The day begins with journaling and a farm nature walk. Along the way, campers encounter evidence or indicators that animals use and call the farm home. Today is about understanding the importance of open space, natural resources and waste management.
Americans throw away approximately 250 million tons of trash/year. That is 500,000,000,000 pounds of garbage! Yikes! How we dispose of our waste or garbage has an impact on our land. Campers learn to differentiate between trash, recycling and compost and continue weighing and charting their own camp waste. Worm composting or vermicomposting is an easy way to reduce some of our waste bound for a landfill and everyone is excited to build their personal worm bin to take home.
UC HAREC began hosting 4-H Sustainable You! Summer Camp in 2014. Since then, the education staff has trained other UC Research and Extension Center (RECS) staff to deliver this curriculum created by Dr. Roslyn Brain of Utah State University. Similar Sustainable You! Summer camps are in progress at Desert REC in Imperial County and Hopeland REC in Mendocino County.
Sustainable You! interactive activities are based around the five major areas of sustainability: land, air, water, food, energy and aim to develop an appreciation and respect for our natural environment. Each day, campers learn simple actions they can implement to lessen their impact on the environment. And while these are serious topics, it's summer….so it's all about having fun while learning.
2019 Sustainable You! Summer Camp Staff:
Kelsey Hammond, Environmental Specialist, City of Ventura
Alli Rowe, Education Specialist, UC Cooperative Extension-Ventura County
Ben Zeko, Jr. leader, Student-Foothill Technology High School
Gwyn Vanoni, Education Specialist, UC HAREC
Annabel Faris, Program Coordinator, UC HAREC
Susana Bruzzone-Miller, YFC Program Manager, UC HAREC
We are excited to welcome our 31 campers that include, for the first time, youth from Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Paula, Piru and Fillmore.
Day 1: Air
Why is clean air important?
What pollutes our air?
How can you improve the air you breathe?.....all good questions our campers pondered today. But first day camp tradition calls for getting acquainted with each other while tie dying camp shirts.
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:
- 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!
- Author: Susana C. Bruzzone-Miller, RDN
We are happy to introduce two new staff members. Sergio Santiago, Agricultural Superintendent joined HAREC in July and Katelyn Beckmann, 4-H Community Education Specialist II came on board in September.
Sergio grew up in Puerto Rico. He earned degrees—BS in Horticulture and MS in Horticulture-urban forestry and environmental management from the University of Puerto Rico—Mayaguez. Professional work in his native Puerto Rico includes tropical crop culture, germplasm management, and urban forest. He also worked the field of tropical ethnobotany, medicinal plants and biofuels. He furthered his education earning a doctorate in Natural Resources and Environmental Management—water management and plant uptake physiology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has spent the last five years working with irrigation, plant physiology and propagation, integrated pest management (IPM), ecosystem restoration and endangered species management with the University of Hawaii and the U.S. Army. Sergio says he is “excited to be a part of UCANR and HAREC team and be able to learn and contribute with Ventura County's amazing agricultural industry. Let's make it happen!”