Education Specialists representing state wide Research and Extension Centers System (RECS) sites gathered February 15-16 at Hansen. This second annual meeting was an opportunity to meet new staff, share best practices, and participate in professional development.
Lisa Fisher, RECS Director, sponsored and kicked off the meeting with a welcome and overview of the ANR strategic plan. Guest speaker, Dr. Steven Worker, 4-H Youth Development Advisor—Marin County, led a hands-on workshop focusing on inquiry based learning and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for youth. Additionally, Worker introduced methods of using Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in non-formal science education settings, relating methods REC educators can use in their outreach work.
Dr. Sabrina Drill, Natural Resources Advisor—UCCE-Ventura County, provided an overview of the California Naturalist Program and discussed the program as potential partner for REC outreach.
Farm Smart Manager, Stacey Wills and 4-H Representative, Shanna Abatti from Desert REC rounded out the two-day meeting with a Sustainable You! Summer Camp train-the trainer. Sustainable You!, developed by Dr. Roslyn Brain of Utah State University, teaches youth the basic concepts of natural resource conservation. The program has been part of the educational offerings at HAREC and Desert REC since 2013 and 2012 respectively, and will be implemented at Hopland REC in summer 2017.
Rio School District, in Oxnard, is a welcomed new partner. This year, Rio added the 4-H Sustainable You! Summer Camp curriculum to their district-wide Summer Science Camp that serves over 200 students K-6th grade and runs for the next three weeks. The district understands the importance of STEM education and fully funds the camp that is offered free of charge to students who register and submit an essay to qualify for a coveted spot. It's a no nonsense, attendance mandatory opportunity; structured with plenty of learning and lots of fun! The full day camp, operated at Rio del Mar School, provides a nutritious lunch and snacks to all participants.
Last May, HAREC educators conducted a 4-H Sustainable You! Summer Camp curriculum train-the-trainer and will support Rio Science Camp by loaning Sustainable You! activity kits. This exciting program helps youth understand what it means to be sustainable and features interactive activities based around the five major areas of sustainability: land, air, food, energy, and water. Gena Mathwin, is the energetic teacher extending the program to over sixty 5th and 6th graders. On August 11th, Rio campers will round out the Sustainable You! experience with a visit to HAREC and further study of our local food system.
We caught up with the campers on the second day of "Land" and learning about recycling food waste into healthy soil using worm composting.
Today, campers study Land. The average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste daily. Campers follow a piece of trash from curb-side to landfill and discuss reduce, reuse, recycle and responsibility we all share in caring for the earth.
Day 2: Land
- Author: Susana C. Bruzzone-Miller
Today we touch on this pertinent topic!
- Why is water important?
- Where does water go when you flush it down the toilet?
- Water quality
- What can you do to conserve water?
- Author: Susana C. Bruzzone-Miller
Day 4- Energy
Today campers learned the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy. They investigated solar and wind. Baking in the solar oven, creating a personal solar oven and pinwheels reinforced principles covered in camp. Other highlights were picking apples, touring Faulkner House and eating farm fresh strawberries harvested this morning.