University of California

2014-2015 Funded Projects

Forestry Institute for Teachers Program
Forestry Institute for Teachers Program
Graduating Naturalists, San Diego County
Graduating Naturalists, San Diego County













Building Environmental Literacy through the Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT)

Project Leader: John Battles UC Berkeley Environmental Science, Policy and Management

The Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT) program, brings together natural resource specialists and primary and secondary school teachers from California's rural and urban settings to work side by side to gain a deeper understanding of forest ecosystems and the use of California's natural resources. With RREA funding we evaluated the FIT program, to determine the FIT program impacts on forest ecology education we analyzed eleven years of program participant surveys. The responses indicated that a high percentage of educators who attend FIT return to their classrooms and implement more than one forest-focused activity into their curriculum; that led the evaluation team to develop a new tool for natural resource education in classrooms. We developed a simple method for making a miniature microscope that future FIT participants will learn how to make and use and we are confident it will be an engaging and powerful teaching tool. 


Bringing the California Naturalist Program to San Diego County

Project Leader: James Bethke, Emeritus, UC Cooperative Extension San Diego County

This project work helped to further foster the developing partnership between the California Naturalist Program and Preserve Calavera, as well as to expand efforts to partner with the UC Natural Reserve System statewide by partnering with UC San Diego Reserves. In partnership with the San Diego Natural History Museum, we organized and held a two-day training workshop in January 2015.  We have successfully created a broad network of approximately 70 local area contacts, which we can partner with to share California Naturalist program news and information and/or continue to foster potential course sponsorships.


CALInvasives: A New Tool to Manage Invasive Species in California

Project Leader: Matteo Garbelotto UC Berkeley Environmental Science, Policy and Management

We are working to generate a single clearinghouse designed specifically to address issues of invasive species and their host plants in California's forests and grasslands that will be available to extension advisors, land managers, researchers and the public through an online portal. The PI has obtained a full partnership agreement with Calflora who will assist with the database development and will be maintaining the database in perpetuity.


Annual Rangeland Management Handbook

Project Leader: Melvin George Emeritus: UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences

 Please click here: George project, for this multi-year project details.  In the third and final year of this project RREA funding helped with the production costs for the publication, The History of UC Rangeland Extension, Research, and Teaching: A Perspective.


Implementing the California Naturalist Program in the Sierra Nevada

Project Leader: Susan Kocher UC Cooperative Extension Central Sierra

RREA funding allowed us to continue implementing the California Naturalist program in the Sierra Nevada, a program that will create an informed and involved citizenry dedicated to the stewardship of Sierra resources. During the year we completed writing the new California Naturalist Sierra Nevada 8000 series publication, directly trained 77 new naturalists, and identified over a broad area multiple future collaborating organizations.


Engaging Californians in the California Naturalist Program in Merced, Mariposa, Madera and Fresno Counties

Project Leader: Fadzayi Mashiri UC Cooperative Extension Mariposa, Merced, and Madera Counties

There are currently 642 certified naturalists across the state and more than 90 percent identify as white, 61 percent as female, and 50% as being over 50 years of age. To establish a precedence on the importance of the engaging diverse citizens, specifically those who reside in Merced, Mariposa, Madera and Fresno counties, we developed a program to assist with the cost of obtaining Naturalist certification. RREA funds provided partial payment of the fee for 15 interested and diverse citizens from the counties to attend California Naturalist training; all 15 went on to obtain California Naturalist certification and become active Naturalist volunteers.


Aquatic Invasive Pest Species Online Detection & Prevention Education for Users of California’s Wetlands & Waterways

Project Leader: Leigh Johnson Emerita: UC Cooperative Extension San Diego County

Aquatic invasive pest species can cause both economic and ecological harm due to remediation costs, and loss of ecosystem services; partially funded by RREA we have developed a readily accessible and mobile-friendly online resource to educate and empower agency, commercial, academic, and volunteer stakeholders of California’s fresh waterways. The California Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) website, (website), provides critical information, decontamination protocols, and modules to report suspected AIS.


Extending Current Rangeland Management Research to California Ranchers through Training, Networking, and Peer-to-Peer Sharing

Project Leader: Fadzayi Mashiri UC Cooperative Extension Mariposa, Merced, and Madera Counties

The Society for Rangeland Management (SRM) is a professional society dedicated to supporting sustainable rangeland use and management and annually holds a symposium for stakeholders who live and work on rangeland. The symposium provides a great opportunity for ranchers and managers to improve their ability to increase production and capacity for adaptive management however in recent years rancher participation at the symposium has been very low. To increase rancher participation we developed a program to assist in paying the registration fee for ranchers who wanted to attend SRM's 2015 symposium, Managing Diversity that was going to be held in Sacramento. The program we developed required a rancher to complete a short application for assistance and its availability was advertised through local media outlets; after careful review of all the applications received RREA funds were utilized to partially pay the symposium registration fee for 89 ranchers.


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