Here is a summary of some of the work our office is doing during shelter in place.
Fire & Resiliency
UCCE Sonoma is building on the foundational work of other county departments such as Sonoma Water and Permit Sonoma, by providing outreach to private landowners to address forest health, vegetation management and fire fuel reduction.
Lake Sonoma Decision Support System: Development of an online geo spatial reporting tool to help landowners assess:
Match.Graze: development of an online database that connects land owners and grazers.
- Filmed educational videos
- Creating website
- Current status: roll out in early June.
Good Fire Alliance: partnership with Audubon Canyon Ranch to assist landowners in managing fire fuels through prescribed burning on private and publicly owned lands. The following prescribed fires are in the active planning stage:
- 100+ acre burn unit at Cooley Ranch near Lake Sonoma; late May.
- Sonoma Ecology Center is planning a burn at Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve; late May - early June.
- Bodega Pastures spanning several weekends in October/November.
Resilient Landscapes: Master Gardener collaborative project to:
- Host Firewise webinars
- Develop materials for Fire Safe Sonoma's Living with Fire brochure and webpage resource.
- Post Fire Survival/Mortality: research project to develop a quick and simple post-fire tree survival reference tool to aid with triage of burned landscapes.
- Working with local fire departments to homogenize fire-resilient landscape standards.
Oak Tree Health: organized, hosted and presented:
- California Oak Workshop with science based oak health information. Over 500 participants.
- Sudden Oak Death Blitz pivoted to online, educating and distributing 93 test kits to the public.
Food Systems & Security
- “Stay Home Grow Food” series has reached over 350 people with videos plus resources via an extensive social media campaign.
- Gardener Sense program delivered by video conference to help homeowners reduce water use.
- Master Gardener's are pivoting their classes to webinars.
The value of a strong, connected local food system to sustain the resiliency of our communities has never been more clear.
Coordinating with Sonoma County Food System Alliance and strategizing for a series of video conferences on longer term emergency food response planning & strengthening the local food supply chain looking to local production & distribution as part of meeting food need.
- Meeting on March 23 with over 50 emergency food responders to strategize on coronavirus response.
- Chairing the Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) Food group. Continue to collaborate with the group to meet the needs of emergency food organizations.
- Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition
UCCE used connections to secure donations of over 12,000 wine boxes to
Redwood Empire Food Bank for boxing and distributing food.
Local Meat Supplies: Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU)
UCCE is working with local livestock producers in Marin/Sonoma to create a business plan for an MSU which can assist local livestock producers with a local, safe option for processing livestock.
- Applying for USDA grant to assist these producers to determine the functionality of keeping it in production.
- Will develop educational and management strategies to ensure economic security for small-scale livestock producers.
Integrated Pest Management
- Collaborating with UC Davis researchers to continue projects that address soil and fungal pests that shorten the lifespan of vineyards.
Critical research on the newly detected invasive Mediterranean oak borer (pictured) found in valley oak in eastern Sonoma County. Collaborators include Cal Fire, US Forest Service, and CDFA.
4-H youth educational programs have continued to engage youth and adults with online technologies.
- Developed fact sheets to support volunteer educators in delivering online programs available at Youth Development Resources
- Short-term educational programs have been implemented reaching elementary-aged children with science and art content.
- Ongoing programming has been transitioning online focused for teens around college and career readiness (Juntos 4-H) and youth participatory action research.
Annual Sonoma 4-H Open House and ChickenQue transitioned from a full-day chicken BBQ lunch fundraiser to a radiothon.
- Partnered with local radio The Bull 93.7 to do a radiothon.
- The station promoted 4-H with interviews of staff, volunteers, and youth.
- The event also served as a public awareness campaign showcasing the program's legacy helping youth reach their full potential.
Working with local dairy and livestock producers to apply for grants from CDFA to reduce greenhouse gases:
- Alternative Manure Management Program
- Healthy Solis Program
If funded, these grants would bring over $5 million to reduce GHG by 4,154 MTeCO2
Support Local Producers
- Working with local creameries and FEED Sonoma, to develop a dairy CSA box option.
- Revisit the County Lands for Food Production program initiated by UCCE to increase the availability of county owned land to communities, farmers and ranchers.
- Find Local Food & Aid the Community
Providing information and updates.
Coronavirus Resources webpages provides information for agricultural enterprises focusing on financial resources, Ag worker safety and food safety and includes resources for where to find food from local farms and for opportunities to volunteer.
4-H families have been working hard sewing cotton masks for nurses, essential workers, and friends and family!
