Greetings from UCCE Central Sierra!

This month we highlight exciting livestock information series and workshops, and the collaboration between UCCE Central Sierra volunteers and schools within our community. We continue to offer a variety of in-person and virtual events and workshops, so I am sure you will find something to spark your interest! As you start preparing for the warmer seasons ahead, please take a moment to complete the California Wildfire Needs Assessment Survey. We want your input to understand the wildfire-related needs of Californians! I hope you will read on to find out more about the amazing work of our academic staff and share it with your friends and family.

JoLynn Miller
University of California
Cooperative Extension
Central Sierra Nevada
Multi-County Partnership (MCP)
The Central Sierra foothill region produces a wide variety of agriculture commodities. The University of California brings research and outreach to area farms to assist with growing and cultural practices, pest and disease management, and more!
Cattle Health Webinar Series
Wednesdays in March | 5:30-7:00PM

UC Cooperative Extension and UC Davis Veterinary Medicine are excited to offer a second Cattle Health Webinar Series. The free webinars will be held on Wednesday evenings in March from 5:30-7:00 pm and are for producers of all sizes. Sessions cover topics important to cattle health and management and include lots of visuals. Webinars are held live and participants have the opportunity to ask clarification questions on topics presented or with personal ranch questions or scenarios--register for one, or all! REGISTER HERE

  • March 1: Beef Quality Assurance Training and Certification
  • March 8: Time to Help During Calving
  • March 15: Mystery of Calf Abortions
  • March 22: Bugging Beef – Internal Parasites
  • March 29: Bugging Beef – External Parasites
USDA Risk Management Agency Info Session
Monday, March 13 | 10:00AM | via ZOOM

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) serves America’s agricultural producers through effective, market-based risk management tools to strengthen the economic stability of agricultural producers and rural communities. RMA is committed to increasing the availability and effectiveness of federal crop insurance as a risk management tool. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: 
  • Cover Crops
  • Emergency Relief Program and Natural Disaster Resources
  • Prevented Planting
  • Specialty Crops 
  • Whole-Farm Revenue Protection
  • Micro Farm Program
 The information session is hosted in partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) & USDA Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE). Contact Juan Alvarez with questions.
Sheep Shearing: An Important Part of Raising Wool Sheep
by Flavie Audoin, UC Cooperative Extension, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

On my first week in my new position as the Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor for the Central Sierra, I was given a box of the “Official Standards of the United States for grades of wool” from 1940, which has the 7 different grades of wool. What an historic and unique item!

Seeing all this wool made me think about sheep shearing…


Why and when shear sheep?
Most sheep are shorn annually to help the animals regulate their own body temperature during hotter and colder days. By shearing in early spring to early summer depending on where the sheep are raised; it allows a shorter coat during hotter days and a thicker coat during colder days.

Sheep farmers/ranchers usually try to shear sheep before lambing season to provide a clean environment for the lambs, better wool quality, and easier shearing. By shearing sheep once a year, it prevents external parasites to set up in their thick coat and avoid creating health problems. Harvesting the fiber at the appropriate length for spinning the wool and making it into yarn is very important for wool producers, and artists.
Do you want to learn more about sheep shearing?

There is a UC Sheep Shearing School March 20th - 24th, and registration is currently open. Participants in that workshop will learn how to shear sheep from certified instructors of the National Shearing Program. This workshop is for beginners and the experienced shearer.

Personal note: This year will be my seventh year shearing sheep, and it has always been a very enjoyable experience (I am the official sheep catcher). Watching the artists clean the fleeces, and the shearer’s rapidity is always impressive! (Photo: the day after shearing 200 sheep in southeastern Arizona; Credit: Dennis Moroney, 47 Ranch)

Below is a YouTube video I have done about sheep shearing for the 47 Ranch, where I conducted my research before coming to California.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at:
Forests and woodlands in the Central Sierra Nevada are beautiful, extensive, diverse and owned by both public and private landowners. Active management is needed to reduce forest density and to help forests recover after wildfire. The goal of the Central Sierra forestry program is to empower landowners to overcome these challenges.
Prescribed Fire 101 Workshop
Saturday, March 11, 2023 | 8:00AM-4:30PM
Wakamatsu Farm in Placerville

The El Dorado Amador Prescribed Burn Association is hosting a prescribed fire workshop for anyone interested in learning more about the safe use of intentional fire on private lands. In this classroom-based introduction to prescribed fire, local experts with Placer RCD will cover a range of topics from permitting and liability to unit preparation and ecological benefits of fire. The El Dorado Amador PBA is committed to supporting landowners in planning and implementing safe, legal, and ecologically minded prescribed burns. Registration is required for this event, cost is $20 and includes lunch. Contact Kestrel Grevatt or call 530-333-4475 with questions. REGISTER HERE
California Wildfire Needs Assessment Survey
We want your input to understand the wildfire-related needs of Californians!
UC Cooperative Extension has recently expanded their team of fire advisors and staff. As a new group of UCCE fire professionals, they are interested in learning about the concerns of the communities they serve, as well as professionals already working to address these issues. Results from this survey will enhance the group's ability to partner with residents, landowners, agencies, academics, and other organizations to reduce California's vulnerability to wildfires. 

