4-h-youth-development-program

Goats Welcomed Young Students

‘I wish this was my school’: Young Students Get Hands-on at Elkus Ranch

By Pam Kan-Rice UCANR  Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach

Curious goats milled around the masked elementary school students who were raking out the livestock stalls. After a year of social distancing due to COVID-19 precautions, the goats were enthralled by the youngsters who visited UC Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center in San Mateo County.

“The animals were missing kids, they’re used to getting more loving,” said Beth Loof, 4-H youth community educator at Elkus Ranch. “Goats are really social. They get distressed when they are alone.”

Tucked behind the rolling green hills of Half Moon Bay off state Route 1, Elkus Ranch is a working landscape that, in a normal year, hosts people from all over the San Francisco Bay Area for field trips, conferences, community service projects, internships and summer camps.

During the pandemic, UC ANR has limited visitors to “social bubbles” of children and adults for outdoor education at the 125-acre ranch, which has implemented a variety of COVID protocols for the safety of visitors. During Adventure Days, young people spend four hours caring for animals, tending gardens, making a nature-themed craft project and hiking around the property.

“We would love to bring children from urban areas of the Bay Area to Elkus Ranch,” said Frank McPherson, director of UC Cooperative Extension for Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco counties. “So they can learn where food comes from, before it gets to the grocery store.”

On a sunny spring day, 11 students from Share Path Academy in San Mateo visited for Adventure Day, as their first field trip of the year.

“Coming here and having the hands-on learning, being able to hold objects, touch objects, interact with things, it’s all part of learning,” said Erin McCoy, a Share Path Academy teacher. “In science, you can talk about certain things in classes, but when you come out here and you actually apply it to what they’re doing and it’s tactile for them, at this age, it’s really important.”

The group – composed of McCoy, nine fifth-graders, a fourth-grader, a sixth-grader and a couple of parents – spent the day outdoors petting the donkeys, goats, chickens, rabbits and sheep and learning about the animals that live at Elkus Ranch.

“I think it’s been a great opportunity for our children to be outdoors and to enjoy nature, to reconnect with the environment – animals, plants, just the outdoors,” said parent Christina Cabrera. “It’s great for the children and the adults accompanying them.”

Inside the barn, Loof invited the students to sit on straw bales – not the hay bales, which are food for the livestock. She showed the students how wool that is sheared from sheep’s coats is spun into yarn. First, they carded the wool. “You’re going to card it like this. It’s like brushing your hair, but it has a little resistance so it can be a workout,” Loof said, cautioning the students wearing shorts to be careful not to brush their skin with the sharp, wire teeth of the tool. “Get all the fibers nice and flat, lined up, going one way. Fibers are what we call all the strands of wool.”

“This place is awesome.”

 

After twisting the wool by hand into yarn, the students fashioned the natural-colored fuzzy strands into bracelets.

“We love Elkus,” said McCoy, whose son has attended summer camp at the ranch. “This place is awesome.”

Taking a break for lunch, the group walked down the dirt path from the barn past the livestock pens to wash their hands, then sat at primary-colored picnic tables to eat next to a garden.

After lunch, the students exercised their creativity with buckets of clay to mold into animals or roll out and cut with cookie cutters.

In the chicken coop, Loof, who is one of four community educators who work at Elkus Ranch, shared animal science facts such as, “Eggs are viable for two weeks after the hen sits on them in the nest.” She also told funny stories such as how Dora, the white bantam, escaped the coop and ate all the chard in the garden.

“I wish this was my school,” said one student as he held an egg-laying chicken.

The visit ended with a garden tour and a game of hide and seek among the raised beds of onions, squash and other vegetables.

“Being outdoors is an important counterbalance to being on a computer,” said Cabrera, who is also a San Mateo High School wellness counselor. “It’s a great addition to what we’re doing. Just to be with animals.”

Elkus Ranch is still offering Adventure Days for children; the cost is $425 for 10 people. Small groups are also invited for 90-minute visits.

“If all goes well, we plan to offer a three-day mini-camp on Monday through Wednesday of Thanksgiving week,” said Leslie Jensen, Elkus Ranch coordinator.

