100 Years Serving Pima County
2021 marks the 100-year anniversary of Pima County Cooperative Extension (PCCE). With the passage of the landmark Smith-Lever Act in 1914, the University of Arizona began providing cooperative extension services in Arizona. By 1921, the Pima County office had opened in the downtown Tucsonia Hotel with the help of two outstanding Extension agents, C.B. Brown and Evelyn Bentley. C.B Brown, a renowned conservationist and the namesake for Brown Mountain, also helped found Tucson Mountain Park and was instrumental in forming the Arizona Farm Bureau. You may be less familiar with Ms. Bennett, who tirelessly helped people to build cooking skills, make mattresses, hats, clothing and other necessities, and helped develop the school lunch program during her 20+ years as an Extension agent. Both were key figures around the community and at the early County Fairs, held near Roskruge School in central Tucson.

Julie Adamcin, an Extension agent at PCCE from 1970 until 2007, is a great admirer of Ms. Bentley and followed in her footsteps. She recalls her first couple of years with Extension when she was teaching people how to cook with provisions supplied through the Commodity Supplemental Food program. Created by Congress in 1969, this program sought to alleviate hunger using food commodities acquired with a double purpose of providing government farm support. Families were often at a loss when they received their 2lb can of mystery meat, peanut butter, flour, oats, and other unwieldy ingredients. Ms. Adamcin describes creating “candy” out of corn syrup, dried milk, and peanut butter and a make-do dinner consisting of tuna mixed with tomato soup and served on bread. She remembers the resilience of families who often depended on 4-H activities and scholarships to help educate and build the life skills necessary to pull them out of poverty and toward a successful future.

Today’s modern context may be different, but the fundamental issues of need, at-risk youth, health, and sustainability are still here. Pima County Cooperative Extension continues to bring university knowledge and science to people, working every day to help our Pima County citizens.

Photo: Tucson Citizen photo of the Tucsonia hotel, which housed Pima County Cooperative Extension 100 years ago.
Home Helpers Keep Giving!
As we enter 2021, we greatly miss our far-reaching extension family. We miss working on the farm together, meeting in a library to talk about plants, gathering to prepare for the County Fair, and so much more. Even as we necessarily take the utmost precautions to keep ourselves and all of you healthy and safe, we are also excited by some of the opportunities these challenging times have made possible. Virtual programming has helped extend our reach and build new connections. We can offer new kinds of support to youth, teachers, and parents in Pima County and beyond. Although it can get a bit lonely working from our kitchens and dens, we are very fortunate to have a large crew of four-legged support staff. Today, we introduce you to our furry friends who brighten our days with constant cheerful looks and wagging tails. We hope you are enjoying your pet time too, and the next time we see you for an online class or event, you will know who is sharing their opinion from the next room: woof!
Claire L. Zucker, PCCE Director

Photo: Clockwise from top left: Bo (Liz), Wicket (Connie), Sonora, Kirby, Levi (Kalee), Moose (Parker), Poppy (Debbie)
Life Skills Grow Through 4-H
While ringing in the New Year and with all eyes are set on the future, we continue to give serious thought to how to empower young people to achieve success. The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) has determined that many college graduates lack life skills critical to success such as team working, communication, problem-solving, and time management. The Experiential Learning Model that is the cornerstone of all 4-H projects builds these skills by allowing a safe space for youth to learn by doing, reflecting on their efforts, and applying this new knowledge as they seek mastery.

It is often quoted that “the outside of an animal, is good for the inside of a child.” Pima County 4-H livestock projects task youth with raising animals to enter the local food chain. Many youths start as young as eight years old and build their projects over time until they attain mastery through the livestock show programs at the annual Pima County Fair. According to a 2020 survey of Pima 4-H members who raised livestock, the most common skills they learned included goal-setting, teamwork, cooperation, and self-discipline. Pima 4-H programs continue the long tradition of creating opportunities for youth to learn these skills and to have a blast doing it!

(Photo: James Osbourne (Marana Stockmen 4-H Club) raised a pen of Rhode Island Red laying hens as his 2020 4-H Project)
Take a Virtual Gardening Tour
The Pima Master Gardener program has undertaken a creative new photography project. With the generous support of a local 360o photographer, Ron Quarles, we are pleased to offer virtual tours of our public demonstration gardens. All the gardens are located at the Pima County Cooperative Extension on North Campbell Avenue and are maintained by committees of volunteer Pima County Master Gardeners. From the comfort and safety of home, you can now wander through our flower and vegetable gardens in self-paced digital tours, with a new tour released every other month.
Our first virtual tour features the Small Spaces Garden, which consists of fifteen separate beds, each demonstrating a different concept for growing in a limited space. The handful of gardens mentioned in this virtual walk-through are the Trichocereus, Wildflower, Balcony, Rock, Herbs & Edibles, Caterpillar & Butterfly, Fruit Trees, and Salsa Gardens. Using your own device, you can learn about gardening in the desert and the wide array of plants that add beauty and function to our landscapes and enhance our quality of life.

Story excerpted from Master Gardener Newsletter article by Stephanie Van Latum and Elise Gohlke
Food Boxes Bring Holiday Joy to South Tucson Families
It is almost Christmas and a slow-moving caravan of cars circles the parking lot at The Garden Kitchen and pulls up alongside tables arranged with boxes. Volunteer drivers pop open their trunks, while the second group of volunteers safely load boxes into the waiting cars. The boxes, filled with groceries and ingredients such as chicken, herbs freshly picked from the garden, and tamale ingredients, are then delivered to waiting families across South Tucson.

