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The California's 2019 wildfire season takes off

As California grappled with a record-breaking heatwave last week and 236 wildfires, officials are bracing for the worst, reported Maanvi Singh in the Guardian.

The fires have been mostly fueled by grass and brush that came up during the state's especially wet winter and mild spring, according to a CAL FIRE official. UC Cooperative Extension fire advisor Lenya Quinn-Davidson said California's annual wildfire season is growing longer – beginning earlier in the spring and stretching later in the fall.

“It's not unusual for us to see this many small fires in June,” she said. “But 50 years ago, so many fires this early on – plus these extreme, high temperatures in June – would have been abnormal.”

It is difficult to predict how bad the rest of this fire season will be based on the number of fires so far, said UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain.

"Our worst fire years aren't necessarily the years that we've had the highest number of fires,” he noted. “All it takes is one – one huge, destructive fire to ruin the whole year."

Lenya Quinn-Davidson, center, is the UC Cooperative Extension fire scientist serving Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity and Mendocino counties. She is pictured with Jeanne Pincha-Tulley, left, and Kelly Martin, right, at a Women-in-Fire Prescribed Fire Training Exchange session.
Posted on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 9:36 AM
Tags: Lenya Quinn-Davidson (15), wildfire (127)
Focus Area Tags: Environment

Let's Celebrate National Pollinator Week

A ceramic/mosaic sculpture,

Did you know that next week is National Pollinator Week? It is. June 17-21 is the week set aside to celebrate pollinators and how we can protect...

A ceramic/mosaic sculpture,
A ceramic/mosaic sculpture, "Miss Bee Haven," anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. It is the work of self-described rock artist Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A ceramic/mosaic sculpture, "Miss Bee Haven," anchors the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. It is the work of self-described rock artist Donna Billick of Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Visitors to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven can learn what to plant to attract pollinators. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Visitors to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven can learn what to plant to attract pollinators. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Visitors to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven can learn what to plant to attract pollinators. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Jeopardy Question

You're on JEOPARDY! It's the final question, and you've bet all your winnings.  Quick!

Here's your final JEOPARDY! answer. 

“This spice is common to Ethiopian, Thai, Spanish, Indian, Mexican, and Greek cuisine.” 

Do-de-do-duh DO. DO. DUH.   Time is up.

Did you get it right?

 


 

You did, if you said, “What is Coriander/Cilantro?”

All of these diverse cultures use coriander/cilantro in their cooking.  North Americans alone make the distinction between the seed and the plant.  Other parts of the world call the plant and the seed coriander.  For North Americans, coriander is the seed or fruit of cilantro.  This fruit is actually two seeds in a crispy jacket.  The seeds are considered to be the spice.  Cilantro – the leaves and stems - fall in the herb category.  Every part of the plant is edible.  Cilantro, Coriandrum sativum, is related to parsley, and both are related to carrots. 

Have you ever stood in front of the fresh herbs at the grocery store trying to figure out which bunch of green leaves is the flat leaf parsley and which is the cilantro?  Without tasting a leaf or smashing your nose into the bunch for a good sniff, it's pretty difficult.  Look closely at the leaves.  If the leaves are pointy on the ends, it's parsley.  If the leaves are rounded, it's cilantro. 

Of course, you could always pop a leaf in your mouth and make the distinction. Or could you?  Up to 14% of people possess the olfactory (smell) receptor gene OR6A2 that causes them to taste cilantro the same as soap.  The culprit is aldehydes - found in cilantro and also in soap.  I, fortunately, do not possess this gene.  I love the taste of coriander, a little peppery and a little citrusy. 

The history of Coriander goes far into the past.  Coriander seeds dating back 8000 years were found in the hills near the Dead Sea in 1983.  King Tut's tomb contained coriander seeds for the afterlife.  Hippocrates used it for medicine. During the Middle Ages, it was used together with wine as an aphrodisiac.  Today the herb/spice is grown worldwide as an annual and used to flavor food of all types.

I have tried planting the herb outdoors in the spring, but our summer heat caused it to bolt almost as soon as it was tall enough to start harvesting some of the leaves.  The trick is to plant it in a container and place it in a sunny window indoors.  Use packaged seed.  The bottled coriander seed has been dried.  Pick the exterior plant leaves when the plant reaches about 8 inches and leave the inner part of the plant for future growth and harvesting.  You can also leave some of the plant to produce coriander seeds as desired. 

Or you can go to the market, stare at the bunches of herbs, search for the rounded leaf edges, take the bunch home, and then add some to your exotic culinary masterpieces.  Did you pick the right bunch?

photos by Michelle Davis
photos by Michelle Davis

cilantro
cilantro

Posted on Friday, June 14, 2019 at 10:15 AM

UC Davis Pollination Ecologist Neal Williams: Our New Fellow of California Academy of Sciences

UC Davis pollination ecologist Neal Williams seeks to sustain both wild and managed bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Congratulations to pollination ecologist Neal Williams, professor with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. He's a newly selected...

UC Davis pollination ecologist Neal Williams seeks to sustain both wild and managed bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis pollination ecologist Neal Williams seeks to sustain both wild and managed bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis pollination ecologist Neal Williams seeks to sustain both wild and managed bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pollination ecologist Neal Williams working with blue orchard bee research at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Pollination ecologist Neal Williams working with blue orchard bee research at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pollination ecologist Neal Williams working with blue orchard bee research at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Riverside supervisors vote to restore UCCE funding

After more than 100 4-H members, UC Master Gardeners and others attended a Riverside Board of Supervisors' meeting in support of UC Cooperative Extension June 10, the panel voted 5-0 to restore UCCE's funding, reported Jeff Horseman and Matt Kristoffersen in the Riverside Press Enterprise.

The vote reversed an earlier decision to cut UCCE funding as part of a larger plan to deal with reduced county tax receipts. If the funding had not been restored, services including 4-H, nutrition education and agricultural programs would have been effected, said Eta Takele, UCCE director in Riverside County.

UC Cooperative Extension, a key part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, serves all California counties. Academic advisors work with farmers to implement more-efficient growing methods, solve pest management problems and develop smart water-use strategies. Natural resources advisors conduct wildfire education and research natural resources conservation. Nutrition educators promote nutritious eating habits and exercise for better health. California 4-H Youth Development Program engages youth to become leaders. Thousands of volunteers extend UCCE's through the Master Gardener, Master Food Preserver, California Naturalist, and the California 4-H Youth Development Programs.

During the June 10 meeting, the supervisors heard from Riverside 4-H members who have been aided by their involvement in the program.

4-H member Bethany Campbell told the supervisors 4-H helped her overcome shyness and gain confidence. 

“4-H helped me rise above fear and insecurity to become a leader," Campbell said.

A Blythe 4-H member, Samantha Teater, 17, said, 4-H "definitely saved me from getting into trouble."

UC ANR associate vice president Wendy Powers attended the supervisors' meeting. 

"Those who offered public comment provided heartfelt testimony about the impact of our programs and how they, personally, have benefited and how the county has benefited," Powers wrote in her blog. "The work's not over. We need to continue to engage those who don't know us but make decisions that impact us. We need to continue to engage those who do know us, and brainstorm how to do better – reach more people, have a greater impact."

The article said Riverside County officials would work with UC Cooperative Extension to save money by moving its offices from leased office space to county-owned space.

4-H members made a strong showing at the Riverside Board of Supervisors meeting. (Photo: Jose Aguiar)

 

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 11:01 AM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H Economic Development

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