- (Public Value) UCANR: Promoting healthy people and communities
Join us on Facebook on Fri., Dec. 1 for a LIVE event as we learn about Placer County's award-winning project, "Search for Excellence Second Place: Engagement + Education + Enthusiasm = School Garden Success." UC Master Gardener volunteers of Placer County created engaging, outdoor garden activities that go beyond traditional textbooks, sparking a love for nature and healthy living for students. The project delves into exciting topics like plant care, photosynthesis, the role of worms in soil creation, and the delicious benefits of eating fresh vegetables. No registration or special link needed, the talks will be streamed LIVE to Facebook and YouTube.
Carol Holliman, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Placer County
Melissa Johnson, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Placer County
Date: Friday, Dec. 1
Link to recording: https://www.youtube.com/live/7v6EYjAcwM0?si=o-0H1U64-cwH2lM9
Facebook Live is an authentic and interactive way to interact with our audience in real time. It also allows the ability to build value, trust and raise brand awareness of the UC Master Gardener Program. Share the Facebook Live opportunity on your personal and local program pages and tune in to the UC Master Gardener Program Facebook Live broadcast! Let us know in the comments section what topics or questions you would like answered on Monday or on future Facebook Live topics.
Join us on Facebook on Thurs., Nov. 16 for a LIVE event as we learn about Sacramento County's award-winning project, "Video Learning Reaches Larger Audiences." This project was recognized for being innovative and has encouraged other programs across California to make videos that are informational, easy to watch and engaging. Their dedication to helping their community was especially clear during the pandemic, showing their willingness to adapt and keep delivering the UC Master Gardener mission.
Date: Thursday, Nov. 16
Kathy Steuer, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Sacramento County
Mary Welch, UC Master Gardener Volunteer Sacramento County
Facebook Live is an authentic and interactive way to interact with our audience in real time. It also allows the ability to build value, trust and raise brand awareness of the UC Master Gardener Program. Share the Facebook Live opportunity on your personal and local program pages and tune in to the UC Master Gardener Program Facebook Live broadcast! Let us know in the comments section what topics or questions you would like answered on Thursday or on future Facebook Live topics.
Find recording of LIVE events here: LIVE Series - UC Master Gardener Program (ucanr.edu)
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
As parents across the country start preparing for the next school year, the UC Master Gardeners of Placer County are demonstrating the extraordinary impact that school gardens can have on the community. UC Master Gardeners' dedication to nurturing a love for science and gardening in the youth shows us that every seed sown in these school gardens represents not just a plant but a life lesson, a commitment to sustainability, and a step towards a healthier future.
Every three years, UC Master Gardener Programs across the state have an opportunity to showcase their incredible projects, with the goal of inspiring others on how gardening can transform people and communities. The award-winning second-place project, "Engagement + Education + Enthusiasm = School Garden Success!" has touched the lives of numerous young learners in Placer County.
Over the last few years, the UC Master Gardeners of Placer County have provided valuable support to more than thirty schools. Last year they ramped up their support in seven of those schools by implementing a program to recruit principals and parent garden leads to revive or enhance school garden classes. In partnership with UC CalFresh Healthy Living, one of their focus areas was partnering with Title 1 schools where a high percentage of students are from low-income families. UC Master Gardener volunteers have created engaging, outdoor garden activities that go beyond traditional textbooks, sparking a love for nature and healthy living in students. The program delves into exciting topics like plant care, photosynthesis, the role of worms in soil creation, and the delicious benefits of eating fresh vegetables. Some of the delicious vegetables grown in school gardens are fresh spinach, lettuce, peas, fava beans, and carrots!
Additionally, parents are becoming an integral part of the project, fostering closer relationships between the schools and families. Parents' involvement ranges from assisting in classroom gardening sessions to leading discussions about nature, plant life, and sustainability. "The partnership with UC Master Gardeners of Placer County has been invaluable. It's inspired me to get more involved with the Parent Teacher Club and attend quarterly meetings. I am so much more involved with all of the parents and staff at Skyridge because of the inspiration and encouragement I have knowing the UC Master Gardeners are involved,” one parent remarked.
The rewards of this initiative are truly inspiring! “Our Larry Ford Outdoor Classroom and Garden is a focal point of teaching and learning on our campus. Our amazing team of Garden Docents, who are directly supported by Placer County [UC] Master Gardeners, have created a beautiful outdoor space for learning,” says Skyridge Elementary Principal Wright. “Students and staff enjoy visits that include academic lessons, planting seeds, harvesting crops, eating fresh vegetables, and taking a quiet break from the day to walk through the Mindfulness Maze. Providing opportunities for our students to learn in our Larry Ford Outdoor Classroom is a priority for our school community, and the [UC] Master Gardeners have become an instrumental piece in making that dream a reality.” Many students have started experimenting with new fruits and vegetables and gardening at home. Of the students surveyed, 53% ate a fruit or vegetable that they had never considered trying before, and 44% are now gardening at home.
The UC Master Gardener team is working to build valuable partnerships to continue expanding the number of school gardens across the county every year. By partnering with school boards, garden clubs, and community non-profits, they are working together to create a more sustainable, greener future for Placer County and its youth.
Congratulations to the UC Master Gardeners of Placer County for coming in second place in the Search for Excellence competition. Your hard work and dedication to excellence are truly commendable. Well done!
