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Barman named UCCE IPM advisor in Imperial County

Apurba Barman

Apurba Barman joined UC Cooperative Extension as low desert integrated pest management advisor on Jan. 11, 2021. He will be headquartered at the UCCE Imperial County office, which adjoins the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville.

"I am very excited for my new role as an IPM advisor based in Southern California and for the opportunity to serve one of the most important vegetable production regions in the state,” Barman said. “The diversity and intensity of crop production in this region demand targeted research to solve pest management issues and effective extension programs to reach diverse clientele. I feel prepared for this job with my experience and passion to serve the community.”

Barman earned a bachelor's degree at Assam Agricultural University in India, and master's degrees in Indiana and at Texas Tech University, Lubbock. In 2011, he completed a doctorate degree at Texas A&M University in College Station, where he developed a research program to understand the extent of damage and management of thrips in the Texas High Plains region.

Barman comes to UC Cooperative Extension from the University of Georgia, where he led a whitefly monitoring and management progress across cropping systems in the southern region the state.

Barman can be reached at (209) 285-9810 and akbarman@ucanr.edu. His Twitter handle is @Ento_Barman.

Tian joins UCCE as viticulture advisor in Kern County

Tian Tian

Tian Tian has been named the UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor in Kern County, beginning Jan. 4, 2021. Tian previously served as a graduate research assistant at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she conducted experiments and statistical analyses of data sets while completing her doctoral degree.

“I feel very excited to join UC Cooperative Extension and be part of this collaborative group,” Tian said. “I look forward to working with local growers and industry to improve management practices in the vineyard and increase the profit margin of table grape production.”

Tian earned a master's degree at California State University, Fresno, and a bachelor's degree at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China, both in viticulture and enology. For several years she worked in industry, including an internship at E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto and as the assistant vineyard manager at Berryessa Gap Vineyard in Winters.

Tian's doctoral research focused on development of better guidelines for vineyard nitrogen management for growers in the Willamette Valley. She and the research team evaluated the influences of vineyard nitrogen on vine productivity, fruit composition and wine characteristics in chardonnay and pinot noir.

Tian can be reached at titian@ucanr.edu. Her Twitter handle is @TianUcce.

Garay named social media strategist

Doralicia Garay

Dora Garay joined UC ANR as a social media strategist on Jan. 19. She brings over 15 years of communications experience, most recently serving as the digital marketing specialist at Everett Community College in Washington, where she managed more than 20 college-wide social media accounts and conducted innovative marketing campaigns in both English and Spanish.

Garay has a track record of engaging and empowering communities through her effective communications strategies and social media expertise. Along with more than a decade of working with digital media, her experience includes producing news and education segments for Univision, a top-rated television network.

Garay earned a bachelor of arts in political science at UC Berkeley and a Master of Communication in Digital Media at University of Washington.

She will be based in the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at dgaray@ucanr.edu and (510) 630-5622. Her Twitter handle is @DoraliciaGaray.

Flavell remains interim director of Sierra Foothill REC

Dustin Flavell

An internal search to fill the director position at Sierra Foothills REC was conducted during November-December 2020. Unfortunately, no applications were received. UCANR leadership and UC Livestock & Natural Resources academics are exploring options to provide sustained leadership for SFREC.

In the meantime, SFREC superintendent Dustin Flavell will continue to oversee the center. Flavell has served as interim director since September, when Jeremy James left UC ANR to become department chair of Natural Resources at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

DOE honors Sanchez for carbon removal research

Dan Sanchez

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) granted a Secretary of Energy Achievement Award to a team including UC assistant Cooperative Extension specialist Daniel Sanchez and Ph.D. candidate Bodie Cabiyo in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley.

Sanchez and Cabiyo's team "Getting to Neutral Carbon Emissions" was selected for their outstanding service and research contributions, both to the agency's mission and the benefit of the nation, in greenhouse gas emissions reduction scholarship.  