By participating in this survey, you will help this group develop educational resources and workshops about wildfire preparedness and guide scientific research aimed at helping communities and professionals in the communities mitigate wildfire risks and impacts.
We are asking adult residents and natural resource professionals in California to complete this survey by March 31, 2023.
The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.
Your participation in the survey is voluntary and your answers are anonymous. If you share your contact information in the survey, it will not be connected to your answers unless you wish to be contacted for a follow-up interview. For competing the survey you will have the option to enter a drawing to win one of fifty $20 VISA gift cards!

This research is being led by a team of UCCE Advisors and an Academic Coordinator.
If you have any questions about the survey, please contact the fire and forestry professionals involved in this survey effort:

For more information about wildfire-related programming from University of California Cooperative Extension, please visit our website or our Facebook page.
The 4-H Youth Development Program offers educational opportunities for children, teens, families, and adults. 4-H helps young people to reach their full potential as competent, confident, leaders of character who contribute and are connected to their communities.
4-H Program Representative | Placerville, CA

The Placerville Office is seeking a 4-H Community Education Specialist! This position's primary focus will be on conducting, managing, and evaluating an education program to improve the environment of the schools and communities in El Dorado County. The position is a benefited career appointment that is 80% variable. Ideal candidates will have general knowledge of the 4-H Youth Development Program, experience with volunteer management, event planning, and a desire to teach and grow. For more information or to apply, email
Amador County 4-H Presentation and Home Arts Day

The annual event was held on Saturday February 11th, 2023. Over forty home arts entries ranging from photography to LEGO creations to sewing projects were on display. The quality of entries demonstrates how much time and effort has gone into teaching and practicing these life skills.

Amador County Ambassador, Lily Himmel, provided a fun educational experience for all attendees through her “Edible Botanicals” fruit and vegetable identification contest. Congratulations to 4-H members Austin Baker and Lexi Himmel for your perfect scores!

In the Presentation Event, every youth presenter earned a Gold Award and qualified to participate in Regional Presentation Day on March 25th, 2023 in Jackson, California.

Amador County 4-H would like to thank the presenters, parents, and volunteers for a successful event!
If you are interested in joining a 4-H project like this or others, or if you are interested in volunteering to help the 4-H youth grow and achieve, please contact your local 4-H Office or email
Enroll NOW for the 2022-2023 Program Year!
UCCE Master Gardeners are community members who have been trained under the direction of the University of California Cooperative Extension. Each volunteer has completed more than 50 hours of formal classroom training to provide practical scientific gardening information to the home gardeners.
Lake Tahoe Greens

The Master Gardeners of South Lake Tahoe initiated collaboration with CalFresh, Lake Tahoe Unified School District (LTUSD), and Slow Food Lake Tahoe to renew the gardening curriculum for elementary schools around the lake. In an article she wrote for the local newsletter, Master Gardener Cindy Wise wrote that Lake Tahoe Master Gardeners (LTMG) along with Grow Your Own Tahoe-Truckee (GYO), LTUSD staff, and Cal-Fresh (CA Department of Social Service’s nutrition program) are working together to help re-establish an active gardening element into school and after school programs.

As a first outcome from their initial meeting late in 2022, it was agreed that growing microgreens in the classroom would fit nicely into Cal Fresh’s planned nutrition program for second and third graders and could be accomplished regardless of winter weather. Students could plant the seeds and be harvesting microgreens in about two weeks. The microgreens could then be used as part of a tasting or cooking lesson.

By January 2023, Master Gardeners were ready to launch delivery of the first microgreen growing activity to six classes of second and third graders. LTUSD staff wrote a lesson plan and made the classroom arrangements. LTMG and GYO provided seeds, soil, and classroom instruction for the planting activity. Teachers guided follow up plant care.

CalFresh staff explained the nutrition benefits and students tasted and cooked what they grew. This successful introduction will be followed in March and April by similar microgreen growing activities for 18 other classes at three elementary school sites, reaching an estimated total of 500 students.