For more information about Elkus Ranch activities, visit ucanr.edu/adventure or contact Jensen at LKJensen@ucanr.edu.

 

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources brings the power of UC to all 58 California counties. Through research and Cooperative Extension in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition, economic and youth development, our mission is to improve the lives of all Californians. Learn more at ucanr.edu and support our work at donate.ucanr.edu.

 

2021-08-25T20:41:30-07:00August 25th, 2021|

Plumas Livestock Show Goes Forward Despite Dixie Fire

Plumas-Sierra Youth Look for Bids on Livestock August 15

By Pam Kan-Rice UCANR  Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach

Due to the Dixie Fire, the traditional Plumas County Fair was canceled; however, volunteers are working hard to make the Plumas-Sierra Junior Livestock Show happen. 4-H and FFA youth will show their prize-winning livestock this weekend at the Sierraville Roping Grounds. The showing of animals is scheduled to take place on Aug. 13 and 14 with the Junior Livestock Auction on Sunday, Aug. 15.

“We really hope junior livestock supporters in the region and beyond will raise their hands often this year to support the youth livestock producers of Plumas and Sierra counties,” said Megan Neer, Plumas-Sierra Junior Livestock Auction chairman.

“The kids have overcome the challenges of COVID and now face another year of canceled county fair due to the Dixie Fire,” Neer said. “Many of our youth have been directly impacted by the fire evacuations and some even have lost homes to the catastrophic fire. We are really looking to the community and beyond to support our youth during this difficult time.”

Profiles of participating youth can be viewed on the Plumas-Sierra Junior Livestock Auction Facebook page by clicking on “Photos.” Interested buyers can participate in the livestock sale on Sunday, Aug. 15, and help reward the young people for their hard work in raising steers, lambs, swine, goats, rabbits, turkeys and other animals.

On the Plumas-Sierra Junior Livestock Auction website there is an option to donate to the Dixie Fire Relief Fund. There will be opportunities on sale day to support the 4-H members who were affected by the fire. In addition, there is an option for add-ons to support a child separate from buying an animal – for both 4-H and FFA members – that are in the sale.

“We would like to thank volunteers and sponsors for coming together on such short notice to host the livestock show event for my fellow 4-H and FFA exhibitors as well as myself,” said Kristin Roberti, Sierra Valley 4-H president, who has a steer entered in the event. “I will be joining over 100 other youth exhibiting livestock at the event this year, including a number of friends who have been impacted by the ongoing Dixie Fire and the Beckwourth Fire last month.”

2021-08-12T17:06:19-07:00August 12th, 2021|

Big Increase in State Budget for UCANR

Governor Signs ‘Transformational’ Budget for UC ANR Research and Outreach

 

By Pam Kan Rice, UCANR Assistant Director, New and Information Outreach

The state budget signed by Governor Newsom Monday night [July 12] includes a historic increase for the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. The state restored UC ANR’s budget to pre-COVID levels of FY 2019-20 and provided a 5% increase plus an additional $32 million in ongoing funding, bringing total state support to $107.9 million for the division, which contains the county-based UC Cooperative Extension, Integrated Pest Management, and 4-H Youth Development programs.

“This budget increase is transformational and will allow us to rebuild UC Cooperative Extension’s boots-on-the-ground to help Californians cope with wildfire, drought, and climate adaptation,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

Over the past 20 years, state funding for UC ANR decreased by almost 50% (adjusted for inflation), resulting in a significant reduction of UC ANR’s Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists – from 427 positions in 2001 down to only 269 in 2021 – creating vacancies in many critical positions.

“We appreciate UC ANR stakeholders for sounding the alarm,” Humiston said. “And we are immensely grateful to Senator John Laird, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Education, for recognizing this critical need and for his leadership and dedication to restoring UC ANR’s budget to bring back Cooperative Extension throughout California.”

With this new funding, UC ANR will begin recruiting for 20 UC Cooperative Extension academic positions and prioritizing many more critical positions for hiring during the next several months.

