From the UC Blogosphere...
Master Gardener Helpline
By Jutta Thoerner UCCE Master Gardener Volunteer
I used to call the UC Master Gardner Program in Orange County for advice with my plant and insect ID questions. Is this service available in this area? Christian, SLO.
Yes, these services are available through the UC Master Gardener helpline. We have three helpline locations in the county - San Luis Obispo, Templeton and Arroyo Grande.
There are four ways of accessing the Helpline.
1. Visit the MG helpline office
2. Call the helpline office number and talk to a MG or leave a voicemail
3. Drop off a sample and fill out a questionnaire when MGs are not in
4. Email MGs and include information and photos of your plant or insect issue, using firstname.lastname@example.org,
Tips on how to collect samples:
FOR PLANT PROBLEMS: Its ideal for the sample to be collected just before it is brought into the Helpline Office. If that's not possible, store the sample in the refrigerator until you can bring it in (don't add any water to the sample bag). Select a sample showing distinct disease or insect symptoms. Include plant parts to show various stages of the problem with diseased and healthy plant tissue for comparison.
FOR PLANT IDENTIFICATION: Collect as many parts of the plant including flowers and leaves attached to the stems, and any fruit or berries. Flowers are especially crucial in plant and weed identification. If submitting a root sample, place it in a paper bag separate from any other plant samples. Dig roots carefully; don't pull as diseased roots are fragile.
FOR PEST IDENTIFICATION: Handle the insects gently as not to damage them. Include any leaves with evidence of damage caused by the insect.
No problem is too small for the MG helpline!
San Luis Obispo: 2156 Sierra Way, 805-781-5939. Helpline is staffed on Monday and Thursday 1-5pm. Drop off samples anytime M-F, 8 am-5 pm.
Templeton: 350 N. Main St B, 805-434-4105. Helpline is staffed on Wednesday 9am -12 pm. Drop off samples anytime M-F, noon-2:30pm.
Arroyo Grande: 810 West Branch St, 805-473-7190. Helpline is staffed on Wednesdays, 9am -12pm. Drop off samples anytime M-F, 8 am-2:30pm.
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To find out if the most-prized tea in Japan lives up to its purported health benefits when scrutinized scientifically, the reporters contacted UC Cooperative Extension specialist Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr.
“The health benefits are similar to that of green tea in general,” Zidenberg-Cherr said. Possible benefits of green tea include lower risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancers, and bone-density improvement. Though "the studies are pretty inconclusive," she said, some have been promising.
"Some have shown a benefit of maybe three cups a day in terms of reduced risk of cardiovascular disease especially," she said.
Zidenberg-Cherr cautioned against taking matcha or green tea with dairy milk.
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Martinez was interviewed for the program by host Pat Brooks, who was sitting in for Dennis Bernstein. Martinez said that anecdotal evidence of food insecurity on UC campuses was already popping up when UC President Janet Napolitano provided funding to each of the campuses to address the issue. The UC president also provided funding to the UC Nutrition Policy Institute to survey students across the system to document and understand food insecurity on UC campuses.
The report, issued last week, was based on the responses to a survey by about 9,000 students. Nineteen percent indicated they had “very low” food security and an additional 23 percent were characterized as having “low” food security. The greatest impact, Martinez said, was on the Latino and black student populations. Most of the students struggling with food insecurity had never experienced such circumstances before going away to college.
In response to the survey, Napolitano approved $3.3 million in new funding over the next two years to help students regularly access nutritious food on campus and off.
Brooks asked Martinez what is the new report's 'call to action.'
"Our hope is to eliminate food insecurity, and with this report we are hoping that others will be dedicated to this and committed to the work as well,” Martinez said.
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