- Editor: Jennifer Hopkins
Invasive Spotlight: Goldspotted Oak Borer (GSOB)
Adult goldspotted oak borer, Agrilus auroguttatus, on an oak leaf. Photo by Mike Lewis, Center for Invasive Species Research, Bugwood.org
There are several flatheaded boring beetles in California, however only a few are of particular concern. The goldspotted oak borer (GSOB), Agrilus auroguttatus, is a metallic wood-boring beetle that threatens our native trees. Since it was introduced to Southern California on contaminated firewood in the early 2000s, this pest has caused extensive damage to woodlands and native oaks.
What does the goldspotted oak borer look like?
Adult GSOB are 0.4 inch long and 0.08 inch wide with bullet-shaped bodies. They are black with an iridescent green sheen and six distinct gold spots on their back.
What damage does the goldspotted oak borer cause?
Goldspotted oak borers only attack oaks (Quercus spp.). They are particularly damaging to coast live oak and California black oak. Adult beetles lay eggs on host trees and the larvae bore into the wood, feeding on the tree's vascular tissue. The larvae feed on the tree until they pupate into adults and exit the tree, leaving D-shaped exit holes in the bark. Extensive GSOB feeding can girdle trees, disrupting water and nutrient uptake and eventually causing the tree to die.
What can you do about the goldspotted oak borer?
Don't move firewood! The most important way to prevent the spread of invasive wood borers like GSOB, is to buy firewood where you're going to burn it. If you live in an area of Southern California where GSOB is present, avoid planting susceptible trees. If you need to remove an infested tree, keep the cut wood away from healthy oaks and tarp or grind the wood to kill any larvae present. To report possible sightings, fill out the Goldspotted Oak Borer Symptoms Reporting Form at https://ucanr.edu/sites/gsobinfo/What_You_Can_Do/Report_GSOB_Symptoms/
After attending a Teens Love Cooking summer series focused on nutrition and culinary skills, 83% of youth participants were more willing to try new foods and ask for them at home. The class helped reinforce their healthy eating habits and support their long-term health.
Collectively, Santa Maria-Bonita and Santa Maria Joint Union High school districts serve over 25,600 students, with more than half of the students qualifying for free or reduced-price school meals. While schools provide nutritious meals for students, teens, in particular, purchase fast food during non-mealtimes such as after school. Fast food meals are heavily targeted towards youth living in low-income neighborhoods and are typically high calorie foods that contain added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Furthermore, 52.1% of youth in Santa Barbara County reported eating fast food two or more times a week. Studies have indicated that children and adolescents who learn how to cook at a young age are more likely to adopt healthier eating practices that follow into adulthood. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help reduce the risk of diseases related to poor nutrition and weight management such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
How UC Delivers
To address this need, CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California Cooperative Extension in Santa Barbara County (UCCE) partnered with Santa Maria Recreation and Parks (SM R&P) to promote a Teens Love Cooking series to middle school and high school-aged youth throughout the city of Santa Maria. Additionally, SM R&P provided access to a full commercial kitchen, kitchenware, and storage space for program materials. With the support of a SM R&P staff member, UCCE staff met with students for two hours, twice a week over three weeks to teach various nutrition and cooking topics, including knife safety, how to follow a recipe, and how to cook a healthy meal using MyPlate as a guide. Additionally, participants put into practice what they learned by preparing recipes from the Cooking for Health Academy curriculum. As needed, recipes were modified to meet COVID-19 safety protocols when cooking in groups using Eat Fresh and Food Hero. Although some recipes needed to be simplified for COVID-19 safety, each participant was provided ample opportunities to practice and grow their food safety and culinary skills. Lastly, every student took home lesson and recipe information to reinforce the learning and to share with their families.
At the end of each session, youth were asked to complete the Teacher Tasting Tool, which measures how willing participants are to consume a particular target food again. After tasting a pizza on a whole wheat tortilla, eight (80%) out of 10 respondents reported that they were willing to eat it again. Additionally, after a separate session where participants tasted a fruit salad made with jicama, 15 (83%) of the 18 respondents reported they were both willing to eat it again and ask for it at home.
At the end of the class series, youth completed the “What Did You Learn” open-ended qualitative survey, which asks about changes in knowledge and behaviors. Ten youth responded to the survey, and for the question related to learning, the theme of improved knife skills and safety was reported most frequently, followed by reports related to increased nutrition knowledge, and increased knowledge of healthy food preparation. When asked about one thing that they do differently because of these classes, students responded with the theme of comfortability using a knife and preparing nutritious foods. When teens are confident in their culinary and nutrition skills, they are more likely to make healthier food choices. Overall, participants gained valuable life skills in culinary, food safety, and nutrition to support healthy choices to reduce the risk of diet related diseases which supports ANR's efforts to promote healthy people and communities.
