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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.

 

Names in the News

David Bunn. Photo by Hector Amezcua

Bunn named vice provost of research and extension

David Bunn joined UC ANR as Vice Provost of Research and Extension on Aug. 16. He will oversee the Research and Extension Center System and county-based UC Cooperative Extension.

Bunn served as director of the California Department of Conservation, managing a staff of more than 600 scientists and professionals to promote the judicious use and conservation of energy, land and mineral resources. Previously, he served as deputy director of the California Department of Fish and Game and as a natural resources policy consultant for the California State Senate and Assembly. 

For the last 18 months, Bunn directed the development of the UC Davis Graduate Program of Environmental Policy and Management, a unique professional program designed to train the next generation of environmental leaders and natural resources managers. 

Bunn also served in previous positions at UC Davis, including associate director of the International Programs Office (now Global Engagement) in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. As an international project manager at the One Health Institute in the School of Veterinary Medicine, he managed research, training and capacity-building activities in East and West Africa and in Nepal over a nine-year period.

"I am thrilled to be appointed Vice Provost for Research and Extension," Bunn said. "I am passionate about translating science to action and the critical role of extension for improving the lives of people in urban and rural communities.”

"I look forward to working with all of the terrific researchers and educators in UC Cooperative Extension and throughout the UC System, and with the many external collaborators. In particular, I am eager to support the County and REC Directors in their important work," he added.

Bunn earned a Ph.D. in ecology, an M.S. in international agricultural development, and a B.S. in wildlife biology, all from UC Davis.

Bunn is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1369 and dabunn@ucanr.edu.

ASHS honors Culumber with Early Career award 

Mae Culumber. Photo by Luke Milliron

Mae Culumber, UC Cooperative Extension nut crops advisor for Fresno and Kings counties, was chosen by the American Society of Horticultural Science to receive its 2021 ASHS Early Career Extension and Outreach Award.

Culumber, who joined UC ANR in 2016, is the first to receive this ASHS award. Established in 2020, the ASHS Professional Early Career Award recognizes ASHS members for outstanding contributions to horticultural science through their professional activities within 7 years of completing their final degrees (BS, MS, PhD, etc.) prior to their employment. 

“Despite being an Assistant Advisor, Dr. Culumber has led University of California professors, specialists, advisors, and USDA researchers in large-scale research projects as PI or Co-PI,” Luke Milliron, UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor for Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties, wrote in his nomination letter. “Her leadership on studying the soil physical, biochemical, and greenhouse impacts of almond whole orchard recycling is a prerequisite to orchardists receiving cap and trade carbon credits for recycling their orchards, a sustainable alternative to removing and burning the trees at the end of the orchard's life. She also serves as Co-PI on studies of pistachio tree training techniques that increase yield, and variable rate irrigation in almond that enhances productivity, while preserving water and nutrient resources. Dr. Culumber's early research program is already delivering contributions to horticultural science with the potential to enhance orchard productivity and resource use efficiency across hundreds of thousands of acres.”

Since 2017, Culumber, who works with almonds, pistachios and walnuts, has published nine articles in peer-reviewed publications and helped secure over $1.25 million in grant and funding support. Her work as an advisor also earned her UC ANR's “Outstanding New Academic Distinguished Service Award” for 2019-2020.

She and other career award recipients received their awards at a ceremony on Aug. 6 at the 118thASHS Annual Conference in Denver. 

Perring wins ESA award for IPM excellence

Tom Perring

Thomas Perring, a professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, will receive the Entomological Society of America's 2021 Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions that have a direct relation to integrated pest management (IPM). 

Perring's research has developed management options for growers of 20 cropping systems involving 17 pests and five pathosystems. His lab has provided information on three predatory insects, four predatory mites, 12 parasitoids, and two entomopathogenic fungi in support of biological control. This research has resulted in 154 reviewed articles and chapters and five edited books. 

His work includes creating a multistate partnership to develop IPM strategies for the stink bug, Bagrada hilaris; spearheading a classical biological control program against the mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus and describing a new parasitoid, Anagyrus callidus (Triapitsyn, Andreason and Perring); conducting studies that launched a worldwide investigation into whether Bemisia tabaci consists of biotypes or species (currently at least 40 species are recognized); and implementing biocontrol of date mite and mating disruption of carob moth in dates.

Perring will receive the award during Entomology 2021, ESA's Annual Meeting, taking place in-person and online, Oct. 31 – Nov. 3, in Denver.

