SJCOE Durham Ferry SLEWS Kick Off

Mr. Barrett’s class from Stagg High School is working with the San Joaquin County Office of Education Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center for their SLEWS project.

On January 31st, 2019 Mr. Barrett’s Agricultural Biology class arrived at the SJCOE Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center to begin their SLEWS project. This year, students will be transforming a plot of land to make it safe for the younger students access it. Currently, the plot of land has non-native plants like star thistle and other thorny less desirable weeds. The students will be sheet mulching the land to remove the unwanted non-native weeds and then planting native drought tolerant species that are more desirable.

Kristine Stepping, Program Manager at Durham Ferry, introduces the students to nature journaling. This approach was taken to provide a skill for students to learn about the plants at Durham Ferry and to begin to look for patterns in where these plants are found geographically.

Steve LaGraffe, a volunteer with over 30 years of irrigation and gardening experience, helps provide valuable advice regarding sheet mulching of the area.

Stagg High School students begin planning and surveying the land in order to begin their SLEWS project. They will produce a list of tools and supplies necessary for the future work on this project.

Students will be back in February to sheet-mulch this plot of land and learn more about the native and non-native species that exist at Durham Ferry. This information will aid them as they make choices for what will be a sustainable plant to replace the weeds that occupy this space in the summer and fall season.

Mar Vista High participates in San Diego County’s First SLEWS program!

SLEWS Program | San Diego County | January 26, 2019 | Field day 1

Participating School
Mar Vista High School

Location
Tijuana River Valley Community Garden in Southwest San Diego

Mentors

  • Samantha Cook, San Diego State University graduate in Sustainability
  • Christine Lambert, Associate Archaeologist & Project Manager, Petra Resource Management
  • Emanuel Storey, San Diego State University doctoral student in Geography
  • Thomas Strand, Environmental Planner, Chambers Group, Inc.

Land manager
Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County

Summary of the day
RCD staff and our team of mentors greeted students from Mar Vista for our first field day at the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden (TRVCG) and our first ever SLEWS program!

It was a sunny January day, and students mingled and shyly snacked while everyone got settled in. A game of Group Juggle to learn names helped break the ice and get people smiling. It being our first field day, we spent some time going over the SLEWS program, the history of the site, and what participants could expect over our three field days together. We then did another activity to get to know each other – everyone selected a bird, mammal, plant, herptile, or weed card and shared two interesting things they learned about their chosen species, as well as their favorite place in nature.

We then took a quick tour of the community garden, the ¼ plots on site, and our carbon farming demonstration plot before arriving at the native plant hedgerow (dense, woody vegetation planted in a linear design to achieve a natural resource conservation purpose) where we will be concentrating our field day projects. Students broke up into their mentor groups and surveyed the section of the hedgerow assigned to them. They observed the number of living, dead, and damaged plants; any evidence of wildlife; the condition of the irrigation lines; and presence of mulch on the ground. This was done in preparation for the planting and mulching project for Field day 2. It was great to hear excitement from the students as they encountered lady bugs, butterflies, and even a tiny lizard.

Following our exploration of the hedgerow, each group took two soil samples from within their section of the hedgerow – one to be sent to a lab, and one for a mason jar soil particulate test. Before taking the samples we discussed soil characteristics, the different reasons for testing soil, and that different plants have different needs from the soil. In line with the SLEWS norms we agreed on that morning, everyone participated and got their hands in the soil.

After lunch, we did a reflection activity called Postcard from the Field then reconvened for closing circle before the students got back on the bus.

We really enjoyed our inaugural SLEWS experience and can’t wait for Field Day 2!

Accomplishments
– 8 soil samples taken for the hedgerow.
– Hedgerow surveyed for living/dead/damaged plants in preparation of planting.

IPM & Pro-Scan Survey

FARMS Advanced Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley

Field Date: Thursday, January 31, 2019

Location of Field Day: GAR Tootelian Inc

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Ralph Rendon, Karen Musson, Brent Parolini

Theme: IPM

Before students even set foot onto the GAR Property they completed a Pro-Scan Survey.  The ProScan Survey is an instrument designed by Professional DynaMetric Programs, Inc. (PDP) to measure the major aspects of self-perception, including an individual’s basic behavior, reaction to the environment, and predictable behavior.  GAR uses this survey on every employee that is hired so when they are hired they are aware of their behavior and if they would be a good fit for the company and other employees to work with.

Each student was able to go through their completed results with Ralph explaining each and every aspect of the survey.  The students were blown away by how it accurately predicted their behavior. Students also said it said similar things as the True Colors survey they took at Fresno State just a week earlier.

