Welcome! New Program Coordinators
The statewide office is thrilled to introduce three new Program Coordinators that started with the UC Master Gardener Program in Fall 2019. Please join is in giving them a warm welcome!
Danica Lea Taber
Santa Barbara County
Growing up in Denver, Danica Taber, was in awe of her mom's ability to grow orchids in the arid Colorado climate. In high school Danica experimented with germinating seeds from store-bought produce, and everyone in her family was shocked when a grapefruit seed not only sprouted, but grew into a little plant that flowered!
Danica further explored plant cultivation as a student at CU Boulder by volunteering at the university greenhouses to help care for the phenomenal teaching collection curated by Tom Lemieux and Janice Harvey. When she moved to Santa Barbara in 2012, her growing experience skyrocketed, “I was fortunate enough to serve as the manager for UCSB's research greenhouses and teaching collections. I got a crash course in IPM, and I also began to appreciate how valuable invested volunteers are,” says Danica.
After finishing a Master's programs in environmental science and public affairs at Indiana University, Danica moved back to the area to live with her husband. “The UC Master Gardener Program of Santa Barbara has truly helped me feel at home here. Between the friendly faces, the impassioned conversations about ground squirrels, and the ‘can do, will do' attitude that I see volunteers apply to projects, even as a trainee I felt like I'd hit on a big secret. Gardening grows more than just plants. Gardening grows communities,” said Danica. She looks forward to meeting and supporting Santa Barbara County's UC Master Gardener volunteers in our mission to share science-backed gardening wisdom with members of our communities.
Santa Clara County
Katherine Uhde started as the UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator in Santa Clara County in November 2019. Katherine comes to us from UCCE Alameda County where she was part of the UC CalFresh Healthy Living Program. While there, she led a gardening education program for older adults in partnership with the UC Master Gardener Program of Alameda County. Katherine also holds a Master Gardener Home Horticulture Certificate from Oregon State University Extension.
Katherine is originally from Iowa and earned her B.S. in Kinesiology, Public Health Option from Iowa State University where she studied human nutrition, exercise science, and public health. After graduating, Katherine moved to Kansas where she coordinated regional food access programs and led state-wide farmers' market, food policy, and school health initiatives, including the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program which served over 5,000 eligible older adults through 19 local agencies and 450 certified farmers. Katherine also managed a weekly farmers' market on the Capitol grounds in Topeka.
“Katherine is passionate about community, policy, systems and environmental changes that are sustainable, protect the environment, and promote healthy lifestyles. We are delighted to have her as part of the UC Master Gardener Program,” says Lucy Diekmann, Urban Agriculture and Food Systems Advisor.
San Francisco & San Mateo
Kali Burke joined as the new Program Coordinator in San Franscisco and San Mateo this past September.
Growing up on the California coast, some of her earliest memories are of time spent in her large family gardens. Having dirt under her nails after a day in the garden still makes her the happiest.
Kali graduated from UC Santa Cruz where she earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology. After graduating, she pursued her interests in food, agriculture, and education. Working with the local farm and garden community for close to 10 years now, she has experience in both the programs and operations sides of small nonprofits.
She considers herself a life-long learner and believes that gardens are a powerful tool for building community, educating the public, and learning more about ourselves and the world around us. She couldn't be more excited to be a part of the UC Master Gardener community!