Posts Tagged: Susan Kocher
Californians have been dealing with wildfires, the pandemic, power shutdowns, excessive heat and drought, sometimes all at the same time. In every county, UC Cooperative Extension is there to assist community members.
To better serve their clientele, nearly three-quarters of UC Cooperative Extension employees say they need professional development related to disaster response, according to a new study led by Vikram Koundinya, UC Cooperative Extension evaluation specialist in the UC Davis Department of Human Ecology.
Koundinya and coauthors Cristina Chiarella, UC Davis doctoral graduate student researcher; Susan Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for the Central Sierra; and Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources academic coordinator, surveyed UC ANR personnel to identify existing disaster management programs and future needs. Their research was published in the October 2020 edition of Journal of Extension.
“It's becoming so common that our folks are being put in the role of responding to disasters, while not having much training or background to do so,” Kocher said.
“And, it's really cross-disciplinary,” she added. “Right now, our nutrition folks are doing so much with assisting their communities with food access during COVID. Others, like Faith Kearns, have been working hard to address drought and help clientele weather drought impacts. There are the individual events like the LNU Lightning Complex fires [wildfires caused by lightning strikes in Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Yolo counties that burned from Aug. 17 to Oct. 2, 2020], but really, so many of us are currently doing disaster work across our disciplines and that role will only continue to expand with climate change-induced disasters. Once you frame it as ‘disaster work' you can start to see how our system needs to be much more prepared and to learn from and collaborate with each other and with disaster organizations.”
The survey showed that about one-third of the 224 respondents had been involved in preparing for, responding to, or helping communities recover from disasters. Respondents also noted a variety of needs related to disaster preparedness, response and recovery systems, procedures, materials and equipment, and educational materials.
“UC ANR personnel reported a need for professional development related to understanding how we fit into broader disaster response systems (73%) in California, what Extension resources are available for disaster response (63%), how the landscape of disaster risks in California communities is changing (62%), how communities can mitigate or manage disaster risks (62%), how to develop pre-established networks within the organization for responding to disasters (52%) and coordination with local and state entities (48%),” Koundinya said.
The authors note in the journal article, “Even though UCCE has been playing a critical role in disaster response for decades, because of the size and geographic spread of the UCCE system, disaster management approaches and materials have tended to develop piecemeal on a program-by-program and often county-by-county and disaster-by-disaster basis.”
The article, “Disasters Happen: Identifying disaster management needs of Cooperative Extension System personnel” can be viewed at https://joe.org/joe/2020october/a2.php.
“We recommend that the findings be used for designing professional development on the topics and needs identified by the respondents,” said Koundinya.
In her blog ANR Adventures, AVP Wendy Powers, wrote about the report, “The tables identifying needs are of particular interest to me and perhaps something the Learning and Development team might think about for future trainings.”
On Nov. 28, ANR will again participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving, powered by our social networks. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season. For ANR, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to raise funds for UC Cooperative Extension county programs, research and extension centers and statewide programs. As a result of the ongoing effects of the drought, recent wildfires and persistent pockets of poverty, California's needs in the coming year will be great, and year-end giving is an opportunity for donors to assist.
“UC Cooperative Extension professionals have a deep passion for their work and a dedication to the communities they serve. While most deliver their research and programs quietly every day, it is especially incredible to witness their response to disaster; for example, recent wildfires saw local UCCE offices responding immediately with vital information for coping with the fires, care for livestock and pets, as well as service in food banks and other volunteer needs,” said VP Glenda Humiston.
UC Cooperative Extension staff and 4-H members helped rescue livestock in Sonoma County as people evacuated. The UC Master Gardener Program connected volunteers throughout the state who wanted to provide relief to the 17 UC Master Gardener volunteers who lost their homes in Solano County.
“UC Master Gardener volunteers are true to their generous nature and have offered tremendous support to fellow volunteers who have lost homes in the fires. With compassionate hearts, they have offered lodging, supplies and words of support,” said Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener Program director. “In the future, we will look to replant what was lost and find healing in the care and establishment of new landscapes and wild spaces.”