Additional gardening activities for school and after school are being planned to further involve students in gardening, as well as bring back parent and community involvement in the maintenance of the school gardens, grow domes and greenhouses.
Fire-wise and Water-wise Gardening
Saturday, March 4, 2023 | 9:00AM – 12:00PM

While no one wants to lose a home to wildfire, many residents wonder exactly what they have to do to create a fire safe landscape. Creating defensible space does not mean razing every living thing within 100 feet of your home and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • Learn what is defensible space
  • What are the landscape zones
  • Appropriate vegetation and home hardening approaches for Foothill residents
  • Review fire-wise community programming

Planning your landscaping and gardens for summer dry conditions will put you ahead of the game for drought and water restrictions.
  • Review water conservation
  • Learn approaches to waterwise irrigation,
  • What are drought tolerant and appropriate plants
  • Helpful ways to conserve water without killing your garden
March 2023 Master Gardeners of El Dorado County News

The Master Gardeners have thirteen events on the calendar for the month of March! After the flood damage early in the year, the volunteers have been working extremely hard to get it ready for the public to enjoy!

Each Friday and Saturday is Open Garden Day at Sherwood Demonstration Garden 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Every Saturday at 9:00 AM, volunteers are on site offering tours. The garden is located across from the Folsom Lake College Placerville Campus at 6699 Campus Dr. Placerville, CA 95667. There are 16 individual demonstrations gardens ranging from the Shade Garden to the Rock Garden and everything in between!

As Master Gardeners, we are committed to educating the general public on sustainable horticulture and pest management practices based on traditional, current, and evolving research. It is our goal that the Sherwood Demonstration Garden will provide the public with a hands-on, interactive experience about research-based, sustainable gardening practices specific to the west slope of El Dorado County, appropriate for all ages and cultures, and reflective of a variety of environments and gardening experiences.

Please visit our Calendar of Events to download a flyer with all of our fun garden activities this month.
Saturday, March 4 | 9:30 AM or 10:30 AM
Note: Location has changed due to weather

After learning some basics about parts and needs of plants, children will plant a succulent cutting in a small pot. Then they can also plant a bean seed in another pot. They will take the plant home, care for it, and watch it grow. Then in June they can enter their plant in the El Dorado County Fair. Children may decorate the pot or make it look like a fairy garden. Their plant will be on display during the fair for everyone to see, and they might even win a ribbon. Participants will receive a short booklet with the basics of plants and how to care for them. REGISTER HERE
March 18 | 9:00AM - 12:00PM

If you are brand new to gardening and have a burning desire to learn, or have you had some gardening experience, but not much success achieving healthy plants? Plan to attend Master Gardener Sheri Burke's free public education class on "Back to Basics." This presentation will cover topics such as soil types, watering techniques, planting methods, sun/shade exposure, mulch, proper tools to use and much more. It will also address what NOT to do when gardening. This is a terrific class for beginners, novices or anyone who just wants to learn more. 
Michelson School Garden Project Update
by Claudia Beymer

Master Gardeners will be returning to the school garden at Michelson Elementary School in Murphys this spring. For the past two years we have brought gardening to the students with the very popular take-home kits, but that just isn’t as powerful as kids and Master Gardeners growing plants together in the garden.  

Beginning in April our team will be showing up at the doors to the third-grade classrooms with classroom lessons and outdoor activities in the vegetable garden and the native plant area. We plan to be at school one day a week during the afternoons. We will finish up at the end of May.  

The school garden program at Michelson School has been going for 26 years. We have a great team ready to go to work preparing the garden and sharing our love of gardening with students. Topics we cover include growing vegetables from seeds and seedlings, identifying native trees, plant propagation, pollinators in the garden and tool safety.
Questions about your home garden or landscape?
Interested in upcoming classes and events?
UCCE Master Gardeners are available to answer your questions!
The UCCE Master Food Preserver program trains dedicated volunteers to assist the county UC Cooperative Extension staff provide up-to-date food preservation information. Our current program is active in El Dorado, Amador, Tuolumne, and Calaveras counties.
Avo No-No

We’re sure there’s more than one video trending out there today with bad or even dangerous food preservation advice. One that’s been brought to our attention lately is putting ripe avocados in a jar of water in the refrigerator. Some content producers have stated that doing this keeps the fruit fresh in the fridge for a month. Don’t try this at home!
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research says this could make you very sick, and we agree! Pathogens such as Listeria or Salmonella might be on the surface of the avocado and multiply when submerged in water. Research has shown that Listeria can potentially get into the pulp, so even scrubbing it when you’re ready to eat won’t clean it off. 

