Under the heading "modern life," the Los Angeles Time today covered a UC Web site created by wildlife specialist Robert Timm to track coyotes in urbanizing areas. Here's a synopsis from the article, by Nancy Yoshihara:
"A new website, CoyoteBytes.org, was launched two weeks ago by the University of California Cooperative Extension to gather reports of coyote sightings and attacks from residents of Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and to share information. The goal is to prevent conflict between humans and coyotes."
The development of CoyoteBytes was shared with the media in a Sept. 25 news release by Pam Kan-Rice, assistant director of Governmental and External Relations.
Not only did the the L.A. Times reporter mention "UC Cooperative Extension" in her piece, she also noted "the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources" in describing Timm's role with UC.
The bulk of the article is presented as a Q&A with Timm, including Why does UC care about coyotes? and Is a single coyote or a pack more worrisome?
Jim Downing of the Sacramento Bee wrote a story for today's newspaper about the 2007 almond crop. In a nutshell, he wrote that this year's huge almond harvest is erasing fears about disappearing honey bees.
The article says 1.33 billion pounds are expected to be harvested, but that the almonds themselves are about 15 percent smaller. For an explanation, he turned to John Edstrom, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Colusa County.
"Many of us are debating the reasons for (the small amond size)," Downing quoted Edstrom.
Edstrom told Downing that the main variables are weather, water and bees, but it's difficult to say how they interact.
Downing also talked to UC Davis entomologist Eric Mussen, who said California beekeepers are "cautiously optimistic" about the coming year, as most of the state's hives have remained healthy despite the dry spring and summer, which made natural food supplies scarce.
Los Angeles Times reporter Jerry Hirsch filed a story for today's paper that it seems he pulled out of the blue. Hirsch reported that California farmers are increasingly growing blueberries, a crop that a decade ago was not produced commercially in the Golden State.
"As little as three years ago, the number of acres planted in blueberries in the state was so small that it didn't register with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today there are an estimated 4,000 acres of commercial blueberries in the San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast and Ventura," the article says.
Most would agree that a lot of the credit goes to Manuel Jimenez, the small-scale farm advisor in Tulare County. Back in 2001 he already had 30 varieties growing at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center. His annual blueberry field day continues to be among the best-attended events at the research center.
For his article, Hirsch interviewed UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Ben Faber of Ventura County.
"There's some real money to be made (in blueberries)," Faber is quoted.
At the end of the article, Hirsh included comments from Faber about the benefits of locally grown blueberries and the challenges associated with producing them.
"What they ship here from South America can't compare to what comes out
of a berry patch in Ventura just 24 hours earlier," he is quoted.
California farmers, he said, are finding that blueberries can be a "persnickety crop."
"There is a learning curve," Faber is quoted. "Farmers have to understand that you can't treat it like a lemon."
UC President Dynes participated in a tour last Friday at the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center and a rice field near Marysville. The event was covered in the Sept. 21 Yuba City Appeal-Democrat. Reporter Kyle Buis noted that Dynes likes to see work being done by UC academics first hand.
“If you sit in an office, nobody tells you the whole story,” Buis quoted Dynes. “It’s extremely important to understand the impact of our research.”
At the Sierra Foothill REC, wood durability farm advisor Stephen Quarles demonstrated how different types of decking materials burn.
"While a simulated redwood deck barely burned, a plastic-lumber composite deck turned into an inferno within 15 minutes," Buis wrote.
At another tour stop, UC Davis extension specialist Rob Atwill showed how a three-foot-wide strip of grass buffering streams can help preserve water quality.
"Leaving a section of grass near a creek ungrazed worked like a filter, preventing 99 percent of livestock-leavings bacteria from running into the creek," the article said.
Buis' article said Dynes discussed the importance of the relationship between farmers and UC Davis at the last stop on the tour, where rice was being harvested on Charlie Mathews farm near Marysville.
According to the Orange County Register, the turning of seasons this week is ending a local "summer of bugs." Today's article says that homeowners, landscape designers, nurserymen are reporting unusually high numbers of flies, mosquitos, thrips and glassy-winged sharpshooters.
“There are flies everywhere,” the paper quotes Cherie Ciotti-Roco, a landscape designer and contractor. “I’ve been out here 20 years, and I’ve never seen flies like this.”
For expert opinion, the Register turned to John Kabashima, the director of UC Cooperative Extension in Orange County.
“When the fall flush hits, all the insects attack,” Kabashima is quoted. “They just go crazy. They’ve been building up since spring, and the population can explode, and each insect can lay potentially hundreds of eggs.”
Kabashima pointed out that eugenia psyllid and citrus leaf miner are expected to become pervasive, according to the paper.
“We just came out with a pest note (for homeowners) on that one,” the article quotes Kabashima.
Unfortunately, the link to the pest note was not included in the article, but I will include it here.