After all of the students studied their test results we broke for a quick Lunch break. After lunch we had a roundtable question and answer session with Mr. Parolini a Pest Control Advisor for GAR Tootelian.  He talked about his job as it relates to IPM the Advanced Topic of the year. Students ever went more in depth in answering questions about IPM and how it is related to Regulation, Sustainability, Footprint, Media, Water, Careers, Technology & Innovation, Labor and Politics.  This was a great field day and the students and myself learned a lot about ourselves and IPM.

A strong start at Jack Rice’s

Sacramento Charter High School at Jack Rice’s
SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | January 30, 2019

Participating School
Sacramento Charter High School

Partners/Landowners
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Jack Rice

Mentors
Bob Ream, retired
Dana Stokes
Jess Rudnick, UC Davis graduate student
Lea Pollack, UC Davis graduate student
Sarah Gaffney, UC Davis graduate student

Summary of the Day
Sacramento High students got a change of scenery for their second Field Day – instead of working at Clark Ranch in Winters, we went to a property in Woodland! Landowner Jack Rice has been working with Natural Resources Conservation District and Yolo County Resource Conservation District to edge his property with native plant species. The first step to this process is installing an irrigation system, and Sac High students arrived enthusiastic to contribute to this project.

As students changed into rubber boots and enjoyed breakfast, excitement started to build about the animals on the property including a dog named Zorro and a horse named Ranger. Students asked Jack many questions about his animals and property before gathering for our opening circle. After a game of “Where the Wind Blows”, mentor groups were given a bucket of irrigation supplies to explore. Especially after planting along an installed irrigation system on their first Field Day, students were quickly able to figure out how to close the end of the tube, poke holes, and install emitters. This was great practice for our restoration activity of the day!

After meeting Ranger the horse, it was time to start our restoration work. We needed to first lay down the irrigation tubing that will transport water along the edge of Jack’s property. The entire class worked as a team to accomplish this – one mentor group helped Brandon Baker of Yolo County Resource Conservation District work the “spooler” to uncoil the tube, while all other students, mentors, and teachers grabbed a section of the line and walked it along the planting area. Through this process, we were easily and accurately able to lay down 1800 feet of tubing, even rounding the northeastern corner.

Jack had done his best to move the large amount of mulch covering the area, but there was one area he couldn’t access. It needed to be cleared so that the next group of students can plant in soil, not mulch. Sac High students grabbed shovels and made short work of this before dividing back into mentor groups to finish the job. One group measured in 10-foot increments and placed flags along the line while the other three groups spread out to install an emitter at each flag, and secure the line to the ground as they worked. After installing 180 emitters, students seemed tired and we thought that might be enough work for one morning…until one student spoke up, “we’re all already here! We might as well keep going!”. She was able to convince the entire class to dig a trench that will help connect the irrigation line to the water supply, and they finished this extra project before lunch!

After a well-deserved break, students had the opportunity to interview our volunteer mentors. Apart from working alongside students on the restoration work, mentors are a wonderful resource for students to learn more about different career paths in environmental sciences and more. Every student had the opportunity to ask mentors questions about their professional journey and as I was walking between groups I overheard one student ask, “What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do?”. Even though these students are Freshmen in High School, they are already thinking about their futures!

Soaring through California!

The California Raptor Center

Program: FARMS Leadership Region: Sacramento Valley: January 29th, 2019

Location of Field Day: Davis, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

  • Jo Cowan – Raptor Center Volunteer
  • Lis Fleming – Raptor Center Volunteer
  • Jolene Maiden – Raptor Center Volunteer
  • Brittany Cavaletto – Goat Facilities Manager

Theme: Habitat, Conservation, and Ecology

Summary of the Day:

The Sac Valley FARMS Leadership Students had a great time learning about conservation and maintaining the natural habitat for wildlife to thrive at the California Raptor Center. Jo Cowan hosted us at the California Raptor Center and we began our day in their classroom learning about the different raptors native to California, how they benefit us, and how we can help protect their environment and ensure they can survive. After gaining a better understanding of raptors, the students split into 3 groups and toured the facility, visited the raptor center museum, and were able to see different species of raptors up close. The students had a very unique and awesome opportunity to learn about raptors and their impact on agriculture up close and personal. In the first portion of the day we learned about different raptors native to California. Then we learned the vital roles each one plays in agriculture and how farms and ranches can benefit from them.