“As in the past, we will be talking to our community partners and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing needs to prioritize the next round of hiring,” Humiston said. “We must identify positions to address California’s emerging and future needs. While this state budget increase will allow UC ANR to hire more people, we will continue seeking funding from additional sources to expand access to our diverse resources for all Californians.”

To learn more about how UC ANR enhances economic prosperity protects natural resources, develops an inclusive and equitable society, safeguards food, develops the workforce, builds climate resilience, and promotes the health of people and communities in California, see the stories in its 2020 annual report at https://ucanr.edu/sites/UCANR/files/352362.pdf.

2021-07-27T11:22:09-07:00July 27th, 2021|

Teaching Kids to Cook California’s Bounty

California Farmers Donate Fruits Vegetables, Nuts and Beef to Cook

 

About 2,725 Consumer Science (formerly home economics) high school students at 15 different high schools will learn how to cook with locally grown produce and meat. The San Joaquin Chapter of California Women for Agriculture (SJ CWA), San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation (SJFB) have partnered to locate more than 500 pounds of cheese, olives, pumpkins, dry garbanzo beans, walnuts and beef for the students to cook this semester.

For three consecutive weeks starting October 22 and 29 and November 5, 2019, from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the San Joaquin Office of Education in Stockton, each teacher will receive two commodities, recipes and handling material to share with their classes. The local agriculture organizations hope to both teach students what is grown locally and showcase the freshness of locally sourced produce.

The fresh pumpkins and dry garbanzo beans provided by the San Joaquin Chapter of Women for Agriculture were donated by local pumpkin grower, Van Groningen and Sons of Manteca (vgandsons.com) and the Rhodes-Stockton Bean Co-Op of Stockton. SJ CWA provides this “hands on educational” cooking opportunity for local high school students enrolled in consumer science courses to give them a snapshot of the variety of crops and commodities grown/raised in San Joaquin County. Teachers and students are provided with a variety of educational information regarding the nutritional value of each of the commodities along with cooking tips and recipes.


SJ CWA Chapter President, Dr. Marit Arana, said, “This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the commodities grown and raised in our county. We are grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with our donors and for our partnerships with both the San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation. It takes a team effort to bring an educational experience of this size and scope to so many students within our county.”

San Joaquin County Agriculture is ranked seventh in the nation in dollar value at $2.5 billion and sixth out of 58 counties in the state. California produces about 400 different agriculture commodities and about half the fruits and vegetables in the United States.

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October 22, 2019 – CWA donation of pumpkins and dry garbanzo beans

October 29, 2019 – CattleWomen donation of walnuts and beef

November 5, 2019 – SJFB donation of table olives and cheese

Pick-Up Times – From 4:00pm to 5:00pm at 2911 Transworld Drive, Stockton, CA. under the solar panels in Stockton at the San Joaquin Office of Education

For information contact:
Lora Daniels
916-215-1494
SanJoaquinCWA@gmail.com

2019-11-01T16:43:07-07:00November 8th, 2019|

Solano County 4-H Members Go fo the Gold

4-H’ers Present Demonstrations, Educational Displays, Illustrated Talks, and Other Ideas

By Kathy Keatley Garvey, UCANR Communication Specialist

Seventeen Solano County 4-H members won gold awards at Solano County 4-H Presentation Day, and the Heritage 4-H Club of Vacaville won the plaque for the greatest member participation. In front (from left) are gold winner Darren Stephens, Sherwood Forest 4-H, Vallejo; William Parks, president of the Heritage 4-H Club (the club received the participation award for the greatest number of members presenting); and gold winners Daniel Taliaferro, Beau Westad, Grace Kimble and Irma Brown, all Suisun Valley 4-H. In back (from left) are gold winners Julietta Wynholds, Sherwood Forest 4-H; Zoe Sloan, Elmira 4-H; Braddison Beathem and Madisyn McCrary, both Tremont 4-H, Dixon; Miriam Laffitte, Vaca Valley 4-H; Celeste Harrison and Hannah Stephens, both Sherwood Forest 4-H; Jessica Carpenter, Pleasants Valley 4-H, Vacaville; and Alexis Taliaferro, Suisun Valley 4-H. Not pictured are gold winners Kailey Mauldin and Alissa Mauldin, both Elmira 4-H, and James George, Suisun Valley 4-H. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Solano County 4-H’ers Go for the Gold

They presented everything from “How to Take a Perfect Picture” to “The Secret Life of Bees” to “Anything is Pawsible: How I Trained My Doberman pinscher.”

