Hundreds of wildfires burned in California in 2020. The biggest single wildfire, according to Cal Fire, was the Creek Fire, which started on Sept. 4 near Shaver Lake in Fresno County. It destroyed 856 structures and burned 379,895 acres mostly in the Sierra National Forest until it was declared contained on Dec. 24.
“Fresno County 4-H had several families that lost homes in the Creek Fire, especially from our Ridge Top 4-H Club,” said 4-H program representative Tracy Newton.
To help their fellow 4-H members and community recover from the Creek Fire, 4-H Ambassadors in Fresno County assembled baskets containing handmade dough ornaments and a seedling to give to fire survivors. They also partnered with Intermountain Nursery and Sierra Resiliency Fund to begin protecting the scorched land from erosion.
In a video about their efforts, 4-H Ambassadors Caydin Simonian, Ciara Zito, Nicole Ward and Clayton Pennebaker and local partners describe their roles.
“Without volunteers, we can't get very much done. It's nice to have a core group of individuals that are excited and motivated to do work,” Allyson Brooks, Sierra Resiliency Fund volunteer coordinator, said in the video.
Zito added, “I know together we can make a difference.”
Newton is proud of the Ambassador team's efforts supporting the Creek Fire recovery. "They've worked so hard, I'd like to see our community aware of their great efforts as well as our UC ANR community," she said. “I think they've done an amazing job! “
“Through sales of 4-H logo items and donations received, the team was able to purchase 750 seedlings which will be planted locally,” Newton said. “They are working towards participating in multiple workdays for tree plantings. In addition, there were workdays at the nursery transferring seedlings to larger containers and watering. They also supported in creating a community display that will be placed in the Creek Fire exhibit at the Sierra Historical Society.”
See the video at https://youtu.be/fCvHuFu8e1k.
The Alturas Sunrise Rotary donated $5000 towards the Modoc County Forever 4-H Endowment.
This endowment, established in 2018 amid state budget constraints, is intended to support the 4-H program in Modoc County for generations to come. Over 30% of the youth in Modoc County were served by 4-H programs in 2018.
Donations and memorial gifts are still being accepted for Modoc County Forever 4-H Endowment and will be matched until a goal of $20,000 is met.
“We are just over halfway, $10,935 and have a match for up to $20,000 so we will keep working on it this winter and spring,” said Laura Snell, UCCE Modoc County director.
In May, Eta Takele, UCCE Riverside County director, was told to expect to receive no funding from the county in light of a budget shortfall in revenue. She and her UCCE staff and academics relayed the shocking news to their Riverside County clientele, and many asked how they could help.
In early June, more than 100 4-H members, 4-H volunteers, Master Gardener volunteers, farmers, nutrition course participants and other UCCE stakeholders attended a meeting to tell the Riverside County Board of Supervisors how they have personally benefited from UC ANR research and outreach and urged them not to cut UC Cooperative Extension funds.
Despite the need to make budget cuts, the Board of Supervisors agreed to maintain their contribution to UCCE and talked of expanding support later as an investment in the people of Riverside County.
In a recording of the board meeting, public comment begins at 18:30. Starting at 1:17:45, Supervisor Chuck Washington makes a motion to not cut UCCE programs, but find savings in lease expenses.
“Many, many thanks are due to a tremendous number of supporters who took the time to reach out to Supervisors and share their stories,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president, who attended the board meeting with Takele. “Jeffries commented that the public participation in the meeting far exceeded his expectations.”
A 4-H member who traveled nearly three hours from her home in Blythe to testify about the benefits of the 4-H program at the hearing told the supervisors, “It definitely saved me from getting into trouble.”
In “As Riverside County ponders spending cuts, public outcry saves 4-H, Master Gardeners,” the Press-Enterprise quoted Supervisor Jeff Hewitt: “'I think if we get this financially fit, why aren't we helping expand these programs?' Hewitt said to cheers.”
“This experience shows that our programs touch peoples' lives and there is strong support for UC Cooperative Extension in Riverside County,” said Anne Megaro, government and community relations director. If you have questions about outreach to elected officials, please contact Megaro at email@example.com or (530) 750-1218.
The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program has published a new strategic plan designed to increase its impact.
The mission of the UC 4-H Youth Development Program engages youth in reaching their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development. 4-H is a model for the program and practice of positive youth development. 4-H promotes positive outcomes for young people through the direct delivery of programs (e.g., 4-H clubs and 4-H camps) and through other formal and nonformal settings (e.g., schools and military installations).
UC 4-H provides training to practitioners and educators, and extends research-based information and educational content to the community to enrich and enhance the lives and well-being of young people in other settings.
In addition, UC 4-H academics contribute to the knowledge base through conducting applied research in the areas of positive youth development, science education, healthy living, civic engagement, leadership development, college and career readiness, inclusivity, volunteer development and management, and professional development for staff and volunteers.
This strategic plan focuses on key areas for increased impact. The key strategic themes that emerged are:
- Strengthen access, equity, and participation
- Increase opportunities for meaningful youth engagement
- Improve organizational infrastructure
- Advance youth development research and extension
The complete plan is available at UC 4-H's website: http://4h.ucanr.edu/About/Mission.
- Author: Shannon J. Horrillo
- Author: Sandy Derby
- Author: Greg Ira
- Author: Martin Smith
Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an international, award-winning environmental education program, providing professional development training and workshops for teachers and other educators working with youth. A primary goal of PLT is to increase the environmental and scientific literacy of K-12 students in California through inquiry-based teaching and learning.
Transitioning from a 25-year home within CALFIRE, PLT joined UC ANR in 2013 to ensure a more collaborative and sustainable future for program expansion and development. This year, PLT moved administratively under the UC 4-H Youth Development Program, and is being delivered in partnership with 4-H and the California Naturalist Program.
Through this collaborative effort, UC ANR seeks to expand the reach of the PLT network by engaging existing 4-H Youth Development volunteers, staff, youth and partners and California Naturalist partners, while strengthening environmental education programming within these statewide programs. The collaboration also promotes connections and shared learning between naturalists and youth development staff and volunteers.
Currently, the UC ANR PLT program has a network of 20 active facilitators, offering 30 workshops annually, training nearly 2,000 educators who provide experiential learning activities focused on California ecosystems, forests and trees to more than 10,000 young people annually.
The collective impact of this three-dimensional program partnership will serve to both increase ecological sustainability of agriculture, landscapes and forestry to protect California's natural resources and increase environmental literacy, leading to a qualified workforce for California.