The team's final report, titled “Getting to Neutral: Options for Negative Carbon Emissions in California,” provides a comprehensive study of technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It offers frameworks for developing public policy and legislative action based on scientific data to help California achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 or sooner. Sanchez and Cabiyo contributed research to help estimate the amount of forest biomass that can be used in negative emission pathways, as a result of managing 1 million acres of forest each year. They used economically driven models to identify the most cost-efficient forest management strategies for the team's Forest Carbon Plan goals. 

The award is one of the highest internal, non-monetary recognitions that DOE employees and contractors can receive. 

Mitchell receives No-Till Innovator Research & Education award

Jeff Mitchell, right, and Esther Mosase, UCCE climate-smart educator, demonstrate soil health at a 2019 field day.

Jeffrey Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, received the No-Till Innovator Research & Education award for his commitment to the advancement of no-till farming systems.

Mitchell, who is based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, has been a pioneer in design, research, knowledge generation and extension in conservation cropping systems in California. With his dedication, these conservation cropping systems are now beginning to be gradually adopted in the state and are receiving much attention from growers, extension, industry, educational institutions, state and federal government agencies, and non-governmental agencies, says Anil Shrestha, chair of the department of Viticulture and Enology at Fresno State University.

Initially, Mitchell established the UC Conservation Tillage Workgroup that was primarily focused on no-till systems. Later, he expanded the workgroup and established the Conservation Agriculture Systems Initiative (CASI) group with a broader conservation systems approach. CASI won the No-Till Innovator Award in 2018. 

Mitchell expanded his work to vegetable crops and is among the first in the U.S. to work on these systems combined with precision irrigation technology. Mitchell organizes the CASI Workgroup Field Days and Demonstrations at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center. 

An important part of Mitchell's research and education efforts has emphasized evaluations of the impacts and tradeoffs that reduced disturbance tillage and cover cropping have on soil and cropping system function. 

Based on a long-term study dating to 1999, Mitchell worked with a team that documented that no-till and cover crop practices in sorghum, cotton, corn, wheat and tomato could not only maintain productivity, but also greatly impact a number of important soil quality indicators — including higher soil carbon and nitrogen, aggregation and infiltration. This work has documented that significant positive changes have occurred even in the arid, irrigated soils in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Wang honored for olive research

Selina Wang evaluates oil quality.

Selina Wang, research director at the UC Davis Olive Center and UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, recently received the Olive Wellness Institute's inaugural award for achievement in olive science research.

Wang joined the Olive Center as a postdoctoral researcher in 2010 and became research director in 2011, leading the center's research efforts in olive oil quality, authenticity and standardization. She took on her Cooperative Extension duties in 2018. “I still do the work I've been doing with olives and olive oil, but now I cover all the crops that are important for California,” she said.

Research from the Olive Center contributed to the scientific basis for the establishment of California grade and labeling standards for olive oil, refined-olive oil and olive-pomace oil. Under the standards, producers of greater than 5,000 gallons per year must test every lot of oil for quality, thereby instilling confidence in consumers.

Wang said she looks forward to continued research on maximizing quality, health benefits, yield and sustainability — in the field and in processing. “We've made a tremendous amount of progress in the past decade, and there's more work to be done, especially in response to climate change,” she said. “I will continue extension with the growers and processors and education with the students at UC Davis who are the future leaders.”

Dan Flynn, the recently retired Olive Center director, nominated Wang for the award. “Dr. Wang stands among the very best people I have worked with,” he said. “Her independent and significant research achievement, skill at attracting financial backing and resources, ability to inspire students, robust work ethic, dedication to the public interest and exceptional interpersonal skills place her among the noteworthy olive scientists globally.” – UC Davis News and Media Relations 

Khan elected to national hydrologic science board

Safeeq Khan

Safeeq Khan, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist for water and watershed sciences based at UC Merced, has been elected to the board of directors for the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI).

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, CUAHSI is a non-profit organization with a mission to serve the interdisciplinary water science community in promoting and expanding formal and informal educational opportunities.

Gosliner to serve on Farm to School Working Group subcommittee

Wendi Gosliner
Wendi Gosliner, project scientist at the Nutrition Policy Institute, has been invited to work on a California Department of Food and Agriculture subcommittee of the California Farm to School Working Group by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross and First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

Gosliner was recommended to participate in the Health Systems Data subcommittee because of her experience in measuring impact for food systems projects.