“I really liked the Oatmeal Bites, so I made them at home for my family to taste”. - high school student
- Author: Kelly Hong
- Author: Emily Dimond
- Author: Melissa LaFreniere
- Author: Rosa Vargas
UCCE Santa Barbara County educators partnered with P.E. teachers to boost enrolled classes by 53% during COVID-19 distance learning. About half of the students surveyed indicated intentions to drink more water and increase activity, contributing to improved youth health.
The CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) program serving Santa Barbara County has partnered with elementary schools in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District (SMBSD) for several years to provide evidence-based curriculum and trainings in nutrition and physical activity. SMBSD serves over 16,900 students with 87.2% of the students qualifying for free or reduced-price school meals. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, many families, especially those with young children, experienced an increase in food insecurity, making them more vulnerable to negative health outcomes. Unfortunately, during the same time UCCE educators in Santa Barbara County experienced a decrease in K-6th grade classroom teachers being able to partner to provide nutrition and physical activity support, limiting access to important resources and information on diet and exercise habits that promote healthy living.[3-4]
How UC Delivers
Working closely with school partners, UCCE educators pivoted programming to meet the needs of school communities to promote health and increased the total number of enrolled classes by 53% compared to the start of the 2020-21 school year.
All three P.E Specialists expressed interest in continuing the partnership as extenders and felt the lessons were beneficial to their students. Two of the extenders reported the virtual UCCE lessons were easy to integrate into their class schedule and observed that students were actively engaged in the material and activities. Several additionalSMBSD P.E. Specialists expressed further interest in professional development around teaching nutrition curricula and have been provided access to a library of online resources and support from UCCE Educators.
Overall, this partnership resulted in reaching more than 1,000 students across two school sites with quality nutrition education using the Serving UpMyPlate and Up4It! curricula tailored to their grade level. As a result, 59% of 4th-6th grade youth surveyed (n=73) reported that when given a choice they will drink water and 45% reported that when given a choice they will try to engage in more physical activity.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2018), regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces the risk of many chronic diseases among children and adults. These outcomes support UCANR's public value of promoting healthy people and communities.
“I have learned that in sports drinks, sodas, teas, and coffee that there is a lot of sugar and added sugar into the drinks. I have also learned that it is good to have some type of protein or dairy or anything that is on my plate when you eat.” – Rice Elementary Student (SMBSD)
1. Ed-Data: Education Data Partnership, Santa Maria-Bonita School District; Accessed on 15 June 2021, http://www.ed-data.org/district/Santa-Barbara/Santa-Maria--Bonita
2. Wolfson JA, Leung CW. Food Insecurity and COVID-19: Disparities in Early Effects for US Adults. Nutrients. 2020; 12(6):1648. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061648
3. Pérez-Rodrigo, C., & Aranceta, J. (2001). School-based nutrition education: Lessons learned and new perspectives. Public Health Nutrition, 4(1a), 131-139. doi:10.1079/PHN2000108
4. Rivera, R. L., Maulding, M. K., & Eicher-Miller, H. A. Effect of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education (SNAP-Ed) on food security and dietary outcomes, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 77, Issue 12, December 2019, Pages 903–921, https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuz013/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
After participating in UCCE's virtual Family Cook Night series, 60% of parents reported intention to not offer a treat as a reward for eating other foods and 80% would try new strategies for picky eaters, promoting healthy people and communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life, including family, work, and education. The pandemic has exacerbated social inequalities, affected access to education for adults and youth and magnified food insecurity for children and families. Two US COVID-19 Impact Surveys indicated that 34.5% of households with a child ≤ 18 years old and 34.4% of households with children ≤ 12 years old were food insecure by end of April 2020. 
How UC Delivers
As schools remained in distance learning, CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE in Santa Barbara County worked closely with principals and partners at two elementary schools to find innovative ways to support the health of youth and families during these unprecedented times. Meeting virtually with partners and youth, UCCE educators realized a need for programming that involved the whole family.
UCCE educators hosted two 4-class series of evening classes via Zoom with school leadership to meet this need. Families signed up through their respective schools and got access to the virtual classrooms through school computers and district Zoom rooms. Using the Healthy, Happy Families curriculum, the families learned about topics that promote healthful behaviors. These included how to involve youth in cooking and meal preparation and using words instead of food to praise positive behavior. Families also learned basic nutrition, food safety, and the current USDA dietary guidelines. Throughout each lesson, UCCE educators encouraged families to include their children in the cooking process by demonstrating tasks appropriate for varying levels of child development.
