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From the UC Blogosphere...

AP story on green ranchers makes the rounds

The Associated Press reporter in the Fresno bureau, Garance Burke, posted a story on the AP wire today about "green ranchers," which has been picked up widely by newspapers in California and elsewhere, including the San Francisco Chronicle.

The article says that ranchers haven't always had the best relationship with environmentalists, but a "new crop of cattlemen are quietly working to minimize their industry's ecological footprint and are forging unlikely alliances with environmental groups."

Burke included a colorful quote from UC Cooperative Extension range management farm advisor Neil McDougald.

"This new generation of ranchers knows they have to work on the environmental part of it to survive," McDougald is quoted. "I'll guarantee you the guys driving cows today have a better environmental conscience than the ranchers who were riding around holding up stagecoaches."

Burke also spoke to Mel George, a range ecologist at UC Davis who, according to the story, said foraging has contributed to the erosion of arid Western rangelands and watershed contamination in the last two centuries. "The environmental movement has hit back with lawsuits seeking to ban cattlemen from running their herds on public lands," Burke wrote.

Research and government programs highlighting how grazing can benefit the environment have helped make partners out of livestock producers and their adversaries, according to paraphrased comments attributed to George.

The article has appeared in the following newspapers:

Cattle graze rangeland
Cattle graze rangeland

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2008 at 9:20 AM

UCCE coordinator tells her tomato plans to LA Times

Coordinator of the Common Ground Program for UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County, Yvonne Savio, shared with an LA Times reporter her plans to grow the Japanese Trifele Black tomatoes this year. Savio is one of many gardening and food enthusiasts whose plans were sought for today's "Kitchen Gardener" story, which encourages the planting of unusual foods in summer gardens. In fact, the headline announces "Yellow strawberries and pink pumpkins -- it's time to plant for spring."

Other unusual suggestions in the article include mentuccia, an Italian herb, and agretti, a feathery-leafed Italian vegetable. The Japanese Trifele Black tomatoes that will be grown in Savio's garden are an unusual pear shape and burgundy color, according to Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Japanese Trifele Black
Japanese Trifele Black

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Kings County 4-H volunteer nominated for state award

A 16-year 4-H volunteer and assistant principal at Pioneer Elementary School in Hanford, Antoinette Draxler, is in the running for a statewide school administrator award, according to a story in her hometown newspaper, the Hanford Sentinel. Draxler already won the county and regional competitions.

Draxler taught second-, third- and fourth-grade for 19 years before turning to administration. Her daughter is a teacher and her two other children, currently in college, are considering education careers.

Draxler told Sentinel reporter Shannon Milliken what about children inspires her:

"Their smiles, their hugs. You know they really do love you. It makes you feel like you really are doing a good job."

Posted on Monday, February 11, 2008 at 9:29 AM

More on George York II

I noted in an earlier blog entry that the Sacramento Bee ran a nice obituary on retired UC Cooperative Extension food scientist George K. York II.

The San Francisco Chronicle also ran an obituary on Dr. York. It included this poignant quote from his son, Sacramento neurologist George K. York III:

"He was gentle and generous with his time, resources and really vast knowledge. Many times he had the opportunity to leave the university for industry and make 10 times the amount, but he was much happier sharing his knowledge with the people of California."

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Who says the media only report bad news?

InsideBayArea.com published a heart-warming feature story today about a new honor for retired UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor and San Mateo County director Gloria Brown.

Brown received a "Local Hero" award Wednesday in recognition of four decades spent educating her community and raising awareness of serious health and nutrition issues, especially among African-Americans.

Brown's list of accolades and accomplishments is long, according to the story. "She has served on so many boards, she can't keep track of them all," the article says.

Two years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brown for a news release about her retirement. At the time she told me the civil rights movement gave her the courage to apply for her job with UCCE in 1969, even though she was seven months pregnant.

Brown lived in San Mateo County all her life, except for the years she spent in college at Texas Southern University. Brown graduated from high school at the height of the civil rights movement in the South and sought to be a first-hand witness of the momentous changes underway.

“I wanted to attend a historical black institution. It was the best experience I could have ever had,” Brown said. “Dr. Martin Luther King spoke at our school and Barbara Jordan, the first black congresswoman from Texas, was our commencement speaker.”

The InsideBayArea story said that Brown pioneered screening services for breast cancer, diabetes and prostate cancer as a board member at Mills-Peninsula Health Services, is a recent inductee into the San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame, and was named one of the 10 most influential Bay Area African-Americans in 2003.

Gloria Brown
Gloria Brown

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2008 at 9:27 AM

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