- Author: Judy Ludovise
Central Coast Section representative Mary Engebreth and I recently attended the 4-H Western Regional Leaders Forum in Fairbanks, Alaska. The annual conference rotates between 13 western states. Over 300 leaders attended from as far away as American Samoa. Fairbanks was sunny and cold (-2) although the locals were walking around town in shorts and flip flops. Apparently it was unseasonably warm, with the average February temperature hovering around -43.
Excellent workshops were given over the 4 days with a wide range of topics. A few of the workshops I attended were Creating Resilient Youth, Teaching to Engage Participants and Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn. This information will be shared with Sonoma County 4-H leaders at the summer annual training.
Along with a full day of workshops, the evenings were set aside for local tours. Mary and I were fortunate enough to embark on a midnight dog-sled ride under the dancing lights of the winter skies. The Aurora Borealis was out in full force. As you can see from the photos, the Northern Lights should be on everyone's bucket list. They were breathtaking, amazing, magical and awe inspiring! So beautiful that it makes you forget the cold. I could have stayed out all night watching those lights. Everyone should be so lucky.
Photos of Northern Lights were taken by a professional photographer who was with the sled ride; remaining were taken by Judy or Mary.
- Author: Diego Mariscal
Our success is also attributed to the partnership between 4-H and the Social Advocates for Youth who placed teens as mentors for the summer programs. Through partnerships and community involvement the 4-H program will be opening three more new 4-H Afterschool Clubs in August catering to the needs of youth in Sonoma County.
The unprecedented growth of the 4-H Outreach programs has already been noted by the National 4-H Council who will come to visit Sonoma County's Afterschool 4-H programs on September 29th.
If you are interested to learn more about the 4-H Afterschool programs and/or would like to become a mentor, contact Diego Mariscal, the program coordinator.
Pictured: Members of the local elementary school 4-H Summer Program enjoy an end of the summer potluck.
- Author: Karen Giovannini
Check the Livestock schedule and stop by to see the kids show while you are at the fair (look for Junior, Jr or
The Junior Livestock Auction Schedule:
- Lambs – 7/25, 9am
- Goats – 7/25, 1pm
- Rabbits – 7/25, 1:30pm
- Hogs – 7/31, 9am
- Poultry – 7/31, 1pm
- Beef – 8/1, 6pm
- Author: Karen Giovannini
2014 Annual Report letter from Stephanie Larson, County Director and Livestock & Range Management Advisor:
As we move into the next 100 years of Cooperative Extension, we continue to value the public/ private partnerships that have been the foundation of our organization, raising the bar by supporting the County of Sonoma Initiatives on local agriculture and healthy communities. UCCE advisors are critical partners with local farmers and ranchers, providing scientific-based information on techniques that can be used to increase production and thus increase economic stability, while addressing environmental concerns.
This past year, UCCE conducted research and provided educational programs to help commercial row crop farmers and livestock producers in Sonoma County deal with drought and climate change. Our frost tower research in vineyards evaluated methods for making the most of local water resources through increased irrigation efficiency. Water conservation programs are also focused on the urban gardener, partnering with the Sonoma County Water Agency to educate the public on how to use less water; and with the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to develop an evaluation tool for documenting ecosystem services that have been maintained or increased through implementing conservation easements and proper rangeland management.
We partnered with other county departments to increase access to healthy, local, sustainable food. One outcome was the County Land for Food Production (CLFP) project; which allowed UCCE to work on creating an incubator farm on county land. These efforts are aimed at increasing access to land for food production, and the number of farmers and ranchers growing local food, respectively. The goals align with the Sonoma County Healthy and Sustainable Food Action Plan. Our Agricultural Ombudsman played a critical role in assisting individuals who want to create or expand their farming and ranching enterprises, and is currently working with PRMD to address local poultry processing.
Learn about these programs and more in our 2014 Annual Report.
- Author: Judy Ludovise
Judy Ludovise, 4-H Program Representative, led them through a comparative tasting opportunity that included goat, cow and sheep cheese. Thank you to Sonoma County Fairgrounds who lent us “Clarabelle” a model Holstein that could actually be milked!
Dairy Day included an engaging virtual farm tour, from a teacher in Hanford, who led us through the process of how milk gets from the dairy to our door. The youth were amazing the teacher could see them, through videoconference technology and could answer their questions.
The day ended with what was voted the best activity of all…eating Goat Ice Cream! This was a great introduction to the dairy cow and has undoubtedly sown the seeds of interest in these kids. Once they turn 9 years old, they will be able to enroll in a 4-H Dairy project and be on their way to becoming our future Sonoma County Dairy Farmers!