As a subcommittee member, Gosliner will help create a unified vision for the future of farm to school in California. The group will meet January 2021 through October 2021, culminating in the publishing of a “Roadmap to Success” for California's farm to school movement.

“Our state leaders recognize the need to transform our food system into one that is climate-smart, equitable, resilient, reflective of all of California's diverse cultures, and accessible to all,” said Ross and Siebel Newsom. “We know school nutrition is a key element of this transformation, and a recent $10m budget allocation from Governor Newsom shows the state is making a serious effort to expand its impact.”

UC ANR supporters give over $85,000 on #GivingTuesday

Thanks to everyone who participated, UC ANR's #GivingTuesday campaign was a tremendous success.

“We surpassed our goal of $60,000, raising $85,168,” said Mary Maffly Ciricillo, director of Annual Giving and Individual Gifts. “This is close to a 24 percent increase over last year's Giving Tuesday total of $68,322.”

As an added incentive to potential donors, ANR received over $37,000 in donations toward match challenge funds supporting all of UC ANR programs.

The California 4-H Foundation alone brought in over $32,000. Compared to 2016, there was a 250 percent increase in giving to UC ANR programs – including Master Gardeners, Master Food Preservers, IPM, the REC System, and county offices – totaling over $15,000.

The number of gifts received also rose, from 224 gifts in 2016 to 318 gifts this year. “We even received a gift designated to urban horticulture!” Ciricillo said.

In addition to raising money, the #GivingTuesday social media campaign helped raise the visibility of ANR programs. The Master Gardener Program team made a video of the unselfies posted on social media by their supporters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI_tVcNhBcQ.

“We appreciate everyone's cooperation in this fundraising effort and hope we can continue to build on our success for the next #GivingTuesday,” Ciricillo said. “These private funds will help us expand UC ANR's reach.”

Below is a list of funds donors selected to receive Giving Tuesday their gifts:

ANR - Master Gardener Annual Giving Fund

Alameda County Master Gardener Endowment Fund

Elkus Ranch Fund

San Mateo - 4-H Program - Various Donors

Statewide Master Gardener Endowment Fund

Sacramento County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

Los Angeles County UCCE Fund

Orange County UCCE Fund

El Dorado County UCCE - Rangeland Fund

San Mateo/San Francisco UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

ANR - Giving Tuesday Match Fund

San Mateo County UCCE - MG Greenhouse

KREC - Kearney REC - Fund

SFREC - Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center Fund

Sonoma County UCCE - Citizen Science Projects

"urban horticulture"

Los Angeles County UCCE - Master Gardeners

LREC - Lindove Field Station

El Dorado County UCCE - Master Gardeners - Various Dnrs

San Mateo/SF UCCE - Master Food Preserver

Fresno County UCCE

4-H Undesignated

"REC System"

Riverside County UCCE - Master Gardeners

Sutter-Yuba Counties UCCE - Master Gardeners

Merced County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

UC California Naturalist Program

Ventura County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

HREC - Hopland REC - Fund

"Marin Master Gardeners Opportunity Fund"

IPM - Program Fund

4-H Foundation UC Donor Funds

DREC - Desert REC FARM SMART Fund

Merced County Agriculture Extension and Research Endowment

Alameda County UCCE - Master Gardeners

UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

Orange County UCCE - Master Food Preserver Fund

Kern - 4-H Program - Various Donors

Colusa County UCCE - Master Gardener Program

Central Sierra - UCCE

Ventura County UCCE Fund

"Ventura County Master Gardeners"

San Joaquin County UCCE - Master Gardener Fund

ANR - California Naturalist Scholarship Fund

Statewide Program - Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Program

ANR Informatics and GIS Fund

Nutrition Policy Institute General Fund

Plumas County UCCE - Project Learning Tree

ANR - Master Food Preservers Fund

California Institute for Water Resources

San Mateo County UCCE Fund

Santa Barbara County 4-H - Various Donors

Contra Costa County UCCE Fund

 

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 3:53 PM

See a sneak preview of UC ANR home page’s refreshed design

You are invited to review the new ucanr.edu design refresh.

