On Thursday, May 8, the University of California is asking the public to join its faculty, students, staff, 4-H volunteers and master gardeners in a vast science project across the state, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE).
One hundred years ago on that date, president Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Lever Act, which created Cooperative Extension to serve as a conduit for scientific advances in agriculture, nutrition and natural resources from the nation’s public, land-grant universities to its farmers, youth and communities.
"UC Cooperative Extension is all about science and service," said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which administers Cooperative Extension in California. "To celebrate the anniversary of Cooperative Extension, we are asking Californians to help us collect scientific data so that all of us will better understand our natural, agricultural, and urban communities."
Allen-Diaz invites you to be a scientist for the day by recording your observations at home, work, or school on any of three topics (see below) in your local community. Then add your observations to the online database at beascientist.ucanr.edu. To participate in the UC Cooperative Extension Celebration of Science and Service on May 8, just answer any of the following three questions:
How many pollinators do you see? Bees, butterflies, beetles and bats - our food depends on their ability to pollinate all kinds of crops. Spend three minutes outdoors in your community counting pollinators and add your numbers to a statewide pollinator map. The beascientist.ucanr.edu website will help you identify which ones are pollinators.
"This information will give us a baseline understanding of pollinator populations across California," said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UCCE specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside and leader of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) strategic initiative on endemic and invasive species.
How do you conserve water? Do you conserve water in your garden, landscape, household or farm? Let them know by clicking on their California water map.
Where is food grown in your community? Do you grow your own food or get homegrown food from a neighbor who gardens? Is there a community farm nearby, or vegetable plants growing in the parkway between the street and sidewalk? This project encourages you to discover exactly where food is grown in your community, and at the same time contribute to a statewide understanding of how widespread local food production is throughout California.
You can also join a group science project for the day, sponsored by UCCE Humboldt County. The group will meet at Redwood Roots Farm located in Wood Duck Lane off of Jacoby Creek Road in Bayside from noon until 1:30. Bring a lunch and play in the garden. Light refreshments will be provided.
UCCE-Humboldt will also host a celebration of the day’s events from 6 to 8:00 p.m. at the Turf Room at Redwood Acres Fairground, 3650 Harris Street in Eureka. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Uniquely Yours Catering of McKinleyville. Come mingle with friends and neighbors and learn more about our local forest biodiversity with a presentation by Michael Kauffmann, local scientist and author of Conifer Country and The Conifers of the Pacific Slope.
Both events are free and are open to everyone. Please RSVP by May 5 by calling UCCE-Humboldt at 707-445-7351 or on-line at cehumboldt.ucanr.edu.