Now that home sewn fabric masks are required in Sonoma County, and N95 masks are reserved for first responders, we are busy sewing up a storm. It has been a challenge with fabric stores closed for regular shopping so it is a good thing that sewists (sewing artists) tend to have extra supplies on hand!
The count thus far is 277 masks sewn by 7 families and that is just the start! They were donated to hospitals, nurses, mental health workers, medical offices, Senior Center, to essential workers that must stay on the job and some to friends and other families in need.
Way to go 4-Hers, learning and helping is a beautiful thing!
A big thank you to Xobon Magazine for posting instructions:
Questions? Contact Diana Hampton at email@example.com.
Golden Hills 4-H club volunteer project leader, Jemetha Cosgrove, and her two children, aged 12 and 7, repurposed their 3D printing equipment – part of a 4-H AgTech project – to make face shields to help in the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 13, they've made around 120 and are donating them to medical and other essential workers in the North Bay.
They are using a Prusa MK3 printer. Prusa popularized the home face shield 3D printing movement from its headquarters in Europe and it has continued to spread around the world. Their shield design and others are being widely used by health care workers during the pandemic. The Cosgroves have been printing a design approved for use in hospitals by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
Each print takes about 2.5 hours and can take longer or shorter depending on the shield design. They are also printing bias tape makers, used to make mask ties, to support the cloth mask sewing efforts. They invite others who own 3D printers to join the effort.
Those interested in making masks can connect on the Facebook page:
Making a Difference Sonoma County.
- Author: Steven M. Worker
We are happy to announce a new UCCE 4-H Administrative Aide: Michelle Nozzari. Michelle has been with our office since October 2017 as a Senior Agricultureal Program Assistant.
Her responsibilities will include: 4-H enrollment (including tracking eXtension and Live Scan); storing cross-club forms; reviewing and forwarding bank statements; processing facility use agreements and parade float approvals; Reporter newsletter; social media; and website updates.
Michelle will be transitioning to this position as training allows with the coronavirus situation.
More about Michelle
As aSAPA, Michelle has worked on a variety of research and outreach projects. She provided primary support to the Viticulture, Livestock and Rangeland Management, and Dairy Science programs, assisting in field site work and data collection. Michelle has also provided administrative support by responding to public calls and question about program events. She has assisted in creating online resources related to contract grazing and dairy producer resources. . Michelle will continue to work on the website and outreach.
Prior to joining UCCE, she worked for Ag Commissioner as an Agricultural Program Assistant in the Pest Detection Program. She monitored the presence of pests including exotic fruit flies, Japanese beetle, and gypsy moth. During the 2017 fires, she escorted people into evacuation zones monitored by national guard/law enforcement so that they could perform essential agricultural operations.
- Michelle completed her senior thesis at SSU on the relationship between pacific newt species hybridization events and anthropogenic pollution.
- As part of her statistical consulting class, she performed statistical analysis and consultation work for Project Fit America, which donates physical fitness equipment and curriculum about the cardiovascular activities for youth in traditionally underserved areas.
- In high school, she interned at UCSF and worked in Cystic Fibrosis Clinic. Her project focused on studying adolescent cystic fibrosis patients transitioning to adult care.
- In middle school, she was an intern/junior reporter for local newspaper.
Over 350 people attended the Youth Agriculture and Animal Science Field Day held on February 8, 2020 at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. The purpose was to provide agricultural education to youth (and their adult leaders, teachers, and mentors) who raise, care, breed, show, and market animals; raise, grow, or farm plants or fibers; and/or care about agriculture.
The event was co-hosted by UC Cooperative Extension and the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds and Event Center. A keynote was provided by Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Workshops covered a variety of topics including science of wildland fire (Hannah Bird); building and enhancing the client-veterinarian relationship (Randi Black); communicating the value of agriculture and animal science at public exhibitions (Dayna Ghirardelli and Amy Houseman); embracing working landscapes: impacts of agriculture on climate change (Stephanie Larson); basic husbandry and disease prevention in backyard poultry (Maurice Pitesky); enhancing awareness of agricultural career opportunities (Sonoma-Marin Farm Bureau's young farmers and ranchers); There's a horse in the melon patch! The joys and pains of integrating livestock into vegetable cropping systems (Stuart Schroeder, Alda Pires, & Vince Trotter); and supporting positive animal welfare practices (Martin Smith).
Post-event evaluation results were positive!
- 96% agreed they would attend the field day again.
- 96% will recommend the field day to a friend or colleague.
- 97% agreed the field day was an effective learning experience.
- 98% agreed they improved their knowledge of an agricultural-related topic.
- 95% agreed that their educational workshop was valuable in helping them learn about agriculture.