community members to commit to lifelong stewardship of land and water in California.

Originally from Philadelphia, she has worked in rural, urban and peri-urban communities and in food, agriculture and wilderness spaces, providing interdisciplinary, inquiry-based, educational opportunities for learners of all ages. From the California coast to the Driftless Area of Wisconsin to the forests of Connecticut, she has designed and delivered outdoor experiences for thousands of learners, specialized in development of emerging leaders and in promoting inclusive organizational change. Her graduate work at UC Davis in the Community and Regional Development Program focused on issues of equity in sustainable agriculture education. She earned a M.S. in community development from UC Davis and a B.A. in communications from Temple University.

Coyne is located in the ANR building in Davis in workstation 102B and can be reached at macoyne@ucanr.edu or (530) 750-1394. 

Hollingsworth named UCCE nutrient management and soil quality advisor

Joy Hollingsworth

Joy Hollingsworth joined UC Cooperative Extension as a nutrient management and soil quality advisor serving Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties on April 1. She had worked as a staff research associate at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center (KARE) since 2015.

As a staff research associate at KARE, Hollingsworth assisted in the management of drought and variety studies in the field, greenhouse and lab on both forage and grain sorghum. She organized trials, collected growth and development data, coordinated field activities with research station staff, supervised work crews at KARE and WSREC, and operated harvest equipment such as forage chopper and small plot combine. Prior to her work as an SRA at KARE, Hollingsworth was a junior specialist in the UC Davis Plant Science Department, conducting agronomic field trials for canola, camelina, sugarbeets and castor, including variety, salinity, irrigation and nitrogen trials located throughout California.

Hollingsworth earned a M.S. in plant science from Fresno State. Her thesis project was conducted at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center and compared overhead irrigation to subsurface drip in conservation tillage cotton. She earned a B.A. in communication from UC Davis.

Hollingsworth is based in Fresno and can be reached at (559) 241-7527 and joyhollingsworth@ucanr.edu.

Nobua-Behrmann named UCCE urban forestry and natural resources advisor

Beatriz Nobua-Behrmann

Beatriz Nobua-Behrmann is now a UC Cooperative Extension urban forestry and natural resources advisor serving Orange and Los Angeles counties, effective March 25. Nobua-Behrmann first joined ANR in 2017 as a staff research associate in Orange County.

As a staff research associate for UCCE Orange County, Nobua-Behrmann provided management and direction to conduct a significant research and extension program focused on critical invasive pests, mainly insects, impacting urban landscapes and wildlands surrounding urbanized environments. The main focus of the program is to conduct surveys of infestations in regional parks and associated open spaces in order to develop management strategies that are efficacious and economically feasible. She also coordinated research and extension activities conducted by UC Riverside faculty and UCCE specialists on pest-related issues impacting these same environments.

She completed a doctorate and a B.S in biology from Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina and is fluent in Spanish.

Nobua-Behrmann is based at South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine and can be reached at (949) 301-9182, Ext. 1006 and benobua@ucanr.edu

Tompkins named forestry and natural resources advisor

Ryan Tompkins

Ryan Tompkins joined UC Cooperative Extension as a forestry and natural resources advisor on March 18, serving Plumas, Sierra and Lassen counties. Prior to joining UCCE, Tompkins held forester positions for the past 16 years with the U.S. Forest Service, worked in the fire effects program with the National Park Service and served as associate faculty in the Environmental Studies Department at Feather River College teaching forest ecology and management.

Most recently, Tompkins served as the forest silviculturist and vegetation program manager at the Plumas National Forest, where he designed, planned and implemented landscape-scale forest restoration projects.

Tompkins earned master's and bachelor's degrees in forestry from UC Berkeley.

Based in Quincy, Tompkins can be reached at (530) 83-6125, retompkins@ucanr.edu.

Nelson joins ANR as climate stewards initiative academic coordinator

Sarah-Mae Nelson

Sarah-Mae Nelson joined ANR as the UC climate stewards initiative academic coordinator on Feb. 19. She is an educator, science communicator and climate change communication specialist who draws on her background and interest in interpretation at informal science education centers.

