Last month, the Thelma Hansen Fund hosted a three-day series to inform about climate change and the science behind it. In an effort to raise awareness of current and predicted impacts on Southern California, the impressive line up of UC speakers focused on the environment, agriculture, and disasters such as drought and fire.
If you missed the series or want to watch again, here is a brief overview and links to the recordings:
Climate change in California: A drier or wetter future—or…both?,
Dr. Daniel Swain, UCLA
Climate change has arrived in California, and scientific evidence linking the increasing severity of the region's recent droughts and wildfire seasons grows stronger with each passing year. But our warmer future may yet hold some surprises—and that includes the prospect of increasing "precipitation whiplash" that will increase the risk of both severe drought and extreme flood events.
UC Climate Stewards: Fostering resilience in California communities and ecosystems,
Sara-Mae Nelson, UC Climate Stewards Academic Coordinator
Climate Change Trends and Impacts on Agriculture in California and Ventura,
Dr. Tapan Pathak, UC Merced
Current and future trends in climate including temperature, precipitation, snowpack, extreme heat, frost risks etc. and how these trends could potentially impact agriculture in California and regionally in and around Ventura.
Heat, Wind, Freeze, Wind, Repeat, Dr. Ben Faber, UCCE-Ventura County
What is going on with the weather and what is the impact on farming? Coastal farming has enjoyed a fairly constant environment over the years, disrupted by the occasional freeze and the regular occurrence of devastating Santa Ana winds. Now, thrown into this pattern, are devastating heat waves which affect cropping patterns and cause significant crop damage and loss. What are these changes and consequences?
Overview of the Healthy Soils Program, Nicki Anderson, UCCE—Ventura County
What is the Healthy Soils Program and what has it accomplished so far? A look on how this program plans to continue working for California farms and farmers.
How can we address the growing wildland-urban interface problem in California?
Dr. Max Moritz, UCSB
With increasing area burned and homes lost in California, we must somehow adapt to, and coexist with, wildfire in the coming decades. A review of what we've learned about incorporating human development into future projections of wildfire and mitigation of losses, particularly as they relate to stronger land use and urban planning.
Fire and rangelands: impacts to Ventura County livestock agriculture,
Matthew Shapero—UCCE Ventura County
While the hills that surround our urban centers in Ventura County might appear from a distance as wild and uncultivated, many of them are in fact working cattle ranches. These are the lands that are most directly impacted by Ventura County's frequent wildfires. What is the history of wildfire in the county, what are the impacts to livestock agriculture, and how we plan to mitigate impacts in the future?
SAFER, Sustainable And FIRE Resistant Homes and Landscapes, Dr. Sabrina Drill—UCCE Ventura County
Creating safer landscapes in fire-prone areas starts at the home. How do you increase the likelihood of homes surviving fire at the structure and near-home landscaping scale.
- Guest Blogger: Joseph Nosrat-CSUCI Student
A warm HAREC welcome to Dr. Tracylee Clarke and her Leadership Studies class from CSU Channel Islands. Dr. Clarke brought 22 students to see how leadership skills learned in class might be applied on a Research and Education Center. Throughout the visit, Dr. Clarke, referred students to curriculum learned in class and how it is reflected at the Center. Some students are environmental communication majors who might come to volunteer at UC HAREC in the future for their capstone project.
Dr. Annemiek Schilder, Center Director, provided insight into Ventura County agriculture and research projects in progress at UC HAREC. Dr. Schilder also provided insight from her personal history with agriculture and explained how she sharpened her expertise over time. One student asked Dr. Schilder whether UC HAREC is doing research on hemp. She emphasized that industrial hemp is different from cannabis even though they are the same plant species. Industrial hemp is grown for its high-quality fiber and CBD oil and does not have the chemicals (especially THC) that make people high. At this time, help in California can only be grown under a research agreement and registration with the county agricultural commissioner. At harvest, the THC level must be under 0.3%; if it is above that, the crop will be destroyed.
Susana Bruzzone-Miller, Youth, Family & Community Education Program Manager, discussed youth education program opportunities at the Center. She also reviewed potential career paths and internships opportunities for communication majors at the Center. After the presentation, she led students on a tour of the grounds stopping at each research project to briefly describe. The class concluded their field trip with an opportunity to harvest kale, beets, carrots and sugar snap peas.
Oscar Vasquez commented, “I have been to the farm before and I always find it fascinating when I get to walk around the research projects that are in progress. The students were very perceptive and showed genuine interest in the discussion about research at UC HAREC as well as within the industry. A great opportunity to get real-world exposure while still in college.
Joseph obtained an Associate Degree at Mt. San Antonio College. He was on course to become a civil engineer when he found his true calling for communications in a public speaking course. A transfer student to CSUCI, Joseph chose a Bachelor of Science Communication major with emphasis on the Environment Studies. Living in Ventura County Joseph began to connect the importance of agriculture with the environment “and the copious opinions associated with agriculture”. In his final semester, Joseph is honing his communication skills in advanced course work—environmental conflict and resolution course encourages students to mirror both sides of environmental conflicts without bias. And a collaboration innovation and teamwork course places groups of students to work in local non-profits.
Upon graduation in May 2019, Joseph is interested in pursuing a job with the National Parks Service or The Nature Conservancy. Long-term plans include furthering his education in graduate school. Joseph believes “there is a future in the environment and that future begins with communication along with resolving contrasting opinions”.
His spring internship at HAREC will put Joseph's public speaking and communications skills to good use. Joseph will be working along-side staff and volunteers in the 4-H Farm Field Trip and Student Farm programs to deliver agricultural literacy, nutrition, and sustainability concepts to youth ages Kindergarten to 8th grade. Joseph will also be a guest blogger for Hansen News.
Imagine turning kitchen leftovers into an indoor garden and at the same time reinforcing concepts of recycling and reusing. Kitchen Scrap Gardening does just that!
HAREC is preparing for 2019 education season. This spring a new second grade classroom outreach lesson will roll out. The Kitchen Scrap Gardening lesson shows youth that some vegetable scraps that might otherwise end up in a compost pile can actually grow into new plants. Education Specialist II, Gwyn Vanoni, organized this new literature based lesson and received rave reviews from teachers and over 100 students Los Primeros School in Camarillo, grades K-2nd.
The lesson does not require much in the way of supplies. Scraps of scallions, lettuce, bok choy can be grown and harvested with just a pair of scissors in the kitchen. Carrot tops will regrow an edible, delicate garnish and celery can be harvested and replanted several times. Add paper pots, a bag of soil and some spray bottles and you have the makings for a classroom or after school garden lesson.
As a wrap-up, students will review that some plants can be re-grown without a seed and ponder the benefits or recycling some kitchen scraps rather than throwing them in the trash.
4-H Classroom Outreach--Farm to School lessons delivered at the school site is available county-wide. Visit HAREC for more information on lessons offered. Over 2600 K-5th grade youth are reached each year; lessons are delivered by trained volunteers and staff.