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Farmers encouraged to put water conservation efforts on the map

Micro-sprinklers, such as those shown above irrigating young almond trees, are an efficient irrigation technology.
As part of UC Cooperative Extension's first-time citizen science undertaking May 8, California farmers are encouraged to record their water-saving efforts in a statewide geographical dataset.

To mark its centennial anniversary, UCCE is hosting a Day of Science and Service to engage all Californians in creating an extensive statewide dataset on pollinators, food and water. Farmers may attend any of the myriad public celebrations on May 8. Computers will be available at the events for participation in the citizen science project. Or, if their schedules do not permit, they can quickly link in on their own computers or smart phones to record their efforts.

To participate, farmers can open http://beascientist.ucanr.edu. Click on the icon for water and find the farm on the map or search by address. The survey is set up for all California residents to record their water-saving in the household, garden and landscape. Farmers can click on the boxes that reflect their agriculture operations' water-saving strategies:

o   Using drip/micro irrigation

o   Scheduling irrigation efficiently

o   Changing to drought-tolerant crops

o   Using deficit irrigation

o   Managing the soil

o   Other

The system also allows users to upload a related photo. The whole process takes about a minute. No registration is necessary and the system doesn't collect email addresses. Twitter users can tweet about their participation in the Day of Science and Service using the hashtag #beascientist.

In addition to providing a better understanding of ongoing water-saving efforts, the Day of Science and Service aims to raise awareness about water conservation on farms and in households. Given the size of California, small savings across the board add up to a significant amount of water.

“Right now California is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record,” said Darren Haver, UCCE advisor in Orange County. “Some communities may run out of water in the next 10 years. If everyone in the state saves at least 10 gallons a month, we will be able to save over four and a half billion gallons a year.”

Posted on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM

UC Cooperative Extension celebrates centennial with citizen science

“One of the most profound ways in which UC touches people's lives is through the work of Cooperative Extension.”Janet Napolitano, President, University of California

The UC Cooperative Extension Day of Science and Service is May 8, 2014
UC Cooperative Extension launches its first crowd-sourced science project on May 8 to commemorate the organization's 100th anniversary.

On May 8, 1914, the president signed an act of Congress to channel scientific advances from university research to everyday people working and living in the United States. On May 8, 2014, California residents will collaborate on a dataset that further connects public higher education with community.

“UC Cooperative Extension is all about science and service,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which administers Cooperative Extension in California. “To celebrate the anniversary of Cooperative Extension, we are asking Californians to help us collect scientific data so that all of us will better understand our natural, agricultural and urban communities.”  

Everyone in California is invited to take part. To participate, go to http://beascientist.ucanr.edu and record your observations on three questions:

  • How many pollinators do you see?
  • How do you conserve water?
  • Where is food grown in your community?

Many UC Cooperative Extension county offices are holding special events on May 8 where the public may join in the celebration of science and service. Computers will be available to allow participants to record their observations to the science questions.

Fresno County

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Open house at the Garden of the Sun, 1750 N. Winery Ave., Fresno. The event includes an opening ceremony and proclamation from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, presentations by representatives of all UCCE programs in Fresno County, prizes and refreshments. More information: Shannon Mueller, UCCE county director, (559) 241-7527, scmueller@ucanr.edu

Humboldt County

12 noon to 1:30 p.m. – Mini educational workshops on water conservation, pollination and local food at Redwood Roots, a small farm at Wood Duck Lane and Fellowship Way, in the Jacoby Creek Valley in Bayside.

6 to 7:30 p.m. – ‘Day of Science and Service' participants share the results of the day's data collection at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, 3750 Harris St., Eureka. More information: Yana Valachovic, UCCE county director, (707) 445-7351, yvala@ucanr.edu

Los Angeles County

3 to 6 p.m. – Science and Service Fair at the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum, 18127 S Alameda St., Compton. The event includes workshops on nutrition, food preservation and gardening, special activities for kids and healthy after-school snacks. A.G. Kawamura, former California Secretary of Agriculture, will be a guest speaker. More information: Drusilla Rosales, UCCE advisor, (626) 586-1948, dmrosales@ucanr.edu

