- Author: Rhonda Smith
- Editor: J. M.
Planting a vineyard with vines that are not infected with common grapevine viruses is essential to the bottom line. It can be challenging enough to keep over 1000 vines per acre relatively free from the normal canopy and trunk diseases such as grapevine powdery mildew and Eutypa dieback. Those diseases are caused by infections that occur naturally after vines are planted and can be controlled with proper farming practices.
Grapevine leafroll virus is an example of a common virus that can be avoided – at least initially – by planting certified vines. It is one of the viruses that cause the leaves of red-berried varieties to turn red in the fall. (The red “fall color” seen in photos of grapevines is not a good sign.) In white-berried varieties visual symptoms are more difficult to identify because the leaves do not turn red. Leafroll disease is widespread throughout the world and prevents the normal ripening process from occurring.
Unknowingly planting vines infected with leafroll virus is possible and very damaging because the virus is spread by mealybugs and scale insects. Starting with infected vines makes a bad situation worse because the incidence of diseased vines in a block quickly increases. Growers invest significant resources to control the insect vectors of leafroll, remove diseased vines and replant with clean stock.
UC Davis Foundation Plant Services
Starting out with “clean” vines is critical. And clean in this context means not infected with grapevine viruses that are known to reduce grape yield or quality. So it is important to plant a vineyard with vines that are far less likely to be infected on the day they are planted. In reality virus-free cannot be guaranteed.
To obtain the cleanest plants possible using normal nursery production practices, most growers purchase certified vines from grapevine nurseries and the source of those vines can be traced back to Foundation Plant Services (FPS) at UC Davis.
Vines are planted into Foundation Blocks at FPS only after undergoing a battery of virus tests – some of which can take two or more years - as prescribed by the CDFA regulations as well as pass other evaluations. The FPS lab continually tests for viruses in the Foundation Blocks; each vine is tested every three years. For nematode transmitted viruses, each Foundation vine is tested every two years.
Nearly 10 years ago, FPS began to develop a new Foundation Block that met newly established national standards for grapevine foundation plants in the US. The Russell Ranch Vineyard (RRV) at UC Davis contains Foundation vines which have all been propagated using a technique called microshoot tip culture – in which a 0.19 inch (0.5 mm) or smaller slice of the growing tip of a shoot is used as the starting material for a grapevine. These vines start out in small boxes on growth media. After a vine has grown large enough for tissue to be collected and tested for viruses, it must test negative for over 30 grapevine viruses.
Why so many? Because other countries have grapevine viruses that we don't have in the US, thus creating a testing protocol that includes those viruses helps to insure they are not in US Foundation Blocks. The testing protocol used to establish the RRV is known as “Protocol 2010” and it was made possible by funding in the 2008 Farm Bill that established the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN).
National Clean Plant Network
The purpose of the NCPN is to protect plants of economic value by diagnosing for plant pathogens, curing those plants, and to protect starter plants and make them available to industry. The goal of the NCPN is to sustain national funding for clean planting stock programs of key horticultural crops. There are five Grape Clean Plant Centers and they are located at UC Davis, Florida A&M University, Missouri State University, Cornell University and Washington State University. Clean Plant Centers also exist throughout the US for fruit trees, berries, citrus, hops, sweetpotatoes and roses. UC Davis FPS is also a Clean Plant Center for fruit trees, sweetpotatoes and roses.
“The National Clean Plant Network is an association of clean plant centers, scientists, educators, state and federal regulators, large and small nurseries and growers of specialty crops that work together to ensure that plant propagation material is clean and available.”
For more information on the National Clean Plant Network, visit nationalcleanplantnetwork.org
To learn more about Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis, visit fps.ucdavis.edu
Steven Worker is the 4-H Youth Development Advisor for Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties.
4-H uses a variety of volunteers for it's programs. Steven conducted a study of volunteer educators, with a "diverse experiences, abilities and values" to teach STEM projects to students using 4-H curriculum at three sites using three different methods.