Strategic Communications now has a Website Redesign Feedback survey that offers an opportunity for additional input. You'll find links to the proposed designs for desktop, tablet and smart phone. It shows the website interactions and a survey, where you can rate various elements of the website project and offer open-ended comments and ideas, at http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=22172.

Please submit your feedback by Friday, Dec. 1.

Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 1:52 PM

Names in the News

Megan Marotta
Marotta joins UC ANR as program integration coordinator

Megan Marotta joined UC ANR Youth Families and Communities Statewide Program team as a program integration coordinator in July and is working with five statewide programs: Master Gardeners, Master Food Preservers, 4-H Youth Development, UC CalFresh and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Her position, which is new, provides an opportunity to capitalize on the partnerships and programming that already exist in each county.

Marotta brings more than 13 years of experience building partnerships in communities, the last 7 years as a program director for afterschool and summer programs in the Bay Area. She received a BA in psychology from Pepperdine University and a master's degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University.

Marotta is based at the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1225 and mrmarotta@ucanr.edu.

From left, Megan Phillippi of Montana State University, Nancy Shelstad and Tim Ewers of Idaho State University, Jeannette Rea-Keywood of Rutgers University, and Kendra Lewis and JoLynn Miller accepted the Excellence in Teamwork Award.

4-H team wins national teamwork award

A multi-state group formed to study 4-H youth retention received the Excellence in Teamwork Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NA4-HA). Kendra Lewis, 4-H academic coordinator for evaluation, and JoLynn Miller, 4-H youth development advisor for the Central Sierra Multi-county Partnership, accepted the award on Nov. 16 in Indianapolis at the NA4-HA Annual Conference.

The youth retention study is focused on understanding why youth and families join, drop out or stay in 4-H. By learning about these factors, youth recruitment and retention in 4-H can be improved. Being able to learn about these issues across states has been valuable as 4-H professionals create tools to help mitigate some of the issues learned from the study.

Since 2014, Lewis and Miller have been co-chairs of the group, which also includes UC Cooperative Extension 4-H advisors Marianne Bird, John Borba and Russell Hill, and specialist Kali Trzesniewski.

For California youth and families, the team has already created a New Family Handbook and a Project Leader Checklist to help leaders as they welcome new families. UC ANR is currently partnering with Cooperative Extension staff at University of Idaho, Rutgers University, University of Wyoming and Louisiana State University. 

The team won the California 4-H Association, Western Region of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, and National NAE4-HA awards for Excellence in Teamwork.

Blackburn and Lagura win NEAFCS research award

Mary Blackburn
Mary L. Blackburn, nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, and MaryAnn A. Lagura, early childhood program coordinator, both of UC Cooperative Extension in Alameda County, won first place in the Program Excellence Through Research Award category for their “Preschool Wellness Policy Development,” both in the nation and in the western region in the National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Annual Awards Program.

MaryAnn Lagura
In 2017, about 67,000 children in Alameda County participated in California's Child and Adult Care Food Program - Child Care and Adult Care Components. Of that number, about 12,000 (17.93 percent) of these children were at 319 sites operating without wellness policies. The early childhood obesity prevention initiative, funded by the Alameda County Health Department – Nutrition Services, was launched in 2014 to develop wellness policies at 20 preschools with 1,074 children in five cities in Alameda County. Blackburn and Lagura provided guidance and support to develop, approve and adopt policies to promote healthy eating, physical activity, environmental changes and model healthy behaviors. They also evaluated the outcomes.

At the end of the 2017 school year, 18 sites had fully implemented policies. Twelve are entering a third year and six are in the second year of implementation – two sites lost funding. Preliminary evaluations of the overall outcomes found goal achievements by all sites exceeded the total number of priority goals sites selected for the first year by a ratio of 2:1.

The award was presented at the annual NEAFCS Awards Ceremony in Omaha, Neb., on Oct. 18 and 19. 

