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Posts Tagged: 4-H

New UC advisor is already making a positive impact

Virginia Bolshakova
Virginia Bolshakova, a UC Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development advisor for less than a year, has received praise from a farm bureau director for her contributions to local agriculture, reported Julia Hollister in Capital Press.

“She brings enthusiasm, high energy, intelligence and a passion for agriculture to her job," said Bill Gass, executive director of the San Mateo County Farm Bureau.

No day is average for Bolshakova, who is also the county director for San Mateo-San Francisco counties UCCE and the director of Elkus Ranch, a place for hands-on learning experiences for Bay Area children.

One morning she is working with concerned citizens about beekeeping policies, collaborating with scientists at UC Berkeley about eradicating aphids in gardens, and in the afternoon herding students around Elkus Ranch teaching about rangeland, the story said.

“I think the biggest challenge facing San Mateo County agriculture is urban-rural interface, and that goes in both directions,” she said. “I work with many youth who never thought about plants or planting a seed and watching it grow. I worry that people are becoming disconnected to their food and where it originates.”

Bolshakova was born and raised on a 450-acre pig and crop farm in southwestern Michigan where her parents still work the land. Her childhood experiences nurtured a passion for the environment and a keen awareness of the interdependency between people and nature.

Bolshakova has a bachelor's degree in biology from State University of New York, Buffalo, a master's degree from the University of Toledo, and a Ph.D. in ecology from Utah State University.

Posted on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 11:04 AM
Tags: 4-H (43), Elkus Ranch (1), Virginia Bolshakova (1)

4-H Million Trees draws close to the halfway point

4-H Million Trees project in Kenya.
Started in 2008 by high school 4-H'er Laura Webber, the 4-H Million Trees Project continues to grow and has nearly accomplished half its goal, reported the national TV show EcoCompany. EcoCompany produced a six-minute video (see below) about a group of Woodside teenagers who planted 26 redwood trees in Huddart State Park. The global 4-H initiative, under the auspices of UC Cooperative Extension, is currently at 450,000 trees.

At Huddart State Park, the new trees will help reforest an empty glade that used to be a vollyball court.

"It's a service learning project which is something in 4-H that combines learning with community service," said one of the 4-H team leaders. Fiona Benjamin and Emma Filar are the teen leaders.

The teen leaders involved the Woodside High School Green Academy in the tree-planting event.

"It's good for the environment. It gives us more oxygen to breath," said Karen Estrada, a Green Academy member.

4-H Million Tree planting events have been organized all over the world, including Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

"One thing I've taken away from the project is that one person can make an amazing, tremendous difference by getting other people to go along with his or her idea," said the teen leader interviewed in the video.

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 10:56 AM
Tags: 4-H (43)

4-H'ers take part in state field day in Davis

More than 1,000 4-H members from around California converged at Wellman Hall east lawn at UC Davis last week to share a wide variety of their leadership, small animal, plant science and other projects at the state field day, reported Tim Hearden in Capital Press.

The event was open to all 4-H members, volunteers, staff and parents. Among the events were a film festival, mock job interview competition, a photography contest and a chess tournament.

The field day began with opening ceremonies, as members from each of the more than 30 counties carried banners.

The event came as California 4-H is celebrating its centennial this year, Hearden reported. In 1913, the forerunner of 4-H was founded as an agricultural club at the college of agriculture in Davis, according to the state website. By the following year, 84 high school agricultural clubs were reported in California.

4-H'ers enjoy a picnic-like atmosphere at the annual state field day.
4-H'ers enjoy a picnic-like atmosphere at the annual state field day.

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 9:28 AM
Tags: 4-H (43)

Santa Barbara 4-H feeling budget pressure

4-H has provided California children learning and leadership opportunities for 100 years.
The Santa Barbara County 4-H program is raising awareness about the county board of supervisors' plans to cut funding for UC Cooperative Extension, according to reports that appear on the KSBY Channel 6 website and in the Santa Barbara Independent.

According to the Independent article, written by Mary Thieleke Jackson, director of the Santa Barbara County 4-H Management Board, a draft budget released Friday, May 10, does not include a county contribution to UC Cooperative Extension. Budget hearings are expected to take place the week of June 10-15.

Because the county faces a $10.5 million budget deficit, the board of supervisors is considering all options. If the proposed cut carries through to the final budget, 4-H will cease to exist in Santa Barbara County, the stories said. 

"We have to set priorities and figure out what programs work and what programs don't," said Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino.

He says the board has to make up the budget losses somewhere and he hopes it doesn't include cutting funding for 4-H.

"I can't think of a better place to spend it than on our kids and teaching them about leadership and hard work," said Lavagnino.

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Tags: 4-H (43), budget (6)

Climate change not impacting San Joaquin County yet

Warming temperatures in the spring and longer days stimulate dormant buds to swell and open - a process called "bud break."
So far, the impact of climate change on San Joaquin County hasn't been apparent, reported Reed Fujii in the Stockton Record.

The story said Paul Verdegaal, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Joaquin County, has been tracking local crop and weather data for 30 years and to date has seen only normal year-to-year variability.

"There's no particular trend in early bud break (in vineyards); there's no particular change in earlier harvest," Verdegaal said. "I haven't seen any hint of a trend, let alone a consistent pattern of increase or decrease."

Bud break, the point when grapevines begin to leaf out, falls each spring around March 15.

"This year, it was the 18th; last year, it was the 17th," Verdegaal said. "There's no change."

Saving county's 4-H program is essential
Linda Greco, Santa Maria Times

The UC Cooperative Extension Santa Barbara County is once again on the chopping block, according to a commentary by Linda Greco in the Santa Maria Times.

"I implore our community and county supervisors to consider the consequences and repercussions of such an action. Without the county’s commitment, the program will be lost and no longer exist," Greco wrote.

Greco's article noted that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors planned to cut UCCE from the county budget in 2010, but after "community outcry," provided one-time funding with significant cuts.

"While 4-H celebrates 100 years in California in 2014, will 4-H continue to exist in our county for future generations? Assist me and ask the Board of Supervisors not to cut the UCCE funding, and to replace it as a permanently funded item to ensure the sustainability of the 4-H program into the future," she wrote.

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Tags: 4-H (43), climate change (1), Paul Verdegaal (1)

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