“Giving Tuesday gives us an opportunity to talk about our research and outreach to enhance food systems and create thriving communities, as well as all the other positive things everyone in ANR is doing to make life better for Californians,” Humiston said.
For UC ANR stakeholders, Giving Tuesday presents an opportunity to support the many programs and services that strengthen California communities each day and more importantly, during times of crisis. Last year, over $64,000 was raised on Giving Tuesday to support UC ANR programs including the 4-H Youth Development Program and UC Master Gardener Program.
“Last year, the 4-H Foundation recorded a 430 percent increase in donations over the previous fiscal year, raising over $30,000 in one day from 37 counties!” said Mary Ciricillo, director of annual giving for UC ANR. This was due in large part to a match challenge from an anonymous donor.
“This year, I'm excited to share that we will have two match challenge funds. One supporting the California 4-H Foundation and one for all UC ANR.” said Ciricillo.
A website is being created with links to all of ANR's programs, Research and Extension Centers and UCCE offices: ucanr.edu/givingtuesday. It invites donors to designate programs or locations to which they wish to donate.
As of Nov. 1, the website will contain a toolkit for county offices and programs to participate. It will include:
- A customizable letter to send to stakeholders
- Templates for “unselfies.” Donors may take photos of themselves holding an unselfie sign and share on social media how they are giving.
- Sample tweets and social media posts
- Sample thank you note
The UC Master Gardener Giving Tuesday website is at http://mg.ucanr.edu/givingtuesday.
The 4-H Youth Development Program also has its own website at http://4h.ucanr.edu/GivingTuesday. Last year, 4-H programs in 17 California counties participated.
Although not as well-known as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people who are swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year.
This year Development Services has set a goal of collecting a total of $60,000 for 4-H and UC ANR from 300 or more donors on Giving Tuesday. Last year UC ANR and 4-H received 224 gifts.
“The #GivingTuesday campaign is a fun way for people in all ANR programs to supplement their funding with private donations,” said Andrea Ambrose, acting director, UC ANR Development Services.
divisionwide condition changes. The timeline was short; it's never long enough, the timing was poor; end of summer is not a good time to pull people together, and the work was a challenge; something new for UC ANR to do this at a division level, but they did a tremendous job and really stuck it out despite the challenges!
These groups have submitted their ideas for condition changes to be coded into Project Board. Katherine Webb-Martinez, Mark Bell and I have reviewed the recommendations and compared the proposed variations for the original 19 that were proposed by multiple groups as well as new condition changes that were recommended. The recommended changes were not drastically different from the original, but changes were proposed and adopted with the final list is now a bit longer, but still manageable. The next step is for a group of 12 self-identified Program Team Leaders, SI Leaders, Statewide Program and Institute Directors to work together and, using this new list plus the 2025 Strategic Vision, revise the Public Values Statements drafted back in May. I so appreciate those that have stepped up to continue this work process – not surprising given the commitment and leadership ingrained in so many across UC ANR!
I suspect this iterative process of drafting and revising is a bit frustrating for many but, as we use this information to convey the importance of your work to those who don't know us and we seek to find increased support for your work, it is important to put forth compelling Public Value Statements and be able to ‘bucket' our impacts so that the stories behind the condition changes are readily available to share with decision-makers, prospective funders, and each other. These benefits are above and beyond that which comes from aligning our work with the 2025 Strategic Vision in order to position ourselves to achieve the Vision and support our achievement with stories of how we have made a difference, even to those who don't know us. So THANK YOU to all for the commitment to the process and the enthusiasm you've demonstrated for continuing excellence in UC ANR!
