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


 Name Janice Alexander
 Picture
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 Title Forest Health Educator
 Location UCCE Marin County
 Time with ANR 11 years
 Typical Day I provide outreach, education, and coordination activities around various forestry issues in California. My primary work began with the tree disease sudden oak death (caused by the non-native pathogen Phytophthora ramorum) and has expanded over the years to include other forest pests (the goldspotted oak borer) and issues (firewood as a pest vector), as well as stints with the 4-H program and other environmental education programs for youth. On a typical day, I will respond to a concerned member of the public, edit documents for use in one of the task forces or work groups whose work it is to deal with forest pests, upload a photo and caption to a Facebook page or website, and plan an activity for an outreach event. Other activities may include presenting a talk or leading a field trip, creating a short educational video, or coordinating with other professionals—but not all in the same day!

 Most Memorable Moment There are a lot of memories to choose from, but one that I think shows the value of our work is from a few years back. It was 2003 and I had only been working with UCCE for a little more than a year. I was helping coordinate a conference on sudden oak death when news broke that the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum had been discovered on nursery stock that had been shipped around the United States. This was a huge development, since it was relatively unexpected and it highlighted the risk to the rest of the country. The conference was abuzz with questions and concern. I realized then how important the educational network I maintained was in providing reliable scientific information to other professionals and the general public.

 What I love Most About Working for ANR I love that UCCE is responsive to people's needs. I'm not just making widgets for a product that no one wants; I am answering questions and providing information on topics that people are concerned about. I also love the variety of activities that this entails—everything from in-person workshops to online social media to private meetings to enormous science festivals—and all of the varied work that those different activities entail.

 My Story Shortly after receiving my Masters degree, I saw a job posting that highlighted education and coordination activities around an important new environmental threat, sudden oak death in our coastal forests. At the time, I wasn't aware of Cooperative Extension—even though I had two degrees from UC. I was mostly drawn to the idea of working on an important environmental issue in the Bay Area. As I settled into the work and it expanded into other issues, I realized how much the mission of UCCE appealed to me and what a good fit it was for my professional interests.

Here's to another 100 years of science and service!

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