Posted on Monday, August 30, 2021 at 9:14 PM

Names in the News

Kron named north coast IPM advisor

Cindy Kron

Cindy Kron joined UC Cooperative Extension as area-wide IPM advisor for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties in September 2019. 

Before joining UCCE, Kron studied the three-cornered alfalfa hopper as a research entomologist for USDA in their Crop Disease, Pests and Genetics research unit. She tested cover crop species as feeding and reproductive hosts of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper in addition to testing commercially available biocontrol agents against the different life stages of the treehopper. She collaborated with a UC Davis colleague to create a degree-day model that predicts the ideal timing to implement cultural control measures with the greatest impact on treehopper populations. 

Kron has researched a variety of insects including a two-year vineyard study on the population dynamics of Virginia creeper leafhopper, western grape leafhopper and variegated leafhopper. For her dissertation, she investigated the biology and behavior of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper and its relationship with vineyards. She also studied the effects of temperature on the developmental rate of the invasive European grapevine moth and reared brown marmorated stink bugs for USDA fumigation studies.

“My experiences have motivated me to help growers, stakeholders and the industry solve agricultural pest management problems through applied research and identifying IPM strategies and tactics that are economically feasible and implementable while having the lowest environmental impact,” Kron said.

Kron earned her bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology, with a minor in agricultural pest management, and her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis.

She is based in Santa Rosa and can be reached at ckron@ucanr.edu.

Nocco named UCCE specialist in soil-plant-water relations

Mallika Nocco

Mallika Nocco joined UC ANR in September 2019 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in soil-plant-water relations, based in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis.

After five years as a health care representative in the corporate world, Nocco decided to pursue her interest in soil, plants and the conundrum of sustainable agriculture.

She earned a Ph.D. in environment and resources and a master's degree in soil science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Nelson Institute's Environment and Resources Program. She earned her bachelor's degree in cultural studies/comparative literature and philosophy from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Nocco is based at UC Davis and can be reached at manocco@ucdavis.edu. Follow her on Twitter @mallika_nocco.

Harper honored as Range Manager of the Year

John Harper, center, shown with Mel George and Harper's wife, Amy.

The California-Pacific Society for Range Management honored John Harper, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties, with its Range Manager of the Year Award.

“He has advanced an exceptional program of extension education and public service that has been exemplary in gathering and evaluating scientific information and extending information to the range livestock industry and agencies locally and statewide,” wrote Mel George, emeritus UCCE range specialist,in his letter nominating Harper for the award.

Early in his career, Harper helped local ranchers evaluate grazing management practices and develop ranch management plans to address water issues associated with grazing and rangelands in the early 1990s. He was instrumental in developing the Rangeland Watershed Program's Ranch Water Quality Planning Short Courses and associated educational materials that led to the development of water quality plans for more than 2 million acres by more than 1,000 ranchers in California, according to George. In 2012, the Western Extension Directors bestowed an Award of Excellence on the Rangeland Watershed Program.

An early adopter of social media for outreach, Harper developed the blog UCCE Livestock and Range Topics and integrated the use of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into his suite of information delivery methods.  

In 2012 Harper became California's representative to the Rangeland Partnership, which is responsible for the Rangelands West and Global Rangelands website. He provided leadership to industry in the use of social media to communicate about rangelands and their management. 

Harper also improved access to university information and publications by the California Cattlemen's Association and other agricultural organizations. He has been developing new content, digitizing and archiving old publications and revamping the California Rangelands website and the UCCE Livestock & Range Beef Cattle web page.

Over the last few years, Harper has invested considerable time in economic development in Mendocino and Lake counties.

“He has been a central figure in the development of plans for a multi-species slaughterhouse to serve niche marketers on the north coast,” George wrote. “This would create jobs and strengthen the farm-to-consumer marketing of meat products. Likewise, he has worked with individuals to develop wool processing facilities and cheese making enterprises that will increase economic activity and potentially create jobs.”

For many years, Harper has organized what may be the only sheep shearing school in the U.S., creating new careers for the students while filling a need for sheep shearers. All 28 slots of his 2019 Beginning Sheep Shearing School were filled within 2 minutes of registration opening.

Harper received the award at the California-Pacific Society for Range Management Section Meeting Oct. 17.

