"Southern California is burning . . . . I've never seen anything like this!" begins a note written yesterday by Myriam Grajales-Hall, the manager of UC ANR's News and Information Outreach in Spanish program, which is headquartered at UC Riverside.
"My family and I went to downtown LA yesterday, and by the afternoon, the sky was dark, the smell of smoke pervaded the city and ashes were falling everywhere. As we were coming back home in the evening, we could see flames on the hill . . . as far as the eye could see . . . . An eerie sight, indeed."
ANR Governmental and External Relations is getting wildfire information out to the public in an online media kit and
Grajales-Hall and her staff are distributing UC ANR information on wildfire to the Spanish-language media.
Assistant director of ANR News and Information Outreach Pam Kan-Rice distributed an English-language news release on What to do before, during an after a wildfire to the media last Friday.
NAIO director Steve Nation is sending information to state and federal elected officials in parts of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties on the whole gamut of resources provided by ANR and UC on what to do before, during and after wildfires so that they have the links available for their constituents.
Some news reports have described the 2008 fire season as the worst ever; and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has redefined the "fire season," saying it isn't just June to October anymore. According to a story posted on eFluxMedia.com, global warming and climate change have brought higher winter temperatures and less rainfall, making California's fire season year round.
Two media outlets used UC sources in their wildfire stories over the weekend:
The San Jose Mercury News sought comment from the co-director of the Fire Center at UC Berkeley, Max Moritz. He said 2008's disastrous fire season could have been worse.
"We got lucky this year. We have didn't that many hot dry, windy days this summer. And that's why the fire season has progressed the way it has," the story quoted Moritz.
Stockton Record reporter Dana Nichols spoke to UC Cooperative Extension wood durability advisor Steve Quarles about Australia's "stay or go" firefighting strategy. A similar approach is commonly called "shelter in place" in the United States. California officials worry that "shelter in place" encourages people to ignore evacuation orders.
But the Australia approach involves more than just staying put, Quarles said.
"There is a training aspect that goes along with homeowners in stay or go communities in Australia, so when the fire passes through and they shelter in their home, they come out and they start putting out small fires that are still around, and they train in how to do that," Quarles was quoted. "If you don't have that training, then staying isn't the best thing for you."
Last Saturday the rock purslane in our bee friendly garden drew a honey bee, several hover flies and one spotted cucumber beetle. A hover fly landed...
Spotted cucumber beetle
Honey isn't always amber-colored. It can range from white to dark brown, depending on the flowers the bees visit. Back in 1971, a group of UC Davis...
A blog titled "The World's Fair: All Manner of Human Creativity on Display" posted a question-and-answer session with Keith Warner, the author of Agroecology in Action - Extending Alternative Agriculture Through Social Networks. Warner, who studied at UC Santa Cruz, is a Franciscan Friar and a lecturer at Santa Clara University.
The social networks Warner refers to in his book are the precursors to what is now generally thought of as social networking, Web sites like Facebook and My Space.
Warner believes networks of farmers, scientists, and other stakeholders must work together and share knowledge among themselves. This sort of partnership, he says, is the primary strategy for finding alternatives to conventional agrochemical use.
Warner's blog comments, which read like a college textbook, touch on the part of his new publication in which he reviews the land grant university research-extension technology transfer system. The blog post even includes a technology transfer graph from a UC Cooperative Extension training manual.
His take on land grant technology transfer isn't wholly complimentary. For example, he wrote:
"I discovered that underneath the discourses of omniscience on the part land grant universities and the farm bureau, a significant portion of the farming community questioned the inevitability of contemporary, polluting practices." (Omniscience is college textbook way to say "know-it-all.")
It appears to me that Warner's book most certainly has interesting ideas and advice for UC Cooperative Extension, but judging from the writing style on the blog, it might be a challenge to read. Warner said he wrote the book hoping it would "mobilize the public to pressure decision-makers to create an agricultural science system that serves the common good." I wonder how many members of the public would be willing to slog through this book.
When the Entomological Society of America's 56th annual meeting takes place Nov. 16-19 in Reno, UC Davis entomologists will be out in...