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From the UC Blogosphere...

Hear that Buzz? Saturday is National Honey Bee Day!

Postdoctoral scholar Laura Brutscher of the Elina Lastro Niño lab at UC Davis talks about who lives in the hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Hear that buzz? Tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 18) is National Honey Bee Day. A small group of beekeepers originated the...

Posted on Friday, August 17, 2018 at 3:50 PM

Master Gardener Minute


Next time you're on Higuera St. in downtown SLO, look up!

Cal Poly entomology professor, Dr. David Headrick, is taking biological control to new heights!


Here's his story:

An invasive whitefly pest is attacking our giant fig trees in downtown SLO. I got a call to help out, so we started a proof of concept experiment to release microscopic stingless parasitoid wasps that lay eggs in whiteflies. Then, their young hatch out and eat them. If these wasps do the job, we can release lots more to get control. First step is to try them out in cages on the trees. I hope this raises some awareness. I like elevating people's knowledge about biological control. It's uplifting. Raising to the occasion. (Btw, can't lie, it's totally cool being in a bucket up in a tree.)


A big thank you to Dr. David Headrick for keeping us unformed and entertained. We'll be checking in with him so stay tuned for updates!

To see more photos of his downtown adventure, check out our Facebook page - SLO MGs




Posted on Friday, August 17, 2018 at 1:56 PM

Fermentation Workshop



Fermentation Workshop

By Tami Reece UCCE Master Food Preserver


I am interested in fermenting. Is it hard to make kombucha or sauerkraut?  Kim W. San Luis Obispo


Fermenting foods involves a few simple steps. It does not require any refrigeration, preserving methods or special equipment but does require a little chemistry.  Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage using salt whereas kombucha is fermented tea using sugar.

Sauerkraut is very fun to make. It is the process of mixing shredded cabbage and salt and packing it in a jar or crock and placing in a dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. It is important you store your sauerkraut at 70 to 75 degrees for fermenting. At 60 to 65 degrees the sauerkraut will take longer to ferment and below 60 it will not ferment at all. Above 75 degrees and your sauerkraut will become soft and mushy.  Afterwards, you can preserve your sauerkraut using the boiling water method, but I usually place mine in the fridge. It will last several months but mine never seems to make it past a couple of weeks!

Kombucha contains many healthy bacteria known as probiotics due to the fermentation process. It consists of black or green tea and sugar in various forms such as cane sugar, fruit or honey. It is made by fermenting the tea and sugar with a SCOBY which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. SCOBIES can be found on-line, in local stores, from friends, or with a little patience you can grow your own from raw kombucha purchased at a store.

It is important to use a reputable recipe for both these processes. If you do not use the correct ratio of salt to cabbage you could end up with a non-fermented product or mold.  With[DR1]  kombucha, if you do not add enough sugar at the start or during the process, the SCOBY will not have anything to feed on and your tea will not ferment.

Join us to learn more at the UCCE Master Food Preservers' Fermentation Workshop on Saturday August 25 from 10:00 to 12:00 p.m. at 2156 Sierra Way in the auditorium next to the parking lot. Cost of the workshop is $10.   If you are interested in attending, please make reservations at http://ucanr.edu/fermentation2018 .



Posted on Friday, August 17, 2018 at 1:27 PM

Opportunity knocks for aspiring naturalists in California

The California Naturalist program will be offered in an eight-day immersion course in Cambria this month, and in a slower-paced eight-week program that starts in September in San Luis Obispo, reported Michele Roest in the San Luis Obispo Tribune. California Naturalist sessions begin in September in a wide range of California locations, including Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Sacramento and Yosemite National Park.

In all cases, fulfilling the course requirements will allow participants to join the growing ranks of California Naturalists in the Golden State, which number nearly 2,000.

The California Naturalist training involves both classroom and field sessions.

In her article, Roest likens California Naturalists to the well-known UC Master Gardeners. Master Gardener volunteers share research-based gardening information with the public. California Naturalists extend information to the public about natural California. The CalNat program also offers volunteers the opportunity to participate in nature-based activities in other capacities, such as citizen science, service to partner organizations or hands-on conservation.

The eight-day class in Cambria, Roest wrote, provides comprehensive information on "everything from algae to zebras." Zebras in California? There are a few who wander the land around Hearst Castle along Highway 1, descendants of zebras brought to San Simeon by the late Randolph Hearst.

The eight week program is offered in collaboration with Cuesta College. 

"The program is ideal for adults who want to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of California's natural history," the article said. 

It's a resume-builder for those seeking jobs in environmental fields, and includes the option of four units of transferable UC credit for students.

Posted on Friday, August 17, 2018 at 9:40 AM

Noah Crockette: From an 11-Year-Old Bohart Intern to an 18-Year-Old Entomology Student at Cornell

Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, shares a laugh with Noah Crockette, now an entomology major at Cornell. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

“Go as far as you can [young scientists]. The world needs you badly.”—E.O Wilson. That sign greets...

Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 3:23 PM

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