Working to improve lives, communities, the environment, and economies throughout Pima County.
Camp Magic

There is a certain magic that happens at summer camp. It comes in the form of a perfectly roasted marshmallow while laughing with new friends around a campfire or when a group sits on top of a mountain peak to watch the sunset. There is magic in watching a camper taste the first bite of a meal they have cooked from scratch or when a camper watches the rocket they built soar through the sky. There is something special about camp when young people are given the opportunity to learn and grow outdoors. According to the American Camping Association, camp is “valuable in helping children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally and physically”. Bottom line, camp is good for kids – the magic awaits!

Each summer Pima County Cooperative Extension's Tucson Village Farm offers a wide variety of camps. Experiences include exploring gardens, building rockets, hiking to the tops of mountain peaks, and swimming in lakes. While all of these educational activities are great, the overarching goal is that young people learn to set goals, enhance their problem-solving skills, gain knowledge on a variety of subjects and develop their self-confidence in a way that helps them transform into competent, caring adults. This year, we are excited to share that 4-H is offering Military Teen Adventure Camps in various states across the country, including Arizona. We will be holding two week-long sessions in Tucson and one in Flagstaff. These are great opportunities for youth, ages 14-18, to experience adventure, learn, grow, and thrive!

- Sprouts Camp (ages 5-6), and First Farmers Camps (ages 6-9), sessions start June 1
- 4-H Adventure Camp (ages 9-14), starts June 14
- Culinary Camp (ages 10-13), sessions start June 28
- Outdoor Leadership Camp (ages 12-16), sessions start June 7
4-H Showdown Harkens
Back to Simpler Times

The 2021 Pima County 4-H Spring Showdown Livestock & Horse Show, may have been missing many of the trappings of the County Fair, but not the heart. No delightfully sticky churros or amusement park rumbles took attention from the core meaning for youth and their families. Despite coronavirus restrictions, which limited practice time, over 350 youth took part in the 10-day event. Every day, judges’ wise words, youth recognition, and family cheers filled the otherwise empty fairgrounds. Children worked hard to show their animals and beamed with happiness at a job well done. Next year, the Pima County Fair will be in full force, but I will happily think back to my first year as the PCCE Director when our Showdown harkened back to simpler times - all about the animals, kids, and families. Thank you to all who made this year’s Showdown an all-around success. Results and Showdown photos will be posted soon!
Child Development and the Valuable Role of Parents

Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of 5? Children are sponges, soaking up sensory experiences in their surrounding environment, and parents play a critical role in providing reliable patterns and a safe place for their children to grow. Parents and caregivers are key to creating environments that set children up for success and maximize this critical early childhood development time. When children are in a loving and safe environment, children have healthy stress levels and a well-functioning limbic system, which is the emotional center of the brain. These children are easily able to access their prefrontal cortex where creativity and critical thinking thrive. However, when children are exposed to extreme negative emotions or dangerous circumstances, their brain stem and limbic system are flooded with stimuli that prevent access to higher-level thinking. This also happens to us as adults. For example, during moments of high emotion, such as an argument, we may find ourselves unable to find constructive words.

The PCCE Family Engagement Program works on these issues and our classes share strategies to promote child brain development and to use discipline for teaching rather than punishment.

Community Gardens Have
Roots in Extension

One of the coolest things about working for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension is the ability to create experiential learning. Building a hands-on gardening experience is what inspired former horticulture agent George Brookbank to start a community garden in 1989. George worked with residents in the Limberlost neighborhood near the campus farm to turn a vacant lot into a gardening education site. In 1995 George (and volunteers from the Master Gardener program; founded in 1986) turned this project into the 501(c)3 non-profit known today as Community Gardens of Tucson (CGT). Over the past thirty years, CGT’s presence has grown to include 21 gardens and more than 300 members. Plots are typically 3 x 20 feet and members pay a plot fee to cover water, tools, and other supplies. To ensure that all Tucsonans have an opportunity to engage in gardening, CGT offers many types of scholarships and financial assistance. The experiential learning project that George started three decades ago is still going strong and Community Gardens of Tucson is still helping Tucsonans gain new skills and to grow their own food.

PCCE brings the joy of gardening to Pima County residents through seed-to-table programming at the Garden Kitchen, by empowering youth to grow and cook their own food at Tucson Village Farm, and by example at the Master Gardener display gardens located in Tucson and Green Valley. Get your hands dirty and help make all of Tucson a greener and more food secure connected community.

Spring Barbeque Time

This is the perfect time of year to break out the barbeque! Outdoor activities and meals offer a wonderful way to be with family and friends. Keep these tips in mind and enjoy being together.

  • It’s all about the temperature! For food safety, keep hot foods hot (>140 degrees) and cold foods cold (<41 degrees). Reduce risks for food-borne illnesses by reheating already cooked foods to 165 degrees and by using the USDA Cooking Temperature Chart to find cooking temperatures for meats.
  • Wear sunscreen, hats, and don’t forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses! FDA Guidelines for Sun Safety can help you get the most out of your day.
  • Get Physical - Enjoy your time outside with games and activities that get everyone moving! Kids of all ages love playing freeze tag, frisbee golf, relays, or the classic game of hopscotch right in the driveway. Fun fact: Hopscotch games date to ancient times with examples from pre-historic India and ancient Rome. Today, a version can be found in almost every culture across the globe.