When it was all over, 17 4-H’ers, including seven from the Suisun Valley 4-H Club, won gold medal showmanship awards at the annual Solano County 4-H Presentation Day, held recently at the Sierra Vista K-8 School in Vacaville.

The presentations included demonstrations, educational displays, illustrated talks, an interpretative reading, and a cultural arts offering.

Beau Westad of the Suisun Valley 4-H Club explains his project, “Reeling in Channel Catfish” at the Solano County 4-H Presentation Day. He won a gold award and is now eligible to compete in an area presentation.

The 4-H’ers followed a four-pronged process involving research, organization, graphics, and sharing of knowledge, said Valerie Williams, Solano County 4-H program representative. Adult evaluators, all involved with the Solano County 4-H Youth Development Program, asked the youths questions and scored them on their knowledge and presentation.

Twenty-six 4-H’ers, representing eight of the county’s 11 clubs, participated.

In the junior educational display talk category, ages 9 to 10, the gold winners, all from the Suisun Valley 4-H Club, were Grace Kemble, “How to Take a Perfect Picture”; Daniel Taliaferro, “Perfect Pizza Pans”; and Beau Westad, “Reeling in Channel Catfish.”

In the intermediate educational display talk category, ages 11 to 13, evaluators selected six  gold winners: James George of the Suisun Valley 4-H, “Event Planning”; Celeste Harrison of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, Vallejo, “Anything Is Pawsible: How I Trained My Doberman Pinscher”; Irma Brown, Suisun Valley 4-H, “Elements of a Movie”; Madisyn McCrary of Tremont 4-H Club, Dixon, “How to Shoe a Horse”; Alissa Mauldin, Elmira 4-H, for “This Little Piggy Has…” and Darren Stephens, Sherwood Forest 4-H, “Can Chickens Get Maggots?”

In the senior educational display talk category, ages 14 to 19, three took home the gold: Hanna Stephens, Sherwood Forest 4-H, “Living Life as a Guide Dog Puppy”; Jessica Carpenter, Pleasants Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville, “How to Trim Goats and Sheep Hooves” and Alexis Taliaferro, Suisun Valley 4-H, “College Tours: A Glimpse Into the Future.”

Grace Kemble of the Suisun Valley 4-H Club explains how to “take a perfect picture.” She handcrafted her display and won a gold award for her work and presentation at the Solano County 4-H Presentation Day.

In the intermediate illustrated talk category, ages 11 to 13, gold awards went to Julietta Wynholds, Sherwood Forest 4-H, for “The Basics of Animation”; and Braddison Beathem, Tremont 4-H, “Let’s Talk Tack: How to Tack a Horse in English Tack.”

Senior demonstration, ages 14 to 18: Zoe Sloan of Elmira 4-H, for “Bomb Voyage.”

Senior/Interpretative Reading, ages 14 to 19: Kailey Mauldin, Elmira 4-H, “The Secret Life of Bees” by author Sue Monk Kidd.

Intermediate Culture Arts, ages 11 to 13: Miriam Lafitte, Vaca Valley 4-H Club, Vacaville, “Total Improv.”

The winners are now eligible to compete in an Area 4-H Presentation Day, a qualifying event for the California State 4-H Field Day. Area Presentation Days will take place in Antioch, Jackson, and California Polytechnic Institute (Cal Poly), all on March 23. Other Area Presentation Days will be held in Siskiyou County on April 6, in Mariposa County on April 14; in Walnut on May 4; and in Tehama County on May 11.

Solano County 4-H Ambassador Natalie Greene of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club served as the emcee.