Prior to joining ANR, she worked for the Monterey Bay Aquarium from 2006 to 2017 in various roles, including guest experience interpreter, climate change interpretive specialist, and conservation interpreter and online community manager for ClimateInterpreter.org. A charter member of the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change and Interpretation, Nelson is part of the leadership team that trains new communicators in research-proven, climate change strategic framing communications. For her master's work, she established curriculum for an interdisciplinary Climate Change Studies minor at UC San Diego. In 2015, she was recognized by President Obama as a Champion of Change in Climate Education and Literacy.

She earned an M.S. in climate science and policy from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and a B.S. in marine biology from UC Santa Cruz. 

Nelson is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (408) 482-4633 and smanelson@ucanr.edu.

Gross named UCCE aquaculture specialist

Jackson Gross

Jackson Gross joined UCCE on Aug. 14, as an aquaculture specialist. His current research program aims to be at the forefront of environmental and production sustainability and ecological integrity. To achieve this vision, his research is focused into three distinct, yet overlapping applied research themes: aquaculture, invasion biology and environmental/ecological toxicology. This research usually addresses data gaps and provides scientific solutions, determined through rigorous experimentation, meeting the immediate biological and engineering needs of the aquaculture industry and natural resource community. His research is historically a mix of laboratory and field experimentation. However, there are many times where the research is not exclusively one or the other, but instead, a blend where controlled laboratory experimentation is brought into the field. Other areas of interest include aquaponic production systems.

Prior to joining UCCE, Gross worked at a private engineering firm evaluating the effects of anthropogenic activity on aquatic resources.

Gross earned a Ph.D. in animal sciences (endocrine and reproductive physiology minor) at University of Wisconsin - Madison. He completed a M.S. in public health (toxicology emphasis) and a B.S. in biology (zoology emphasis) from San Diego State University.

Gross is based in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis and can be reached at 2117 Meyer Hall, (530) 752-2978 and jagross@ucdavis.edu.

NAS elects Ronald and Zilberman as members

The National Academy of Sciences announced April 30 the election of 100 new members and 25 foreign associates in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Forty percent of the newly elected members are women—the most ever elected in any one year to date.

Pamela Ronald

Pamela Ronald, professor and geneticist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology and Genome Center, and David Zilberman, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist and professor of agricultural and resources economics at UC Berkeley, are among the new members.

Ronald researches genes that control disease resistance and tolerance to environmental stress in rice, one of the world's most important crops. She is known for engineering flood-tolerant rice, for which she and her colleagues received the USDA 2008 National Research Discovery Award.

David Zilberman

Zilberman is one of the most cited scholars in agricultural, environmental and resource economics. During the 1980s, his work served as the basis for several projects on the adoption of modern irrigation technology and computers in California agriculture. These studies demonstrated that farmers adopt new technologies when it makes economic sense and that extreme events, such as droughts or high prices, can trigger changes in farming practices. During the early 1990s, his research on pesticide economics and policy made the case against policies that called to ban pesticides, and advocated instead for policies that take advantage of the vast economic benefits that pesticides generate while using incentives to protect against environmental side effects. In January, Zilberman was awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize in Agriculture in recognition of his work developing economic models for fundamental problems in agriculture, economics and policy.

Dahlquist-Willard and Pathak honored by CalCAN

Two UC Cooperative Extension scientists were recognized for their contributions to the field of agriculture and climate change at the California Climate & Agriculture Summit at UC Davis on March 5, 2019.

Ruth Dahlquist-Willard
CalCAN presented the leadership award for agricultural professional to Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UC Cooperative Extension small farms advisor in Fresno and Tulare counties.

Dahlquist-Willard helps keep small-scale, diversified farmers in business by providing support with marketing, regulatory compliance, processing of value-added products, water and energy efficiency, and integrated pest management. She has been a driving force behind increasing access by Hmong farmers in the Fresno area to California's State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). Dahlquist-Willard has promoted the program, provided thousands of hours of one-on-one, culturally relevant support to farmers on grant applications, and assisted with project design and installation. The farmers she has supported are now benefiting from water, energy and financial savings.

"There are large environmental problems to solve in the Central Valley, and it's time for a different conversation around farming there," Dahlquist-Willard said. "I feel that there needs to be a conversation in the middle to solve problems rather than a conflict-based approach."

Tapan Pathak
The leadership award for researcher was presented to Tapan Pathak, UC Cooperative Extension specialist for climate adaptation in agriculture, based at UC Merced.