UCCE educators continued to strengthen partnerships with Santa Barbara Food Bank (SBFB), extenders, youth, and families in Santa Barbara County. Families utilized resources available in their homes and supplemental materials provided by the SBFB and UCCE staff. Educators created dynamic lessons that provided families with the opportunity to openly share their experiences, thoughts, and welcomed participation from all family members, including fathers and male guardians. Participation from men in these classes promoted gender equality, an essential step towards addressing the double burden of unpaid caretaking work that disproportionately impacts the health and well-being of women. 
After attending the classes, adult participants shared that they changed their approach to feeding their children to promote healthful behaviors. Pre- and post-course survey (n=64) results indicated that the proportion of parents or guardians who would not offer a treat as a reward for eating other foods increased from 36% to 60%. Additionally, the proportion of parents or guardians who indicated that they would offer food to their child rejected more than once increased from 36% to 80%. Overall, the Family Cook Nights Series was impactful, educators and families practiced cooking healthy recipes, promoted gender equality, and changed feeding habits to encourage healthful behaviors.
According to Jensen (2020), “besides a direct relation with higher intake of unhealthy foods, frequent use of food as a reward may also increase the risk of being overweight through long-term effects on eating behavior”.  This intervention fostered healthy behaviors as part of the UC ANR's commitment to promoting healthy people and communities.
When asked about the class series, one school principal remarked: "Our families enjoyed it and had fun. Cooking is community building. We appreciate the thoughtfulness of the food bank and CalFresh." -Liberty Elementary School Principal
1. Nalita James, Virginie Thériault. (2021) Reimagining community and belonging amid COVID-19. Studies in the Education of Adults 53:1, pages 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1080/02660830.2020.1811474
2. Bauer L. The COVID-19 crisis has already left too many children hungry in America. 2020. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/05/06/the-covid-19-crisis-has-already-left-too-many-children-hungry-in-america/. Accessed June 18, 2021
3. Jansen PW, Derks IPM, Mou Y, et al.Associations of parents' use of food as reward with children's eating behaviour and BMI in a population-based cohort. Pediatric Obesity. 2020;15:e12662.https://doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.1266210 of 10 JANSEN ET AL.
4. Kate Power (2020) The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the care burden of women and families, Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 16:1, 67-73, https://doi.org/10.1080/15487733.2020.1776561
- Author: Penny A. Leff
Are you considering agritourism or nature tourism on your farm or ranch?
Would you like to expand your current agritourism or nature tourism business?
Agritourism Intensive 2021 classes are now open for registration by farmers, ranchers, agritourism operators and others involved in agritourism in the Central Coast (SLO) and North Coast (Mendocino) regions.
Learn more & Sign up today to save your space!
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year's classes will be mostly virtual, conducted via Zoom, with one in-person field day in each class series if allowed by health authorities. However, each class will be regionally-focused, participatory, and limited to participants from within the region.
- Local agritourism operators will share their own experiences and will be part of a supportive network of advisors as class participants plan and start new enterprises.
- Participants will learn from experts in business planning, regulatory compliance, risk management, hospitality and cost-effective marketing, including social media.
- The hands-on, interactive activities will guide participants as they assess their own farms or ranches for agritourism potential and start their own business, risk management and marketing plans.
- Each participant will receive by US mail a free copy of the extensive handbook, “Agritourism and Nature Tourism in California,” used as a text for the class.
Important: The SLO region Agritourism Intensive classes is open only to farmers, ranchers and others involved in agritourism in San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties.
SLO Class Format: 6 participatory 2-hour Zoom meetings, every Tuesday from January 12, 2021 to February 16, 2021, 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (a possible in-person field day Jan. 26). Shared zoom participation will be available at the SLO Farm Bureau office for those with poor internet access.
SLO Registration: http://ucanr.edu/agtourslo
Important: The Mendocino region Agritourism Intensive class is open only to farmers, ranchers and others involved in or planning agritourism in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma Counties.
Mendocino Class Format: 4 participatory 2-hour Zoom meetings, every Wednesday morning from March 3, 2021 through March 24, 2021, and one in-person field day on the site of a Mendocino County agritourism operation (location TBD) on March 31.
Mendocino Registration: http://ucanr.edu/agtourmendo
Workshop fee: $40 (for all class sessions, including class text mailed to you and lunch at on-farm field day session)
Information & scholarship options: Penny Leff, email@example.com, 530-902-9763 (cell)