Youth ages 9-12 will have an opportunity to learn what it means to be sustainable through fun activities in a virtual summer camp. The camp will be held July 20-24th, with campers meeting online daily from 10-11:30 a.m. The camp is free of charge, but pre-registration is required.
The Sustainable You! Summer Camp is hosted by the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) 4-H Program, in partnership with the UC Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center (UC HAREC), and the City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability and Water departments.
UCCE Community Education Specialist Gwyn Vanoni noted that:
“The Sustainable You! Summer Camp is an engaging way for kids to think about their role in creating a sustainable future while having a lot of fun. This has been a summer day camp at UC HAREC for a number of years. While we're going virtual this year, we are working hard to ensure that the fun and focus of the camp remains true for the participants.”
The virtual camp will explore sustainability across five major theme areas: land, water, food, air and energy. A typical day will include:
An introduction to a sustainability topic with an ice breaker and simple journal questions or an art activity;
A discussion or video on the day's topic;
A demonstrated activity; and
An activity that youth can do on their own.
The virtual camp is part of the online educational programs being organized by UCCE Ventura County. Learn more here.
- What: 4-H Sustainable You! Virtual Summer Camp
- Ages: 9-12
- When: July 20th-24th (Monday-Friday)
- Time: 10-11:30 a.m.
- Cost: FREE, but pre-registration is required! Register: harec.ucanr.edu
For more information, email Susana Bruzzone Miller.
On Friday June 5th, UCCE Ventura will launch a local campaign as part of UC ANR's statewide giving day, which we're calling “Big Dig Day”...a day to “dig deep” to support the UCCE programs that you care about in Ventura County.
Ventura County Master Gardener Program
We invite you to support our mission to extend research-based knowledge about home gardening, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices to our communities. Our program is driven by 209 active volunteers who use UC science-based information to offer solutions to gardening, landscape, and pest challenges. Last year, our volunteers donated 12,561 hours of service to the program.
The Master Gardener Program helps Ventura County grow in many ways, including:
Offering water-wise workshops to help residents optimize use of a scarce resource
Staffing a helpline to answer questions for home gardeners
Working with other community organizations to maintain 9 demonstration gardens throughout Ventura County
- Delivering dozens of educational and hands-on outreach programs and talks each year
Ventura County 4-H Program
Since 1914, the Ventura County 4-H Program has served generations of youth and families. Our motto is “To Make the Best Better.” Through our volunteer-driven experiential programs, we help Ventura County youth develop life and leadership skills that enable them to succeed. In the last 100 years, Ventura County has changed. But some things never change, including our belief in the power of youth.
4-H grows here:
7,300+ youth reached across Ventura County each year
14 community and 2 military clubs providing educational opportunities in STEM, healthy living, animal husbandry, leadership, and civic engagement
Outreach programs delivered in classrooms and virtually that connect youth with one of our county's most important resources: agriculture
Efforts driven and supported by 150 motivated and highly-trained volunteers
Help us serve even more youth by donating on “Big Dig” Day.
What We're Asking
Now more than ever, we all know the value of community. In times of crisis and beyond, we are here. We live where you live.
By donating to the Master Gardener Program and the 4-H Program, you help us extend the knowledge and resources of the University to our community. Join us on 6/5 and #DigDeep to support our UCCE programs.
Mark your calendar, spread the word, and stay tuned for more details.
- Author: Ben Faber
This is a cross-post from the "Topics in Subtropics" blog.
Join us on alternate Tuesdays in May and June, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, for this opportunity designed for middle and high school students. Treemendous Tuesdays is a collaboration of U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles Center for Urban Natural Resources, California Project Learning Tree, California 4-H, and University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Five webinars will be hosted every other week starting May 5 and ending June 30. These events are free and registration is required. Flyer is attached. Dates, topics, and link to registration are below.
Please share this online opportunity with organizations, community members, teachers, parents, and students. We look forward to giving students a glimpse of the wonders and benefits that trees offer!
- May 5: Invasive Species (invasive shot hole borers)
- May 19: Invasive Plants & Trees
- June 2: Benefits of the Urban Forest
- June 16: iTree
- June 30: Living with Fire
- Author: Annemiek Schilder
In this weekly blog, Dr. Annemiek Schilder, Director, UCCE Ventura County and Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center, shares her observations about the natural world across the seasons. As she says:
"Gently observing your surroundings with curiosity will teach you some amazing things. There are so many fascinating things happening under our noses, only wanting for an observant eye."
Tis the time for mushrooms.
No, I am not talking about the Portobellos in your pasta dish. I am talking about the fungal denizens of our environment. Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi that grow on leaf litter, wood pieces or plant roots. Mushrooms contain spores, which are in essence the seeds of the fungus. Most spores fall to the ground or are carried by the wind to other locations where they start new colonies. If you took an air sample and looked under the microscope, you'd find dust and pollen, as well as fungal spores.
Fungi - which are also called molds - need moisture. That is why they love to grow in your shower stall and on fabrics in damp locations. The body of a fungus is made up of threads that grow over and into surfaces, such as a piece of bread or those strawberries you forgot in the refrigerator. Sometimes when I retrieve a fuzzy gray item from the back of my fridge I can only guess what it used to be by its shape. And even then I may not be entirely sure. I have had multiple such “experiments”.
Fungi are the janitors of nature – they eat up old leaves, vegetables and fruits. Some fungi also attack living plants, causing the plants to become diseased.
Two false earthstars after the rain. Photo Credit: Annemiek Schilder.
After a recent rainy spell, I was surprised and elated to see various types of mushrooms, including Astraeus hygrometricus, the false earth star or barometer earth star. Astraeus is Greek for “Starry one” and hygrometricus means “water measuring”. The name indicates that they can sense the amount of moisture in the air.
Size of this false earth star is 4 inches. Photo Credit: Annemiek Schilder.
Earthstars are really puffballs full of spores with a thick skin that breaks open like a star. The arms of the star bend downward under moist conditions to push the puffball upwards so that the wind can catch the spores as they are released. Raindrops falling on the puffball force the spores out in puffs. With the naked eye, the spores look like cocoa powder but under the microscope they appear like tiny burnt coconut macaroons. Each spore can grow a new fungal colony with sufficient moisture, appropriate temperature and a food source.
Brown powdery spores visible in the broken puffball. Photo Credit: Annemiek Schilder.
False earthstars are mycorrhizal, which means that they are associated with the roots of plants, in this case oaks. The fungal threads act like an extension of the oak root system, bringing essential nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen to the plant, while the plant donates food, i.e. carbohydrates, to the fungus. It's a natural tit for tat that benefits both the tree and the fungus. Many plants have mycorrhizal fungi in their roots, which may also protect them from attack by certain pathogens and insects.
The very next day when the weather cleared, I was able to observe the earthstar responding to a drop in relative humidity: the star's arms started to curl back up around the puffball, so cute!
False earth star arms starting to curl up in dry weather. Photo Credit: Annemiek Schilder.
Related Reading: Eat or Be Eaten