These Christmas Boxes are part of an on-going collaboration between South Tucson Community Outreach (STCO) and the UArizona Cooperative Extension’s Garden Kitchen, which began when COVID-19 left many South Tucson families in need. STCO co-founder Desiree Guerrero, initially funded the food donations out of her own pocket. Later the group reached out via social media and word-of-mouth and soon started receiving food and monetary donations. STCO also received help from organizations such as Tucson Food Share, Felicia’s Farm, and The Garden Kitchen. As donations grew, additional storage and distribution space was needed and The Garden Kitchen stepped up. They also wrote an Albertson’s Grocery grant to help provide much-needed funding. Efforts such as these are really making a difference in people’s lives and we are proud to be collaborating to make this happen!

Photo: Volunteers and staff of The Garden Kitchen pack holiday food boxes
Developing Leaders at the 4-H Ropes Course
Conflict management, communication skills, problem-solving, and working in teams are some of the most highly sought-after job skills. These are also skills that people can hone and develop as they dangle from ropes at the 4-H High Ropes Course. In March of 2020, the 4-H Ropes Course team built a new course for youth and adults to develop their life and leadership skills in a safe and effective way. The course is located at the new 4-H Healthy Living Center at 2201 E. Roger Rd. You can book small group programs by contacting Extension agent Elizabeth Sparks at esparks@cals.arizona.edu.
Parenting Tips Help Kids Focus
Focus is an extreme challenge today as many kids are using electronic devices to attend school at home on platforms such as Zoom. These times bring stress to families, and in turn, to their children. Practicing skills that promote focus is important for the mental health of students and for fostering good habits for life. Ellen Galinsky, author of the book “Mind in the Making”, highlights the concept of making passion a keystone of better performance in school. In essence, the more passionate a child is about an activity, the better they can focus on their task at hand.

Here are some tips:
  • Find activities that speak to your child. If they like Legos, build on that and help them expand their interest
  • Multistep projects will engage your child’s focus for a longer time. Help them identify the steps required and how they will complete them
  • To help children develop self-motivation, explain the rationale behind tasks you might ask them to do
  • Create fun learning spaces that your child enjoys
  • Schedule screen breaks that offer outdoor time and exercise

Find more tips on our Parenting Resources Webpage
Joanie Contreras is Diversity & Inclusion Champion
We are very excited to share that Joanie Contreras, who runs the PCCE Food and Nutrition Education Program, has received the Shirley O’Brian Diversity and Inclusion Award as the 2020 Legacy Diversity and Inclusion Champion. This recognition was offered by the University of Arizona Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension (ALVSCE) last December. Dan McDonald, Director of the Take Charge America Institute at the Norton School of Family & Consumer Sciences says “Joanie is an ambassador for ALVSCE and the University of Arizona in the community… Being a community connector and trusted educator takes time and the right personality to develop relationships with community stakeholders, parents, teachers, and children… She has made the University accessible by being intentionally inclusive in reaching out to groups in need.”
Congratulations Joanie! We are very proud of you!
New Program Coordinator for Pima Master Gardening Program
We are happy to announce that Vianey Avila has joined our Master Gardener Program here at Pima County Cooperative Extension. She brings experience with program and project management, volunteer coordination, grant writing, budget management, and multi-stakeholder coordination to her new role as Master Gardener Program Coordinator. She is originally from Yuma, AZ where she gained experience working in ecosystem restoration projects along the Colorado River. She attended Northern Arizona University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Biology. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, bird watching, and traveling.
Programs and Events: UArizona Pima County Cooperative Extension

Agriculture and Natural Resources
Residents and growers have ready-access to research-based horticultural information at PCCE. Get gardening answers from our Master Gardener experts and learn about water conservation, xeriscape, irrigation, and more through our Smartscape courses. Master Gardeners | Smartscape

Free Online Gardening Talks, Various dates: Register
SmartScape Rainwater Harvesting Rebate class, Jan 16: Register
Family and Consumer Health Sciences
PCCE health education helps people improve their nutrition, family dynamics, and lives. Parents and caregivers gain tools to enrich children’s lives through the Family Engagement Program. Find nutritional and life-skills education through the SNAP-Ed/Garden Kitchen and EFNEP programs. Family Engagement Program | Expanded Food and Nutritional Education Program (EFNEP) | SNAP-ED |Garden Kitchen | Diabetes Prevention Program

The Family Engagement Program Positive Discipline Workshops: Register 
Pima Diabetes Prevention Program, New classes each month: Register
Garden Kitchen's upcoming virtual hands-on cooking classes: Calendar and Registration
Community Nutrition Classes, EFNEP for Healthy Habits: Registration – Spanish | English
SNAP-Ed Volunteer and Partner opportunities: Learn More
Youth build lifelong skills and have great fun through Cooperative Extension 4-H. Become involved in one of our many clubs or projects, capped by participation at the County Fair. Enjoy seed to table programming at Tucson Villagae Farm, a working urban farm built by and for the youth of our community. 4-H ClubsTucson Village Farm | High Ropes Course

5th Annual S. AZ Equine Health Symposium, Jan 23 – Jan 24: Register
Arizona 4-H Agriculture Webinar Series and Project Meetings - Jan 14 Chickens; Jan 28 Beef; Feb 11 Horses; Feb 25 Sheep; March 18 Other Poultry; March 25 Goats: Register
4-H Tucson Village Farm, Souper Sundays cooking classes, Register
4-H Tucson Village Farm, Shop the Farmstand Visit online
Pima 4-H High Ropes Course, Schedule a Date

In-person programming is currently on hold due to COVID19. Visit our Website for information on Pima County-based education and activities at Pima County Cooperative Extension.
Pima County Cooperative Extension
Office: 4210 N Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719-1109 (Currently Closed)
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