The newly formed and soon-to-be-chartered Heritage 4-H Club of Vacaville won the participation award for having the greatest percentage of participants. The club is affiliated with the Heritage Christian Academy, Vacaville.

Celeste Harrison of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, talks about how she trained her Doberman pinscher during the Solano County 4-H Presentation Day. Evaluators (back to camera) are Helen Ritchey and Dan Turner.

Six 4-H’ers participated in the primary educational display talks category, ages 5 to 8. The primary group is not evaluated. Receiving participation certificates in that category were four Heritage Club members: Dale Harder, “The Perfect Picnic,” Sunny Harder, “Camping”; Christopher Parks, “Model Trains”; and William Parks, “Dog Man: My Favorite Book and How to Draw the Characters.” Certificates also went to Nevaeh Tiernan-Lang of Elmira 4-H, “How to Build a Christmas Tree” and Alia Wynholds of Sherwood Forest 4-H,“On the Trail.”

Receiving participant certificates in the junior educational display talk category, ages 9 to 10, were Addelyn Widmer of Suisun Valley 4-H, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears of Photography”; and Jonny Tiernan-Lang, Elmira 4-H, for “AKC Toy Breeds.”

In the intermediate educational display talk, ages 11 to 13, Heath Moritz of the Westwind 4-H Club, Fairfield-Suisun, received a participation certificate for “Watch Me Now.”

During the Presentation Day, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities, including designing and launching a paper rocket through the STEM activity; making slime at the Slime Station; and learning how to sew a blanket, “Cuddle Me Close,” for hospital patients.

Solano County has 11 4-H clubs, with a total membership of 400

Vacaville: Vaca Valley, Pleasants Valley, Elmira and Heritage
Fairfield-Suisun: Suisun Valley and Westwind
Dixon: Maine Prairie, Tremont, and Dixon Ridge
Rio Vista: Rio Vista 4-H
Vallejo: Sherwood Forest

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, contact Valerie Williams at vawilliams@ucanr.edu.

2021-05-12T11:05:05-07:00March 13th, 2019|

Bayer Helps Youth “Agvocate” For Farmers

Farming Operations Represent 21 Million Jobs

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

Less than two percent of the United States population is working in agriculture. This may not sound like much, but let’s break it down. Two percent of the population means roughly 21 million jobs, 10 percent of the total workforce, and more than 160,000 farms. The greatest credibility for this huge industry goes to the farmers who work 365 days a year to feed the world. But who is advocating for them while they’re out in the field? That’s where Rob Schrick and Bayer Crop Science comes in.

Schrick, the Strategic Business Director for Bayer, knows the importance of promoting the industry and making consumers more aware of where their food comes from.

Rob Schrick, Bayer CropScience“What we’re trying to get across is that everyone in agriculture needs to lean into the conversation about ag, and be a proud ‘Agvocate’ for our industry,” he said.

Explaining the importance of farming, using both science and an emotional connection is key to getting this incredibly important concept across.

One way Bayer is striving to accomplish this goal is by working with youth involved in 4-H.

“We’re trying to get the kids even more excited about STEM,” Schrick explained.

STEM is a program that combines Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to give the kids hands-on education and inquiry-based science learning, which they can relate to agriculture and share with their community.

It is said that today’s youth are tomorrows leaders, and Bayer is helping the future leaders found in 4-H represent the farmers that work so hard to provide the world with a safe, affordable food supply.

2018-07-27T16:35:51-07:00July 27th, 2018|

FFA Student is Great Reporter

Hughson FFA Student Thrives on Agriculture

 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

California FFA Association, a high school youth leadership and career development organization, is very dynamic in the state. FFA chapters are located throughout the state’s agricultural areas. We had a conversation with Michelle Borges, a sophomore at Hughson High School. She is an active member of the Hughson FFA and serves as the 2016-17 FFA Chapter reporter.California FFA student

“My job is publicizing the FFA to everyone in the community. I write articles to the local newspapers. I’m in charge of the social media for Hughson FFA. Basically any radio broadcast, television broadcast, anything like that to get the word out about FFA,” Borges said.

