Hummingbird amongst the flowers.

A Message From the Dean - March 2022

We are seeing signs of spring everywhere, and in the world of academia, spring is marked by the beginning of the admissions cycle. With that said, it is time to congratulate our newly admitted Aggies!

According to recent numbers released by the campus, UC Davis saw a record number of fall 2022 applicants this year with a total of 110,189 applications for both freshmen and transfer students. This marks a 4.1% increase over last year’s application numbers. Campus wide, UC Davis received 94,725 freshmen applications, an increase of 8.7% from last fall. Of the total applications, more than 15,500 students applied to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. 15,464 students applied to UC Davis as transfers, a decrease of 17.4%, which follows the national pattern in declines in enrollment at community colleges nationally for fall 2021 and in UC transfer applications for fall 2022. Of the total applications, more than 15,500 students applied to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Aggie Experience Live, the free one-day open house is back and in-person after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. On Saturday April 9, we look forward to welcoming admitted first-year students to our campus and showing them why they should choose a UC Davis education and our friendly community. There are also several virtual events and ways for admitted freshmen to learn more before the registration deadline on May 1.

In this month’s Highlights newsletter, there are several articles that focus on the connection between people and the land in ways that nourish us with more than just food. And as usual, our researchers are busy doing what they do best—making scientific discoveries, educating our students and the public, and supporting the needs of our stakeholders. This month you can read about how we are collaborating with California Department of Food and Agriculture to help farmers improve fertilization and irrigation, studying habitat to better understand the role birds play in an agricultural environment and discovering new information about the leaves of redwood trees.

We also have a story about three UC Davis graduate students who have launched a new organization called Hands on the Land. Their goal is to reconnect people to the land and community while taking ecological and climate needs into consideration through repairing and restoring native ecosystems. And another story highlights research on the number of people who turned to gardening for stress relief during the pandemic.

Like many of us, I spent several hours in my garden these past two years. I love the quietness of gardening and the several visitors—Black Phoebes, Anna’s hummingbirds and pesky squirrels—who come to investigate me while I plant a variety of herbs and cherry tomatoes in the raised box outside my kitchen window. I love the smell of geosmin, actinomycetes and other microorganisms that live in soil and release that deep earthy scent, especially after rain. There is something very hopeful and satisfying about planting vegetable starts in freshly dug soil and cultivating their growth throughout the season. It is an enjoyable process, and similar to supporting a new cohort of students every fall.

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