What is Cooperative Extension?

The Cooperative Extension Service was established in 1914 in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture and the land-grant universities. UC Berkeley was the first land-grant institution in California and currently has about two dozen Cooperative Extension Specialists in four departments in the Rausser College of Natural Resources. Specialists conduct applied research and coordinate public outreach activities to address the needs of Californians related to water management, forests and wildfire, biodiversity conservation, pest and disease control, agriculture, climate change, community health, and nutrition. They are problem-solvers, catalysts, collaborators, and educators who work with communities and decision-makers to foster land stewardship.

Agricultural & Resource Economics

Ellen Bruno

Ellen Bruno’s research considers the effectiveness of water-related policies, which includes understanding how farmers respond to changes in water prices. As an extension economist, she works with state and local government agencies, as well as nonprofits and practitioners, to improve the management of California's water.

David Zilberman

David Zilberman is a professor of agricultural and resource economics, the cofounder and co-director of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, and the director of the Master of Development Practice. Zilberman writes both for professional journals and the general public, and aims to integrate economic theory to real world problems in both developed and developing countries.

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Environmental Science, Policy & Management

Ecosystem Sciences

Van Butsic 

Van Butsic conducts research on land system science, fire and forest policy, land use planning, and cannabis. He is a co-director of UC Berkeley's Cannabis Research Center, and is a member of the CDFA Industrial Hemp Advisory Board.

Matteo Garbelotto and members of his lab preparing kits for citizen science volunteers

Matteo Garbelotto and members of his lab preparing kits for citizen science volunteers. Photo by Jim Block.

Matteo Garbelotto 

Matteo Garbelotto studies forest pathology, forest mycology, forest and tree management. His outreach programs include training citizen scientists to locate and identify trees infected with sudden oak death.

Theodore Grantham 

Theodore (Ted) Grantham's research program explores the effects of climate change and management actions on freshwater ecosystems, and the socio-economic and ecological benefits they provide. His extension and outreach activities are focused on the translation of research into sustainable, cost-effective solutions for managing water and the environment. He is also co-director of UC Berkeley's Cannabis Research Center.

Maggi Kelly

Maggi Kelly’s research and outreach program uses a range of geospatial data and analytics—from spatial modeling, remote sensing, drones, lidar, historical archives, surveys, participatory mapping, and the field—to gain insights about how and why California landscapes are changing, and what that change means for those who live on, use, and manage our lands.

People looking at soil

Adina Merenlender launched the California Naturalist program, which allows participants to increase their environmental literacy and stewardship through immersive courses. Photo courtesy of the California Naturalist program.

Adina Merenlender

Adina Merenlender’s work in environmental problem solving includes the use of spatially-explicit decision-support systems for conservation planning. Merenlender created the UC California Naturalist program to foster a community of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists trained and ready to take an active role in natural resource stewardship, conservation, and education.

Daniel Sanchez

Daniel Sanchez’s research and extension program focuses on the commercialization and deployment of energy technologies that remove CO2 from the atmosphere. He runs the Carbon Removal Lab, which aims to commercialize sustainable negative emissions technologies, and supports outreach to policymakers and technologists in California and across the United States on bioenergy, forest management, wood utilization, and climate policy.

Tom Scott

Tom Scott’s research and outreach focuses on wildlife conservation in fragmented and altered landscapes, including studies of wildlife movement, habitat use, and population biology in oak woodland, sage scrub, and riparian habitats.

Kristen Shive

Kristen Shive's work focuses on restoring fire to fire-adapted ecosystems, prioritizing areas for restoration, and understanding shifting fire regimes.

Rick Standiford (emeritus)

Rick Standiford researches resource economics, natural resource management and decision-making, silviculture, bioeconomic modeling, and hardwood management. His extension programming efforts focus on the education of non-industrial private forest landowners, monitoring hardwood rangelands, and continuing education of professional foresters growth.

Bill Stewart speaking on the news

As director of Berkeley Forests, Rob York offers his expertise on fire and forest management regularly via local and national news media outlets.

Bill Stewart (emeritus)

Bill Stewart's research and outreach programs focus on reforestation practices and policies, forest management activities to improve forest stand growth and health, and the economics of improved utilization of wood products for climate benefits.

William Tietje 

William Tietje studies oak woodland ecology and the human impacts on wildlife. His outreach programming seeks to to educate, maintain, and manage California oak woodland.

Rob York

Rob York is co-director of Berkeley Forests. His research and extension program focuses on managing forests for modern objectives of resilience in the face of climate change and wildfire impacts. Currently, he is focusing on the topic of "pyrosilviculture," which is the use of prescribed fire for meeting various objectives as well as designing non-fire treatments that can increase the likelihood of using prescribed fire in the future.

Organisms and the Environment

Kent Daane

Kent Daane’s research focuses on the development of ecologically-based insect pest management systems. In his research projects, he works closely with farmers, the commodity boards, and other UC Cooperative Extension personnel to help share pest-control information with the public.

Vernard Lewis (emeritus) 

Vernard Lewis conducts research and outreach efforts that involve a broad and varied range of insect pest systems commonly found in homes. As an emeritus extension specialist, Lewis continues to contribute to structural and household pest projects and publications, and is involved in activities across campus that promote the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities and women in science.

Society and Environment

Kristin Dobbin

Kristin Dobbin's research and extension agenda focuses on water justice in California and the ongoing implementation of California's human right to water law AB 685. This includes characterizing existing barriers and inequities as well as exploring solutions with a particular focus on governance, policy, and planning.

Christina Getz 

Jennifer Sowerwine at the Berkeley Gill Tract

Jennifer Sowerwine discussing plantings with Jon Hoffman, farm manager of the UC Gill Tract Community Farm in Albany. Photo by Saul Bromberger.

Christina Getz conducts research and extension broadly related to social justice and labor in agriculture, with the goal of promoting sustainable and more equitable food systems.  Her outreach programing foci include social certification in agriculture, food safety regulation, immigrant and refugee farming, farmworker food security, the political economy of organic agriculture, and farm labor movements.

Jennifer Sowerwine

Jennifer Sowerwine’s research and extension programs engage diverse stakeholders across the food system to examine barriers and co-create solutions to achieve healthy, equitable, culturally relevant, and sustainable food systems. Through collaborative and participatory methodologies, Sowerwine examines the cultural politics of resource access and governance, and the relationship between bio-cultural diversity, food security, food sovereignty, and health.

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Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology

Susana Matias

Susana Matias’ research promotes health through nutrition and the prevention of nutrition-related chronic diseases, focusing on topics such as infant feeding, diet, food security and obesity, with a particular interest in the mother-child dyad and vulnerable populations. Her extension and outreach efforts focus on supporting the promotion of healthy nutrition at the regional and local levels, and on expanding the role of nutrition within the delivery of primary care.

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scientists in the CLEAR project

Peggy Lemaux and members of the CLEAR project discuss science topics with community members at local farmers markets.

Plant & Microbial Biology

Peggy Lemaux

Peggy Lemaux’s research interests involve developing and using genetic technologies to improve nutritional quality and abiotic stress tolerance in crop plants. Her outreach efforts focus on reaching out to the media, the public, and legislators about how modern genetics is used to improve food and agriculture, and training students in science communication through the CLEAR project.

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For more information about the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) at UC Berkeley, visit our AES page.