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UC Agriculture & Natural Resources News

Butterfly Summit Features UC Davis Expert Art Shapiro

A male monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

How's the butterfly population faring in north-central California? What do you plant to attract and sustain them? You can find out at the second annual Butterfly Summit, a free event hosted by Annie's Annuals and Perennials in Richmond.  The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on...

Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 2:03 PM

UC sheep shearing school eases sheep shearer shortage

Aspiring sheep shearers flocked to the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in May for a week of training on the proper techniques for harvesting wool from sheep, reported Tiffany Camhi on KQED Radio News.

“We try to get the students shearing the first day because they make a lot of mistakes,” said UC Cooperative Extension advisor John Harper, who heads up the annual training session.

The school teaches the New Zealand style of shearing, which causes the least amount of stress for the sheep and the shearer. It involves some fancy footwork, which Harper likens to a dance.

“We're dancing instructors,” Harper said. “It's like 'Dancing With The Stars' on steroids, but with sheep.”

Expert sheep shearers can expect to find work that pays well. 

UCCE advisor Dan Macon said the growing popularity of backyard flocks in California is adding to the demand for shearers.

“Infrastructure of the sheep industry is a key component,” Macon said. “Having people with that kind of skill and willingness to work hard is desperately needed.”

Read more about the UCCE Sheep Shearing school here: UC sheep shearing school prepares students for gainful employment

Shearers can earn $50 to $100 per hour, UCCE's John Harper said, and can start a business with a $3,000 investment in equipment. (Photo: Evett Kilmartin)
Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 1:46 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

A 'Page' in an Important Chapter on Wild and Managed Bees

UC Davis doctoral student and pollination ecologist Maureen Page has received prestigious three-year fellowship, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, funded by the Department of Defense.

Congratulations to doctoral student and pollination ecologist Maureen Page of the Neal Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology! She's the recipient of a prestigious three-year fellowship, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, for her research...

A Sacramento coalition wants to serve 1 million healthy meals to children this summer

When school's out, many children who live in poverty no longer eat nutritious meals like they do during school as part of the free and reduced-cost school lunch program.

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in Sacramento County has joined a coalition to promote the summer meals program, which is aiming to serve one million meals during summer 2018.

UC ANR's EFNEP program staffed a booth along with the UC Master Food Preserver Program at the Million Meals Summer picnic for Sacramento youth.

The coalition was formed by State Sen. Richard Pan, who invited Sacramento students to the State Capitol for a picnic May 22 launching the “Million Meals Summer.”

“In Sacramento County, on average 1.9 million free or reduced-price lunches are served each month while school is in session,” said Sen. Pan. “For so many of these children, school meals are their primary source of nutrition.”

Sen. Robert Pan, in center with white shirt, dances with children at the Million Meals Summer picnic.

In the summertime, the number of lunches served drops to less than 10 percent of the school-year number.

“Over the last couple of years, my office has worked with a growing number of organizations to help close the gap of child nutrition,” Sen. Pan said.

At the picnic, Sen. Pan, a pediatrician, reminded the children that eating healthy through the summer will get them ready to learn when school starts again.

Students enjoyed a healthy lunch.

Sen. Pan said Kim Frinzel, associate director of the California Department of Education nutrition services division, is leading the effort to set up sufficient meal sites and encourage children to attend.

“You get a great meal,” Frinzel told the students. “You get to hang out with your friends. And you get to participate in fun activities. Clap if you will help us serve a million meals.”

Linda Dean, left, and Vanessa Kenyon of Sacramento EFNEP.

Vanessa Kenyon, EFNEP program supervisor for Sacramento and San Joaquin counties, said EFNEP will provide nutrition education training for Samuel Merritt University nurses-in-training.

“Summer meals are provided at 140 sites in Sacramento County. If the children stick around after eating, they can take part in enrichment programs. The student nurses will fulfill a portion of their service hours by sharing nutrition education resources and activities at the meal sites,” Kenyon said.

The UC EFNEP program, which serves 24 counties in California, assists limited-resource families gain the knowledge and skills to choose nutritionally sound diets and improve well-being.

The United Way California Capital Region heads the coalition of community, business and state partners supporting the Million Meals Summer in Sacramento County.

 
 
Physical activities at the picnic included parachute play.
 
UC Cooperative Extension apiculture specialist Elina NiƱo shared information with students at the picnic about the lives of bees.
 
A few students from American Lakes Elementary School said they would be eating at summer meal sites. Left to right are James Dixon, 9, Yahaira Ramirez, 11, Diana De La Cerda, 12, and Eduardo Liscano, 9.
 
UC ANR marketing and communications specialist Suzanne Morikawa, center, fills in a visitor about EFNEP's role in the community.
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 1:19 PM
Tags: EFNEP (9), nutrition (194), school lunches (1), Vanessa Kenyon (1)
Focus Area Tags: Food

Bee-Bopping with the Penstemon Margarita BOP

A honey bee approaches a Penstemon  Margarita BOP. BOP? That means

So we purchased a sky blue Penstemon cultivar with a tag labeled "Penstemon Margarita BOP." BOP? Bureau of Prisons? Bottom of the Pyramid? Business Owner's Policy? Basic Operation Plan? Breach of Peace? No, none of the above. It's an acronym for "Bottom of the Porch." Now that's...

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 4:31 PM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

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