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Posts Tagged: forest

Connecting California’s forest landowners with California Tree School

Forest Stewardship workshop participants at an El Dorado County field day. Credit: K.Ingram.

While trees and forests are often emblematic of constancy in a fast-paced world, our state's forests are actually changing before our eyes. Since 2020, the UC ANR Forest Stewardship Education (FSE) program has been helping California's forest landowners be proactive about the inevitable shifts their forestland will experience. The Forest Stewardship and Post-Fire Forest Resilience workshop programs use an online educational format, which guide landowners through the basics of creating forest management plans and managing post-fire landscapes, respectively. Now, the FSE team is piloting a new program to engage a wider audience of forest landowners and community members passionate about trees.

This spring, the Forest Stewardship and UC ANR Fire Network teams are holding the first California Tree School, where individuals attend multiple in-person classes on the forestry topics they are most curious about. “The existing online programs are very focused on forest management plans and post-fire activity, and [Tree School] lets us tackle other topics,” said UC ANR forest and natural resources advisor Susie Kocher.

A one-stop shop for continuing forestry education

California Tree School was inspired when Forest Stewardship Academic Coordinator Kim Ingram, Post-fire Academic Coordinator Katie Reidy and Kocher attended Oregon State University Extension's Tree School event in Clackamas County, Oregon. OSU Tree School is a day-long experience comprised of classes that cover the different dimensions of forestry: constructing a house from your own timber, carbon cap and trade, and buying portable sawmills are just a small sampling of the options for attendees. OSU Tree School students ranged from forest landowners to community college students, contributing to a space which would facilitate community connections as well as learning.

Kocher described the experience as a “a great one-day, one-stop shop to keep up-to-date on what we [forest landowners and professionals] should know.” Excited by the breadth of opportunities offered at OSU's Tree School, Ingram, Kocher and Reidy were inspired to bring the format to California.

“It's our time to discuss the whole ecosystem,” noted Reidy. “Tree School is bringing in the trustworthy, reliable group of experts who can provide more information on the questions pertaining to landowners' specific goals.”

California Tree School will be offered in two locations this spring, with CA Tree School- Hopland taking place on May 4, and CA Tree School- El Dorado on June 1. Similar to OSU's Tree School, attendees are expected to be a mix of forest landowners, natural resource professionals and interested community members. 

CA Tree School aims to reach both oak woodland and mixed conifer forest landowners. Credit: K.Ingram.

Connecting statewide professionals; personalizing forestry education

Tree School offers attendees the opportunity to focus on subjects that pertain to their specific learning needs. This personalized approach is a new foray for the Forest Stewardship team, but is something that Ingram says workshop participants have been wanting for some time.

“Our participants never think they learn enough. They are always asking for more information, and this Tree School gives us the chance to expand on things we might not have had a chance to go over in the workshop series,” remarked Ingram. Additionally, Tree School instructors had creative freedom when it came to developing their classes, from the topic to the class format. This is evident when browsing through each session's class catalog. CA Tree School attendees choose four classes to attend, meaning they can build their first burn pile, understand the ins and outs of regional wildlife, paint outdoors and learn how to aid statewide reforestation efforts all in one day.

“I felt that Tree School created a sense of trust around complex topics,” noted Reidy about her experience last year in Oregon. For CA Tree School, the Forest Stewardship team aims to do the same. This meant recruiting from throughout the UC ANR network and other organizations, including CALFIRE and CARCD (California Association of Resource Conservation Districts), to bring trusted voices to the community.

“What's exciting about Tree School is that we are bringing natural resource professionals from all around to engage everyone at the same time, and all in one place,” noted Ingram.

CA Tree School is an opportunity to connect professionals and community members in person.

The team is excited to see all the connections that will be made between community members and professionals during this pilot year, and “if this is successful and we can bring it back next year,” commented Kocher, “we are definitely interested in partnering with more people and expanding our outreach.”

Making CA Tree School an in-person experience was important to the team, as much of the education is hands-on. Additionally, Kocher sees enhanced potential for building personal connections: “In person, you have this opportunity for people to identify as part of a community,” noted Kocher, “So I'm excited for people to hang out with each other.”

Encouraging an informed community

“You can't separate the emotional from the physical, and there are a lot of topics in forestry like wildfire and economics that can be a bit of a downer,” said Ingram. “I'm excited to help create a positive learning environment, and one that encourages folks to turn to UC Cooperative Extension for these resources.”

“Our main goal here is to get science out there,” concurred Reidy. “The more exposure people have to science, the more confident they feel in themselves and their wants and needs.”


