September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Cooperative Extension Invites Participation in Day of Science and Service

Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Steven Worker and Marissa Stein

On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Smith-Lever Act, which created the world’s first system connecting public higher education with local communities in the pursuit of service to the land and its people. Smith-Lever spawned the Cooperative Extension Service, which strongly tied service, science and citizen participation together in scientific enterprises. The mission of Cooperative Extension has stayed true today: Acting as a bridge between local issues and the power of University research by extending knowledge in communities and developing practical, science-based answers (Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, 2010; Regents of the University of California, 2009).

Nestled within the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) is best described as a vast network of UC researchers and educators who work together to develop and provide science-based information to solve locally relevant economic, agricultural, natural resource, youth development, and nutrition issues. In addition to having UCCE Specialists based at UC Davis, UC Riverside, and UC Berkeley, UCCE Advisors and Specialists live and work in every California County, applying research from the University of California to help local businesses and entire communities thrive. In turn, UCCE experts partner with local innovators to develop and disseminate best practices through UC’s expansive local and global networks. Some of the UCCE programs include 4-H Youth Development, UC Master Gardeners, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, and the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.

Logo for the Day of Science and Service

Logo for the Day of Science and Service

University of California Day of Science and Service.

On May 8, 2014, Cooperative Extension celebrates its 100th birthday. In the spirit of cooperation, the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is asking you to join us for a one-day science project. Take a walk, visit a park or enjoy the beauty of a garden. Paint a picture of California’s food and water resources by marking your responses on our online maps!

Example of the online map for the question: How do you conserve water?

Example of the online map for the question: How do you conserve water?

  • How many pollinators do you see outside?

One-third of the world’s food production depends on pollinators. Bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, birds and bats help plants reproduce by carrying pollen from one flower to another so a plant can develop its seed. By marking our California map with the locations where you and other Californians see pollinators in your neighborhoods, we can get a better idea of where pollinators are—and are not—across the state.

  • Where is food grown in your community?

Nutritious food is an essential part of healthy growth and a healthy lifestyle. Nearly every community in California contributes in some way to food production, from large farms to backyard gardens. With demand for food supplies increasing, it’s becoming increasingly important for all of us to recognize exactly where (and what) fresh food is being grown. By marking our California food map with the locations of food production in your neighborhood, we can get a better idea of where food is produced across the state.

  • How do you conserve water?

People, animals and plants all need water to survive, yet less than 1% of the earth’s water is available for our use. With each passing day, the availability of clean water is diminishing. As California experiences record drought conditions, now more than ever, every drop counts. Your data will help create a clearer picture of what water conservation practices are used across the state of California.

We will use the information to better understand what’s happening to our food supplies and natural resources across the state. The answers collected will help us build a healthier future for communities throughout California. This is a great opportunity for Californians to participate in UC research, and steer the future of UC research and education efforts.

Free educational activities are available for grades K-12 around water conservation, gardening and nutrition, and pollinators to support the questions outlined above. In addition, links to curricula, UC ANR research projects, and additional efforts around these topics are available on the website.

References

Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. (2010). 2010 Strategic opportunities for Cooperative Extension. New York.

Regents of the University of California. (2009). University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025. Oakland, CA: University of California.

Steven Worker is with the California State 4-H Office at the University of California’s Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources. Marissa Stein is UC Cooperative Extension Centennial Program Coordinator at the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. They were invited to write by CSTA member Valerie Joyner.

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

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