HAREC education season ended June 29th with a memorable 4-H Sustainable You! Summer Camp for ages 9-12. The week long camp, now in its fifth year, is fun, interactive and focuses on the environment. Each day centers on a theme: air, land, food, energy, water…..and shows youth how to reduce their footprint and preserve natural resources.
Environmental Educators, Angie Williams and Nick Shoemate from the City of Ventura Water and Environmental Sustainability Division did an amazing job sharing their knowledge and extending daily activities to 18 campers. This is our fourth year collaborating with the City. Teen Leader, Sara Centeno, Oxnard High School senior, helped engage youth in activities, games and enthusiastically took on the task of tracking and reporting on daily trash, recycling and composting waste.
Over 6800 youth participate in 4-H farm field trip, classroom outreach, after school and summer programs, as well as various community based STEM activities. The HAREC education staff appreciates the support of partners such as the City of Ventura and Ventura Unified School District as well as all the 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers that work so diligently throughout the year to make youth programs possible county-wide.
For highlights of Sustainable You! Summer Camp 2018 watch the video below:
We are pleased to introduce the newest member of the education team. Valerie Zeko, Community Education Specialist II, will oversee the Ventura County 4-H Community Club program. Valerie studied at Cal State Fullerton where she earned a BA in Liberal Arts degree. She continued her education at UCSB earning a Masters of Education.
Valerie began her teaching career at Camarillo High School. When her second child was born, Valerie opted to become a full-time mom. For the next 14 years, she embraced volunteerism by working in her children's schools and at her church. She also started and maintained a website called VenturaParent.com that provided resources for parents. Valerie returned to teaching in 2014 and worked as an English teacher at Buena and Foothill Technology High Schools, both in Ventura.
She became involved in 4-H a few years ago when she was invited to teach a sourdough bread making class for her daughter Emma's Baking Project (Loma Vista Club). She had so much fun that she decided to become a Project Leader and has led the Baking Project ever since. Valerie is inspired by the inclusivity and warmth of 4-H and says she “feels lucky to be able to work in an office with wonderful people at the UC Hansen Agricultural Center where I can look out the window and see strawberry fields and beautiful hills in the distance!”
Her greatest joy in life is learning and feels some of the best to learning comes from reading and traveling. This spring she and her family traveled to Panama to visit her daughter Anneke, who has been working as an intern for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa. ”I learned so much about Panama and its food, history and culture. I saw howler monkeys and coatis in the jungle and learned about an animal called a “nyeke” which looks like a guinea pig with long legs. I look forward to my next adventure working for 4-H!”
Valerie is a long time Ventura County resident and proud mom to Anneke, 2017 UCLA graduate; Emma, senior at Foothill Technology High School; Ben, 8th grader at DATA middle school. We are excited to bring Valerie on board. Her background as a 4-H project leader, passion for teaching and learning, and appreciation for volunteerism are vital assets for the Ventura County 4-H Youth Development Program.
The Census of Agriculture is the voice of our farming community. The census collects information on the nation's farms and ranches from small to large operations. But time is off the essence--the deadline is February 5. Producers should visit www.agcounts.usds.gov
- Author: Susana C. Bruzzone-Miller, RDN
- Author: Susana C. Bruzzone-Miller, RDN
For the past five years, HAREC has offered the 4-H Sustainable You! Summer Camp for youth ages 9-12. Fun, hands-on activities teach youth how they can make a difference in conserving natural resources. The City of Ventura has collaborated with the HAREC education team for the past four years to make this half-day camp possible by providing educators and promotional materials. This partnership allows the program to be offered county-wide at an affordable cost. Environmental Educators, Haili Matsukawa and Brandon Kaysen did an amazing job working with the 27 participants. Teen leader Mikaelle Arcaya-Velez was on hand to assist and engage youth.
Today's blog includes a short article written by 4H Sustatinable You! 2017 participants ans summerizes their experience.
We had a lot of fun at Sustainable You! 4-H Camp held at the UC Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Santa Paula in June. About 27 members took part in this camp with an emphasis on learning about how to preserve our environment and natural resources. Topics such as Air, Energy, Food, Water and Land were explored. We learned about ways we can make a difference in reducing air pollution such as riding our bikes to school, carpooling and using public transportation when possible. We also talked about strategies to reduce water use, especially since California is in a drought. Shower timers were given out so kids aim for a 5-minute shower and we were also encouraged to turn off the water when brushing our teeth. Other ideas discussed were not to over water plants and lawns and to try to buy energy efficient appliances with the Energy Star logo on them. We also learned about the best way to dispose of waste and recognize if it's trash, recycling, compost or a hazardous waste.
There were fun activities and games planned every day. We got to tie-dye shirts and ride a “smoothie bike” that powered a blender that made smoothies with fruit that we just picked. One of our favorite activities was making a solar oven out of a pizza carton and use it to make s'mores! It took about an hour—but it worked and tasted great!
We had fun getting a tour on the farm, picking fruits and vegetables and met the farm chicken, too. One fun game was about the cycle of water and all the places water can go after a rain.
We think this camp had a lot of great ideas for people to try in their own homes. Our family switched to solar power because we wanted to use the cleanest energy that we could. We would recommend this camp to help kids learn way they can make a difference and help the world be a better place. It's a great and fun camp!