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Posts Tagged: Research

HREC Youth Volunteers Support Oak Research

My name is Valentina Evans, and I am a new volunteer at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center. My partners Benjamin Evans, and Zane Petersen have chosen to volunteer with me at the HREC for our senior project at Ukiah High School. A few weeks ago on the twenty-first of December we volunteered to help two researchers, Paulo who studied at UC Santa Cruz, and Wyath, who is still studying at Humboldt State University, to plant acorns from different ecosystems, and analyze how they will adapt to conditions with  more water, less water, more sunlight or a lack of sunlight. This study is part of Dr. Blair McLaughin's study from the Zavaleta Lab at UC Santa Cruz.

We started off by digging holes about 1 foot deep and laying a thin square piece of chicken wire at the bottom of the holes to prevent gophers from entering and eating the acorns. We then took a circular strip of chicken wire and placed it on top of the flattened piece at the bottom. With the second strip of chicken wire standing horizontal, we continued by covering the holes with the same dirt we originally dug out.  Now with the metal secured in place, Paulo came around and gently placed the acorns inside of the holes. The hands-on experience was extremely fascinating, not to mention peaceful. The view at the top of the hill was breathtaking, and the weather was just perfect. The entire process was tiring, but having had the opportunity to participate in a lab/research project made the whole experience worth it.

Although the project will not produce any data until the acorns sprout, the idea behind the project is captivating. Paulo and Wyath are studying the growth of oak trees from all sorts of climates, locations, and ecosystems. Some of the acorns are from northern California and others from way down in southern California. They will be monitoring the water levels, and amount of sunlight the oak trees will receive, all in hopes to see how the oak trees will adapt to different changes in their environments. Seeing as how I want to major in Biological Sciences in college, this experience was exceptionally informative for me and has taught me how critical patience, effort and time are in order to successfully accomplish a lab and receive the most accurate facts. I am very grateful to have been able to participate in this ongoing project and am looking forward to continuing to be a part of the younger generation who can benefit from having the Hopland Research and Extension Center available to us, to further our knowledge about the environment.

 

 

 

 

Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 1:55 PM
  • Author: Valentina Evans
Tags: Citizen Science (9), Climate Change (94), Oak (9), Research (20), STEM (4), Volunteers (7), Youth Development (8)
Focus Area Tags: 4-H Agriculture Environment Family

URGENT: Post Fire Research Opportunities at Hopland REC

HREC and Post-Fire Research Opportunities

What is HREC?

The UC Hopland Research & Extension Center (HREC) is a multi-disciplinary research and education facility in Mendocino County located in the foothills of the Coast Range about two hours north of Berkeley. As part of the UC system for over 65 years, we are stewards of more than 5,300 acres of oak woodland, grassland, chaparral, and riparian environments.  Elevation at the center ranges from 500 ft to 3,000 ft. HREC currently maintains a research flock of about 500 breeding ewes that have been the subjects of numerous studies on ranching practices, range management, livestock nutrition, wool production and breeding.  Field experiments and demonstrations conducted here since 1951 have led to more than 1,500 publications in animal science, entomology, plant ecology, public health, watershed management, and wildlife biology.  Our website is hrec.ucanr.edu.

The River Fire

As part of the Mendocino Complex fire, the River Fire burned through HREC on the evening of July 27 and into July 28.  Approximately 3,000 acres of our center burned in this fire. Due to the concentrated efforts of Center staff and Cal Fire crews, all of our employees, residents, sheep, livestock dogs, offices and residences were saved.  Below please find the burn map of our property.  All of the black area to the north was burned and the dark red patches were areas of vegetation that remained unburned. The fire intensity varied greatly as did oak survival. You will see two smaller burned areas in the southern part of the property that were prescribed burns performed in June of this year.

