- Author: Wendy Powers
I arrived in Albuquerque Sunday afternoon. It was surprisingly cool here for the first 12 hours. While that has changed, 3 years in the desert that is California has acclimated me. Keith and Bill Frost, and Jean Marie Peltier are here with Glenda and I. Today's meeting started with a brainstorming session about the future direction of the Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER); Keith is the California rep on the Center's Advisory Board but a number of others from UC ANR are involved with the center in various ways.
WCMER has been around for about 5 years so it is time to reflect on all that the Center has accomplished while simultaneously thinking about future needs without feeling chained to the past. What was most interesting about the morning discussions was the repeated acknowledgement that ‘urban issues' aren't much different from ‘rural issues'. Rather, a different delivery mechanism from the traditional Extension model used historically in rural Extension programs is needed to affect change in urban areas.
The rest of the week is meetings plus a tour on Wednesday afternoon. On Tuesday evening we have a cultural presentation during the group dinner. I can't remember where the tour will take us but by the time Wednesday comes I will be eager to not sit in meetings.
During the recognition lunch David Haviland and team will be recognized for their IPM work as recipients of the Western Extension Directors Association Award of Excellence. Congratulations to the group for their accomplishments! Be sure to check out the website in a few weeks to read the award abstract for the team.
Welcome to Amer Fayad who started today as the new Director, Western Integrated Pest Management Center! Amer is located in the Davis UC ANR building. California is fortunate to be the current home for the Western IPM Center.
One thing UC ANR doesn't have is a Chile Pepper CE Specialist. I was surprised to learn that New Mexico State University has a Research Specialist that focuses on chile peppers. And, NMSU has a Program Specialist, too! The positions are key to the Chile Pepper Institute whose mission it is to ‘educate the world about chile peppers'. I think those who grew up in the Southwest best appreciate the value of such an institute.