Gerry poses with former recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Front row, from left, are Nancy Hinkle, Gerry, and Dick Miller. Back row, from left, are Phil Kaufman, Chris Geden, Jerry Hogsette, Don Rutz, Dave Taylor, UC Riverside professor Brad Mullens and Wes Watson. Photo by Annie Rich

Gerry earns lifetime achievement award  

Alec Gerry, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology at the UC Riverside, received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award in Veterinary Entomology. 

Gerry's outstanding contributions to animal health and productivity were recognized at the 61st Livestock Insect Workers Conference in Savannah, Ga., in June 2017. He serves as president of the Medical, Urban and Veterinary Entomology Section of the Entomological Society of America.

Last year Gerry was honored as a member of a multi-state research team for “S-1060: Fly Management in Animal Agriculture Systems and Impacts on Animal Health and Food Safety.” The 2016 Experiment Station Section Award for Excellence in Multi-State Research was given by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Cooperative Extension System and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).

To learn more about Gerry's research, visit http://veterinaryentomology.ucr.edu.

Posted on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 1:23 PM

UC ANR shares staff engagement survey results

Last spring, a sampling of non-represented UC ANR staff were asked to complete the biennial Staff Engagement Survey to gauge their impressions about working for the University. The Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA), in collaboration with Systemwide Human Resources' Employee Relations department, developed the survey with the company Willis Towers Watson. The 2017 survey follows similar surveys conducted in 2013 and 2015. The results have been tabulated, and the UC ANR Staff Assembly and UC ANR Human Resources are preparing to share the results broadly across the division.

All staff and academics are invited to take part in a webinar review of the survey results from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Dec. 13 (additional information and the webinar link will be e-mailed). Vice President Glenda Humiston, ANR Staff Assembly and ANR Human Resources will host a town hall meeting from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Jan. 16 to discuss the results and ideas for improvement.  

“Reviewing the engagement survey results gives us the opportunity to have open conversations about how people feel about working at UC ANR, and identify ways we can improve,” said John Fox, ANR Human Resources executive director.

At the UC ANR Staff Assembly ambassadors' meeting in October, CUCSA delegates Jeannette Warnert and LeChé McGill presented a preview of the results in three areas that show opportunities for improvement: organizational change, performance management and wellness. After the presentation, the ambassadors broke into groups to suggest ways to improve staff impressions in these areas.

According to the survey, 34 percent of respondents had a favorable impression to the statement, "Generally, recent major organizational changes across the UC system have been planned well.” This is a 2 percentage-point increase from 2015.

The most popular suggestion from the ambassadors for improvement was including staff (particularly those affected by the changes) in the change process. The ambassadors also emphasized the importance of communication about changes, such as information about why changes are being made and how they will be implemented. They also stressed the importance of listening to staff and taking their input seriously.

In the area of performance management, 70 percent of staff surveyed responded favorably to the statement, “I think my performance on the job is evaluated fairly.” However, this was an 8 percentage point drop from the 2015 survey. A significant proportion, 67 percent, had favorable impressions about the statement, "I feel my personal contributions are recognized." A smaller group, 20 percent, responded favorably to "I feel my campus/location does a good job matching pay to performance."

The ambassadors felt strongly that performance management impressions could be improved by helping staff and supervisors develop a better understanding of the new employee-performance-appraisal report rating system. They suggested sharing details about the successes of staff who were rated "transformational," and providing training to staff on their role in the performance appraisal process.

Ambassadors also expressed a concern that there is an assumption among UC ANR managers that staff cannot be rated as "exceptional.”

The 2017 Staff Engagement Survey covered the topic of “wellness” for the first time. Sixty-one percent of UC ANR staff responded favorably to the statement, “My supervisor is supportive of my participation in health or wellness-related initiatives and programs offered at my campus/location.” A similar number, 60 percent, gave favorable responses to the statement, “My organization promotes an environment of physical, mental and social well-being.”

Ambassadors shared a number of ideas for improving this outcome, such as offering discounts for local health clubs/gyms, release time for exercise, exercise awards, structured wellness activities, and support for telecommuting.

For more information on the 2017 UC Staff Engagement Survey, see the UC ANR Staff Assembly website.

Posted on Monday, November 27, 2017 at 9:26 AM

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