- Author: Robert Padilla
In the mid-1990s, Manglallan helped to develop the California School-Age Child Care Center for Action. She led the creation of childcare programs for school age children at parks and recreation centers and has served as the principle investigator on many projects, such as Off to a Good Start and the Afterschool Life Skills Evaluation Project.
In 2009, under Manglallan's guidance, 4-H partnered with the U.S. military to provide youth development activities for San Diego County children of military men and women deployed all over the world. 4-H clubs were chartered in eight military youth centers. Manglallan and her 4-H staff trained the youth center staff, set up clubs and organized military youth activities.
Through the ongoing 4-H military partnership, children of military members participate in leadership projects, community service projects, mentoring programs and sciences projects. They also attend conferences and camps with other military kids throughout the state and the country. Since 4-H has reached out to military youth, enrollment numbers have grown from 500 to the current enrollment of 1,300 children and teens in San Diego County.
Out of these efforts, four focus group meetings were held with local and non-governmental agencies, tribal members, members of the public and current 4-H volunteers. The engaged and lively discussions soon formed the basis for the current 4-H VMO board, which began in 2015 and oversees and directs local 4-H activities.
Since its inception, the VMO has organized and overseen two major fundraising events for local 4-H programming needs. Its annual 4-H golf tournament garners $8,000 to $10,000 per year and the petting zoo at the annual San Diego County Fair brings in $10,000 to $12,000 each year. Additionally, three new traditional 4-H clubs and one spin club have joined the San Diego County 4-H family.
Manglallan began her career as a 4-H agent in 1978 with the University of Arizona before eventually joining UCCE San Diego in 1983.
Over the years, Manglallan's colleagues have sought her expertise and collaboration for research, education and outreach endeavors. In April 2018, she was part of the statewide team UC ANR honored with its Distinguished Service Award for outstanding research in Youth Retention Research. Through her contributions to San Diego's local 4-H clubs and programming over the past three decades, Manglallan has developed a diverse and robust community for youth development and leadership in San Diego.
The UCCE San Diego office congratulates Manglallan on a well-earned retirement and will continue to inspire and train youth through the 4-H program by her example.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Since adopting the stretch along Sausal Creek in Dimond Park in 2012, 20 4-H members ranging from 5 to 12 years old have been pulling out the invasive plants and replacing them with native plants.
“Friends of Sausal Creek provides us with all the plants and gives us guidance on what should go where,” said Genesta Zarehbin, the 4-H adult volunteer leading the project.
“We planted lots of native plants, such as strawberries, bee plant, ninebark, iris-leaf rush, wood rush, and thimbleberry, that look really cool — but it still gives the appearance of more ivy and spiderwort,” said Zarehbin, who lives in Oakland.
“They have field journals and do research to complete a plant page,” Zarehbin said. “The younger kids do observation -- how many leaves does it have? What color is it? How tall is it? It's a natural discussion when you're out there.”
After removing the invasive, nonnative plants, the 4-Hers had the opportunity to redesign the stretch of trail by choosing and planting natives. At monthly meetings held at the creek, the members regularly weed, water and mulch the plants and pick up trash.
“My kids really get into it,” said Zarehbin, whose children include 9- and 11-year-old sons and twin 6-year-old daughters. “They recognize cow parsnip and soaproot when we go out on hikes. In some areas they'll say, ‘This looks like people are taking care of it.' It gives them a sense of place and how humans shape the environment.”
“The first year, everything died,” said Zarehbin. “The second year, we supplemented the water, and we have a number of plants that survived.”
The creek project is educating the 4-H members, and the 4-H members, in turn, are educating park visitors about the vital work of protecting our natural resources.
“Since our work site is in a very visible location, our 4-H members have been able to enlist the assistance of community members and they frequently have the opportunity to share information with curious onlookers,” said the 4-H project leader.
Zarehbin appreciates the autonomy that Friends of Sausal Creek has allowed, something that enables the kids to develop a sense of ownership. “They let the kids control how they want things to look,” she explained. “The Friends of Sausal Creek are willing to work with young kids and let them work hands-on and contribute in a meaningful way.”
The organization often leads middle school and high school students on field trips, but 4-H is one the few long-term relationships they have with younger children.
Friends of Sausal Creek, which manages a 2600-acre watershed with two permanent full-time staff members, depends on the help of others to preserve and protect the creek.
Groups typically work on an adopted site a few times a year, whereas the 4-H members tend to their site at least once a month. At the last 4-H work day, 30 people participated, said Zarehbin.
“Their recurring workdays enable them to maintain the site – weeding around the native plants and watering them until they are established,” said McAfee. “Their work helps to increase the biodiversity in these urban wildlands.”
McAfee hopes the kids' enthusiasm for nurturing the natural environment will spread to other people in the community.
Every year the 4-H club hosts an Earth Day event for a local public school to share what they're learning with other kids their age. Last year, 90 students from Sequoia Elementary School participated, making nature-based crafts and pulling invasive plants to widen the trail. This year the 4-H members have invited Glenville Elementary to join them at Dimond Park on March 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To learn more about participating in 4-H in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, contact May McMann, 4-H program representative at email@example.com or (925) 646-6543. To find a UC Cooperative Extension 4-H club near you, visit http://4h.ucanr.edu/Get_Involved/County.
For more than 100 years, the University of California Cooperative Extension researchers and educators have been drawing on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. UC Cooperative Extension is part of the University of California's systemwide Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Learn more at ucanr.edu.