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UCLA gets its first Extension specialistUCLA gets its first Extension specialist

Other advisers hired to promote equity, sustainability.

October 24, 2023

2 Min Read
Edity de Guzman
Edith de Guzman.UCANR

The most recent group of scientists and educators hired by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources includes several firsts, including a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in water equity at UCLA.

Edith de Guzman joined UC ANR Sept. 1 as a UC Cooperative Extension water equity and adaptation policy specialist. She is the first UCCE specialist to be based at UCLA. 

Her work investigates best practices for the sustainable transformation of the Los Angeles region and beyond, and has included research, demonstration projects, public policy and planning in the areas of water management, climate adaptation, heat mitigation and urban forestry. She tackles these topics through the lenses of urban planning, public health, behavioral sciences, biophysical sciences and public policy.

She co-founded and directs the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative, a multisectoral partnership working to alleviate the public health risks of extreme heat. Their research has found that one in four lives currently lost to extreme heat could be saved if L.A.'s land cover had more trees and its built surfaces were more reflective, particularly where low-income communities and communities of color live and work.

From 2014 to 2020, de Guzman served as director of research at the Los Angeles-based organization TreePeople. Her projects at the nonprofit included the City of Los Angeles Stormwater Capture Master Plan; facilitating the creation of a Greening Plan with the Inglewood and Lennox communities; bringing to fruition multiple urban water-management demonstration projects; and leading an extensive study tour of Australia's response to its historic Millennium Drought and gleaning lessons for California. She also produced the first interactive, high-resolution public map and spatial analysis of Los Angeles County's urban forest.

Having completed all of her studies at UCLA, de Guzman holds a Ph.D. in environment and sustainability, a master's degree in urban planning and a bachelor's degree in history and art history.

Learn more about her research advancing climate resilience and access to clean water and sustainable resources in a Q&A here.

Promoting equity, access

UCCE also hired a new Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community development adviser for the Bay area and a Spanish-language news and information outreach specialist.

established in 1914, UC Cooperative Extension's researchers work directly with community members to apply research-based information to improve the lives and livelihoods of Californians. Increased funding from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature has enabled UC ANR to expand the number of experts working in communities across the entire breadth of the state, from Siskiyou to San Diego counties.

The newly hired UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors bring expertise in nutrition, health impacts of climate change, youth development, dairy science, economics, weed management and pest management.

To see a list of UC Cooperative Extension advisors who have joined in the past few months, click here.

Source: University of California Cooperative Extension

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