September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 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.


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:

Leave a Reply


State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

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

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw


This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.