Borges was also active in the 4-H starting at age five. She raised and sold goats, and she is devoted to California agriculture to this day. “One of the reasons why I love agriculture is because both my parents work in the agriculture industry. Both my brothers were super involved in the FFA, so I was kind of born into it,” she said.

Borges noted that while her family does not farm, they are involved in agricultural education. “My dad is the Dean of Agriculture at Modesto Junior College, and my mom used to be an agriculture teacher in high school, but now she teaches junior high,” she said.

While still in high school, Borges wants to continue pursuing her passion for agriculture. “When I grow up, I want to be an animal nutritionist. I’m really interested in nutrition for animals and I have also raised goats. . . ‘Seeing them grow up and then selling them. That whole project; it is really interesting to me. Also, with FFA, there’s a lot of public speaking competitions and I really enjoy public speaking in front of a crowd,” she said.

To hone her skills for that animal nutrition career, Borges plans to go to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, after she graduates from high school.

2021-05-12T11:17:11-07:00October 12th, 2016|

Agriculture Science Recognition Awards, Part 2 – Meghan Loper

Agriculture Science Recognition Awards, Part 2 –

Meghan Loper Receives Fresno State Science Recognition Award

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Assemblyman Jim Patterson joined Dr. Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) and Lawrence Salinas, Fresno State’s executive director of Government Relations, at the 23rd Assembly District’s 2016 Agriculture Science Recognition Awards on March 17 at Fresno State.

California Ag Today will highlight each of four Fresno State students in the Fresno State Honoree series, Meghan Loper, Megen Morales, Elizabeth Mosqueda and Nick Wolfenden, who were selected from among several students nominated for their dedication to the future of agriculture in the Central Valley.

“These brilliant students represent the best of the best,” said Assemblyman Patterson. “Their devotion to making a difference in our agriculture science community is to be commended and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.”

______________________________________

Meghan Loper, is a master’s student at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State), in the poultry science field, working on animal welfare.

“She currently has a bachelor’s degree in animal science and livestock production management,” said California Assemblyman Jim Patterson. “She also teaches the animal health, welfare and poultry production class in the Poultry Science Department,” noted Patterson.

Most recently, Loper researched the economic significance of the number of chickens living in the same chicken house. Her study quantified the amount of chickens per house and its effect on economic return with the goal of understanding the threshold at which the number of chickens starts to have a negative impact on animal welfare. “She hoped the work would provide information to people about the importance of the welfare of chickens in the poultry industry,” said Patterson, “as the issue is obviously becoming more of a hot topic industry-wide, as well as for consumers, and it even touches the California Legislature.”

Loper has been a member of the Poultry Science Club and the Enterprise Manager of the Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility at Fresno State for the last three years. She volunteers for a local 4-H Club and will be organizing a second FFA field day in April.

Loper is also involved with animals of a different type; she has raised 12 guide dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

“This is an individual, as are our other three honorees, who is making plans and getting prepared to make a living, but you are also making a life,” Patterson said to Loper. “And it is that life that we honor today.”

Loper said, “We have been experimenting with the different amount of birds that can be put into production house. What is too many? What is not enough? And, what’s going to be best for the birds in the long run,” Loper elaborated.

“I’m hoping to get a job in the poultry industry,” said Loper. “I want to make a difference somehow.”

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2021-05-12T11:05:57-07:00March 29th, 2016|

Prather Ranch Receives 2015 California Leopold Conservation Award

Prather Ranch Named 2015 California Leopold Conservation Award® Recipient

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – (November 18, 2015) Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are proud to announce Prather Ranch as the recipient of the prestigious 2015 California Leopold Conservation Award®. The award honors private landowner achievement in the voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

Prather Ranch, owned and managed by Jim and Mary Rickert, is a working cattle ranch headquartered in Macdoel, and stretches across five counties. Under the Rickerts’ management, Prather Ranch has grown in size, implemented conservation enhancements and established several permanent conservation easements. Over the last 35 years, Prather Ranch has continually collaborated with diverse partners to enhance the land and promote land stewardship in the community.