Posted on Monday, April 8, 2024 at 4:23 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

Forest Entomologist Todd Johnson of LSU to Share His Research

"Forests cover approximately 30 percent of the Earth's landmass and provide important ecosystem services that include food, fuel, and timber, as well...

Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 2:08 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment, Innovation, Natural Resources, Pest Management

Learn About Bee-Flower Interactions from U.S. Forest Service Research Entomologist

You won't want to miss this. Pollinator ecologist Anthony Vaudo, a research entomologist with the U. S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research...

Mustard pollen covers this honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Mustard pollen covers this honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Mustard pollen covers this honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 5:32 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Innovation, Natural Resources, Yard & Garden

Bee Flies: Pollinators with a Bad Reputation

The late Argentine-born biologist Beatriz Moisset (1934-2022) of Willow Grove, Pa., called the insect "A Pollinator with a Bad...

A bee fly, family Bombyliidae, heads for a yellow zinnia in a Vacaville pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A bee fly, family Bombyliidae, heads for a yellow zinnia in a Vacaville pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A bee fly, family Bombyliidae, heads for a yellow zinnia in a Vacaville pollinator garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The bee fly hovers over a yellow zinina. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The bee fly hovers over a yellow zinina. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The bee fly hovers over a yellow zinina. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The bee fly sips nectar from the zinnia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The bee fly sips nectar from the zinnia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The bee fly sips nectar from the zinnia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The bee fly takes flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The bee fly takes flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The bee fly takes flight. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 4:56 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment, Innovation, Natural Resources, Yard & Garden

4-H youth project helps Siskiyou County prepare animals for emergencies

Twin sisters Emily (left) and Lindsay Jackson were part of a 4-H project that produced a pet emergency preparedness brochure for Siskiyou County. Emily, currently a grad student at Cal Poly Humboldt, has been a U.S. Forest Service crew lead for the past two summers. Lindsay is a seasonal firefighter with CAL FIRE. Photo courtesy of Emily Jackson

Planning brochure for pets, livestock fills crucial need as fires an increasing threat

With the McKinney Fire creeping closer to Yreka in the summer of 2022, Emily Jackson and her mother potentially faced the enormous task of getting all their goats, chickens, dogs and cats to safety – while Emily's father and twin sister Lindsay were away fighting the fires.

Fortunately, Emily and Lindsay had gained crucial knowledge about evacuating animals through a 4-H service-learning project they helped lead in 2018. A group of eight 4-H youths, ages 14 to 18, had created a “Pet Emergency Evacuation Plan” (PEEP) brochure, aimed at educating their neighbors in Siskiyou County about the necessary preparations for livestock and pets.

The brochure, available through the Siskiyou County website, remains in use today in this densely forested region that saw another spate of wildfires this summer. The PEEP project team was composed of Kylie Daws, Emily Jackson, Lindsay Jackson, Will Morris, Madison Restine, Maryssa Rodriguez, Emily Smith and Callahan Zediker.

Will Morris, Emily Jackson, Emily Smith and Lindsay Jackson (pictured here left to right at the 4-H California Focus conference in 2018) were among the eight 4-H participants who worked on the project. Photo courtesy of Jacki Zediker

Within those stressful hours in 2022 when the McKinney Fire prompted an evacuation warning during which residents could be required to leave at any moment, Emily Jackson said she and her mother had a game plan in place – thanks to her work on the PEEP project.

“At the time, it wasn't even on my mind,” Jackson said, “but looking back now, I know that having the experience from making that brochure was driving my thought process at the time.”

And while the Jackson family and their neighbors ultimately were not asked to evacuate in 2022, many community members have benefited from the hundreds of copies of the PEEP brochure in circulation, which prompts residents to at least think about what their animals would need in an emergency, Jackson said.

Pet and livestock evacuation tips were needed

Such a resource previously had not been available among the county's emergency preparation materials, according to Jacki Zediker, the 4-H regional program coordinator in Siskiyou County who advised the PEEP project group.

“One piece that was missing was how to help our communities understand that when they evacuate, and they take their pets with them…it's not as simple as just taking their pets with them,” said Zediker, citing the example that some shelters do not take in animals – or do not take animals without proof of vaccination.

A sample page from the "Pet Emergency Evacuation Plan" (PEEP) brochure, put together by 4-H youth in Siskiyou County.

Other items to add to the pet's emergency kit include food for several days, water, medications, comfort items or toys, and recent photos of the owner with their animal (proof of ownership).

