Allen-Diaz honored by range management professionals

The Society for Range Management bestowed its highest honor, the Frederick G. Renner Award, on Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the society’s annual meeting today (Feb. 2) in Sacramento. A tremendous milestone, Allen-Diaz is the first female SRM member to receive the award in the society’s 68-year history.

The premier award is given annually to SRM members who have sustained accomplishments or contributions to rangeland management during the last ten years.

“Barbara has a record of outstanding research productivity that has affected the understanding and management of California rangelands and has had global impacts,” said Amy Ganguli, assistant professor of range science at New Mexico State University.

“Barbara is also a well-regarded educator who has mentored several graduate students and young professionals who are making significant contributions to rangeland and natural resource management,” said Ganguli, who, along with Fee Busby, Utah State University wildland resources professor, nominated her for the award.

This is not the first time Allen-Diaz has been recognized by her peers for her research on the effects of livestock grazing on natural resources, oak woodlands and ecosystems of the Sierra Nevada. The national society honored her with its Outstanding Achievement Award in 2001, and the following year the California chapter named her Range Manager of the Year.

In 2007, Allen-Diaz was among 2,000 scientists recognized for their work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the IPCC and Vice President Al Gore. Allen-Diaz’s contributions focused on the effects of climate change on rangeland species and landscapes. She has authored more than 170 research articles and presentations. She has been an active member of the Society for Range Management, serving on its board of directors and on various government panels.

Allen-Diaz, who has served as UC ANR’s vice president since 2011, is also a tenured UC Berkeley faculty member in the College of Natural Resources and currently holds the prestigious Russell Rustici Chair in Rangeland Management. She has been with the University of California since 1986.  She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at UC Berkeley.

2013-14 Recipients of the UC ANR Distinguished Service Awards

Sources: Pamela Kan-Rice, ANR Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach; Kathy Keatley Garvey, Communications specialist (including photo credit)

This week, Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of UC ANR, announced the 2013-14 recipients of the ANR Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) which are given biennially for outstanding contributions to the teaching, research and public service mission of the Division of Agriculture and Natural resources.

Allen-Diaz thanked the DSA recipients for providing excellent service to the people of California.

Awards were given in six areas:

Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen in front of the apiary at the Harry H. Laidlaw J. Honey Bee Research Facility (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garbey)
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen in front of the apiary at the Harry H. Laidlaw J. Honey Bee Research Facility (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garbey)

Outstanding Extension – Eric Mussen, UC Cooperative Extension apiculturist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis for bees.

Outstanding Research – Mark Battany, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties for viticulture.

Outstanding New Academic – David Doll, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Merced County for nut crops

Outstanding Team – Ken Tate, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, and Rob Atwill, director of Veterinary Medicine Extension at UC Davis, are the recipients of the Outstanding Team Award. Since 1994, Tate and Atwill have collaborated on a series of projects assessing the potential risk to rangeland surface-water quality and human health from livestock associated pollutants.

Outstanding Leader – Pamela Geisel, former director of the statewide UC Master Gardener Program. Although Pam retired recently,Master Gardenerssince this nomination package was very strong, I believe it’s appropriate and important to give Pam this much-deserved award.

Outstanding Staff – Michael Yang, UCCE agricultural assistant in Fresno County for small farms.

Each of the recipients will receive $2,000 and a certificate, except for the team award recipients, who will receive individual certificates and share $5,000.

Cooperative Extension Turns 100 May 8

Barbara Allen-Diaz, University of California Vice President, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, talked with California Ag Today about the 100th anniversary of the Cooperative Extension.

On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Smith-Lever Act, which created Cooperative Extension to help farmers, homemakers and youth apply the latest university research to improve their lives.

Barbara Allen-Diaz“For us, it’s very exciting,” said Allen-Diaz, “because we re going to celebrate our 100th birthday party of Cooperative Extension over this entire year; but in particular, on May 8, 2014, we will try to engage as many people as possible across the state of California in our day called, “A Celebration of Science and Service.” 

Allen-Diaz continued, “We’re asking folks through our local community groups, public K-12 schools, students on our campuses, all of our 4-H clubs throughout the state, even folks on our Google campus, to participate with us in celebrating 100th years of cooperative extension by being a scientist for the day.”

Cooperative Extension wants everybody to go to their “Be a Scientist for a Day” website for this day of citizen science and service, to answer all three or any one of the three following questions:

“The first question is on pollinators,” said Allen-Diaz. “We want people to count how many pollinators they see outside in their yard, in their school garden, at their place of work, wherever they are when they log on, and count how many pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, dragonflies, etc., they see over a three-minute period.”

“We have information on our website to learn about pollinators, since we’re an education institute, and how important they are not only to the future of agriculture,” she explained, “but really to the future of life on this planet. Because that’s how plants are able to produce seeds—having their flowers pollinated.”

UCCE Centennial Carrots

“Pollinators are an incredibly important part of our ecosystems throughout the world so, not only for food production,” commented Allen-Diaz, “but also for the health of all our ecosystems.

“The second question deals with water,” continued Allen-Diaz. “Obviously, water is incredibly important to all of us. In this particular year of record drought we’d really like to know how you conserve water in your daily life. There will be a series of drop down menus where you can input your data.”

Allen-Diaz stated, “The third question is on food, again with drop-down menus. Where does your food come from? Where do you get your food?”

“We ask for your location, though you can choose not to answer,” remarked Allen-Diaz, “whether people log on through their phone, computer, iPad or other instruments. With these geopoints, we can analyze the data and produce a map of the state and show everyone where pollinators are, water use by region, and where our food comes from. The more people who log on and participate, to the more we can populate our map of California.”

“For 100 years, we have engaged our local communities to work with us in problem-solving issues of importance in agricultural natural resources, nutrition, urban horticulture, home economics, and use development,” said Allen-Diaz.