Here are some quick, easy, and healthy PCCE EFNEP Recipes and also some Garden Kitchen Recipes to get you started!
Preparing Backyard Chickens
for the Summer Heat

In 2015 the City of Tucson amended the unified development code allowing residents to raise backyard chickens and poultry within city limits. Since then, the popularity of backyard chickens has skyrocketed in Pima County. Chickens make great pets, can thrive in relatively small backyards, and can contribute to local foods through egg production.

Keeping chickens healthy through the heat of Arizona summers does present a bit of a challenge. While chickens are well adapted to colder climates, they lack the ability to sweat (just like dogs!). Coupled with their “coat” of feathers, they are inefficient at effectively cooling themselves and this makes them susceptible to heatstroke. There are a few steps you can take to prepare your birds for our upcoming summer heat. First, make sure birds have access to shade and that coops (and nest boxes) are well ventilated. Ensure access to clean, cool water, and consider the use of fans and misters during the hottest parts of the day. Egg production may drop (hens will often eat less feed during times of intense heat) and be sure to pick up eggs as often as possible (ideally 2-3x day) to prevent food-borne illness.

Article contributed by Ashley Wright, Area Assistant Agent, Livestock
Quinoa Spring Salad

A delicious new salad is a great way to liven up a meal or be the centerpiece of a gathering. Enjoy this hearty and refreshing treat from our Garden Kitchen and Community Nutrition Education programs.

Ingredients: 1 can black beans (drained); 1 can garbanzo beans (drained); 1 tomato (diced); ½ - 1 cucumber (diced); ½ cup red onion (diced); 1 cup corn or whole can (drained); ¼ cup or 5 sprigs, cilantro; chopped avocado (optional); 1 cup quinoa (cooked)
Dressing: 1 Tbsp white vinegar; 1/3 cup olive oil; 1 Tbsp mayonnaise; ¼ tsp ground cumin; salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Boil 1 cup Quinoa with 2 cups water with a touch of salt for 15 minutes. The water will evaporate or be absorbed kind of like stuffing. Fluff with a fork and let cool. In the meantime, clean the tops of the cans, put the rinsed black beans, rinsed garbanzo beans, washed and diced tomato, cucumber, and avocado (optional) into a serving bowl. Wash, dry, and chop the cilantro well and add to the bowl (you may want a lot or a little it is up to you). Put your dressing ingredients into a separate mixing bowl, whisk together and let stand. Once your quinoa is cooled add to your bean and veggie mixture. Top with your freshly made dressing and mix. Enjoy!
A Big Thank You to Josh Moore!

4-H Assistant Agent Josh Moore has been at the heart of our PCCE 4-H program for the last 5 years. Josh always goes above and beyond - boosting 4-H clubs and projects, creating the Fabrication Lab, attaining grants, upgrading communications, and connecting with youth and families every day. While we are very sorry to see him leave, we are also excited for him as starts a new adventure as General Manager for the Colorado River Indian Tribe (CRIT) Farms. We know that he will do great things at CRIT and look forward to collaborating with him in the future. Congratulations Josh!
Welcome, Alec!

We are very pleased to welcome Alec Deaubl as our Office Specialist for the PCCE main office. Alec comes to us from Tucson Unified School District where he worked in a variety of administrative capacities. When not working, Alec enjoys a myriad of home endeavors including gardening and craft and construction projects. We are really happy to have him join our team and as our offices begin to re-open, we hope you will stop by and say hello. Please join us in welcoming Alec to PCCE!
UArizona Pima County Cooperative Extension
Programs and Upcoming Events
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Residents and growers can access research-based horticultural information at PCCE. Get gardening answers from Master Gardener experts and learn about water conservation, xeriscape, irrigation, and more through our Smartscape courses.

Free Online Gardening Talks, Various dates: Register
Smartscape Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Workshop, May 15: Register
Smartscape Drip Irrigation Systems Workshop, June 5: Register

Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Training to prepare for City of Tucson GSI maintenance jobs. English Course, 4 wks, M/W, 3:30-6:30 pm, starts May 17: Register
Curso de Español, 4 semanas, T/Th, 3:30- 6:00 pm, starts May 18: Inscríbase
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.

Attend a "Resilience" movie screening about the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on youth: Register
Pima Diabetes Prevention Program, new classes each month: Register
Community Nutrition "Eat Well, Be Well" Class Series; Spanish, English
SNAP-Ed Volunteer and Partner opportunities: Learn More
Youth build lifelong skills and have great fun through Pima County 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 Village Farm, a working urban farm built by, and for, the youth of our community.

Tucson Village Farm Summer Camps, Register
4-H Military Teen Adventure Camps, Learn More
4-H High Ropes Course, Schedule a Date
Pima County Cooperative Extension
Office: 4210 N Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719-1109
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