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Posts Tagged: Surendra Dara

Names in the News

Syrett joins ANR's front desk in Davis

Selena Syrett

Selena Syrett joined the ANR team as the receptionist for the ANR building in Davis in November. She had been working as a temporary employee at the front desk since September.

Syrett comes to UC ANR from the retail world of Nordstrom Rack, where she held jobs as a cashier and stockroom employee for four years. Prior to that, she taught high school students virtually over the summer and worked as an administrative assistant at Mare Island Home Health in Vallejo. She earned a B.A. in linguistics from UC Davis. 

Syrett is located at the front desk of the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at smsyrett@ucanr.edu and (530) 750-1200. 

Beck joins Hopland and Sierra Foothill RECs

Jackie Beck
Jacalyn “Jackie” Beck joined UC ANR as an academic program management officer for Hopland and Sierra Foothill research and extension centers on Oct. 25. She is charged with developing and managing the research programs at both Hopland REC and Sierra Foothill REC.

“My personal background is in interdisciplinary wildlife science and I am looking forward to expanding research and education at Hopland and Sierra Foothill in new and unique ways,” Beck said. “We will definitely continue to focus on our historic strengths (e.g., oak management and livestock research), but I will also be looking to bring on more integrated studies, creative pursuits, and social science programs.”

Beck will help the REC directors manage existing projects, recruit new researchers, assist with finding and winning funding, and develop collaborations, both among researchers at each REC and between the two RECs.

“My goal is to create a more unified vision for academic programs at the two sites and to facilitate projects that utilize the amazing resources at both,” Beck said.

She earned a Ph.D. in fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University and a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries science at Pennsylvania State University. As a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow prior to joining UC ANR, Beck studied African lion and domestic cattle interactions, collecting data within Tanzanian national parks and non-protected areas. While working as a research coordinator for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources from 2014 to 2016, she implemented bat conservation efforts.

John Bailey, Hopland REC director, would like her to meet many members of the ANR community. “I'm hoping that the introduction will lead to people contacting her and remembering that our two RECs are great places to work,” he said.

Beck is based at Sierra Foothill REC and can be reached at jacbeck@ucanr.edu.

Eissa joins Environmental Health and Safety

Essam Eissa

Essam Eissa joined UC ANR as an environmental health and safety specialist in July.

From 2016 to 2020, Eissa served as an inspector with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  He worked from 2001 to 2016 in the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Criminal Investigation as a senior environmental engineer. 

In 2002, he received a certification of professional negotiation skills from the California State Department. In 1993, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services recognized Eissa with a Certificate of Achievement for Incident Commander/Scene Manager.

Eissa earned bachelor's degrees in agriculture engineering and environmental/safety engineering from West Los Angeles College. He also earned a bachelor's degree in international law and criminal justice from Solano College. He was designated as a chief environmental engineer by the United Nations in Brindisi, Italy, in 2012.

Eissa is based in the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1364 and eeissa@ucanr.edu.

Capitol Corridor small farms team expands

From left, Pang Kue, Asia Saechao, Fam Lee and Yurytzy Sanchez have joined Margaret Lloyd's small farms team.

Margaret Lloyd, UCCE Capitol Corridor advisor, has expanded her small farms team to include Hmong, Mien and Spanish-speaking community educators. 

Pang Kue took trainings from The Interpreter Advantage and Bridging the Gap (UC Davis) and is certified as a Superior Hmong Speaker. She has been a Hmong linguist for over 10 years, providing professional language services for clients including UC Davis Medical Center, leading Hmong language study groups, teaching cultural etiquette, and volunteering in her community. Kue can be reached at pykue@ucanr.edu

Asia Saechao is a queer, nonbinary descendent of Indigenous Khmu and Iu Mien refugees of the Secret War in Laos who settled in Richmond - homeland and ancestral lands of the Huchiun band of Ohlone.

Before joining UC ANR, Saechao worked with an environmental nonprofit to develop culturally relevant environmental education for youth of color in Oregon's greater Portland area. They now work to reimagine tools for Iu Mien and Khmu learning, storytelling and archiving. In addition to serving Mien and Hmong farmers with UC ANR, Saechao serves as senior program coordinator for Iu Mien Community Services. Saechao can be reached at asisaechao@ucanr.edu.

