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CalNat Team, L-R: Sarah Angulo, Greg Ira, Sabrina Drill, Brook Gamble, Adina Merenlender. Missing: Eliot Freutel and Sarah-Mae Nelson.

UC CalNat - New Leadership: Building on a Solid Foundation
a letter from Interim Director Sabrina Drill

It's an exciting time of transformation for the UC California Naturalist community, and for our leadership team! With the ongoing exceptional work of Brook Gamble and Sarah Angulo, and the recent additions of Sarah-Mae Nelson heading up our Climate Stewards Initiative, and Eliot Freutel joining us to support our Southern California community, we've never been stronger. Now it's my honor to announce that (after a rigorous internal selection process), Greg Ira has been identified as the new Director. For the past several years Greg has been responsible for management and operations of the program and its many partnerships. Prior to that, he had a long career in environmental capacity building in Florida and the Philippines. Greg is interested in field-based environmental education, community and citizen science, empowering communities to address climate change, and methods for integrating culture into environmental programs. He excels in strategic program planning and evaluation.

Over a decade ago, Dr. Adina Merenlender had a vision - a vision for a corps of Californians dedicated to appreciation and stewardship of our natural heritage, with UC California Naturalist building the capacity to care for it. I was deeply honored when she invited me to join forces in 2012 to engage with expertise around the state, and together with an advisory group of extension, education, and conservation experts, we built a solid team with strong commitment from a growing network of partners. I served as the Associate Director for the program beginning in 2014 and as the Interim Director since the start of 2019, and I am incredibly proud of having built up the program in Southern California, expanding efforts to diversify participation, and encouraging the application of CalNat as a tool for conservation workforce preparation.

Adina returns this summer from a sabbatical leave spent re-focusing her energy in conservation and climate education at Cambridge University, and will be coming back to the CalNat community as Chair of the CalNat ANR Workgroup and lead investigator on the UC Climate Stewards initiative. I am heading out on my own sabbatical leave at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Biological Survey, during which I will be investigating the nexus between urban nature conservation and responses to extreme weather events. Next year when I return to my duties as Natural Resources Advisor for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, I look forward to continuing to support our CalNat urban community with the results of my research.

The word sabbatical comes from the concept of rest on the sabbath, which itself comes from shmita, an agricultural concept which essentially means a fallow period when soils can rejuvenate. We both wish to thank the University of California for supporting these opportunities to reflect and re-focus.  What a gift this time was for Adina and will be for me, and how wonderful to leave the program in Greg's capable hands!

 




































Regional Rendezvous Comes to the Central Coast

Nature lovers and California Naturalists unite! Join the California Naturalist Program Central Coast Regional Rendezvous in Cambria. A Regional Rendezvous is an annual event for California Naturalists and other nature-loving adults to re-energize, share our collective passion, learn together about a specific bioregion, and make fun memories on high quality, professionally led adventures. A variety of field trips with preeminent local nature experts; plenary speaker Peter Alagona, author of After the Grizzly: Endangered Species and the Politics of Place in California a panel presentation and discussion with the area's top natural resource experts; fireside programs, resource exchange, meals, community building activities, and camp lodging are all included in this fun, transformative weekend. Enjoy a beautiful location, great food, and time together with like-minded friends, new and old, exploring nature and learning new skills. No experience needed- bring a friend! Space is limited so please reserve your spot soon! Tiered pricing is available so everyone can afford to attend. If you want to take things next-level, stay for the the immersion at Camp Ocean Pines the following week!  

Check out what past attendees have to say! 
“The best part was being outdoors in a beautiful natural area with other naturalist nerds :-) ” --2018 Regional Rendezvous Participant

“The field work and networking opportunities were invaluable.” --2017 Regional Rendezvous Participant

“I enjoyed meeting other CA Naturalists and making connections with them." --2017 Regional Rendezvous Participant

“I loved the format: the lightning talks as an opportunity for anyone to get up and say their thing. And the more in depth talks to inspire us with the work of the serious thinkers and practitioners of science and nature.” --2018 Regional Rendezvous Participant
 
Sound fun? Grab a friend and join us! More here: http://calnat.ucanr.edu/RR2019/

Upcoming CalNat Courses

Columbia College 7/7

Sagehen Creek Field Station Immersion 7/28

Coastal Institute-Camp Ocean Pines Immersion 8/18

Mount Diablo Region 8/20

City College of San Francisco 8/23

American River College 8/24

Audubon Canyon Ranch 9/4

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden 9/4

Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum 9/7

Pepperwood Preserve 9/14

Lake Tahoe Community College 9/16

Effie Yeaw Nature Center 9/16

Point Reyes National Seashore Association 9/28

 

Ojai Valley Land Conservancy California Naturalists

Welcome Eliot Freutel


 
Please join California Naturalist in extending a warm welcome to our newest team member, Eliot Freutel! Eliot joined us as the new Community Education Specialist in Southern California. He is based at UCCE Los Angeles County in Alhambra. Eliot received his B.A. in Translation and Interpretation for Spanish and English at Cal State University Long Beach. He worked on Catalina Island with the Long Beach Marine Institute for over 10 years as an outdoor education instructor teaching students about the ecology of the Island. He joins us after working as an educator and climate resilience coordinator at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. In that capacity, Eliot developed two community outreach programs focused on bringing climate resilience strategies to underserved community members throughout the city. He is multilingual (Spanish, Portuguese, and English), a shark and marine ecology expert, and happiest when he is outside or underwater.
Copyright © 2019 UC California Naturalist Program, All rights reserved.


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