The best way to preserve ripe avocados is to wash avocados under cool, running water for at least 15 seconds, rubbing gently to dislodge any dirt before cutting into their tough outer shell. Scoop them, mash them, add a tablespoon of lemon juice for every two avocados. Pack into a freezer container and, leaving headspace, freeze until you’re ready to add it to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Our new class of Master Food Preservers are currently in-training statewide! If you missed this opportunity to join us, please make sure you put your name on our list to be the first to know when the next training opportunity arises.
Ask a Master Food Preserver: LIVE! via ZOOM
March 8 | 6:30-7:30PM

Join the UCCE Master Food Preservers for their free monthly Q&A session. A panel of volunteers specializing in freezing, dehydrating, canning and food safety will be available to answer your questions, share their tips and encourage you to safely preserve food at home.

March is hosted by the UC Master Food Preservers of El Dorado County. It's time to go through our freezers to spring clean, glean and reorganize. We'll show what we've made recently, our plans for the treasures buried in the back of the fridge, and how we store frozen food to prevent freezer burn. REGISTER HERE
Wednesday, March 15 | 6:30-8:00PM

Join the UC Master Food Preservers of Sacramento County and Eric Miller from V. Miller Meats for this in person evening where we will demonstrate everything you need to know to make, cook and preserve fresh sausage at home. A tasting will be included.
Fee: $45 advance registration (credit card), $50 at the door (cash or check payable to UC Regents). Walk-ins will be limited so consider registering in advance. This is not a hands on class. REGISTER HERE
Preserving Meat
Saturday, March 18 | 9:00AM-12:00PM

Did you get a great deal on a bulk meat purchase but there's no room in your freezer? Did you know there are more ways to store meat long term than by freezing it?
During this in-person class the UC Master Food Preservers of Amador/Calaveras County will demonstrate how to can meat, make jerky and dehydrate ground beef. And of course we'll show you the most effective ways to freeze meat so you'll want to eat it in something other than a stew when you pull it out of the freezer. Examples of canned meat products shown include chicken, ground hamburger, chili con carne, and mincemeat pie filling. We hope you leave inspired to try something new. Class fee is $5 per person. Pre-registration is recommended but walk-ins are welcome. REGISTER HERE
Tomatoes: from Seed to Table
Saturday, March 25 | 9:00AM-12:00PM

UC Master Gardener & Master Food Preserver combination class! Master Gardeners will show you how to choose the right varieties, deal with insects and diseases, care for, and harvest your tomatoes while Master Food Preservers talk about what you can do with your tomato harvest: canning, dehydrating and freezing.
Ask a UC Master Food Preserver online, any time! Plus sign up to get e-news, event updates and free class schedules delivered to your inbox each month. Subscribe Here
Through the CalFresh Healthy Living (CFHL) UCCE Central Sierra program, we teach free classes in local schools, community centers, libraries, and other public locations. Our classes show people how to choose, grow, cook, and enjoy affordable healthy foods, and how to make physical activity a regular and fun part of life. We also work to create environments where it’s easier for people to make healthy choices, by supporting school wellness policies, community and school gardens, walking clubs, and more.
March Harvest of the Month: Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a member of the same family of vegetables as beets, but it doesn’t produce an edible root. Both the stems and leaves of chard can be eaten cooked or raw. It was used as a medicine in ancient times and actually was first identified in Italy, not Switzerland. 

Chard is beautiful, and may have yellow, red, white, orange, purple, or green stems, but all of the colors taste the same and have tremendous health benefits. Full of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and iron, Swiss chard is also an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C. 

Bring some Swiss Chard home for your fridge, and make sure you keep it at a temperature of 41° F or less to be safe for consumption. Or, grow it in your own home garden. It’s very prolific!

8 cups greens (kale, bok choy, chard, collard, mustard or others)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 large carrots, peeled and cut in thin strips or coarsely shredded
1 clove garlic, minced or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

  1. Wash greens and separate leaves from stems if needed. Slice stems crosswise, if using. Chop or slice leaves into thin strips.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat (350 degrees F in an electric skillet).
  3. Add carrots and stems, if desired; cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add greens, salt, pepper, coriander and cayenne, if desired. Stir often.
  5. When greens have turned bright green and begun to wilt, remove from heat. Sprinkle vinegar and soy sauce over the top. Toss gently and serve.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
More UCCE Central Sierra Programs
California is reopening all activities statewide, but it is important to remember that the pandemic is not over and COVID-19 remains a health threat. As we plan and implement a return to in-person ANR programs, we should stay informed about COVID-19 trends statewide and in our communities. Here are a few resources from the CDPH and other trusted sources.
 530-621-5502 | 888-764-9669 | |