Fam Fin Lee was a strawberry grower for six years in Elk Grove and got to know Lloyd through farm visits and annual meetings. Her parents, who are lu-Mien, were farmers in Laos and in Thailand.

Born in Laos, Lee moved to the U.S. in 1979. Initially living with her family in an apartment with three Chinese families, Lee learned to speak Cantonese before learning English. Lee can be reached at fllee@ucanr.edu.

Yurytzy Sanchez grew up on a peach farm and raised goats, sheep, chickens and cattle in the Central Valley. The first-generation college graduate did an internship in Washington D.C. while earning her bachelor's degree in international relations from UC Davis. She also volunteered, then interned at the UC Davis Student Farm. After graduation, Sanchez took a farming position at The Cloverleaf Farm, where she co-owned and managed an eight-acre organic vegetable and stone fruit farm. Sanchez can be reached at ygsanchez@ucdavis.edu.

The small farms team is based at the UCCE office in Woodland. To read more about them, visit https://ccsmallfarms.ucanr.edu/About.

ESA recognizes Dara, Sutherland, Perring 

Surendra Dara

Three UC ANR entomologists were recently honored by the Entomological Society of America.

Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor for San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, received the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Section award for Outstanding Contributions to Agricultural Entomology.

Andrew Sutherland, UCCE urban integrated pest management advisor for the Bay Area, was honored for exceptional service to the society's Certification Corporation Board. He has been actively involved in developing ESA certification programs that are designed to help pest management professionals demonstrate their knowledge and skills to advance their careers.

Andrew Sutherland receives ESA award for exceptional service to the society's Certification Corporation Board.

Thomas Perring
This year, the ESA launched the Certified Integrated Pest Management Technician credential. "The new CIT credential gives pest management professionals who are relatively new to the field a way to get a leg up in their career and gain a competitive edge," Sutherland said.

As reported previously, Thomas Perring, a professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, received the ESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.

The awards were presented Nov. 2 during ESA's annual meeting in Denver.

Pourreza elected to Club of Bologna

Alireza Pourreza
Alireza Pourreza, UC Davis assistant professor of Cooperative Extension in biological and agricultural engineering, was elected to the prestigious Club of Bologna in October.

The Club of Bologna is a world task force on agricultural mechanization. The Italy-based club is comprised of 96 members from 28 countries, representing research, industry and international organizations around the world. Pourreza is one of four new members this year and the only full member from California.

“It's a great honor for me to represent U.S. and California in the Club of Bologna,” he said. “Becoming a full member has been my dream since I first joined the club as a temporary member in 2016. I'm eager to get involved with club activities and pursue California's priorities and needs in mechanization and smart farming.”

Pourreza runs the Digital Agriculture Lab at UC Davis, which uses novel sensing and mechanization technology to help California growers get the most out of their crops and resources.

His lab has developed a virtual orchard that can simulate any orchard down to the tree level using aerial sensing data collected with drones. It allows growers to examine their crops in virtual reality and run experiments to determine how much sunlight each plant is getting, as well as how to optimize resources. This prevents overuse of resources that can waste water and have detrimental long-term effects on the plants.

His team has also developed a mechanical spray backstop to catch spray pesticide particles that would otherwise be released into the air when being applied to trees.

Noah Pflueger-Peters' full story is at https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/alireza-pourreza-elected-club-bologna.

Meng and CalFresh team win innovation award

From left, Martha Lopez, Chris Wong,Yu Meng, Paul Tabarez and Rigo Ponce of UCCE Imperial County's nutrition team. Shown in 2019.

Yu Meng, UCCE youth family and community advisor, and the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC team in Imperial County were honored by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences West Region with the Innovative Youth Development Program Award for Team Project.

Their “Engaging Underserved Youth in Nutrition Education and Community Development through Youth-led Participatory Action Research Program” was designed to engage youth to address nutrition, healthy behaviors, and other public health issues based on social justice principles.

With their guidance, students conducted video interviews capturing classmates' comments about cafeteria food and preferred snacks. Based on what they learned, the students recruited new members to deliver gardening and cooking lessons as well as advocate for a farm-to-school program and more garden space to benefit the whole school.

