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Posts Tagged: education

Hear that Buzz? Saturday is National Honey Bee Day!

Postdoctoral scholar Laura Brutscher of the Elina Lastro Niño lab at UC Davis talks about who lives in the hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Hear that buzz? Tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 18) is National Honey Bee Day. A small group of beekeepers originated the observance back in 2009 to...

Postdoctoral scholar Laura Brutscher of the Elina Lastro Niño lab at UC Davis talks about who lives in the hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Postdoctoral scholar Laura Brutscher of the Elina Lastro Niño lab at UC Davis talks about who lives in the hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Postdoctoral scholar Laura Brutscher of the Elina Lastro Niño lab at UC Davis talks about who lives in the hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The youngsters enjoy dressing up in beekeeper protective suits and being photographed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The youngsters enjoy dressing up in beekeeper protective suits and being photographed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The youngsters enjoy dressing up in beekeeper protective suits and being photographed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño talks about the importance of pollination. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño talks about the importance of pollination. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño talks about the importance of pollination. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Wendy Mather of the California Master Beekeeper Program shows the youngsters bee specimens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Wendy Mather of the California Master Beekeeper Program shows the youngsters bee specimens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Wendy Mather of the California Master Beekeeper Program shows the youngsters bee specimens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Charley Nye, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility, introduces the students to honey varietals. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Charley Nye, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility, introduces the students to honey varietals. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Charley Nye, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility, introduces the students to honey varietals. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The students catch, examine and release bees with bee vacuum devices. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The students catch, examine and release bees with bee vacuum devices. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The students catch, examine and release bees with bee vacuum devices. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Marcel Ramos of the Niño lab opens a hive inside a netted enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Marcel Ramos of the Niño lab opens a hive inside a netted enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Marcel Ramos of the Niño lab opens a hive inside a netted enclosure. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Caging kids! The next generation of wildlife biologists

Mikayla McWilliams shows a tiny frog at the Sustainable You Summer Camp, UC Hopland Research and Extension Center.

As 10-year-old Dominic Vargas crouched on the ground, in a cage not much larger than himself, trying to forage for tasty treats (candy) on the woodland floor...CRASH! The cage door came falling down and he realized that he had inadvertently tripped a tiny fishing line in his efforts to reach that candy - he was now trapped. Dominic seemed to accept his fate with good humor, shrugging, smiling and getting to work on that candy. Wildlife biologist, Jessie Roughgarden, commented that Dominic will now be collared, tagged and measured before returning him to the wild ... or in this case his parents.

This seemingly terrifying experience is in fact all part of the new "Sustainable You - 4-H Summer Camp" held at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center. Sustainable You is a five-day camp allowing students to experience science and nature while learning about ways in which to conserve the land, water, air and energy.

View Dominic's experience in this 44-second video:

The camp is conducted at three of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Research and Extension Centers across the state and each center tweaks the curriculum to suit their landscape and the kinds of research conducted at their sites. At Hopland this means getting the chance to meet with wildlife biologists from the UC Berkeley "Brashares Lab," led by professor Justin Brashares. It's an amazing opportunity for these kids to meet and ask questions of scientists conducting experiments in the countryside that surrounds them. Dominic may not be collared, but more than 10 deer on the property went through the same experience last week (minus the candy) as they were carefully captured by researchers and fitted with collars to better understand their movements and population across the 5,358-acre center.

The young team of scientists enjoying summer camp were also working to understand what wildlife shares the landscape with them by setting wildlife cameras daily and improving their positioning and locations each day. Advice from Brashares and Jessie Roughgarden helped the students improve their chance of catching footage of raccoons, foxes and maybe even a mountain lion. Day one  produced fox video footage and shots of raccoons feeling around in the last pools of creek water to catch some of the tiny young frogs currently in residence.

Hear what Ahmae saw on her wildlife camera in the 59-second video below:

A raccoon captured on one of the wildlife cameras set up by campers.

Exposure for these kids not only to hands-on activities exploring sustainability, but also to wildlife biologists, young researchers and professors working on today's wildlife and land management challenges, gives them an open door to explore their own future careers and interests.

Local Americorps watershed steward Alejandara Prendergast disects a salmon with campers

As 9-year-old Ahmae Munday so sweetly put it, when asked what her favorite part of the Sustainable You Summer Camp was, "Everything! Especially the cameras."

The UC ANR network of Research and Extension Centers provide the perfect location to offer exposure to youth and communities to better understand and interact with the science going on in their own back yards and to inspire the next generation of researchers - as camp attendee and scholarship recipient Kaiden Stalnaker described in his scholarship application, "When I grow up I dream of a career in science and your camp would be a boost in the right direction."

Thanks to the researchers, camp counselors and students who have allowed the Sustainable You summer camp to inspire young people like Kaiden.

Campers enjoy a woodland hike and discover slender salamanders and a discarded lizard skin.
 
Posted on Monday, July 17, 2017 at 9:19 AM

Gardening Activities for You

When it comes to gardening, there is always something new or something more to learn.  Luckily there are many opportunities nearby to expand your gardening knowledge.  Below is a sample of some upcoming educational opportunities, most of which are free of charge.

 August 31, 10:00-11:00

            Topic: Composting.  This class will be taught by Solano Master Gardeners.

