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4-H member is a winner from curly haired cavies to chocoflan

Celeste Harrison with her prize-winning chocoflan dessert. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
From cavies to chili to chocoflan...

Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harrison, a fourth-year member of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, Vallejo, shares her expertise about chili and cavies (guinea pigs), but she's also a pro in the kitchen and at making a dessert called “Chocoflan.”

It's part cake, part flan.

The chocolate dessert recipe originates “from my Great-Aunt Esther and it's what we serve at all our family gatherings,” she said.

It's a winning one, at that. And just in time for Valentine's Day.

Celeste baked the dessert for the recent Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day — where 4-H'ers share what they're learned in their projects — and her presentation and recipe earned a showmanship award, one of seven awarded.

Last year she won a showmanship pin for her project, “Curls Just Want to Have Fun: How to Care for Your Curly Haired Guinea Pig.”

Celeste, a seventh-grader is active in 4-H. She serves as the treasurer of her 4-H club and last year served as a Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) officer in the Solano County 4-H Program. This year she's enrolled in five projects: cavies, poultry, dogs, record keeping and rabbits.

Always eager to learn, Celeste decided to “take dogs, rabbits and poultry so I can learn showmanship,” she said, noting that she competed in the Round Robin Small Animal Showmanship at two county fairs last year but was inexperienced at showing animals other than cavies. So this year's she's set her sights on learning more about them. Her goal: to place first in Round Robin.

No stranger to the kitchen, Celeste served as a member of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club's Chili Cook-Off team for the last two years in the Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day.

This year, however, she turned from chili to chocoflan. The evaluators loved it! So did the 4-H'ers and their families who sampled it.

Here's the recipe:

Chocoflan Recipe

A bundt pan, deep roasting pan, blender, large bowl and a hand mixer are needed for this recipe.

Ingredients for flan:
A 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
A 7.6-ounce can of Media Crema (light cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces of cream cheese
5 eggs

Ingredients for chocolate cake:
2 cups white sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water

Directions:
Put an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat a bundt pan with cooking oil spray.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and cocoa mixture and beat with a hand mixer for two minutes. Add the wet mixture in increments of one cup into flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir cocoa powder into hot water until melted and then stir into cake mix and set aside.

In a blender, add in all flan ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Pour cake batter into a bundt pan (make sure surface is level). Pour flan mixture into the cake batter but do not mix (it will sink to the bottom of the bundt pan while in the oven).

Put chocoflan into a large roasting pan and fill the pan with about 2 inches of warm water. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and set it on top of the bundt pan (but do not fold it over the bundt pan.) Bake for one hour and 45 minutes. Remove cake from oven and let cool before inverting it onto a serving platter. Enjoy.

Solano County 4-H Program
The Solano County 4-H Youth Development Program, part of the UC Cooperative Extension Program, follows the motto, “Making the Best Better.” 4-H, which stands for head, heart, health and hands, is open to youths ages 5 to 19.  In age-appropriate projects, they learn skills through hands-on learning in projects ranging from arts and crafts, computers and leadership to dog care, poultry, rabbits and woodworking. They develop skills they would otherwise not attain at home or in public or private schools. For more information about Solano County 4-H, contact 4-H program representative Valerie Williams at vawilliams@ucanr.edu.

 

Celeste Harrison's chocoflan dessert was a big hit at the Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day. She won a showmanship award. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Celeste Harrison served as a member of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club’s Chili Team for two years. Members of the 2018 team that prepared Ruby Redstone Chili were (from left) Darren Stephens, Celeste Harrison, Julietta Wynholds and Hanna Stephens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
From cavies to chocoflan: At the 2018 Solano County 4-H Project Skills Day, Celeste Harrison won a showmanship award for her cavies (guinea pig) project: "Curls Just Want to Have Fun: How to Care for Your Curly Haired Guinea Pig.” Here she explains her project to evaluator Sharon Taylor of Dixon. This year she focused on chocoflan and won another showmanship pin. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 2:11 PM
Focus Area Tags: 4-H Food

New project to build climate resilience through improved land management

ANR is partnering with UC Merced and UC Irvine scientists to develop new tools and methods for better land management.

A $4.6 million grant to UC Merced and UC Irvine will help UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers develop new tools and methods for California land owners to better manage the state's forests, shrub lands and grasslands.

California's Strategic Growth Council agreed to fund the Innovation Center for Advancing Ecosystem Climate Solutions, a three-year program co-led by UC Merced Professor Roger Bales and UC Irvine Professor Michael Goulden. The money comes through California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work

The goals include reducing wildfire risk, improving long-term carbon sequestration and bolstering resilience in the face of climate change, with an emphasis on California's rural regions and low-income communities.

“Our part of the project is to work with stakeholders and identify areas where we can focus management practices to promote healthy forests, minimize wildfires, improve water security and increase carbon sequestration,” said Toby O'Geen, UC Cooperative Extension soil resource specialist at UC Davis.