At another school, students audited food waste in their cafeteria. To reduce food waste, the students asked administrators to create a “Share Table” where students can leave unopened and untouched food for other students to pick up and eat. Meng anticipates the change will benefit more than 400 low-income youth at the school.

They partnered with Career Technical Education teachers, which boosted youth participation from dozens to hundreds. The collaboration has led to youths creating physical activity videos and developing a survey to find out how active their peers have been during the pandemic. 

During the past three years, the Imperial County team worked with three school districts and 300 youth, indirectly benefiting 7,100 students through policy and environmental changes that schools made. Pre- and post-program surveys show that students reported their willingness to suggest solutions or recommendations for making their school/community a healthier place rose from 29% to 93%.

Koundinya honored for evaluation training

Vikram Koundinya

Vikram Koundinya, UCCE evaluation specialist at UC Davis, received the American Evaluation Association's Excellence in Extension Evaluation Training Award.

The award recognizes his efforts in conducting extension evaluation training of outstanding quality for UC Cooperative Extension professionals. His extension evaluation-capacity building program includes statewide trainings, trainings to specific project teams of extension advisors, and one-on-one consultations with extension advisors, UCCE specialists, academic staff and students.

The award was presented to Koundinya Nov. 9 during the association's 35th annual conference, which was held virtually.

 

PAC meets virtually, thanks President Napolitano for her service

President Napolitano met with the PAC via Zoom to thank the members for time and advice during her seven years as UC president. She plans to step down from the office Aug. 1.

The President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources met via Zoom April 9 as everyone was sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. Jean-Mari Peltier, PAC chair, welcomed the PAC members for their last meeting with President Janet Napolitano. Last September, Napolitano announced that she will step down as UC's leader Aug. 1.

President Napolitano commended ANR for its flexibility in response to the COVID-19 crisis. ANR is “the University of California for large parts of the state and we're proud that you are,” she told VP Glenda Humiston, adding that ANR is performing well under her leadership.

Napolitano thanked the PAC members for contributing their time and advice during her seven years at the UC helm, calling ANR “essential to UC identity as land grant university.” The commissioners thanked the president for her support for ANR. In response to questions about building support for ANR with her successor, Napolitano recommended taking the new president out of Oakland for site visits to learn about ANR. She described her visits to Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Humboldt County and other ANR sites as “eye opening.”

In her update about ANR, Humiston reported that despite the coronavirus pandemic's disruption to public gatherings, all ANR programs are still serving communities. “I'm really impressed with the innovative ways they are finding to deliver outreach,” she said, adding that advisors are adapting, for example, doing ranch visits via phone. Humiston also described the UC ANR Governing Council's tour of the South Coast Research and Extension Center in February to see how ANR engages urban Californians. She noted that a regents tour of South Coast REC planned for April 23 has been postponed until after the pandemic passes.

Karen Ross, secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture, joined the group to discuss how CDFA is responding to food system disruption resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. “I am optimistic about agriculture; we are so innovative and resilient,” Ross said, adding that she is concerned about funding for UC ANR and UCCE. She recommended seizing the moment while consumers are thinking about the food system to educate people about UC ANR's role.

Building on their December meeting, the PAC members continued their discussion of the future of the commission. They discussed recommendations to ensure the success and sustainability of ANR as well as the PAC. 

They recommended the role of PAC members include

  • Communication & advocacy
  • Engaging as a strategic tool for problem solving
  • Being a connector to industry leaders
  • Supporting fund development
  • Advising on strategy and mission priorities

To make their membership meaningful, the commissioners said they would like

  • Greater active involvement
  • Knowing they add value
  • Feeling connected with ANR and other PAC members
  • Sharing critical information

Although the PAC usually meets twice a year – in the spring and fall – the PAC agreed to meet again via videoconference in May or June to discuss and approve the new PAC charter.

 

Posted on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 1:36 PM

Names in the News

Soule named assistant vice provost for CE

Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule will serve as ANR's new Assistant Vice Provost for Cooperative Extension. She will start her new duties on July 1, 2020, and continue to serve as UCCE director for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and as UCCE youth, families and communities advisor. The role was previously held by Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty until she assumed the role of Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program director.

