UC California Naturalist Program Advisory Committee Update

Aug 19, 2020

UC California Naturalist Program Advisory Committee Update

Aug 19, 2020

The California Naturalist Program's Program Advisory Committee (PAC) is a volunteer advisory group to the Director designed to provide feedback to the program, guide priorities, assist in evaluation, strengthen collaborations, and support program development efforts. I want to thank several of our members who have completed their term and welcome those who have recently joined the PAC. Those completing their term include Dr. Peggy Fiedler (UC Natural Reserve System), Jessica Bautista (UC ANR), Dr. Mark Schwartz (UC Davis), and Dr. Jeremy James (UC ANR Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center). These members served during a critical period that included the successful completion of the program's Five Year Program Review. Now, we are pleased to welcome new PAC members: Dr. Sam Sandoval-Solis (UC ANR/UC Davis); Dr. Erin Marnocha (UC Natural Reserve System); Claudia Diaz Carrasco (UC Cooperative Extension Riverside County), and Dr. Jairo Diaz (UC ANR Desert Research & Extension Center).

Finally, for the first time, the CalNat PAC will have the added benefit of a member with the specific role of “Lead Scientist.”  The Lead Scientist is a volunteer role designed to maintain a high level of academic rigor in the program, and help strengthen connections with faculty and researchers throughout the UC system. I'm very pleased to introduce our first UC California Naturalist Lead Scientist, Dr. Cameron Barrows (UC Riverside, Center for Conservation Biology).

As an existing CalNat instructor, a member of the CalNat Program Advisory Committee, a UC faculty member, a pilot instructor for the new UC Climate Stewards course, and pioneer in natural history-focused participatory science, Dr. Barrows is imminently qualified to serve as the first Lead Scientist for the program. He is currently a Research Ecologist at the Center for Conservation Biology at UC – Riverside working from the UCR Palm Desert Center. He is a recognized ecologist and naturalist who has studied, managed, and explored a huge swath of our diverse state from Humboldt County to the Mojave Desert. He recognizes the importance of the UC California Naturalist program in revitalizing natural history training, increasing trust, engagement and public participation in science, and capturing the sense of urgency that climate change brings to our work.

Over the next three years, we will work together through the CalNat PAC, Quarterly Instructor Calls, and program convenings to build upon our collective knowledge of the best practices that make the UC California Naturalist Program a transformative learning experience for so many people.


By Gregory Ira
Author - Director, UC California Naturalist Statewide Program