Once we concluded our tour we took a lunch break where the students were able to take pictures with one of the raptors and also help feed a bottle baby goat. Then after lunch we headed next door to the UC Davis Goat Facility. Brittany Cavaletto, the Facilities Manager, took us on a tour where the students were able to see the two different herds at Davis. They have a herd of dairy goats and a herd of Boer goats, which are a breed of meat goats. The students were able to walk thru the milking parlor and see the construction of the new dairy that they are building. They also were able to help the student employees vaccinate some of the baby goats in the barn.

Bulldogs and Agriculture

FARMS Program |
Kern and Central Valley Regions |January 25, 2019

Participating Schools
Kern County:
Frontier High School
Bakersfield Christian High School
Independence High School

Central Valley:
Hanford High School
Kerman High School

Summary of the Day
Do you think Bulldogs know about Agriculture? The Fresno State Bulldogs are pros! Our Central Valley and Kern County FARMS Advanced students learned a lot about their character and about Integrated Pest Management as we toured the Fresno State Ag Department.

We started the day gathering in the Ag One Meeting Room. Introductions were made between students through an Ice Breaker activity. This helped the two regions come together, however many of the students knew each other already due to the connectivity through social media and the FFA world.

A Leadership Team was established in the group and they were given the task to interview and then introduce our hosts, Michelle Perez, and Rick Chacon. Fresno State offers a class in True Colors, a personality development tool aiding in team development. Students were amazed at the outcome and how it validated how they think and act. They also were led through an exercise in understanding the other personality traits and how to work with those traits. Students discussed how they might use this tool in the workplace or even in their social circles and families.

We broke for lunch and then made our way out to the farm to study the pistachio and almond trees. We talked about identifying the Naval Orange Worm and the devastating effects it can have on the industry. We talked about the practices used to protect against it as well.

Dr. Jacob Wenger taught about the Naval Orange Worm

We also discussed the shaking process in almonds and were able to witness the equipment used to shake the trees. Ranch Manager Rob gave us a tour of the campus’s working orchard where we discussed the importance of the care and maintenance in order to keep harvesting on track.

From the field, we went to the Jordan Lab. This state of the art lab has been a great addition to the campus and we were fortunate to get a behind the scenes tour. The lab allows for in-depth ag research. The professional nature of the lab is something the students noticed right away. One lab was dedicated to the study of the Naval Orange Worm. Dr. Wenger shared his knowledge and how they are considering working on a way to make the worm glow for earlier detection. They use the smallest of needles to inject the worms to change their DNA then breed this new gene We were able to study the different life cycles of the worms.

More Than Just the College Experience at UC Davis!

FARMS Leadership Program: San Joaquin: January 24th,  2019

Location of Field Day: Davis, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

  • Dan Sehnert
  • Ed DePeters
  • Katharina Ullman

Theme: College and Career Exploration

Theme: College and Career Exploration

Summary of the Day:

Dan Sehnert, the UC Davis Department of Animal Science Facilities Coordinator, welcomed the San Joaquin FARMS Leadership students to UC Davis. The students were then split up into 4 groups and toured the Dairy Cattle Facility, Horse Facility, Avian Hatchery, and the Meats Lab. At the dairy the students were able to assist in treating a sick cow, see new born calves, and help UC Davis student employees vaccinate. At the horse facility the students were given a tour and learned about the different ways in which horses are studied at UC Davis. Afterwards the students were given the opportunity to groom the horse’s as well as see a week old foal that was bred and born at the facility. At the hatchery student’s learned how to candle eggs and were able to see different varieties of birds at different stages of incubation. The final facility the students visited was the Meats Lab. Students were given a tour, the different processing practices used to process cattle, hogs and lambs were discussed and the students were able to sample some beef jerky and snack sticks that the Meats Lab produced.

After the facility tours we all met back at the UC Davis Cole Facility where Dr. Ed DePeter’s joined us. He discussed with the FARMS Leadership students the college experience. Dr. DePeter’s is a professor at UC Davis and went over the different classes and opportunities that both UC Davis and the Animal Science Department offer. After our visit with Dr. DePeter’s we headed to campus where the students had the opportunity to dine like a college student at Tecero Student Dining Hall.

We concluded our day at the Student Farm and Market Garden. Katharina Ullman, the Director of the Student Farm, welcomed us and gave the students a tour. The students were able to learn about the different crops and herbs grown at the Student Farm as well as see the Market Garden and learn about the CSA program that UC Davis students implement.  Afterwards the students toured some near by classes and walked through one of the labs in the Plant Science building. We ended our day with an activity and the students collected cuttings from different plants and made mini bouquets with different aromas from flowers and spices.