“We are excited to have Katherine on the Cooperative Extension administrative team! She brings a breadth of Cooperative Extension experiences and leadership skills,” said Mark Lagrimini, vice provost for research and extension. “Katherine is known for her innovative, collaborative, and strengths-based leadership. She cares deeply about improving lives and working environments for her unit, her community and ANR.”

Soule earned her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, Athens in 2013 and became the UCCE youth, families and communities advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. In 2017, she accepted an additional appointment as UCCE director for these counties. She was elected as UC ANR's Academic Assembly Council president for a two-year term ending in June 2020.

"As the assistant vice provost of Cooperative Extension, I look forward to supporting the development and successes of new and existing county directors,” Soule said. “I hope to promote collaborative, cross-county communication, while focusing on identifying and meeting the needs of county directors across the division. We are all most effective when we learn from and support one another, so I look forward to connecting with academics, county directors, ANR leadership and other UC ANR personnel in this new role."

Choe, Dara and IPM team honored by Pacific Branch of ESA

Dong-Hwan Choe
UC ANR scientists Dong-Hwan Choe, Surendra Dara, David Haviland and Jhalendra Rijal received awards for their exemplary work from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America. The PBESA presented its annual awards on April 20, at a virtual ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Choe, UCCE specialist in the UC Riverside Department of Entomology, won the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Award.

“Since joining the faculty at UC Riverside in 2011, [Choe] has developed an outstanding research and extension program dealing with the major urban structural pests and related issues in the western United States,” wrote Mike Rust, UC Riverside entomology professor, in his nomination letter.

His research includes exploiting the role of semiochemicals and behavior to control social insects and developing novel ant baits.

“Dr. Choe has been at the forefront of developing hydrogels as carriers of baits to control ants and yellowjackets. Developing cost-effective and environmentally safe delivery strategies has always been a major problem facing the use of ant baits in agriculture and urban setting. His pioneering biodegradable alginate beads promise to be a major advancement,” Rust wrote.

Surendra Dara
Choe also participates in workshops for agricultural pest control advisers, UC Master Gardeners and urban pest control operators.

Dara, UC Cooperative Extension entomology and biologicals advisor for San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, won the Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.

This annual award recognizes individuals who made outstanding contributions in research and outreach in the area of IPM. Dara's new IPM model has been well-received and its impact has been documented in a UC Delivers story. Dara is the first UC ANR scientist to receive this award and fourth from UC since the Pacific Branch began offering awards in this category in 2009.

The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team won the Entomology Team Work Award. The team consists of UC IPM advisors David Haviland and Jhalendra Rijal, former UCCE advisor Emily Symmes, UCCE Kern County staff research associate Stephanie Rill, industry researcher Bradly Higbee of Trécé, USDA scientist Charles Burkes and Bob Curtis of the Almond Board of California.

The team encouraged the adoption of mating disruption for managing navel orangeworm, a major pest in almond orchards, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. After they began demonstrating that mating disruption proved to be an economical pest control method in orchards, they saw a rapid rise in growers adopting the technology. Based on a survey of pest control advisers and growers conducted in the early 2019, the anticipated use of navel orangeworm mating disruption for the 2019 season in San Joaquin Valley was 32%, as opposed to the 7% adoption in 2017. Kern County data showed a 26% countywide increase in the adoption of mating disruption from 2017-2018.

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

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

The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team received an award in February from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Environmental Protection Agency

Three UC Davis faculty members were also selected for prestigious awards: Lynn Kimsey, Walter Leal and Robert Kimsey.

The Pacific Branch covers provinces/states in Canada, U.S. and Mexico on the Pacific Coast. 

Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 12:47 PM

Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network applications due June 23

USDA NIFA requests applications to the 2020 Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network funding opportunity.

The purpose of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) Program is to establish a network that connects individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching and other agriculture-related occupations to stress assistance programs. The establishment of a network that assists farmers and ranchers in time of stress can offer a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy and outcomes for agricultural producers, workers and their families.