One of the ranch’s first efforts to promote biodiversity was taking an unusual approach to managing the wild rice fields on their land near Mt. Shasta. After rice harvest, they began tilling the stubble into the soil and keeping their fields covered in water year-round. The practice not only benefited common species of waterfowl such as Canada Geese and Snow Geese, but it also attracted shore birds like plovers and terns, previously found only on the coast.

Through conservation easements in cooperation with the Shasta Land Trust, the Rickerts have preserved some of the state’s most spectacular wildflowers and protected sensitive vernal pools and riparian areas. Prather Ranch has also planted several miles of riparian habitat along streams and irrigation canals to benefit a wide range of animals such as the California Quail and the endangered Shasta crayfish.

Jim and Mary Rickert provide community leadership, working with 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and local schools for ranch field trips and other activities.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

“Because more than half of all land in California is privately owned, how landowners manage their properties has a dramatic and lasting effect on the environment and quality of life for all Californians,” said Ashley Boren, executive director of Sustainable Conservation. “Since the 70s, Jim and Mary have demonstrated an above-and-beyond commitment to enhancing the land, water and wildlife across a large swath of the state. And, they’ve done it in true Leopold fashion, regarding their land not simply as a commodity that belongs to them, but rather seeing their land as a community to which they belong.”

“The Leopold Conservation Award recognizes unique yet replicable strategies a farmer or rancher has developed in managing their land, to be the best steward of the natural resources,” said Paul Wenger, California Farm Bureau President. “We are honored to join Sand County Foundation and Sustainable Conservation to recognize the extraordinary efforts of California farmers and ranchers who go above and beyond in managing and enhancing our natural resources.”

The Leopold Conservation Award program inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders.

The 2015 California Leopold Conservation Award will be presented December 7 at the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Reno, NV. Each finalist will be recognized at the event, and Prather Ranch will be presented with a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold and $10,000.

The award sponsors also wish to congratulate the 2015 finalists for their outstanding contributions to agriculture and conservation: Bruce and Sylvia Hafenfeld, who own Hafenfeld Ranch and manage public lands in eastern Kern County, and Ken and Matt Altman, who own and manage Altman Specialty Plants in Riverside and San Diego Counties.

The California Leopold Conservation Award is made possible thanks to generous contributions from American Ag Credit, The Harvey L. & Maud S. Sorenson Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, The Mosaic Company, DuPont Pioneer, and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

 

ABOUT THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD®
The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The award consists of $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. Sand County Foundation presents Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

ABOUT SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION
Sand County Foundation is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with private landowners across North America to advance ethical and scientifically sound land management practices that benefit the environment.

ABOUT SUSTAINABLE CONSERVATION

Sustainable Conservation helps California thrive by uniting people to solve the toughest challenges facing our land, air and water. Since 1993, it has brought together business, landowners and government to steward the resources that we all depend on in ways that make economic sense. Sustainable Conservation believes common ground is California’s most important resource. 

 

ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of over 53,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members. 

2016-05-31T19:27:03-07:00November 18th, 2015|

Head, Heart, Hands & Health – The 4-H Pledge

The 4-H Pledge Means Dedication

By: Monique Bienvenue; Cal Ag Today Social Media Manager/Reporter

 

At a glance, one might not think twice about that four-word pledge. But to countless individuals, that short, simple phrase represents dedication to 4-H, a prestigious organization devoted to teaching America’s youth the skills necessary to become successful outside the classroom.

Agriculturally-based, 4-H began in the 1800s as a way for students to communicate new and innovative farming techniques to those who were disconnected from university campuses. Eventually, this education trend caught on and in 1902 the first 4-H club was formed.

4h-pledge, 4-H Head Heart Hands HealthThe Cooperative Extension System was later created in 1914, and in partnership with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the United States Department of Agriculture, 4-H was officially nationalized. Clubs were established all across the United States.

4-H

 

Today, there are hundreds of children involved in 4-H. From health issues to food security, there isn’t an issue that these young, energetic individuals aren’t taking on.

For more information about 4-H, visit their website at http://www.4-h.org.

2016-10-13T14:36:53-07:00October 13th, 2014|
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