Posts Tagged: Merced
It's good to see the University of California's Office of the President award a three-year $900,000 grant to four UC Davis campuses to establish a...
A honey bee packing pollen on almond blossoms on the UC Davis campus. California almonds usually begin blooming around Feb. 14. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño (center) of UC Davis is a co-principal investigator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A queen bee and her retinue. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"How do animals filter sensory information from their environment and integrate it with their past experience and their internal states to produce an...
UC Merced assistant professor Fred Wolf uses this graphic to illustrate his research.
This image of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is by Sanjay Acharya. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
recently received a $1.69 million grant to use several UC agricultural research stations to study an often overlooked tool to fight the drought: soil.
The team, led by Samantha Ying, an assistant professor of environmental sciences at UC Riverside, received the grant from the University of California Office of the President.
The funding will allow for the establishment of the University of California Consortium for Drought and Carbon Management (UC DroCaM), which will design management strategies based on understanding soil carbon, the soil microbiome and their impact on water dynamics in soil.
The researchers will conduct field and lab research on microbiological, biophysical, and geochemical mechanisms controlling soil formation and stability under different row crops (tomatoes, alfalfa, wheat), farming practices (carbon inputs and rotations) and irrigation methods (furrow and flood, microirrigation).
Field research will initially be conducted at three UC Research and Extension Centers (Kearney, West Side and Desert) the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility near UC Davis.
Recommendations will then be made for broader monitoring and field experiments throughout the state based on input gained from local growers and citizens at workshops at the agricultural research stations. Ultimately, the hope is to expand and involve all nine research and extension centers from the Oregon border to the Mexican border.
“Having agricultural research stations throughout the state is a huge part of this project,” Ying said. “It is going to help us create one of the best research centers in the country focused on soil and drought.”
There is also a public engagement component. Citizens will be recruited to participate in workshops to learn how to monitor and sample their local soils. Information will then be imputed into an online soils database that will help create a map of the biodiversity of agricultural soils in California.
Ying's collaborators are: Kate Scow and Sanjai Parihk (UC Davis); Eoin Brodie and Margaret Torn (UC Berkeley); Asmeret Berhe and Teamrat Ghezzehei (UC Merced); and Peter Nico and William Riley (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory).
The grant is one of four awards totaling more than $4.8 million from University of California President Janet Napolitano's President's Research Catalyst Awards.
The article is part of a weekly Sun-Star series, Merced Matters, which features "ordinary people doing extraordinary things, extraordinary people doing ordinary things, and a lot in between."
Perhaps because Norton's profile appears on Valentine's Day, writer Carol Reiter made the article something of a love story. It says that Norton:
- Loves agriculture
- Loves science
- Loves growers who farm the land in Merced
- Wants others to love the Valley as much as he does
And one of the experts asked to comment on the farm advisor said, "I love working with him."
In addition to traditional farm advisor duties, Norton has taken on a number of tasks designed to support and promote the agricultural industry in Merced County.
He was the founding director of Central Valley Farmland Trust, which as of June 2010 completed 15 agricultural conservation easements and protected 2,745 acres of working farm and ranch land in the northern San Joaquin Valley.
Norton planned a Merced County "blossom trail," which allows residents to tour country roads and enjoy the orchards when they are in bloom.
In 2010 he joined with a group of local agriculturalists to prepare a series of recordings that visitors can listen to in their cars while driving the historic roadway that connects the valley floor to Yosemite National Park. MP3 files can be downloaded from the Country Ventures website.
The recordings including information on points of historical interest, types of agricultural crops being grown, signs of early Native American residents, wildlife and geological features.
Maxwell Norton, a Merced County UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor and acting director of UCCE in Mariposa County, provided extensive information to a Merced Sun-Star reporter about efforts to encourage tourism in Merced County and educate visitors about local agricultural roots.
About a year ago, a group of agriculturists got together and starting brainstorming on ways to increase ag tourism, Norton told reporter Carol Reiter. The group formed "Country Ventures" and decided on two goals: To bring more visitor-related dollars into the county and to increase people's knowledge of agriculture.
"We decided it would be good to have an audio tour for Highway 140 from Merced to Mariposa," Norton was quoted. "The highway is so heavily used. That was the logical place to start."
The group prepared a series of recordings that visitors can listen to in their cars while driving the historic roadway that connects the valley floor to Yosemite National Park. MP3 files can be downloaded from the Country Ventures' website. In addition, the recordings are being compiled on CDs to be distributed at the California Visitor Center in Merced.
The recordings include information on:
- Points of historical interest, like the highest grave marker in California
- Types of agricultural crops being grown, including almonds, peaches, and pistachios
- History of local communities, such as Planada, which was laid out like Paris, France
- Signs of early Native American residents, like pictographs
- Wildlife and wildlife habitat, including vernal pools
- Geological features
- Gold Rush history
"Our target audience is people from other states and other countries," the article quoted Norton. "We want people to realize the San Joaquin Valley has a lot to offer in itself. It's not just a place to get through on your way to Yosemite."
Norton is one of two narrators on the audio recordings.