- Author: Mariana Gonzalez Castro
On April 1st, I started my internship with the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center (UC DREC) and the Farm Smart program. When I began this internship, my only experience was working with high school and college students. I wanted to gain experience working with elementary students and creating lesson plans for K-12 schools. When I was notified that the 4-H program's annual Sustainable You summer camp wanted to collaborate with Farm Smart, I immediately offered to help and work with the 4-H program and its youth. I worked closely with faculty from the 4-H program, UC Cooperative Extension Office, and high school students in preparing for the camp's events. My role in this camp was to guide high school students in becoming camp counselors, preparing their lessons, and providing any supplies that they might need for the event.
The camp was divided into five topics, one topic per day. The topics were water, food, land, energy, and air. Each day highlighted the basic concept as well as major environmental issues, shown through group activities
- Author: Jairo Diaz
The University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources News and Outreach in Spanish developed videos in English and Spanish of our Farm-to-Preschool Festival.
Video in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtkyotwJ08U&t=7s
Video in Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzRlUeyKXdA
The Festival was held on Saturday January 26, 2019 at the Desert Research and Extension Center. The Festival was funded by First Five Imperial and hosted over 700 participants consisting of families with children 0-5 years of age. There were also over 100 Festival volunteers. The day consisted of hands-on activities related to food and nutrition for young children, physical activity, art and crafts related to food, literacy activities, food tasting, cooking demonstrations and an amazing u-pick produce garden. There were 15 community agencies that attended the Festival as resource tables.
Festival comments and evaluation showed that participants will definitely attend another Festival and consider the event a meaningful educational family event. Some of the participants comments included:
"Taught my child about things that interest her."
"Very interesting and kept his attention."
"Really engaged and held my children's attention."
"Hands on activities were fun for the kids."
"Hands on and tasting."
"Interactive and harvesting is fun for little ones and resources for family."
"Everyone was friendly and very informative."
"Never picked fresh vegetables before."
"Se divertieron mucho."
"All stations gave us knowledge and staff were awesome, helpful, and friendly."
"Interactive, can use at home."
"Baby loved puzzles from yoga, veggies are fun to pick."
"Mostraron como cultivar las verduras."
"Fun physical activities for the kids, quality time, reading, and loved the vegetables."
"Mi hijo se divertio y presto mucha atencion."
"Awesome event! Should do more often."
"Keep up the good work."
"Everything was awesome."
"We had so much fun, please do again."
- Author: Brooke Latack
Participants representing Imperial County cattle feedlots came together on April 22nd to discuss food safety at the Livestock Food Safety Workshop held at UC DREC. Organized by UCANR advisors and specialists, invited speakers presented current management practices and research related to food safety with respect to livestock and wildlife. Topics covering packing plant food safety, mitigation of pathogen shedding at the feedlot, and past food safety research initiated a productive discussion amongst participants and speakers to identify key areas of concern and potential for future research. The successful workshop set groundwork for future discussions related to this critical issue.
For further information, please contact:
University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE)
Livestock Advisor (Imperial, Riverside & San Bernardino Counties)
1050 E Holton Rd
Holtville, CA 92250
Office: (442) 265-7712
- Author: Jairo Diaz
UC DREC hosted the 2019 Agronomic Crops and Irrigation Water Management Field Day on April 11. The field day was organized by UCCE Imperial County and included a hay wagon ride tour through field research projects and indoor presentations. Researchers shared updates on various research projects including topics related to insect pest and disease management in sugarbeets, irrigation and nutrient management in fresh market onions, subsurface irrigation in alfalfa, alfalfa variety trials, biochar effects on soil remediation, wheat quality and yields, and quinoa trials. The event was a success with 53 participants registered.
- Author: Stephanie Collins
Internships are a proven way to gain relevant knowledge, skills, and experience while establishing important connections in the field. Learning doesn't just take place in the classroom — participating in internships can provide a wealth of benefits such as:
- Applying classroom learning in professional environments
- Gain exposure to a chosen field
- Establish critical networking connections
- Gain coveted work experience
DREC is partnering with a USDA program entitled: Water Resources Experiential Learning for USDA Careers. The strategic goal of this project is to measurably increase student research skills that ensure our national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while simultaneously enhancing the sustainability of the Nation's water resources.
The internships provide an experiential approach to learning in the field of water resources and/or watershed management which helps students gain real-world experience in natural resource protection while developing new knowledge, skills, and abilities in problem-solving from a watershed perspective.
Mariana Gonzalez is currently interning at DREC. She is in her third year at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley Campus. She is working toward a bachelor's degree in mathematics with a minor in public administration.
During the internship, Mariana says she hopes to increase her overall knowledge in agricultural processes. She hopes to gain a deep understanding of agricultural research and its impacts. Mariana will be working with DREC's Farm Smart program and feels this will give her experience in working with K-12 students and developing K-12 curriculum. In all its programs, Farm Smart teaches about water, weather, sustainability and other natural resources. Through her duties in the Farm Smart program, Mariana will have the opportunity to help students develop an understanding of water and water resources through STEM activities. DREC staff will be working with Mariana to develop a capstone project that is multifaceted and serves as a culminating experience during the internship. As she explores her chosen topic in the area of water resources and management, she will be challenged to think critically and apply investigative skills.
Mariana helping kids with produce picked at the Farm Smart U-pick up garden.