On May 8, 2014, the University of California is asking the public to join its faculty, students, staff, 4-H volunteers, Master Gardeners and Master Food Preservers 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 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,” according to 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 us know by clicking on our California water map.
“Conserving water is essential, especially during a drought,” says Doug Parker, director of the UC California Institute for Water Resources and leader of the UC ANR strategic initiative on water quality, quantity and security. “This information will help us understand how water is being used and conserved across the state.”
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.
“It’s becoming more important to understand where our food comes from and to make sure everyone knows how to enjoy its benefits,” says Scott Oneto Cooperative Extension director of Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado and Tuolumne counties.