Research Opportunities

While this was a blow to current research, pastures, and water infrastructure, we also see this as a wonderful opportunity.  Due to extensive historical data sets and ongoing research projects, coupled with a variety of grazed and ungrazed pastures, and prescribed burn plots for comparison with wildfire, there is enormous potential for pre- and post-fire studies in the fields of:

  • Watersheds and hydrology; fire science; plant science; soil science; entomology and parasitology; wildlife and wildlife ecology; rangeland management; grazing practices as fire suppression…..

To support this research, HREC offers:

  • A well maintained network of roads that accesses almost all parts of the property, vehicles to use.
  • A fully equipped shop staffed by employees skilled in fabrication and repair of research equipment

o    Electrical, wood working, welding and metal fabrication, mechanical

  • Skilled staff trained in field work techniques, with long histories of successful research support
  • Fiber optic internet with Wi-Fi access throughout headquarters, strong cell service in most areas
  • A vault of raw data, photos, and final papers from research conducted at HREC.
  • Warehouses for storing equipment, a variety of accommodations from dorms to private houses
  • Wet and dry lab space (undergoing renovation during fall 2018, available spring 2019)
  • Lysimeter with available watering system, electrical connections, and fiber optic access point
  • A research flock of sheep consisting of just under 500 breeding ewes, with all needed facilities and RFID tracking
  • Fenced pastures and biological reserve areas for different treatment plots and controls
  • A fully equipped conference facility with A/V equipment and fiber optic connections

Next Steps

  • Zoom meeting on September 7th, 10am. More in depth information, Q&A.
  • Field day on October 19th, 10am-5pm. Presentations, brainstorming, Q&A, site tours, available accommodations
  • To register for either event follow this link: http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=25451

Contact: HREC Interim Director John Bailey, jtbailey@ucanr.edu, (707) 744-1424 x 112



 

 

Posted on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 11:34 AM
Tags: Chaparral (1), Fire (22), Grazing (19), Opportunity (1), Post-Fire (1), Prescribed burn (2), Rangeland (56), Rangeland Management (5), Research (20), River Fire (1), Sheep (47), Wildfire (150)

Bumble Bees on the Move

A bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, nectaring on lavender in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Bumble bees stole the show during the Graduate Student Poster Research Competition at the fourth annual UC Davis Bee Symposium, themed "Keeping Bees Healthy." John Mola, a fourth-year doctoral student in the Neal Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won the $850...

A bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, nectaring on lavender in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, nectaring on lavender in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, nectaring on lavender in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis doctoral student John Mola won the Graduate Student Research Poster Competition at the UC Davis Bee Symposium with his work on bumble bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis doctoral student John Mola won the Graduate Student Research Poster Competition at the UC Davis Bee Symposium with his work on bumble bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis doctoral student John Mola won the Graduate Student Research Poster Competition at the UC Davis Bee Symposium with his work on bumble bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis doctoral student Maureen Page stands by her research poster on honey bees that won second place at the UC Davis Bee Symposium. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis doctoral student Maureen Page stands by her research poster on honey bees that won second place at the UC Davis Bee Symposium. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis doctoral student Maureen Page stands by her research poster on honey bees that won second place at the UC Davis Bee Symposium. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis doctoral student John Mola explains his research to the judging panel. From left are Mea McNeil, timer; Santiago Ramirez of the UC Davis Evolution and Ecology faculty; Tom Seeley of Cornell, the keynote speaker at the symposium; and Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis doctoral student John Mola explains his research to the judging panel. From left are Mea McNeil, timer; Santiago Ramirez of the UC Davis Evolution and Ecology faculty; Tom Seeley of Cornell, the keynote speaker at the symposium; and Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis doctoral student John Mola explains his research to the judging panel. From left are Mea McNeil, timer; Santiago Ramirez of the UC Davis Evolution and Ecology faculty; Tom Seeley of Cornell, the keynote speaker at the symposium; and Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis doctoral student Maureen Page tells judges that honey bees may have negative impacts on native bees and native plant communities in certain contexts. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis doctoral student Maureen Page tells judges that honey bees may have negative impacts on native bees and native plant communities in certain contexts. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis doctoral student Maureen Page tells judges that honey bees may have negative impacts on native bees and native plant communities in certain contexts. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The panel of judges conferring. In the foreground is timer Mea McNeil. In back (from left) are judges Robbin Thorp and Santiago Ramirez of UC Davis, and Tom Seeley of Cornell. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The panel of judges conferring. In the foreground is timer Mea McNeil. In back (from left) are judges Robbin Thorp and Santiago Ramirez of UC Davis, and Tom Seeley of Cornell. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The panel of judges conferring. In the foreground is timer Mea McNeil. In back (from left) are judges Robbin Thorp and Santiago Ramirez of UC Davis, and Tom Seeley of Cornell. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Drones, Vines and Oaks: Hopland RECs Harvest Celebration

