- Author: Dohee Kim
Before her official retirement date at the end of June, I chatted briefly with Yvonne to ask her several questions.
Who or what got you into gardening?
My folks purchased our Pasadena property because of a heritage oak. They created pathways throughout the hillside, planted fruit trees and drove annually to the dairy, where Pasadena High School now stands, to load up on fresh manure and lay it down as mulch. My mom grew lots of vegetables, and my dad took care of the fruit trees. I grew up eating seasonally, and whatever was in the garden determined what we had for dinner. Also, my years living in Davis (to work at the university) affected my gardening tasks and skills. For the first time, I experienced real cold and heat, and what they meant in the garden.
You are widely recognized as the person responsible for much of the success of the UC Master Gardener Program in Los Angeles County. How does that feel?
Our wonderfully generous Master Gardener volunteers are the reason that 1.3 million people in Los Angeles know how to grow their own food. I have just been providing the avenue so they can follow through with their nurturing passions. Since 1994, we've trained 1,127 volunteers! From a single tomato plant to providing all the produce for their families, Los Angeles County residents learned how to feed their families, connect with their neighbors and garden sustainably!
What's changed in gardening during your 21 years with UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County?
When we re-started the Master Gardener Program in 1995, only gardeners were interested in growing their own food; now, the general public is eager to join in connecting health and exercise to community beautification, sharing and intergenerational appreciation and cooperation.
Is there a fruit or vegetable that you find satisfying to grow?
Everything, of course! There's always something new and exciting to explore.
Can you describe a memorable day with the Master Gardener Program?
Every single day! I thrive on hearing the excitement of Master Gardeners enthusing about their latest project in their community and school gardens as well as enabling other gardeners to grow and taste their own first pea or broccoli.
Now, what's next for you? What's your goal in your next phase?
My personal website/blog: www.GardeningInLA.net. The site is a resource center of information about our local micro-climates, and it will offer an opportunity for Southern California gardeners to submit events, volunteer opportunities and job opportunities for everyone to benefit.
Members of the inaugural class of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority's Bridge to Park Careers program graduated on April 18, 2015. The ceremony was held at the Vista Hermosa Natural Park in downtown Los Angeles. The young adults were recognized by elected officials, such as California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, and community leaders before a crowd of park professionals, community partners, family members and friends.
Bridge to Park Careers is the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority's (MRCA) job training program, which prepares urban youth (18-26 years old) to be competitive applicants for jobs with park agencies. In an effort for parks to better reflect and serve urban communities, the participants were referred by local park agencies and community-based organizations.
We are pleased to report that by the end of the training program, all nine of the young graduates were offered employment by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
The curriculum used for Bridge to Park Careers merged from multiple separate programs that provided the graduates with certifications (including the UC California Naturalist Certification and the National Association for Interpretation's Interpretive Guide Certification) as well as materials developed just for the program. The curriculum included an overview of the parks movement in Southern California; cultural and natural history of the local mountains; outdoor skills such as orienteering and geography; education and interpretation; customer service and public safety; and leadership development. Sabrina Drill, UC Cooperative Extension's natural resources advisor and associate director of the California Naturalist Program, helped develop this joint training.
"We at the UC California Naturalist Program, are so proud to have been a part of MRCA's Bridge to Park Careers program. From our initial meetings and in-depth training of MRCA's lead instructor to going out and leading the trainees on a tour of the LA River, we loved being a part of this inaugural class," said Drill. "We look forward to continuing to work with the newly certified rangers as well as the future trainees," she added.
The UC California Naturalist Program is designed to introduce Californians to the wonders of our unique ecology and engage the public in study and stewardship of California's natural communities. The program uses a science curriculum, hands-on learning, problem-solving and community service to instill a deep appreciation for the natural communities of the state and to inspire individuals to become stewards of their local resources.
For more information about the UC California Naturalist Program, please click here.
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
A 12-week training session for the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' California Naturalist program is scheduled to begin on March 12 at the UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve, reported Lorena Anderson of the UC Merced communications office.
UC California Naturalist was established in 2012 and became an official UC ANR special program in 2014. Training sessions are held throughout the state to foster a network of nature lovers to promote stewardship of California's natural resources through education and service. As of Sept. 30, 2014, more than 18,000 hours of service had been recorded by 650 certified naturalists.
The Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve and the Sierra Foothill Conservancy in Fresno are offering the first California Naturalist training programs in the San Joaquin Valley. UC Merced's Yosemite Institute will hold its second California Naturalist training in the fall in Yosemite National Park.
The article noted that UC ANR provided a $7,500 grant to fund scholarships for people who need help covering tuition to attend the Vernal Pools, Yosemite Institute or Sierra Foothill Conservancy training programs.
The press release centered on the fact that Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas provided a $103,000 gift that will permit UC Merced to hire two part-time coordinators for the Valley courses, and purchase equipment like field notebooks, binoculars and supplies.
This story was picked up by the Sierra Sun Times.
- Author: Sabrina Drill
"My goal is to expand the program here in Los Angeles, and throughout Southern California," said Drill. "Given the amazing diversity of our habitats and communities, we are expanding to serve more diverse communities, working with teachers, conservation corps trainees and community leaders throughout urban areas," she added.
Using an ecosystem stewardship framework, the California Naturalist Program is building a statewide network of environmental stewards. The program uses a science-based curriculum and extensive field time and experiential learning to introduce the public, teachers, interpreters, docents, green collar workers, natural resource managers and budding scientists to the wonders of our unique ecology as well as engage them in the stewardship of California's natural communities.
The curriculum includes chapters on forest, woodland and range resources management, geology, climate, water, wildfire and plants. Participants engage in field days and capstone projects and use the iNaturalist app (for iPhone or Android to upload observations of plants or animals and document was seen and where). These tools help to instill a deep appreciation for the state's natural communities and engage participants in biological conservation.
- Author: Dohee Kim
Nathaniel joined UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County in 1994 as a youth development program coordinator and became a 4-H advisor in 2007. Since 2012, he has served as county director for Los Angeles County.
Nathaniel's research focuses on adolescent development, educational planning, social capital and community networks. In addition, he has provided crucial leadership in the areas of science education, camp and citizenship. He received his B.A. in sociology at UC Davis, M.S. in educational leadership at Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University and Ed.D. in educational leadership at UCLA.
"It is my honor and privilege to accept this position. I look forward to continuing the initiative's goals to combine research, education and partnerships for the improvement of youth, family and community health," Nathaniel said. "I also look forward to raising the profile and reach of UC ANR through this initiative."
He succeeds Dave Campbell (UCCE community development specialist in the department of human ecology at UC Davis), who has been named Associate Dean for Social/Human Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
To contact Nathaniel, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.