SJVC Veterinary Services

FARMS Leadership Program

Central Valley Central FARMS Leadership

Thursday, January 24, 2019

San Joaquin Valley College, Fresno CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:  Fara Singh

Veterinary Services

Upon arrival, the students practiced more leadership staples as well as learning to write thank yous and properly Thank our hosts.  After the actual SJVC Students got on to the floor to work with the animals we divide our students into 3 groups. In each 20 Minute rotation students were put through a learning demonstration.  The different areas were Dental, Contrast Study, Physical Exam, Jerry Dog Surgery, Scrub in Demo and finally, students dissected Owl Pellets. We were treated to a Pizza Lunch provided by SJVC. After lunch students completed a career questionnaire and we discussed the CAP Presentations and talked about possible FARMS Advanced opportunities.

Student Chuyeng Xiong said, “My favorite trip that I went on was to SJVC pet tech program because we got to see how the nurses perform x-rays on the animals and care for the pets. The practice routine examinations on the pets I found interesting but did not like to watch. Learning how to properly handle the lab equipment and lab samples were cool too.”

Hartnell College – Alisal Campus

FARMS Leadership | Monterey and Santa Cruz | January 24, 2019

Participating Schools:

  • Gonzales High School
  • North Salinas High School
  • Soledad High School
  • Watsonville High School

Location:

Hartnell College Alisal Campus

1752 E. Alisal Street, Salinas, CA 93905

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

  • Anely Meneses – Field Day Planning Support
  • Melissa Casillas, Director of Career Training
  • Belen Gonzales – Coordinator of job and internship placement
  • Dr. Emily Rustad – Plant Science Instructor
  • Michael Davis – Welding Instructor
  • Fabiola & Sam – MakerSpace

Summary of the Day:

We arrived at the beautiful Alisal Campus promptly at 9 am. Students began the day by talking about their plans after high school and where they see themselves in 1 year and in 5 years.

“[I would like to] go to a 2-year college then transfer. [I want to] play basketball and  have a good job. Or I will go straight into a 4-year college”- Janet Arias, WHS

“ In one year I hope to be redeeming a scholarship to a four year college.” – Randy Huynh, NSH

“ I will attend Hartnelll College. I see myself with my degree and working my career.” – Vicky Aceves, GHS

Continue reading Hartnell College – Alisal Campus

Another day on the “Pharm”

Woodland High School at Pharm Schaer
SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | January 24, 2019

Participating School
Woodland High School

Partners/Landowners
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Candice Schaer

Mentors
Fanny Ye, Soil Conservationist, NRCS
Gina Radieve, Environmental Scientist, California Department of Water Resources
Miles Daprato, Environmental Steward for UCD Campus Planning and Environmental Stewardship Department
Susie Bresney, Staff Scientist, Stockholm Environment Institute

Summary of the Day
Just two weeks after installing irrigation at Pharm Schaer, we were back for the second phase of our project – planting the native trees and shrubs that will provide habitat and increase biodiversity on Candice Schaer’s property in Guinda.

We were once again treated to a brilliant, clear day in the Capay Valley with beautiful views of the hills. We began our day with an opening circle, playing “Where the Wind Blows” to learn more about one another. Then mentor groups learned to identify some of the plants we would be planting that day, including manzanita, Cleveland sage, coyote brush, fuschia, and toyon. Woodland High students played the most enthusiastic, competitive version of “Steal the Native Plant” I’ve seen all year – we had to modify the rules to prevent collisions!

Next, Brandon Baker of Yolo County Resource Conservation District led the students in a planting demonstration to learn the proper way to plant a native plant. Then students broke off into mentor groups, planting along the southern and eastern perimeters of Pharm Schaer. While planting, students were excited to see the sheep and llama that were providing weed control on the property! By the end of the morning, students had planted 120 native plants, buried two sections of irrigation line, and even started mulching the plants to reduce moisture loss and weed growth. We’ll finish this mulching project at our final Field Day in a few weeks.

After lunch, mentor Miles Daprato led a discussion about native ecology and read an excerpt from the book “The Ohlone Way” to help students visualize what this area might have been like thousands of years ago. This helped to put the restoration effort into context – though we won’t be able to get this area to look like it did back then, the hedgerow they installed will help provide resources to species whose habitat has been reduced.

Since we had seen so many birds on our first Field Day, I brought binoculars for our second Field Day and mentor groups explored the property, binocs in hand. Groups were able to spot Western Bluebirds, Say’s Phoebes, Western Scrub-Jays and more – even some cows grazing on the hills! Then, students found a quiet spot to reflect on the day and write a postcard to themselves about their experiences.

At closing circle, one student summed up her experience wonderfully, “I liked that we weren’t just planting, we were helping wildlife too!”. Thanks for another great day, Woodland High!