Acorns are dropping from the mighty oaks at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC) – marking a time to celebrate the 5,358 acres of oak woodland and rangeland at the facility.

On Oct. 15 the doors to the center will open, inviting the public to join scientists and staff as they enjoy the fruits of the season with a farm-to-table luncheon, live bluegrass music and an oak-inspired silent auction. Funds from this event will support educational programming at the site.

The event offers the community the chance to learn about the research being conducted and enjoy the best in local produce.

“From 10 a.m. to 12 noon there will be optional field tours of some of our key research projects, where visitors can meet the scientists, see what tools they use and what they are learning about our environment,” said Hannah Bird, community educator at HREC.

Participants can choose from four field experiences, including large mammal wildlife research using the latest in drone technology with UC Berkeley researcher Justin Brashares to a relaxed visit in the vineyard tasting Mediterranean wine varietals with UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor Glenn McGourty. A stroll with the HREC director will offer a visit to the Shippey Hall, woodworking and mechanic shops, lambing barn and greenhouse to experience a slice of the diversity of research, outreach and teaching offered on the site.

A three-course luncheon runs from 12 to 3 p.m. and includes presentations from HREC director Kim Rodrigues, live bluegrass music from local band “Gibson Creek” and the silent auction.

“We've been so grateful to all those who have offered artwork, jewelry, food and oak woodland experiences for this silent auction,” Bird said. “I'm going to struggle not to bid for them all myself.”

 

Auction items include gorgeous oak paintings, a stunning oak table made by Ben Frey, a dinner and farm tour with Magruder Ranch and a family science adventure kit focused on our woodlands, alongside books, posters and photographs.

Funds raised at the event will support the creation of a new nature trail to Parson's Creek, which cannot currently be safely accessed during school field trips.

“We are now offering many more opportunities for the public to visit our site. More than 500 K-12 students and 2,000 community members visit annually, yet we cannot currently access the creek safely,” Rodrigues said. “This trail will open up great opportunities for riparian educational activities with our local students.”

Tickets cost $65 for adults and $15 for children.

Register online 

 or by calling Hannah Bird at (707) 744-1424, Ext. 105. The registration deadline is by October 11. The event will be at the Rod Shippey Hall, 4070 University Road, Hopland.

Due to the nature of the research with sheep and a commitment to using guard dogs as part of a predator control program, no dogs are allowed on UC ANR HREC for public events.

 

More on our speakers

 

Justin Brashares, Ph.D., is an associate professor at UC Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.  His focus areas include

the catastrophic global decline of biodiversity widely recognized as among the most pressing problems we face as a society. His research attempts to understand how consumption of wild animals and conversion of natural habitats affects the dynamics of animal communities and the persistence of populations. Work in his group extends beyond traditional animal conservation to consider the economic, political and cultural factors that drive and, in turn, are driven by, changes in wildlife abundance and diversity. Through these efforts, his group strives to propose empirically based, interdisciplinary strategies for biodiversity conservation.