The FRSAN program will accept applications for Regional Networks. In FY20, NIFA is seeking applications from regional partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include nongovernmental organizations (NGO), state departments of agriculture (SDA), Cooperative Extension Services (CES), and Indian tribes with expertise in providing professional agricultural behavioral health awareness, counseling as appropriate, education, training and referral for other forms of assistance as necessary. NIFA is soliciting applications that align with, build upon, and/or complement the projects funded in FY19. In 2019, the FRSAN program launched with four awards corresponding to U.S. regions in the Northeast, North Central, South and West. In 2020, funding has increased fivefold to support regional frameworks offering stress assistance programs, training, services, and referral.

The long-term goal of the FRSAN projects is to establish a Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network that provides stress assistance programs to individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations on a regional basis. Network members must initiate, expand or sustain programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health counseling and referral for other forms of assistance as necessary through the following:

  • Farm telephone helplines and websites
  • Training, including training programs and workshops, for the following:
  • Advocates for individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other occupations relating to agriculture
  • Other individuals and entities that may assist individuals who-
  • are engaged in farming, ranching, and other occupations relating to agriculture
  • are in crisis
  • Support groups
  • Outreach services and activities, including the dissemination of information and materials

Applicant organizations must have demonstrable prior experience working in the agricultural stress assistance space. For purposes of implementing FRSAN, a network is an organizational arrangement among three or more separately operated domestic public or private entities, including the applicant organization, with established working histories in the targeted region. Regional lead entities must have the capacity to make state-level sub-awards, to include monitoring the performance of specific projects and active participation within the larger regional network. Providing training and/or offering direct services in every state/territory in the targeted region is not required in FY 2020. However, the applicant must clearly articulate where and why training and services are being offered, as well as any rationale for areas not served and how all states (and territories, as appropriate), will be added to the network in FYs 2021 and 2022, if the project intends to seek continuation funding in those years. If possible, a national, regionwide or subregional helpline and/or website that is available to all states should be implemented and publicized beginning in FY 2021.

Funds may be used to map resources in each region, provide a framework for how those resources can be/are connected, and train state-level people working with agricultural producers (train-the-trainer model) about how to identify farmers under stress, about the existence of a given regional network, availability of specific resources and how to access them, as well as how to make referrals to programs that are equipped to provide direct behavioral care assistance. Such maps must link with USDA programs such as Agriculture Mediation Program and Crop Insurance Mediation and state and county-level USDA field offices with which producers may engage if and when appropriate.

It is NIFA's intention to fund four grants to four separate FRSAN regional leads as a result of this FY 2020 competition: one each in the Northeast Region, North Central Region, Southern Region, and the Western Region. The maximum award for a standard grant is $7,187,000 for a three-year project.

For more information about the FRSAN program and to apply, please visit: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/farm-and-ranch-stress-assistance-network?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

To request a copy of the 2019 FRSAN webinar slide deck, please email webchanges@usda.gov.

Applications are due Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

 

Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 11:24 AM
  • Author: Kathy Nolan

SI Brief: Want video in your toolkit?

video screenshot
Now more than ever, the video format can help us expand our educational outreach.

Want to produce Oscar-winning videos?

Well, we can't quite promise that, but we can help you develop your own videos and video skills - producing something you can be proud of and something that can help the people of California.

So where are we in the series?

Part 3 is a self-learning step about Editing Video and Audio. Access and complete the editing tutorial here. This step builds on how you have planned your project with a storyboard or script (Part 1) and captured the video and audio (Part 2). Now, your next step is editing the project. This clinic gives you hands-on experience in both video and audio editing.

But what if I missed Parts 1 and 2?

No problem! The recording of the Part 2 webinar “How-to of How to videos” is available here.

And don't forget Part 1 – a self-learning opportunity where you prepare a rough draft video production storyboard.

  1. Start by reading this factsheet about creating a storyboard and script for a video production by Petr Kosina from UC IPM 
  2. Then capture and organize your ideas for a video project you have in mind

Training resources for continued learning and to support your video projects

For more on the SIs and their activities, contact

Jim Farrar: Pests EIPD

David Lile: Natural Ecosystems SNE

David Lewis: Water

Deanne Meyer: Food Systems SFS

Lynn Schmitt McQuitty: Families and Communities HFC

Mark Bell: Vice Provost SIs & SWPs

Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 11:32 PM

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