Mariposa County

2 to 6 p.m. – Day of Science and Service open house with information about 4-H, Master Gardeners and weed control on rangeland at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 5009 Fairgrounds Rd., Mariposa. Participants are also invited to visit a native plant garden on the fairgrounds. More information: Fadzayi Mashiri, UCCE county director, (209) 966-2417, fmashiri@ucanr.edu

Merced County

3 to 5 p.m. – Booth at the Merced Mall, 851 W. Olive Ave., Merced, where passersby can bring questions to Master Gardeners, a nutrition educator, 4-H leaders or the farm advisor, and participate in the Day of Science and Service. More information: Maxwell Norton, (209) 385-7403, mnorton@ucanr.edu

Monterey County

10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. - Open house at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 1432 Abbott St., Salinas. Tours of the facility, laboratories and greenhouses. Participants may use a computer kiosk to take part in the citizen science surveys. More information: Maria de la Fuente, (831) 759-7358, medalafuente@ucanr.edu

Nevada County

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – A free family event includes ‘lunch for dinner' provided by Sierra Harvest, plus prizes, demonstrations and food-related activities at Bell Hill Academy, 342 S. School St., Grass Valley. More information: Molly Klumb, UCCE program representative, (530) 889-7350, mhklumb@ucanr.edu

San Diego County

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – The general public is invited to the County Operations Center commons area, 9335 Hazard Way, San Diego, for booths with displays and handouts about UC Cooperative Extension, plus a wildfire prevention presentation that includes a live demonstration structure burn. More information: James Bethke, (760) 752-4715, jabethke@ucanr.edu

Santa Cruz County

3:30 to 6:30 p.m. – Open house at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 1432 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, where the public can meet UCCE academics and staff, see demonstrations and learn about UCCE research. More information: Mark Bolda, (831) 763-8025, mpbolda@ucanr.edu

Ventura County

2 to 5 p.m. – Community open house at the Hansen Research and Extension Center, 14292 W. Telegraph Rd., Santa Paula. More information: Rose Hayden-Smith, strategic initiative leader, (805) 645-1466, rmhaydensmith@ucanr.edu

Yolo County

4:30 to 6:30 p.m. – Open house at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 70 Cottonwood St., Woodland. Participants to take part in activities, learn about UCCE programs and history, and enjoy refreshments. More information: Rachael Long, UCCE county director, (530) 666-8734, rflong@ucanr.edu

Posted on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Tags: centennial (2)

Registration is open for first-ever California Naturalist statewide conference

Detailed conference information is at http://ucanr.edu/CalNat2014

The California Naturalist Conference will be held at Asilomar, a state park and conference center on the Monterey Peninsula.
The UC California Naturalist Program has opened early registration for its first statewide conference, to be held Oct. 17 to 19 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove.

The event is designed to bring together the state's certified California Naturalists and others who share their appreciation for California's unrivaled state and national parks, coastal areas, mountains, wetlands, foothills and forests.

The conference will provide a forum for the growing ranks of California Naturalists to discuss new research and developments in natural history, citizen science, global (climate) change, environmental education and nature interpretation.

The California Naturalist program, sponsored by UC Cooperative Extension and modeled after the Master Gardener Program, is recruiting and training those passionate about nature to form a statewide corps of active and educated environmental stewards. Currently there are 500 California Naturalists certified by the program.

California Naturalist operates in partnership with nature preservation, appreciation and conservation organizations or institutions around the state. A love of nature and a desire to share the sentiment prompt people to donate their time to becoming and serving as California Naturalists. Together with the partnering organization, California Naturalists champion the state's unique ecology and engage in stewardship and study of California's natural world.

Early registration for the first-ever California Naturalist conference is $250 for certified naturalists and $325 for all others. Registration fees will go up on July 1. Lodging is separate. Registration fees are higher for those not staying two nights at Asilomar. Conference and Asilomar accommodation reservation forms are available on the California Naturalist Conference website, http://ucanr.edu/CalNat2014.

Registration includes a full agenda of presentations, poster session, exhibits and receptions. A limited number of scholarships are available to help offset the registration, room and board and travel costs of certified California Naturalists and naturalists-in-training. Make lodging reservations at Asilomar by Sept. 17 for discounted accommodations in the beautiful park setting, increased opportunities to connect with fellow naturalists and all meals.