“Right now, many of California's forests, shrub lands and grasslands are carbon sources, and we need to change them into carbon sinks,” said Bales, director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and distinguished professor of engineering. “Our research will address information bottlenecks to guide decision making, build local capacity for science-based land management and develop methods for translating benefits of land restoration into financing for land restoration.”

California's recent drought, tree die-offs, wildfires and rising temperatures all point to the necessity of improved forest stewardship, Goulden said.

“Officials in the state government and agencies recognize this need, but uncertainty over how to proceed has sometimes slowed progress,” he said.

Most of the work will be conducted by scientists at Merced and Irvine, but collaborators from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Stanford University, San Diego State University and the University of California Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, as well as state agencies, will play important roles.

“This research will enable UC Cooperative Extension advisors to provide better advice to land managers to reduce the severity of wildfires,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “Severe wildfires are not only releasing greenhouse gases, but polluting the air of many communities, aggravating the health of people in less-affluent, inland areas such as Tulare, Yuba and Mariposa counties.”

At UC Merced, an interdisciplinary group of researchers from two departments — Civil & Environmental Engineering and Management of Complex Systems — will collaborate with UC Cooperative Extension and engage with local stakeholders. The group will study and identify the most-effective land-management practices, in terms of water conservation, forest health, fire resistance and carbon capture.

“We will develop the spatial data and analysis tools to plan landscape restoration, develop local capacity for better managing the state's wildlands in a warming climate, and enumerate the greenhouse gas and other benefits from investments in land management,” Bales said.

Goulden, professor of Earth systems science, said UC Irvine researchers will use a big-data approach to analyze observations collected by satellites since the 1980s to measure the efficacy of thousands of past and ongoing forest treatments, while UC Merced takes a different approach.

“We will work with groups in rural communities to systematically evaluate how well, or poorly, our products can support decision making,” Bales said, “and then develop both implementation pathways and policy recommendations to better and more-quickly implement landscape-restoration and carbon-capture projects across the state.”

Because there are critical gaps in the understanding of carbon cycles, uptake by forests and negative feedback from climate change, this project initiative has been established to develop new knowledge through measurements and modeling. Researchers will synthesize the resulting data to produce actionable information for stakeholders.

Bales and Goulden agreed the Innovation Center will target low-risk, high-yield opportunities to reduce California's greenhouse-gas contributions.

Just a small improvement in management efficiency will have meaningful benefits — on the order of several million metric tons of CO2 per year, Goulden said.

The program will also benefit low-income communities in the state by reducing wildfire risk, which disproportionately impacts poorer areas in California by maintaining water quality through better vegetation management; by fostering tourism in disadvantaged locales; and by preparing students in these areas for careers in sustainability and climate resilience.

Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 11:57 AM
Focus Area Tags: Environment Natural Resources

You Gotta Love Those Tarantulas!

Bohart associate/entomology student Wade Spencer shows Coco McFluffin to Bohart Museum visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

You gotta love those tarantulas at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis. If you don't love them, then at least you'll love their names. Who couldn't love a tarantula named Peaches or Snuggles , two of the first residents? Now a crowd favorite is Coco McFluffin, a...

Bohart associate/entomology student Wade Spencer shows Coco McFluffin to Bohart Museum visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Bohart associate/entomology student Wade Spencer shows Coco McFluffin to Bohart Museum visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bohart associate/entomology student Wade Spencer shows Coco McFluffin to Bohart Museum visitors. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Coco McFluffin is a crowd favorite at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Coco McFluffin is a crowd favorite at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Coco McFluffin is a crowd favorite at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 5:49 PM

Bugs Rule But Other Critters Do, Too, on UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day

A tarantula at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bugs rule, but other critters do, too, on UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day! You won't want to miss the eighth annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, set from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16. The free, family friendly event will feature 13 museums or collections. Have you ever seen a...

A tarantula at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A tarantula at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A tarantula at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lion specimen at the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, located in Room 1394 of the Academic Surge Building. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A lion specimen at the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, located in Room 1394 of the Academic Surge Building. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lion specimen at the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, located in Room 1394 of the Academic Surge Building. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A great-horned owl at the California Raptor Center, located at 1340 Equine Lane, Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A great-horned owl at the California Raptor Center, located at 1340 Equine Lane, Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A great-horned owl at the California Raptor Center, located at 1340 Equine Lane, Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Under pressure: cross-generational communication in Palmer amaranth

Figure 1. Palmer amaranth female and male plants from California and Kansas populations grown under continuous water-deficit (WD, 25-33%) or control well-watered (WW, 100%) conditions. Visual (A) and quantitative (B) height differences. Two asterisks indicate a significant difference in height between female and male plants grown under different irrigation conditions. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.

The environmental conditions under which parental plants are grown can affect the progeny population in many ways. Extreme abiotic environmental conditions such as high temperatures, water stress, nutrient deficiency and herbicide application not only will affect the attributes of the parental...

Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 10:48 AM

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