Dean Powers with student and faculty member
CAHNRS Dean Wendy Powers, left, and Nancy Deringer, interim associate dean for Student Success and Academic Programming, pose with one of several undergraduate scholarship winners at the college’s 2022 Fall Festival.

Congratulations to the Fall Festival prize and scholarship winners! And thank you to the many chair, faculty, and director ice cream servers! I hope students had as much fun as I did. The CAHNRS organizing committee (Student Success and Academic Programs (SSAP), Maddy McPhee, and Lisa Johnson) worked hard to make the event a success. I enjoyed learning about the various clubs and received good training on plant pathogens.

Late last week I had a chance to meet Jim Cook, a former researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service at WSU. What a pleasure to learn about his accomplishments and commitment to CAHNRS! The time went by far too quickly. I can only imagine the fun Jim and WSU alumnus Jeff Gordon have with other Desert Cougs in the Palm Springs area. I am glad we met early in the day as I later received my next COVID booster, setting me back a bit over the weekend.

Despite the flu-like symptoms from the vaccine, my spirits were boosted quickly as I learned of our newest award recipients. Regents Professor John Reganold just received the prestigious Organic Pioneer Award from the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, which conducts  organic agriculture research. He is among an elite group of previous recipients. Congratulations, John!

Congratulations also to Tom Collins, who is a nominee for the Wine Enthusiast’s Innovator of the Year Award! Tom is part of a three-member team (representing WSU, OSU, UC-Davis) nominated for the award. I love seeing Anita Oberholster, a UC Cooperative Extension Specialist, as part of the team! I enjoyed working with her in my last position.

Dr. Gary Chastagner was honored with the Herb and Helen Plumb Award this past Friday at the annual Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association meetings in Portland, Oregon. This is the association’s highest award for a  grower group that represents operations in California, Oregon, and Washington. While I didn’t hear much about christmas tree production in California, it was a core commodity in Michigan.

It is the unwavering commitment to excellence that puts these awardees and the broader college at the forefront of  impacting  the state and beyond. I am so proud to be a part of this!

The Chairs and Directors group met on Monday. It was a packed agenda that covered everything from budget transparency to building a comprehensive strategy to ensure CAHNRS does all that it can to build a more resilient Washington through our programs and partnerships. We have work to do and we are motivated to do it. We also recognize that everyone in CAHNRS has something to contribute.

Tomorrow I am off to Wenatchee. I will be sure to take a few photos during the visit and field day. Let’s hope the skies are clear!