Wildlife, livestock and nature—just a day in the life of college student!

FARMS Leadership| San Joaquin| February 6, 2020

Location of Field Day:
UC Davis, including California Raptor Center, Goat Barn, Dairy Goat Parlor & Creamery, Dining Commons, and Arboretum

Field Day Hosts:
CA Raptor Center and UC Davis
UC Davis Animal Science Department
UC Davis Arboretum & Public Garden

Theme of the Day:
Exploring unique classrooms at UC Davis while learning about animal science.

Summary:
We started our day at the CA Raptor Center at UC Davis. Here, students learned some cool facts about raptors and about the connections between raptors and agriculture. They got to tour the center and meet the resident birds. Next we walked next door to the Goat Barn and the new Dairy Goat Parlor and Creamery. Here, students got to meet dairy and meat goats, and got to tour the brand new milking parlor and creamery. Our Animal Science student and staff hosts helped everyone understand how the milking process works, how goat cheese is made, and highlighted opportunities for internships and coursework in Animal Sciences at UC Davis.

Our next stop was lunch. When on a college campus, we like to take students to eat at the dining commons so they can experience this important aspect of student life and envision themselves as a college student. We ate at Tercero Dining Commons, where students and teachers alike enjoyed the many choices, including UC Davis Student Farm grown veggies!

Our final stop of the day was a visit to the UC Davis Arboretum. Here, we enjoyed some more of the beautiful scenery that UC Davis offers, learned that ducks should NOT eat bread, and learned about the many opportunities for UCD students to participate in internships with the Arboretum and Public Gardens. These internships exist in many topics that intersect with campus life and the outdoors, including health science, landscape design, habitat restoration, food access and wildlife conservation.

¿¿ Drupe?? It’s ‘Drüp.

FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin Valley | January 16, 2020

Location of the Field Day:
Prima Noce Packing
16461 Comstock Road, Linden CA 95236

Partner(s):
Joseph Stacher – Production Manager for Prima Frutta

The San Joaquin Valley Prima Noce field day began in the packing facility’s break room. Following a quick sign-in, mixed-berry breakfast parfaits, and some much needed hot cocoa, we started with a big introduction circle. After our host, Joseph “Joe” Stacher formally welcomed us all to the Prima Noce compound, Joe led us to the Prima Noce cherry and walnut orchard. Given we were in the dead of winter, most all trees within view were bare because their harvest was already in full swing. Students, teachers, and FARMS staff were able to walk through the orchard while Joe provided some Prima Noce history and fielded student questions.

Following our host, we began to tour the Prima Noce grounds, surveying various machinery for harvesting and the maintenance shop for keeping those machines in tip-top.

Once inside the primary facility, we were required to undergo a sanitation process that consisted of usage of mandatory hairnets, hand-washing, and an under-boot wash.

Now that we were all were contaminant-free, Joe could lead us through the various processes necessary to bring these Prima Noce drupes to market. Sorting using lasers, grading and bleaching based on the market they were destined for, and of course the packing lines.

We ended this field day early because it began POURING rain outside. However, before our premature departure, we all enjoyed big bowls of vegetarian chili and creamy tomato basil soup with tangy vinaigrette salads garnished with Prima Noce walnuts. After a couple professional skills development exercises and an workshop on “the correct way” to crack a walnut, we concluded the Prima Noce tour with a big ‘thank you’ to our host and a ‘closing circle’ to reflect on all that we had learned.

Back in time: The lessons of the Dust Bowl

NRCS Plant Material Center
FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin | December 10th, 2019

Location: Lockeford, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Margaret Smither-Kopperl, Lockeford Plant Materials Center Manager, Plant Materials Program
Matthew Bronson, Plant Materials Center, Farm Manager

Theme: Ecology and Habitat Conservation

NRCS Plant Materials Center (PMC) is a CLBL long-time partner and a favorite field day for FARMS Leadership students. PMC is a network of 25 Plant Materials Centers and Plant Materials Specialists strategically located throughout the U.S. They select plants and develop plant technology for the successful conservation of the nation’s natural resources. In addition, PMC provides information to field office staff, private landowners, tribes and partners who need assistance in addressing critical land management problems.

Plant experts Margaret Smither-Kopperl and Matthew Bronson led students through the historical evolution of NRCS dating back to the 1930’s dust bowl where soil erosion, air and water pollution became and continue to be issues farmers face today. Margaret conveys, “we help farmers help the land”.  The designated property is near Lockeford along the Mokelumne River. Students experienced an extensive walking tour through cover crop seed plots, and took cuttings from native plants and shrubs, elderberry and grapes along in the riparian habitat as well as from the flannel tree in established hedge rows. The osage orange and milk weed seed pod discovery was certainly a highlight on the tour.

After lunch, students transplanted the cuttings and placed in the greenhouse. The day concluded with facilities tour of the seed cleaning, the impressive collection of tractors and equipment.