To describe volunteers' pedagogical practices, I conducted a qualitative case study at three sites where volunteer educators were implementing a design-based 4-H curriculum. The curriculum advanced youth scientific literacy by supporting scientific inquiry in conjunction with planning, designing and making shareable artifacts. Through detailed observations, videos and focus groups, I identified six common pedagogical practices, though educators differed widely in which ones they used. Pragmatic and structural constraints shaped their choices, as did their professional identification as engineers, or not, and their relative comfort with engineering.
To support volunteer educators in implementing a learner-centered educational program, curricula designers might be more specific in recommending and explaining pedagogical practices, and program managers might better train volunteer educators in those preferred practices.
Read this research article is in California Agriculture, volume 71, number 4.
Citation: Worker S. 2017. Volunteer educators bring their own ideas about effective teaching to a 4-H curriculum. Calif Agr 71(4):208-213. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2017a0021.
- Author: Diego Mariscal
- Editor: J. M.
4-H Outreach Summer Program
Summer of 2018
More than 100 youth, ages 5-12, participated in four weeks of summer camps in Santa Rosa and Windsor. The camps focused on team building, leadership, and civic services while also keeping youth active with sports clinics and non-competitive scrimmages to promote skill building.
Additionally, 4-H continued to grow its college preparation program – called JUNTOS - for Latino high school students. Four teens from Sonoma County were selected to attend the Juntos Summer Academy at UC Merced. The academy lasted 3 days and offered teens a weekend of college life along with college preparation workshops and mentoring.
As the new year begins, 4-H will continue to work with families, school districts and community partners to present more opportunities to engage in positive youth development programs.
- Editor: Jesenia Mendoza
Diego Mariscal, 4-H Community Education Specialist (position funded by Initiative)
Steven M. Worker, 4-H Youth Development Advisor
Stephanie Larson, County Director
County Portrait: There are over 92,000 youth in Sonoma County, with 37% identifying as Latino, 44% eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and 22% classified as English learners.
A particular strength were eight 4-H afterschool clubs, offering up to 75-hours of educational and athletic programs to youth at local elementary schools. Clubs focused on hands-on science, nutrition, leadership, and civics activities in addition to physical activity to promote healthy living. Programs included a strong teenagers-as-teachers component where teenagers were recruited and trained to facilitate activities. These long-term programs, particularly in comparison to short-term programs (e.g., less than 3 hours), supported tremendous outcomes and impacts. Youth increased their public speaking ability, science literacy, and reported healthier habits than before. Additionally, parents became much more invested in the 4-H program and began to lead expansion efforts. This will support long-term 4-H program sustainability.
Through our efforts, Sonoma 4-H increased the number of youth engaging in 4-H and developed new ways for youth to engage in 4-H programs. We strengthened our partnerships with local high schools and elementary schools, the Sonoma County Library, community centers, and the Boys and Girls Club.
The Sonoma County 4-H outreach approach focused more on long-term development of life skills for youth and volunteers, but while continuing short term experiences to improve brand awareness. We continued balancing this approach to recruit and cultivate more youth and adult volunteers to become invested in the 4-H program.
- Author: Lenya Quinn-Davidson
- Editor: J. M.
We all know that fire is one of the oldest and most powerful tools that humans have. For millennia, we have used fire to improve our home lives—food, winter warmth, etc.—but what we often forget is that most of the landscapes we know and love have also been shaped by fire, and in many cases, by fires that humans have started.
We both grew up in rural northern California, and if you talk to old timers in our communities, you'll hear stories of the deep connections between people and fire: of Native Americans lighting off of trails as they hiked out of their hunting grounds in the fall, and ranchers burning their fields to improve range and keep things open. Unfortunately, across much of California, these types of stories have become mere folklore—wistful anecdotes from a time with less regulation and more personal and cultural autonomy. In most parts of the state, landowners aren't using fire anymore; the fear of liability, the perceived complexity of permits and regulations, and the generational and cultural gaps in fire experience have virtually eliminated fire from the toolbox for most landowners. But that's about to change.