            Location:  Vallejo People’s Garden (www.vallejopeoplesgarden.org)

Sept. 7, 10:00-3:00

Event: 30th Anniversary Sustainability Fair. For list of presentations see the Contra Costa MG website (http://ccmg.ucdavis.edu/?calitem=191703&g=12498)

            Location:  Walnut Creek

Sept. 14, 10:00-12:00

            Topic:  Seed Saving

            Location:  Loma Vista Farm, Vallejo, CA  (www.lomavistafarm.org)

Sept. 14, 10:00-12:00

Topic:  Loose Your Lawn and Sheet Mulching http://www.bayfriendlycoalition.org/Calendar.shtml

            Location:  Solano County Water District, 810 Vaca Valley Parkway, Vacaville

Sept. 17 – 19  

            Event:  Weed Science School

            Location:  UC Davis Weed Research and Info. Center  (www.wric.ucdavis.edu)

            Note:  a course fee applies

Sept. 22, 10:00-4:00 

            Event:  “Down the Garden Path” Educational Garden Tour

            Location:  Napa (UC Master Gardeners of Napa County)

            (http://ucanr.edu/ucmgnapa)

            Note:  There’s a fee of $25 in advance, or $30 on the day of the event.

Oct. 12, 9:00-12:00

FREE EventMaster Gardener Public Plant Exchange (and Gardening Talks)

Location:  501 Texas St., Fairfield

Bring a plant to share if you have one, if you don’t you can still take home a plant.

            Come learn about the Master Gardener Program (11:30).

            Attend one or more gardening talks.

            Free Gardening Sessions scheduled:

            9:30    Succulents

            10:15  Plant Propagation

            11:00  Garden Gift Ideas for the Fall

            Pick up a free vegetable planting guide and other gardening information.

            Fun for kids too!

photo by Jennifer Baumbach
photo by Jennifer Baumbach

Posted on Monday, August 26, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Tags: education (6), garden (66), master gardeners (51), weed (6)

UCCE teaching the next generation of farmers

A scenic Sonoma County farm.
Students accepted into a new farming and ranching education program being offered by UC Cooperative Extension in Sonoma County and other institutions will have their first of nine monthly meetings March 30, wrote Michael Shufro in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

“We recognize that the current population of farmers is aging, and that we need to get our younger farmers prepared and ranching,” said Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sonoma County and director of the new training program. “We’re really hoping to not only get more farmers and ranchers trained, but to increase food access and food production in Sonoma County, and also to teach more people about where their food comes from.”

Students in the program will split their time between classwork with ag teachers, field work with local farmers and business plan development with small business experts. The program will expand to include the broader farming community, connecting students with restaurants and grocers that buy local produce and the slew of farmers’ markets around the county.

“Programs like this strengthen the parts we already have and bring farmers together,” Larson said. “We used to work mainly in silos, but we’ve been breaking those silos down, and finding it works much better together than separately.”

Another blessing for Napa
Paul Franson, Napa Valley Register

On top of wine, food, arts and culture that some large cities might envy, Napa Valley has an invaluable, little-recognized asset: an uncommonly cooperative and educated wine industry.

Napa Valley Grapegrowers Association, UC Cooperative Extension advisors like Monica Cooper and Ag Commissioner Dave Whitmer, plus other groups like the Resource Conservation Service, keep growers and wineries very well informed on many issues.

As Deborah Golino, the respected head of the Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis, which rids vines of diseases so they can be safely propagated, said at a meeting organized by UC Cooperative Extension and other agencies, “This room (it was filled to overflowing with growers) is one of the most sophisticated grape-growing groups in the state.”
Posted on Friday, March 2, 2012 at 11:08 AM

New college degree: “Sustainable agriculture and food systems”

Students preparing food baskets at the UC Davis Student Farm (Photo: Ann Filmer)
The University of California, Davis, is launching a new undergraduate major — “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.” The program integrates several subjects to give students an understanding of the many issues facing contemporary farming and food systems, including production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management.

As noted in the Los Angeles Times, “With rising public interest in where our food comes from — as well as in "green" living — it makes sense that higher education would be eager to attract students who want to tap into the intersection between these two fields.”

Students will focus on the social, economic, and environmental aspects of agriculture and food — from farm to table and beyond. The program is designed to help students obtain a diversity of knowledge and skills, both in the classroom and through personal experiences on and off campus.

Students will take courses in a broad range of disciplines, but will focus in one of three tracks:  Agriculture and Ecology, Food and Society, or Economics and Policy.

“This interdisciplinary curriculum will prepare students to become leaders in agriculture and food systems,” said professor Thomas Tomich, the major adviser for the program and director of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis.

The major is new, but UC Davis has been covering the subject in field- and classroom-based interdisciplinary learning opportunities at the Student Farm at UC Davis for more than 35 years, said Mark Van Horn, the Student Farm director who will teach a core course in the major.

“Learning through doing and reflection adds a valuable dimension to students’ education because it helps them see the connections between theory and practice in the real world,” Van Horn said.

“This is an exciting addition to the college that reflects a change in how we think about food and agriculture,” said Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Students will gain a broad perspective of what it takes to put dinner on the table in an era of greater demand and fewer resources.”

For more information:

Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 7:43 AM

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