Awards Go to UC Advisors and Specialists

Distinguished Service Awards bring cash to teams and individuals. Compiled by staff

Published on: Mar 3, 2005

UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Vice President W.R. "Reg" Gomes has announced the recipients of the 2004 Distinguished Service Awards, made biennially for outstanding contributions to the teaching, research and public service mission of the Division.

Matteo Garbelotto, Cooperative Extension specialist in forest pathology at UC Berkeley, chaired the awards committee for 2004. In addition to a plaque, individual recipients each receive a $5,000 cash award and the team shares a $10,000 cash award.

Four UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors have been honored for teamwork that stretches over two decades and hundreds of miles. Ann King Filmer, now a UC Davis senior writer, along with Ventura County horticultural advisors Julie Newman, Karen Robb of San Diego County and Steve Tjosvold of Santa Cruz County are being honored. They are recognized for collaboration that was instrumental in the establishment of the California Ornamental Research Foundation (CORF), a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Kee Kitayama Foundation (

The educational programs offered by CORF provide information on critical agricultural and environmental issues in English and Spanish, and are a collaborative effort of UC Cooperative Extension, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and the California floriculture industry.

The team of environmental horticulture advisors has served on the CORF planning board since its inception. The programs are offered to a wide range of clientele including nursery owners and their staffs. In addition to strengthening and expanding CORF educational programs, the award recipients also launched a successful statewide newsletter, CORF News, which presents research-based educational material to the floriculture industry in California.

Individual awards were presented in three categories: new professional, outstanding research and outstanding extension. They are:

  • Joe Nunez, vegetable crops and plant pathology farm advisor in Kern County, received the distinguished service award for new professional. Nunez, who has served eight years in the post, works with growers of a wide variety of vegetables in Kern County, focusing on potatoes and carrots. As a plant pathologist, he has become an essential resource to farmers and advisors in Kern and southern San Joaquin Valley counties. Nunez organized the 29th International Carrot Symposium held in Bakersfield. 
  • Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Nutrition UC Davis, received the distinguished service award for outstanding research. A major focus of Zidenberg-Cherr's research and outreach program is the study of the nutritional status of populations considered at risk for nutritional deficiencies, and the development and evaluation of educational methodologies to improve their nutritional status. Her bimonthly newsletter, Nutrition Perspectives, is widely distributed and a valuable conduit for transferring UC information to the public in virtually all areas of nutrition and health.
  • Steve Tjosvold of Santa Cruz County received the distinguished service award for outstanding extension. In addition to being a member of the award-winning team, Tjosvold was nominated for his individual education and extension efforts. He manages an active outreach program on Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a serious disease affecting coast live oak and other native species in the forests and woodlands of central and northern coastal California. His research team's early observations were presented at the first SOD Science Symposium in 2000, and have led to other research findings since that time. He has also had a key role in the implementation of an IPM policy for Santa Cruz County and coordinated a study on gopher control alternatives for the Pajaro Valley levee system. He is an authority on greenhouse rose culture and pest management. He recently contributed two chapters to the "Encyclopedia of Rose Science."