Posted on Monday, December 23, 2019 at 11:02 AM

New annual report shows how UC ANR is improving California life with science-based solutions

UC ANR's program planning and evaluation has compiled a 16-page 2018 annual report that provides an overview of the sweeping impacts our scientists and educators made in 2018. The impacts are felt across the state – in places where water is scarce, climate is changing farming practices, children need a little extra support to get to college, and families can use guidance to stretch their food budgets.

Of the hundreds of ways UC ANR impacts California lives and livelihoods, 40 are highlighted in the new publication, Working for the Benefit of All Californians: 2018 UC ANR Annual Report. A limited number of printed copies are available. Email jennifer.caron-sale@ucop.edu to request paper copies.

UC ANR has identified public value statements that reflect the breadth of its efforts. Academics and staff are working to promote economic prosperity, safeguard sufficient safe and healthy food for all, protect the state's natural resources, promote healthy people and communities, develop a qualified workforce, build climate change resilience in communities and ecosystems, and develop an inclusive and equitable society. These values touch every person in the state.

During the period covered in the new report, robust research and education programs supported agricultural communities. For example, UC ANR scientists improved the ability to predict beet curly top virus, avoiding losses approaching $100 million in processing tomatoes. A workshop offered by UC ANR educators on low-stress livestock handling convinced all the participants to incorporate the practices on their ranches. Online and in-person workshops provided to urban farmers resulted in new food safety plans for nearly all of the growers involved.

Families, farmers and natural resource managers are facing the prospect of climate change and looking for ways to continue prospering under uncertain conditions. Increasingly ferocious wildfires are causing serious losses to ranchers. UC ANR provided information on management practices to safeguard resources, prevent soil erosion and estimate the cost of forage losses so ranch owners can prepare loss claims. UC ANR has been instrumental in development of a website, Cal-Adapt.org, a clearing house to collect and disseminate climate change data.

Families and youth are a focus of UC ANR nutrition research, nutrition education and programs such as 4-H and CalFresh Healthy Living, UC. One UC ANR researcher collaborated with the Karuk, Yurok and Klamath tribes to identify culturally sound solutions to reduce food insecurity. In two Northern California counties, students were introduced by UC ANR educators to 36 local produce items. Their selection, consumption and interest in the produce served at lunchtime increased. UC ANR piloted a program that gets Latinx youth outside for environmental education.

Making food safer, enriching children's lives, extending reliable nutrition education and improving the productivity on California farms and ranches add up to significant value to the recipients of the services and to all Californians by making the state a better place to live and work.

Posted on Friday, December 20, 2019 at 1:42 PM

ANR releases 6 UCCE advisor positions for recruitment

Glenda Humiston
I am thrilled to announce that the following 6 CE Advisor positions from the 2018 CE position proposals are released for recruitment:

  • #12 Production Horticulture Advisor, San Diego County
  • #42 Agronomy Area Advisor, Merced County
  • #54 Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, Siskiyou County
  • #58 Nutrition, Family, and Consumer Sciences Area Advisor, San Mateo-San Francisco Counties
  • #62 Vegetable Crops and Small Farms Advisor, Riverside County
  • #66 Pomology and Water/Soils Area Advisor, Kings County

The Academic HR unit will begin to work on recruitment plans for the above CE Advisor positions immediately following the winter break.

In addition, I commit to refill the position “#49 Irrigation and Water Resources Advisor, Glenn County” at such time that a gap occurs.

These were difficult decisions to make because while we need the above positions, there are many more needs for both CE Specialist and CE Advisor positions that continue to wait for additional funding. Additionally, while we have grown the CE Specialist numbers over the last several years, the number of CE Advisors in the field has steadily declined. For this reason, we are not releasing additional CE Specialist positions at this time. I remain deeply committed to the 4-H Youth Development Program and support the current conversations underway about investments in expanding non-academic support to improve program delivery to our local communities.

I hope to release 5 to 6 more positions in the spring/summer. This is possible, in part, due to the advanced notice provided by individuals planning to retire June 2020. In addition, we will complete recruitment of other academic positions currently advertised, including those that are funded through partnerships. See Status of Recruitments and Hires for a list of positions under recruitment now. That list does not reflect a few recent CE Advisor and CE Specialist hires who have not yet started.

I wish to thank the Program Council for their work providing recommendations to me. Likewise, I thank the County Directors, Program Team Leaders, Statewide Program/Institute Directors, REC Directors and Associate Deans for their efforts to identify priority needs.

I look forward to sending more of these notices soon!

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

 

Posted on Friday, December 20, 2019 at 1:12 PM

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