In recent history, CAL FIRE has been the leader in private lands burning. In the 1980s, their Vegetation Management Program (VMP) was responsible for 30,000-65,000 acres of prescribed burning every year, but in recent decades, those numbers have consistently fallen short of 10,000 acres a year—a drop in the bucket given the habitat and fuels issues that we face in California. CAL FIRE is currently revamping and reinvesting in the VMP, which is great news, but it's become clear that other pathways are needed for landowners to reclaim fire as the important tool that it is.
Last year, we started looking into prescribed fire models from other parts of the country. We know that other regions have impressive burn programs that blow California out of the water, and in most of those places, they've been successful because landowners are doing the burning themselves—something that's almost unheard of in California. We were curious how those efforts are structured, and what it would take to do something similar here.
One of the most promising models of landowner-led burning is the prescribed burn association (PBA) model, through which landowners and other interested partners can work together to burn each other's properties. In many regions, these PBAs are spearheaded by the ranching community, in collaboration with conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, and others that see direct benefits for wildlife. In 2015, there were 62 PBAs in the United States, almost all of which were in the Great Plains and Texas. The PBA model has spread into parts of the Southeast, too, but these types of efforts have been noticeably absent in the West.
In March of 2017, we traveled to Nebraska to burn with and learn from two well-established PBAs. Our Californian convoy included the two of us from UCCE, a colleague from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Dean Hunt, one of our key ranching partners here in Humboldt County. During our five-day visit, we spent two days burning with the PBAs and learning about their organizational structure. In both cases, the PBAs have local leaders who are not traditional fire practitioners; rather, they are local landowners—one a corn farmer and the other a cattle rancher—who have a vested interest in healthy rangelands and habitats. Throughout the year, these PBA leaders work with other local landowners to develop burn plans and prep units, and when optimal weather windows present themselves, the group gets together and conducts the burns. The PBA is mostly volunteer, and members contribute tools and equipment to help make the burns happen. On the two days that we burned with them, an email was sent out to the PBA mailing list, and within hours, more than forty people arrived on site with trucks, UTVs equipped with small water tanks, and hand tools. The PBA leaders also have burn trailers, which were funded by various conservation groups and are fully equipped with hand tools, radios, drip torches, and other key items.
PBA members typically volunteer on two or more burns before their projects make it onto the group's priority list. In this way, there is clear incentive to help each other out, and everyone benefits in the long term. Because of PBAs, burning has become a viable and effective treatment—one that provides unprecedented training opportunities to landowners, encourages community-wide collaboration, and is reversing trends of habitat and rangeland losses throughout the middle of the country. So why aren't we doing this in California?
When we got back from Nebraska, we hit the ground running. We organized a training burn on Dean Hunt's ranch that June, and we've completed another eight burns since then. Burns have targeted a wide range of objectives, including invasive species control, oak woodland restoration, coyote brush management, and fuels reduction.
In March of this year, we held a meeting and officially formed the Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association—the first of its kind in the West. At that meeting, we easily brainstormed 17 different projects that we'd like to complete in the coming year or two, and we formed an 11-person Board of Directors that includes a wide array of ranchers and other community members. Since then, we've applied for two grants and continued to build out our burn trailer, which was funded by the California Deer Association last year and is full of drip torches, hand tools, and other equipment for burning.
On August 1, we hosted a workshop with Stephanie Larson and other partners. The workshop covered some of the nuts and bolts of prescribed fire on private lands in California, and it gave us a chance to share more information about prescribed burn associations. For more information on prescribed burning, please send us an email: Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Area Fire Advisor, UCCE, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Jeffery Stackhouse, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, UCCE, email@example.com.