A Day of Reciprocity

SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | February 17th, 2022

Location of the Field Day:
The Maples – CLBL Headquarters

Partners/Landowners:
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Point Blue Conservation Science
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
The Maples

Mentors:
Beth DelReal
Amber Rosen
Jeanne Wirka
Alex Lintner

Accomplishments: Planted 145 container plants with gopher baskets and installed ~1500 feet of irrigation line with emitters for each plant.

Summary of the Day:
For the first time this season we had students at The Maples, the Center for Land-Based Learning Headquarters, for a planting filled field day! Beginning with a discussion surrounding the act of reciprocity students ate breakfast and discussed how sharing food related to the restoration project we were about to complete.

Over the course of the day students reflected upon their impact on the environment by recognizing the peoples’ whose land we were working on (Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation) and discussing the dangers of a single perspective. Following the introduction to the space students laid out irrigation line and discussed the impacts properly installed drip irrigation can have on the survival of a plant.

Planting 145 container plants with gopher baskets and approximately 1500 feet of irrigation students got to see the impact of their efforts. Rounding out the day with a learning activity about ecosystems students further reflected on what they had learned and how they were positively impacting the environment.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions! A special thanks to Yolo RCD who helped with the implementation plan and took care of our plants before the long awaited planting day. Additonal thanks to NRCS and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation whose support makes this project possible.

First Field Day Fun!

Davis High School at Good Humus Farms SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | February 8th, 2022

Location of the Field Day:
Good Humus Farms

Partners/Landowners:
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Point Blue Conservation Science
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
Good Humus Farms

Mentors:
Beth DelReal, Caring for our Watersheds Coordinator, Center for Land-Based Learning
Erna Piper, Retired Science Teacher
Corey Shake, Partner Biologist, Point Blue Conservation Science, NRCS
Josh McCabe, Restoration Coordinator, ACRT Pacific
Joaquin Pastrana, GrizzlyCorps Fellow, Yolo RCD

Accomplishments: Planted 100 plug plants (Mugwort, Goldenrod, Verbena, and Evening Primrose) and installed 2,050 feet of irrigation line

Summary of the Day:
The SLEWS program has long awaited the day that students would be able to return to the field and it finally came on Thursday when 20 Davis High School students had their first field day at Good Humus Farms.

To start off the cold day we circled up and got to know each other through a group dancing game where students get to pick their own dance to match their name. Shortly after students got to gain perspective as to what this project means in the large scheme of things. We discussed different types of models and got the opportunity to act a model out as we discussed population dynamics and human impact.

Eager to get to the restoration activity, students met landowner, Annie Main. Annie introduced students to the history of the farm, the importance of organic farming, and the impact prior hedgerows have had on the farm due to the extreme winds they experience. Wanting to make a positive impact, students got started on their hedgerow project by installing 2,050 feet of irrigation and planting 100 plug plants (Mugwort, Goldenrod, Verbena, and Evening Primrose)!

Thanks to everyone for their contributions! A special thanks to Yolo RCD who helped with the implementation plan and took care of our plants before the long awaited planting day. Additonal thanks to NRCS and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation whose support makes this project possible. A final thanks to the owners Annie and Jeff for allowing us to assist with the planting of hedgerow on their farm.

Follow Good Humus Farms Here: https://www.goodhumus.com

Exploring the Plant Materials Center

FARMS Leadership | Sacramento Valley | November 9, 2021

Location of Field Day:
NRCS Plant Materials Center – Lockeford, CA

Field Day Host and Mentors:
National Resource Conservation Service
Plant Materials Center – Matthew Bronson, Margaret Smither-Kopperl, Shawn Vue

Theme:
Interaction of Conservation and Agriculture

Our San Joaquin FARMS Leadership crew spent their second field day at the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Lockeford, where staff work to test plant species related to California conservation concerns. Students explored how the PMC conducts research on cover crops and pollinator species and then works directly with agricultural workers to help implement practices that maximize soil health and native wildlife on farm land.

During a breakfast of yogurt, granola, Asian pears and bananas, students were formally introduced to FARMS Student Leadership Roles. These are 4 different roles (Question Master, Nutrition Educators, Waste Management Warriors, and Partner Experts–see attached photo for a full description of each leadership role!) that are assigned to a new set of students each field day in order to help them practice the hard but oh so necessary leadership skills of decision-making, public speaking, direct communication, self-reflection, and research. Afterwards, our very first Question Master of the year kicked off our opening circle by choosing and posing the reflection question to the group “What is your top priority over the next 6 months?” Students had some incredible answers, like learning more about nutritious foods and how they impact bodies and becoming fluent in Russian!

Next we were joined by Margaret the PMC’s Manager, Matthew the Farm Manager, and Shawn the coordinator of all things PMC. Each shared about the mission of the PMC, their individual backgrounds and career journeys, and their individual roles at the PMC. Matthew then led us on a tour of the PMC facilities starting with the PMC’s shop, seed cleaning and storing facilities, laboratory, machinery storage shed, and lath house. Then we all hopped into a vehicle for a driving tour of the PMC’s farm land. Margaret led us across one field containing an experimental plot of cover crops, in which students feasted on sunflower seeds plucked directly from sunflower heads. Many of them twisted off the heads packed with seeds to plant their own sunflower patches at home.

During lunch, our Nutrition Educators went above and beyond to gather some background research on three fresh foods we were chowing on in our lunch dishes: squash, spinach and basil. After they gathered their information and eloquently presented the nutritional benefits of each food item to their peers, we prepared for our afternoon venture: planting an educational native pollinator garden for future generations of students to enjoy. Matthew briefed students on the process beginning to end including measuring and staking out the plots, cutting and securing down weed paper, and planting seedlings into the holes within the paper.

The sun escaped cloud cover just in time for us to head down to our plot and students set right to work. After some problem-solving and utilization of geometry class skills to ensure plot angles were correct, students measured and laid weed paper and planted away. Along the way, students discovered plenty of new worm, beetle and spider friends and by the end of the afternoon, they had established a garden with over 150 new plants!

Closing the day with our reflection circle, students had plenty to appreciate about the day. Many loved getting their hands dirty while planting fresh green life, others remembered climbing up into tractors and seed-distributing machines, and others most enjoyed traipsing through the PMC fields and learning about their cover crops. One student who has long wanted to go into the medical field shared that the last two field days have her re-thinking her career plan; now she’d like to find a professional path that combines medicine with agriculture and conservation efforts. Music to any FARMS Leadership Coordinator’s ears!