Pathak is the chair of the UC Cooperative Extension Climate Change Adaptation Workgroup, which brings together scientists across the UC system to collaborate on research and extension projects related to climate change adaptation in California agriculture. Pathak is the lead author on an important and timely paper that was published in 2018 in the journal Agronomy. It synthesizes the impacts of climate change on California agriculture and offers directions for future research and implementation.

"We need more facilitated dialog with policy researchers and scientists on the science of climate change, and the implications of not taking action," Pathak said. "Given the scale of California agriculture and the pressure of climate change impacts, we need even more substantial funding for incentives for farmers and for research and tools, and we must integrate growers from the beginning of the process."

The summit, organized by CalCAN, brought together some of the state's foremost experts in agriculture — including farmers, agriculture professionals, researchers, advocates and policymakers — to grapple with the challenges of climate change and share knowledge about the opportunities facing the industry.

Mitloehner wins Borlaug CAST Communication Award

Frank Mitloehner

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) named UC Davis animal scientist Frank Mitloehner the 2019 Borlaug CAST Communication Award recipient. Mitloehner, a professor and UC Cooperative Extension air quality specialist in the Department of Animal Science, is the 10th recipient of this award.

“I'm honored to be selected by CAST, an organization I've long admired, and to be in the company of so many recipients who have inspired me during my career,” Mitloehner said. “Being recognized with the Borlaug CAST Communication Award is not only a high honor, it's an affirmation of the importance of sharing research and academic pursuits well beyond labs, classrooms and universities.”

CAST bestows the award annually to a nominated expert in the agricultural, environmental or food sectors. The nominee must show remarkable communication skills through various types of media with the purpose of advancing science in the public policy sector.

Mitloehner's nominators state he reaches beyond academia to inform experts and various members of the public around the globe about animal agriculture's influence on greenhouse gas emissions. His goal is to change societal views about the influence of animals on our climate through various channels of communication.

“His involvement as a communicator and scientist at the national and global levels has put him and his message in a strategic position to share and influence policy,” said one of Mitloehner's nominators.

Numerous like-minded agencies and institutions have reached out for his guidance on timely and relevant issues regarding animal agriculture's impacts on air quality, including chairing a committee for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Since he joined UC Davis in 2002, Mitloehner has amassed more than 800 presentations focused on animal agriculture through various speaking events such as conferences and professional meetings. He has contributed to national news stories published by CNN, PBS, Newsweek, The Washington Post and other media outlets.

Mitloehner does not shy away from social media either. He began tweeting with the handle @GHGGuru in April 2018 and his Twitter account has more than 7,000 followers. In late 2018, Mitloehner launched GHG Guru Blog, a personal website with the goal of delivering the “latest, most accurate research” focused on the intersection between animal agriculture and the climate.

“Science for science's sake has no role in making our world more sustainable,” Mitloehner said. “Sharing what we know — and backing it up with facts — leads to discussions and solutions,” Mitloehner said.

The Borlaug CAST Communication Award is sponsored by the CropLife Foundation. CAST announced the 2019 BCCA recipient at the USDA Whitten Patio in Washington, D.C., on April 16.

The award will be presented held during a side event at the World Food Prize Symposium on Oct. 16. – UC Davis

Fung and Staskawicz elected Royal Society members

Inez Fung and Brian Staskawicz

The Royal Society of London, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, announced their newest fellows and foreign members April 16, among them two UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources faculty.

The newly-elected CNR foreign members are climate scientist Inez Fung and plant biologist Brian Staskawicz. Fung and Staskawicz are among 51 new fellows, 10 new foreign members and one new honorary member.

“Over the course of the Royal Society's vast history, it is our fellowship that has remained a constant thread and the substance from which our purpose has been realized: to use science for the benefit of humanity,” said society president Venki Ramakrishnan. “This year's newly elected Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society embody this, being drawn from diverse fields of enquiry – epidemiology, geometry, climatology — at once disparate, but also aligned in their pursuit and contributions of knowledge about the world in which we live. It is with great honor that I welcome them as Fellows of the Royal Society.”

The learned society dates from 1660 and today is the U.K.'s national science academy and a fellowship of some 1,600 of the world's most eminent scientists.

Fung, a professor of earth and planetary science and of environmental science, policy and management, models the processes that maintain and alter the composition of the atmosphere and, hence, the climate.

Staskawicz, a professor of plant and microbial biology and a co-director of the Innovative Genomics Institute, studies plants' innate immunity with the goal of engineering disease resistance in agricultural crops.

 

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