San Mateo and San Francisco Counties
Quarterly News & Events December 2020
Goodbye 2020 - Hello 2021!

As we approach the holidays and bring 2020 to a close, many thoughts come to mind. Foremost in my mind is the drive and perseverance that our staff has shown in dealing with the corona virus pandemic. For most of this year, it has impacted our work, our lives and individuals throughout our community.
Our programs have needed to modify to new delivery methods and through individual efforts and teamwork have delivered many successes. Our San Mateo County 4-H Youth Development Program created a Virtual 4-H Livestock Show. Our Healthy Living Ambassadors (HLA) Program worked collaboratively with CalFresh Healthy Living (CFHL), 4-H, Master Gardeners, and Elkus Ranch, to deliver hundreds of vegetable seedlings, nutrition instruction and homemade face masks to Pescadero and Daly City elementary students and their families. Our Master Gardeners (MG’s) converted their annual plant sale to an on-line event and delivered 17 virtual gardening workshops, our Master Food Preservers (MFP’s) adapted 8 food preservation workshops for on-line delivery. EFNEP and CalFresh Healthy Living programs also pivoted to providing on-line nutrition education with partner organizations, and Elkus Ranch was able to modify their educational programs to private tours and small, learning pod groups.
Thank you for your support!
And thank you to all our volunteers who help our programs thrive!
UC Cooperative Extension: Who did we serve?
13,218 Total Reach in Fiscal Year 2019-2020
Program Highlights
While a majority of the projects in our San Mateo County 4-H program are being conducted virtually during this pandemic, some in-person project meetings are being held outside with restrictions (i.e., hiking and dog showmanship). In-person meetings are limited to a maximum of ten people with each participant required to take a health screening survey and log their attendance for contact tracing. Face masks are worn at all times and six feet social distancing are required. The Belmont 4-H Club Baking and Breadmaking project is an example of how one of our dedicated, volunteer project leaders...READ MORE...

Vegetable Seedling distribution is bringing real life gardening experiences to the virtual lesson world for Daly City 4th- 6th grade classes. Vegetable Seedlings were provided to students and families during their school meal distribution for Woodrow Wilson Elementary students/families, JFK Elementary School students/families, and TR Pollicitas Middle School’s students and their families.
The vegetable starts included seasonally appropriate plants like Parsley, Lettuce, and other plants recommended by Master Gardener volunteers... READ MORE...

Elkus Ranch continues to offer Private Tours as well as a 4-hour Adventure Day program designed for social bubbles and educational pods. Children come with their adults allowing our educators to socially distance from the group while still providing an excellent program. Lots of fun with some having come back for a second tour!

Our Harvest Craft Workshop in November was a big success. Led by educators, Terri & Beth...

Conflict between livestock producers and carnivores is a global problem that negatively impacts ranchers’ livelihoods and the long-term health of carnivore populations. San Mateo County is no exception and research is critical for improving our under-standing of carnivore risks to livestock and how they can be mitigated. To work towards the goal of better protecting livestock, Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor Carolyn Whitesell, PhD has started a pilot project...

The Master Food Preserver's participated in Rethink Waste's "Rethink Recycling Day" with a virtual preservation workshop on November 7th, with presentation covering: basic principles of food preservation and how they applied to fruit spreads; basic information about food waste and tips for reducing food waste in the home; and the interaction of food waste and food safety concerns (including a case study: moldy jam).

A live demonstration of an apple-pear freezer butter was also conducted virtually along with an overview of a recipe how-to for wine jelly.

Like many, our Master Gardeners have successfully shifted to virtual operation, hosting 17 online workshops to date! Our Helpline also remains busier than ever working remotely since the middle of March. It has been a year of many challenges and we are learning and bettering our programs along the way!

Our MG Demonstration Gardens remain one of the few "in-person" activities that our volunteers may currently participate in. The care and maintenance of these gardens is an ongoing task requiring many volunteer hours and dedication to sustain. All volunteers who participate must complete safety training and abide by all required safety protocols...READ MORE...
Other News / Events / Opportunities

The first two UC Climate Stewards pilot courses will be graduating on Dec. 12 & 13. Starting in January there will be courses available through Pepperwood Preserve and Point Reyes National Seashore Association (among others).

Those interested can find more information and registration information at

B.O.K. Ranch is partnering with the San Mateo County 4-H program in offering an afterschool program utilizing 4-H curriculum. This program will include both riding and horsemanship curriculum.
Participants will learn about:
  • Equine Conformation
  • First Aid & Prevention
  • Movement
  • Budgeting
  • Riding
Enrollment is available for children ages 9 years- 18 years.
As everyone can attest to, this past 8 months has been like no other. Our lives have been turned upside down by a virus still out of control, racial strife and a political climate we have never seen before. It would be easy to fall into despair and self-pity. However, as we try to continue as best we can, I have found ways to help me live each day with calmness, gratitude and purpose.
I have a job that I love. During this pandemic, I have gotten to know and work with my co-workers more closely, and for that, I am grateful. I have family and friends that mean the world to me. I volunteer in an area that gives me hope that someday all beings will be treated with love and compassion. I get out in the fresh air as much as possible and move the wonderful body that I have been given. I started gardening and growing food which I share with my family, friends and dog.
While we are still in the midst of this pandemic, I will continue to be grateful and live with purpose. I hope you will do the same.
We are looking for an affordable, non-profit space for our Nutrition Program staff who lost their office lease at the old Crestmoor High School (San Bruno) now slated for redevelopment. Require approx. 1,000 sf +/-with sm. kitchen, could be a shared space. If you know of anything please contact us at:
(pictured is our current office/storage unit accommodation!)
Thank you for being part of our UC Cooperative Extension community!
We hope we have served you well in our mission to extend research-based information through extension and wish you a safe and healthy holidays.
Located at Elkus Ranch
1500 Purisima Creek Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Master Gardener Helpline:
650-276-9030 /

~ currently operating remotely ~
Mondays - 9am to 4pm
Wednesdays - 10:30am to 2pm
Thursdays - 9am to 4pm
It is the policy of the University of California (UC) and the UC Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person in any of its programs or activities (Complete nondiscrimination policy statement can be found at ). Inquiries regarding ANR’s nondiscrimination policies may be directed to UCANR, Affirmative Action Compliance & Title IX Officer, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2801 Second Street, Davis, CA 95618,(530) 750-1397.