Zediker had connected the young people with Jodi Aceves, senior deputy agriculture commissioner/sealer for Siskiyou County, who had been overseeing the county's Animal Control programs and emergency response.

“There's a lot of information out there for people evacuating, but not necessarily for livestock and pets,” Aceves said. “Unfortunately, we have had some fires where there were lots of pets and livestock lost.”

She met several times with the 4-H group, discussing the county's evacuation systems and processes and the role of the Office of Emergency Services and law enforcement agencies, and sharing key considerations in preparing for emergencies – such as having a pre-agreement in place with someone who could house an evacuee's animals.

Aceves praised the teens for distilling the vital information into a short and simple brochure that community members could easily read and remember. She also was impressed by the energy and genuine care that the young people put into the project.

Lindsay Jackson, a seasonal firefighter at the McCloud CAL FIRE station since 2020, hopes to land a full-time position with the department. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Jackson

“Most of their lives, every summer, they've been in fire,” Aceves said. “It's close to their hearts, and they've seen a lot of their neighbors and other people in the county either affected by fire or evacuated at some point.”

For Lindsay Jackson, in particular, fire and serving the community have been lifelong passions, inspired by her father's work in the area.

“My dad was a volunteer fire chief for the South Yreka Fire Department; he was doing that since I was about two or three, so I grew up watching him go to the trainings, go to a call,” she explained. “When I was 15, I joined the fire department as a cadet to help out with the medical side, but the more I volunteered, I really liked the fire side, too.”

Jackson added that Zediker has a special knack for nurturing and encouraging the interests of the 4-H participants and applying them in a productive way. 

“Jacki was really good at figuring out where our passions were and then how we could put our passions into a service-learning project,” she said. “She knew I was really big into fire and helping the community in that way since I was young.”

Zediker also helped the Jackson twins on their senior project, a fire-safety field day at the South Yreka fire station. More than 100 schoolchildren learned fire safety basics, met firefighters and emergency personnel, and heard about 4-H from Lindsay and Emily.

4-H experiences, mentorship inspire career paths

The PEEP project group also was asked by several organizations to share their knowledge about emergency preparations for animals. In addition to presenting a poster about their work at the 4-H California Focus conference in 2018, the group handed out the brochure and shared information at a table during a Juniper Flat Fire Safe Council workshop and resource fair.

Beyond distributing the PEEP brochure at 4-H club meetings, school events and community meetings, the youths have lent their voices to advocating for emergency resources for animals. Zediker noted that they contributed testimonials that helped the county acquire grants for purchasing more portable kennels.

Emily Jackson, seen here at a booth about invasive plants during the Siskiyou County Fair, is currently working toward a master's degree in biology, studying how fire suppression and other factors have changed plant communities in the Russian Wilderness. Photo courtesy of Emily Jackson

But the most enduring impact of 4-H participation and community service, however, is that those experiences were a springboard for the young adults' careers. Emily Jackson – who participated in 4-H from age 5 to 19 – is now working toward a master's degree in biology at Cal Poly Humboldt, studying how fire suppression and other factors have changed plant communities in the Russian Wilderness.

Whether training colleagues as a U.S. Forest Service crew lead for the past couple of summers, or leading lab sections in general botany as a graduate student, Jackson said she draws on her 4-H experiences – and Zediker's inspirational example – as she pursues a career in teaching.

“In my development as a young adult into an adult now, I cannot overstate how big of a role Jacki played in that,” Jackson said.

Her sister Lindsay, meanwhile, has pursued her passion for fire all the way through the fire academy at College of the Siskiyous, where she also earned her emergency medical technician (EMT) license. Most recently working on fires near Pondosa in Siskiyou County, Jackson has been a seasonal firefighter based at the McCloud CAL FIRE station since 2020.

“It's hard because, in the last three years, I haven't left Siskiyou County, there's just been so many fires here,” she said. “But it's nice being able to help your community and know you're making a difference.”

Lindsay Jackson intends to pursue a bachelor's degree in leadership studies at Cal Poly Humboldt in hopes of getting a full-time position with CAL FIRE.

Posted on Monday, September 18, 2023 at 9:20 AM
Tags: 4-H (0), 4H (0), CAL FIRE (0), emergency preparedness (0), fire (0), Forest Service (0), Jacki Zediker (0), livestock (0), pets (0), Siskiyou (0), Siskiyou County (0), wildfire (0)
Focus Area Tags: 4-H, Agriculture, Family

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