University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources
University of California
University of California, Agriculture & Natural Resources

Centennial Staff Profiles

Steven Swain

UCCE Marin & Sonoma Counties
Environmental Horticulture Advisor
Time with ANR
7 years
Typical Day

I work on almost any plant that isn't grown for food or fiber. Much of my job involves assisting landscape professionals and pest control professionals manage pests and diseases in an environmentally sustainable manner. I also work with small parcel forestland owners to help them manage their land in ways that help keep forests healthy and fire-safe, and work on water quality and water conservation issues.

Most Memorable Moment

Some of my favorite times have been working on sudden oak death in the Santa Cruz mountains, particularly in snow and rain storms. It's cold, physically challenging work that requires both a chainsaw and a solid foundation in plant pathology and statistics. It doesn't hurt to have a background in other areas of biology as well. For instance, I never knew rattlesnakes could be found in redwood forests (he was out on a beautiful summer day, not in the snow). But there he was ...

What I love Most About Working for ANR

The satisfaction of helping people deal with pests in a way that makes everyone happy.

My Story

I was working for a tree company in the Santa Cruz area, doing arborist's reports, estimating, and consulting. I occasionally ran across diseases or other problems that I was unable to properly diagnose. I turned to UCCE Santa Cruz Advisor Steve Tjosvold for help, and was amazed to discover that someone actually got paid to do plant disease diagnosis work. I was inspired to go to graduate school to try and get better at my job, but never quite made it back to industry (though I really enjoy working with industry).


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