 

Glenn McGourty is the UC Cooperative Extension viticulture and plant science advisor for Lake and Mendocino counties. He received a bachelor's degree in botany from Humboldt State University in 1974 and an master's degree in plant soil and water science from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1979. McGourty joined UC Cooperative Extension in 1987, and works with winegrape growers, wineries, nurseries, landscapers and vegetable growers. Present research activities include evaluating 14 Mediterranean winegrape varieties; clonal trials of Sauvignon blanc, comparison of organic, biodynamic and conventional farming for their effects on winegrape and soil quality; and evaluation of cover crop species.

 

Prahlada Papper is an educator and naturalist as well as a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley in David Ackerly's ecology lab. His research at the Hopland Research and Extension Center involves the genetic and ecological diversity of California oaks. Papper doesn't really expect to find answers to the age old mysteries of oaks, but does think that by using modern tools like genome sequencing and ecological models, we can look at some of the old questions in new ways.

 

Kim Rodrigues, Ph.D. is the director of the Hopland Research and Extension Center. She began her UC career with Cooperative Extension in 1991 as a forestry and natural resources advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties. She became the county director two years later. Her research and extension activities have focused on environmental policy and engagement of the public in resolving environmental conflicts. Her experience, coupled with a great passion for HREC's 5,300 acres of oak woodland and a keen desire to reach out to the community to encourage collaboration and partnerships, offers new opportunities and exciting times at HREC.

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2016 at 3:16 PM

October is National Farm-to-School Month

Partner with the University of California for National Farm to School Month.
Schools across the country are celebrating local connections to local food producers in October during National Farm to School Month. Education and outreach activities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and field trips are teaching students about healthy, local foods and food's journey from the farm to their forks.

There are plenty of opportunities for teachers and schools to celebrate and get involved in National Farm to School Month with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). Here are a few ideas to get you started.

4-H youth development

Launch a 4-H Club at your school. The 4-H Youth Development Program emphasizes enrichment education through inquiry-based learning. Core content areas include Healthy Living as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Clubs have access to a wealth of curricula materials exploring food, agriculture and natural resources. 4-H also offers the Ag in the Classroom school enrichment program.

Lettuce planting delights young gardeners.
Boots on the ground

Invite UC ANR academics and program staff to your career day or science fair or to make a classroom presentation. Specialists from Master Gardeners, Nutrition Education, Project Learning Tree, California Naturalist and other UC ANR programs know how to engage and inspire your students.

Some programs, including Project Learning Tree, offer "train the trainer" professional development workshops that equip educators with the skills and knowledge to teach concepts in their own classrooms. Project Learning Tree also provides free activity guides to teachers who attend their workshops. The guides highlight differentiated instruction, reading connections, and assessment strategies and offer ideas to integrate technology into classroom instruction,

Research and Extension Centers

Take your students on a field trip to a UC ANR Research and Extension Center (REC). The nine RECs in California are focal points for community participation and for active involvement in current and relevant regional agricultural and natural resource challenges.

Visiting a REC offers students a unique opportunity to learn about food production through the lens of applied science research in plant pathology, integrated pest management, conservation tillage, water conservation, development of new crop varieties, and much more. Some RECs also host extended education programs such as Sustainable You! Summer Camp and FARM SMART.

Students learn about post-harvest research at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Take the first step

The 2016 National Farm to School Month theme is One Small Step, which highlights the easy ways anyone can get informed, get involved and take action to advance farm to school in their own communities and across the country.

Each week will have a different focus:

  • Education (October 3-7)
  • Healthy School Meals (October 10-14)
  • Farmers & Producers (October 17-21)
  • The Next Generation (October 24-28)

Join the celebrations by signing the One Small Step pledge then take your own small step to support healthy kids, thriving farms and vibrant communities this October by partnering with UC ANR.

This story en español.

 

Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 7:29 AM
  • Author: Roberta Barton

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