I am thrilled to share the winners for the 2023 UC Master Gardener Search for Excellence competition. The exceptional projects that have risen to the top truly captivated the judges and inspired them with their innovation, engagement, and commitment to service. It is my pleasure to introduce you to the remarkable winners.
First Place- Riverside County, $1500 prize
Taking the coveted first-place position is the remarkable project from Riverside County - Soboba Cultural Garden: Connecting the Past with the Future. The project focuses on educating and assisting the establishment of successful and sustainable food gardens within Native American tribes. The Soboba Cultural Garden serves as a significant resource, providing nutritious food for the community and showcasing native plants and seasonal produce, all rooted in traditional tribal knowledge and promoting food sovereignty and wellness. The project has formed partnerships with various organizations and individuals, extending beyond the Soboba Cultural Resource Department. One of our judges enthusiastically remarked, “The Riverside MGs are modeling the very best in education - partnership, respect and hands-on teaching of quality material. Bravo!”
Congratulations to the passionate team behind this outstanding achievement!
Second Place-Placer County, $1000 prize
In second place, we have the incredible project from Placer County - Engagement+Education+Enthusiasm = School Garden Success! The project focuses on using school gardens as outdoor classrooms to provide science-based education, teaching students about planting, care, fresh vegetables, pollinators, soil, and photosynthesis. Their goals involve providing support for garden-related classes, establishing sustainable parent-led models, expanding to more schools serving low-income families, and building a community of partners focused on success. Well done to all those involved!
In the spirit of celebration, we have not one, but two exceptional projects sharing the third-place spotlight.
El Dorado County, $500 prize
First, we have El Dorado County's Cross Pollination, Growing Abilities: Cultivating Independence and Community in the Garden. This project's commitment to inclusivity and empowerment of individuals with special needs through gardening is truly commendable. The judges expressed overwhelmingly positive feedback, highlighting the UC Master Gardeners' unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive and empowering environment where individuals of all abilities can thrive and acquire knowledge. Their dedication serves as an inspiration to others, showcasing the transformative impact of creating an inclusive learning space.
Sacramento County, $500 prize
Our second third-place winner is Sacramento County with their project titled Video Learning Reaches Larger Audiences. Through the power of technology and their dedication to community service, this project has effectively reached and inspired a wide audience, bringing the joys and benefits of gardening to even more individuals. The judges provided insightful comments, acknowledging the outstanding alignment of the project with its goals. They particularly appreciated the project's ability to simultaneously address external and internal objectives and commended the involvement of over 50 Master Gardeners in the creation of videos. The judges expressed gratitude for sharing the video production process through a clear and concise flow chart, recognizing it as a valuable contribution to the project's success.
To all the winners, a resounding congratulations! Your hard work, creativity, and unwavering passion have not gone unnoticed. You have inspired us all with your remarkable achievements. Stay tuned for more updates and inspiring stories as we delve into the winning projects. Let's celebrate the power of gardening and the remarkable individuals who make it all possible!
Thank you, judges
A heartfelt and special thank you goes out to our esteemed judges who generously devoted their time to reading, scoring, and learning about our program over the last four weeks. We are immensely grateful for your invaluable contributions, thank you for being an integral part of our journey towards excellence!
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
It's California Wildfire Preparedness Week 2023 (May 1-8), it serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of preparing home landscapes to help mitigate wildfire risks. With the increasing threat of wildfires in California, adopting preventive measures and adapting landscapes can significantly reduce the vulnerability of homes and communities.
UC ANR fire and natural resource advisers developed strategies for homeowners to make adjustments for a home that is more resilient to wildfire.
Design and implement a defensible space:
- Create fuel breaks surrounding your house and within your garden.
- Create space vertically and horizontally via plant placement and pruning.
- Use hardscape and noncombustible materials around structures and to separate individual plants and groups of plants.
- Use the right plants in the right places with fire, climate, and irrigation needs in mind.
- Create plant islands that have similar sun, nutrient, and water needs.
- Replace combustible gates that attach to the house with materials that will not burn.
Maintain your landscape:
- Keep your garden free from dry and dead wood, dry grasses, and leaf litter, especially near any structures.
- Prune plants to provide horizontal and vertical space throughout your garden and surrounding structures.
- Eliminate fire ladders. A grass fire can move up into shrubs and then into trees.
- Hydrate plants with a water-wise irrigation system. Use non-combustible mulches near the house.
Fire-resistant landscaping is a critical aspect of wildfire preparedness. The UC Master Gardener Program plays a vital role in educating and assisting Californians in creating fire-resistant landscapes and implementing best practices to protect their properties. UC Master Gardener volunteers help guide homeowners in designing and maintaining their landscapes to reduce fire risks. Planting fire-resistant ground covers, shrubs, and trees, as well as maintaining proper spacing between plants and removing dead vegetation can significantly minimize the spread of wildfires.
California Wildfire Preparedness Week 2023 serves as a reminder of the importance of creating fire-resistant home landscapes to protect our communities from wildfires. UC Master Gardener volunteers help provide education and assistance to homeowners through community workshops, webinars, and other outreach events. For information on an event or workshop near you connect with your local UC Master Gardener Program by visiting: https://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs/.
By working together, we can foster wildfire preparedness and resilience, ensuring the safety of our communities in the face of increasing wildfire threats!