Busier, longer days

A group of seven people stands next to a podium and the American flag.
We had a great meeting at IAREC last week with Under Secretary Lester Moffitt. (Pictured, from left: Leisa Schumaker, Program Manager with WSDA for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program; CAHNRS Senior Associate Dean Scot Hulbert; WSU TFREC Director Chad Kruger; myself; IAREC Director Naidu Rayapati; USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt; and WSDA Director Derek Sandison)

Sun was a nice change on Sunday. The temperatures made it easy to get outside and enjoy some natural vitamin D. The daylength is noticeably longer, too. I never did check on Punxsutawney Phil’s shadow outcome.

We had a great meeting in Prosser last week with Under Secretary Lester Moffitt. The Prosser faculty did a great job describing their programs and the benefit of the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. I think Per McCord said it best when he stated that the program provided support to address critical challenges that might not look like hypothesis-driven research proposals such as those funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative.

Congratulations to Jill McCluskey, whose research about rural food deserts received a reference in the Seattle Times! This is an example of the good work going on across CAHNRS to build a resilient Washington by ensuring access to safe, affordable food.

If you are located in Pullman, be sure to put Share the Love on your calendar (Feb. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Ensminger Pavilion). The potluck event is a great opportunity to connect with colleagues around CAHNRS and will serve as the kickoff for the #CougsGive events on April 17. We are fortunate to have a number of partners making generous matching donations! Let’s do our best to meet each match challenge. I hear faculty participation in #CougsGive hovers on average between 45%-60% on the Vancouver campus. The Pullman campus usually runs closer to 20%-25% average participation, but I encourage CAHNRS to aim higher.

There’s a lot going on this week. I’m heading to Olympia for the Department of Natural Resources board meeting. The meetings are getting longer due to work related to the sustainable harvest calculation and the pending 2025 sustainable harvest level policy. Travel, in general, picks up in February. Fortunately, flight schedules seem to be back on track.

Many from CAHNRS will be at the Spokane Ag Expo. It looks like a decent travel week for that event. Chairs and directors met with the associate deans and me on Monday. During the meeting, we learned about using our systemwide databases to generate reports that will help us share our successes. I am also attending Katie Forsythe’s Human Development 497 Professional Preparation Seminar this week focused on cultivating curiosity (practicing empathy, observation without judgement, and self-awareness). The class will be held at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. I can’t wait to see how it goes.

On Friday, I have a meeting to talk about another approach to enhancing learning. Also on Friday, Scot Hulbert kicks off development of a CAHNRS strategic plan update. Scot has assembled a great team from across CAHNRS. We appreciate Becky Dueben and the Office of Strategy, Planning, and Analysis for supporting us during this process. I look forward to what comes from the committee’s work.