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Posts Tagged: South Coast REC

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

$1 million grant expands climate-ready landscape plants program

Landscape plants under varying irrigation levels are evaluated at South Coast REC to determine the best irrigation level for optimal plant performance.

A research project initiated in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis evaluates landscape plants in two-year trials under varying irrigation levels to determine the best irrigation level for optimal plant performance in regions requiring supplemental summer water. Creating water budgets is required by California's Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO), and the results from these research trials help landscape professionals and home gardeners make informed decisions when specifying, selecting or promoting low water-use landscape plant material.

This year, the CDFA/USDA Specialty Crops Multistate Program funded a new Climate Ready Landscape Plants project, which will replicate the successful fields that are currently installed at UC Davis and UC ANR South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine.

Loren Oki will oversee a new Climate Ready Landscape Plants project. Photo by Ann Filmer

Loren Oki, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, is the lead principal investigator and collaborators include researcher Jared Sisneroz;  project leader Karrie Reid, UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor in San Joaquin County; and Darren Haver, UC Cooperative Extension water resources and water quality advisor and director of South Coast REC and UCCE in Orange County.

Under Oki's oversight, this new $999,992 grant will support the development of additional fields at several western universities:

  • University of Washington, Soo-Hyung Kim
  • Oregon State University, Lloyd Nackley and Ryan Contreras
  • Utah State University Center, Youping Sun and Larry Rupp
  • University of Arizona, Ursula Schuch

Conducting these new experiments on landscape plants at diverse sites across the western U.S. will reveal differences in recommendations since irrigation guidelines for landscapes vary depending on climate and soil type.

The initial project was initiated as Reid's master's degree thesis research in 2004, with Oki as her major professor, and has been ongoing since then.

Project descriptions, results and images can be seen at the UC Landscape Plant Irrigation Trials website at https://ucanr.edu/sites/UCLPIT.

Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 9:13 AM
  • Author: Ann Filmer

ANR Governing Council tours South Coast REC

Lindsey Pedroncelli, left, and Alex Putman told the council members why was important to be able to use the research and extension center for their strawberry disease research.

To gain a better understanding of UC ANR's work in communities and to see firsthand how UC's Agricultural Extension programs engage with the public in an urban setting, the UC ANR Governing Council toured the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine on Feb. 19.

Beatriz Nobua-Behrmann, right, showed samples of invasive wood-boring beetles that are attacking hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California, including commercial avocados and trees in urban and wild landscapes.
The tour group saw the power of UC ANR academics at work in partnership with growers, local municipalities and UC campuses to address topics such as strawberry diseases, weed control and the use of glyphosate, water conservation and quality, invasive pests in urban forestry, and coyote and rodent management. 

The UC ANR Governing Council, which is chaired by UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox, visited UCCE specialist Alex Putman and UC Riverside graduate student Lindsey Pedroncelli's strawberry disease study, UC IPM advisor Cheryl Wilen's herbicide demonstration, and the urban landscape demonstration site, where Darren Haver, South Coast REC director and UCCE water resources advisor, conducts water studies. Niamh Quinn, UCCE human-wildlife interaction advisor, described her research on vertebrate pests ranging from rats to coyotes, and Beatriz Nobua-Behrmann, UCCE urban forestry advisor, and John Kabashima, emeritus environmental horticulture advisor, showed the council members shot hole borers and other pests that attack trees.

The UC ANR academics were joined by public and private sector partners, including Mark Lopez from OC Produce who is also the Orange County Farm Bureau president; Bryan Thompson, owner of Pest Options; Jenna Voss, South Orange County watershed manager for Orange County Public Works; Dave Erickson, Wildland Resources Planner for Orange County Fire Authority; Jim Hartman, deputy agricultural commissioner for Los Angeles County; Laura Krueger Prelesnik, vector ecologist for the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District; and Rick Howard, Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District agency manager.

Cheryl Wilen showed the group her herbicide trials for weed control.

Foods grown at the center were incorporated in the lunch prepared by UC ANR culinary partners Andrea Machua of Culinary Underground, Kyle Manns of Taps Brewery and Lan Pham Zenti, owner of Jadetiger Tea.

“The day was both enjoyable and informative for all,” said Kathy Eftekhari, chief of staff to the vice president. 

The group toured the urban landscape demonstration site at South Coast REC.

 

 

Posted on Friday, February 28, 2020 at 3:04 PM

South Coast REC calls for proposals

The South Coast Research & Extension Center is soliciting proposals for new research and extension projects, as well as prompting researchers with continuing projects to submit an updated Land, Labor, and Facilities form and 3-year report, if required, for project year July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

Located on 200 acres in Orange County, South Coast REC research and extension projects and programs focus on a variety of agriculture and natural resource topics including: variety development, crop and landscape pest management, irrigation management, plant disease, rootstock development, and alternative weed control methods in managed systems. As reclaimed water is the main irrigation source provided to the center by the local water district, researchers can assist in the development of reclaimed water management strategies, an increasingly important resource for the long-term sustainability of agriculture and urban environments.

The center also continues to welcome the submission of research and extension projects addressing broader topics, such as the impacts of climate change on urban and agricultural ecosystems.

South Coast REC provides research projects with skilled farming equipment operators, irrigators, some limited indoor research facilities (for example, plant sample processing lab), and technical and management support. Projects led by UC academics receive funding directly from UC ANR and South Coast REC to reduce the actual cost of research and extension at the Center. Proposals from non-UC organizations will be considered if resources (space and labor) are available, but the full cost rate is charged plus the non-university differential (NUD currently is set at 33.7%).

Full cost recharge rates and UC ANR funding levels for UC-led research projects for South Coast REC for the 2020-21 year will be published after approval on the South Coast REC website (http://screc.ucanr.edu/Research/) this spring.

Proposals may be submitted into the REC Manage System via the South Coast REC website (http://screc.ucanr.edu/Research/Submitting_a_Proposal/) beginning March 1, 2020, and are due no later than April 15, 2020.

For questions about the research proposal process or research opportunities at South Coast REC, contact Darren Haver, center director, at dlhaver@ucanr.edu, or Chris Martinez, superintendent, at cpmartinez@ucanr.edu.

Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 10:37 AM
  • Author: Kat Hicklin

PAC discusses strategic plan and urban agriculture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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