Along the lines of “identify the performance objectives and then determine the design” that I have talked about previously, I've been thinking about the upcoming 2018 Position Call. Program Council has discussed the process a few times and soon we will need to have that nailed down. Below are what I believe to be the key attributes of the ideal process:
- Considers needs/gaps across the state and across program areas
- Engages clientele/stakeholders in the need identification process
- Seeks input from all UC ANR academics
- Builds recognition of needs across program areas through a collaborative process
- Results in decisions that reflect ‘hearing' academics, partners, stakeholders
- Makes it easy for Program Council to recognize high priority positions
What am I missing? Thanks in advance for your feedback!
[This article was originally published Oct. 24 in the ANR Adventures blog at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=25473.]
Nov. 6 is the last day for ANR academics to apply for one of the open Strategic Initiative leader positions.
Three SI leader positions are scheduled to rotate off, opening up opportunities for other ANR academics to take the lead for Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases, Sustainable Food Systems and Sustainable Natural Resources.
The SI leaders play key roles in advocating, convening and communicating to strengthen UC ANR's research and outreach agenda. Given the evolving role of the UC ANR Strategic Initiatives (SI), the current SI leaders have agreed that it would be beneficial to conduct an open search for the next set of SI leaders from across the breadth of expertise of the division.
Strategic Initiative leader positions are appointed by the vice president on a rotating basis for three years, with a possibility of extension. The positions are open to all ANR academics, including Agricultural Experiment Station faculty and Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists.
Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases is currently led by Cheryl Wilen, David Doll leads Sustainable Food Systems, and John Harper leads Sustainable Natural Resources. Doug Parker, who leads Water Quality, Quantity and Security, and Keith Nathaniel, who leads Healthy Families and Communities will continue to serve in those SI leader positions.
To apply for one of the SI leader positions, complete the form at http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=21548. Applications will be accepted until Nov. 6.
Applicants will be contacted for interviews in late November or early December. The new leaders are anticipated to start on Jan. 2, 2018.
For information regarding the roles and responsibilities of the Strategic Initiative leader position, see the Terms of Reference for Strategic Initiative Leaders. If you have questions, contact Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs.
California will be dealing with the effects of the October 2017 wildfires for years to come. The Northern California wildfires that ignited Oct. 8 grew into urban conflagrations and burned for days, killing 43 people and destroying at least 8,400 structures.
In Southern California, Niamh Quinn, UC Cooperative Extension human-wildlife advisor, tweeted a photo after outrunning the Canyon Fire 2, which burned over 9,000 acres and destroyed 25 structures.
Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services, contacted UC Cooperative Extension employees in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Butte, Sutter, Yuba and Orange counties and at the Hopland, Sierra Foothill and South Coast research and extension centers.
On Oct. 10, Oatman sent an email to the ANR community giving a status report on the UC ANR offices in the fire zones, saying, “We have heard that all employees are safe.” He added, “In many counties, staff know of 4-H or Master Gardener families who have lost homes or suffered damage.”
In Solano County, 17 UC Master Gardener volunteers, maybe more, lost their homes in the fires. The UC Master Gardener Program quickly set up an online form to connect Master Gardener volunteers throughout the state who wanted to offer lodging, supplies and words of support to fellow volunteers impacted by the fires.
In Sonoma County, UC Cooperative Extension staff and 4-H members helped rescue livestock.
ANR suffered no significant property damage, but some offices closed due to local evacuation orders.
Kaan Kurtural, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist based in Oakville, said the viticulture research station went without electricity for 16 days. They brought in generators from UC Davis.
To help evacuated Californians who returned to their homes recover from fires, Strategic Communications created a story map with links to UCCE county resources.
News reporters sought out several UC ANR experts to explain why the wildfires spread so quickly and burned so intensely and how the fires would affect agriculture. See the ANR News blog for the monthly news roundup for October.
If you would like volunteer or donate to fire recovery efforts, check with local food banks or organizations such as Sonoma County Recovers to find out what is needed. If you would like to contribute to UC Master Gardener volunteers who are in need, you can fill out a survey that was created to connect resources with the affected volunteers: ucanr.edu/mgrelief.