The Vantage Point
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources
I hope this message finds you and your families in good health. The COVID-19 virus has shifted us all into a period of uncertainty and is challenging us to live and work very differently.
COVID-19 has reminded us that taking care of ourselves and each other is of utmost importance. The people and organizations we serve are facing unprecedented challenges at this time, but there is an opportunity within all the challenges: We will find new ways to leverage technology to deliver our programs and information to Californians. Innovation and teamwork are happening all around the division as we work to find new ways to deliver programming, serve our communities and support one another. Here are a few examples of how our programs are continuing to stay connected:
- Critical research projects are being maintained and program delivery is taking place online wherever possible.
- 4-H is staying in touch with volunteers and youth to support them and their projects. Also, the 4-H Activity Guides include more than 60 hands-on learning activity ideas in STEM, healthy living, crafting and more.
- The 2020 Tuleyome graduating class of the UC California Naturalist Program (CalNat) is the program’s first “virtual” graduating class. Students met by video to present their capstone service learning projects, and on March 20, they were certified as California Naturalists via Zoom.
- In addition, CalNat has compiled a helpful list of online California-focused natural history content and tools.
- UC Master Gardeners are encouraging the public to prioritize mental and physical health by gardening and are standing by to answer questions through virtual helplines.
- The UC Master Food Preserver Program is transitioning training to Zoom and YouTube.
- Nutrition educators are mobilizing to volunteer at local food banks and teach classes online and via video chat.
- UC ANR Climate Smart Agriculture Community Education Specialists are assisting growers in applying for cost-share funds from the CDFA and implementing Climate Smart Agriculture practices.
- UC ANR Cooperative Extension Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor Dan Macon performed a virtual on-farm consultation on in-the-field livestock conditions and issues. Not only did it respect social distancing requirements, but it also saved 45 minutes of transit time!
- The UC Integrated Pest Management Program provides online courses that reflect the newest advances in pest management and related topics.
It’s important to remember that while many Californians are sheltering in place, farmers continue to grow, harvest and distribute healthy fresh food for our communities. Support your local food system: shop at farmers’ markets and food stands, or sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture membership. Order takeout meals or buy a gift certificate for a future meal at your favorite restaurant. Donate or volunteer at your local food bank.
Another way to make an impact when sheltering in place is to make sure you and everyone in your network completes the
. A complete count in the 2020 Census means more funding for local communities, fair representation in Congress and more resources for college students. It’s never been easier to do it remotely. The 2020 Census offers a unique opportunity to make a powerful policy impact that lets our legislators know that
For more than 100 years, UC ANR has served Californians through good times and bad. We are committed to doing our part to help ensure our communities continue to thrive. Now more than ever, we know the value of community, research and science-based information. This pandemic will turn a corner, and we look forward to seeing you again in person when it does. Thank you for your continued support, and stay safe and healthy!