The California Naturalist Conference begins on Friday, Oct. 17, with optional small-group advanced training programs. Two of the courses, “Drawing birds” and “Nature Drawing” will be taught by acclaimed naturalist, educator and artist John Muir Laws. A complete list of six advanced training sessions is available on the conference website. Advanced training classes are offered for an additional $30 fee and expected to reach their maximum capacity quickly.

The Saturday agenda follows two tracks: “people, parks and diversity” and “global change and biodiversity.” For the keynote session, two renowned naturalist authors will speak on the role of citizen scientists in preventing species extinction.

Mary Ellen Hannibal will discuss the role of citizens in scientific discovery and conservation. She is the author of The Spine of the Continent, which chronicles the efforts of everyday citizens to create a wildlife corridor from the Yukon to Mexico. She is working on a new book to be titled Citizen Scientist.

Anthony Barnosky, a professor of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, will talk about strategies for avoiding species extinction in the face of global change. Barnosky is the author of Heatstroke: Nature in the Age of Global Warming. His new book, Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money and the Future of Life on Earth, will be published in September.

Saturday's program also includes a reception and a poster session detailing nature research and conservation efforts by California Naturalists around the state.

The conference wraps up on Sunday with optional field trips, offered for a $25 fee. Field trip destinations include the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Fort Ord National Monument, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Complete registration, agenda, presenter, pre- and post-conference event, and facility information are on the California Naturalist Conference webpage, http://ucanr.edu/CalNat2014. For more information contact Brook Gamble, (707) 744-1424, Ext. 108, bgamble@ucanr.edu.

Posted on Monday, March 24, 2014 at 9:36 AM

CDFA honors UC Cooperative Extension centennial

The annual Ag Day at the Capitol event, held Wednesday (March 19) in Sacramento, honored the University of California Cooperative Extension for its centennial. California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross presented a proclamation to Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources, who oversees UC Cooperative Extension.

“I want to commend my good friend Barbara Allen-Diaz and Cooperative Extension,” said Ross. “You help us take all that great knowledge from the UC System and extend it directly to farmers and ranchers. It is a circle of innovation that sets us apart. It is absolutely crucial to our future and I'm really happy to be here to celebrate 100 years with you.”

UC Cooperative Extension, which has offices in counties throughout California, will be holding local celebrations throughout 2014. For more information about the UCCE centennial, visit http://ucanr.edu/100.

Karen Ross, third from left, and Barbara Allen-Diaz with 4-H members during Ag Day at the Capitol.
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 12:44 AM
Tags: Barbara Allen-Diaz (8), CDFA (1), Karen Ross (2)

California Naturalist instructor workshop comes to the San Joaquin Valley

Valley Oaks are among the natural wonders in the San Joaquin Valley.
The University of California's new California Naturalist program makes its first foray into the San Joaquin Valley when a two-day instructor workshop is offered April 29 at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, and April 30 at the McKenzie Preserve of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy.

The workshop is intended for members, staff and volunteers affiliated with organizations interested in partnering with the University of California to offer the California Naturalist program in their communities.

California Naturalist is modeled after the long-time UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program, which trains volunteers to extend UC's research-based horticultural information. California Naturalist volunteers champion the state's unique ecology and engage in volunteer stewardship and study of California's natural world.

An important characteristic of the California Naturalist program is its partnership with nature preservation, appreciation and conservation organizations around the state. The April workshop will train staff from these organizations on how to organize and teach the California Naturalist program.

"We are fortunate to be able to hold this training in the San Joaquin Valley with its beautiful Valley oaks, rivers, and grasslands. And right next door to California's most majestic national parks," said Adina Merenlender, UCCE specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley and director of the California Naturalist program. "We are looking forward to collaborating with interested organizations in the Valley, Sierra foothills, and points further south who are working to steward these stunning natural resources."

The instructor workshop begins with in-depth training sessions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 29 at the Kearney REC, 9240 S. Riverbend Ave., Parlier.  A field trip, naturalist activities and discussions take place at the Sierra Foothill Conservancy's Ruth McKenzie Table Mountain Preserve near Prather on April 30.

Interested organizations involved in natural resource management or interpretive education can register online at http://ucanr.edu/CalNatWorkshop.

For more information contact Jeannette Warnert, (559) 240-9850, jewarnert@ucanr.edu.

Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 at 2:42 PM

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