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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Yolo Community Foundation provides more opportunities for youth

Center for Land-Based Learning, other organizations receive grants

Nine Yolo County programs received grants to help with youth education. Through the Buck Education Grant program, which is part of the Yolo Community Foundation, the dispersed amount totaled $73,000.

Meg Stallard, the president of the board of the Yolo Community Foundation, noted how the organization prides itself in being able to help others, such as youth, with their grants.

“The Yolo Community Foundation is delighted to be able to continue to make these grants to support our youth and the organizations that work with them,” Stallard said to The Davis Enterprise. “We look forward to seeing impacts from these innovative programs throughout the county.”

Babs Sandeen, the executive director of the Yolo Community Foundation, mentioned that the Buck Education Grant program allowed a large investment in a broad range of education programs.

“The Frank H. and Eva Buck Foundation provided the Yolo Community Foundation with over a quarter million dollars in 2016 and 2017 and gave it for the Yolo Community Foundation to share with the Yolo Community on education programs,” Sandeen said via email. “The Yolo Community Foundation has focused these grants of up to $10,000 each on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (or STEAM) programs, as well as programs that support and enhance parent engagement and literacy.”

One of the organizations that received a grant was the Center for Land-Based Learning. Christine McMorrow, the director of development and communications at the center, elaborated on the organization.

“The Center for Land-Based Learning started 25 years ago,” McMorrow said. “Our founder, Craig McNamara, started the farm leadership program out of the concern for what he saw — that high school students did not have enough opportunities to connect to the land and more specifically farmers. He decided to start a program where students from cities can get onto working farms and ranches to learn more about agriculture.”

The grant provides assets for The Student Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship program, where students will be able to work on agricultural land and gain experience.

“That grant will be used for a specific project that we call SLEWS,” McMorrow said. “It’s a class of high school students and their teacher, where they visit a project site usually on private property and working agricultural land. Specifically, they are planting native plants to increase the habitat of bird populations and biodiversity populations. Students will also build and install bird nesting boxes.”

McMorrow also indicated that the students’ activities will help them gain more knowledge and practicality.

“Students come out three to four times onto these projects, and they learn about the native plants, how to plant them and they install irrigation if needed — they will also install bird boxes,” McMorrow said. “They’re gaining a lot of practical skills.”

Furthermore, the students will have access to mentors to help them with their own ambitions.

“Each classroom has a group of mentors — many of them are community members or ex-teachers or grad students — and they work with the students,” McMorrow said. “They answer questions about careers and they build support.”

Sandeen noted that the Yolo Community Foundation hopes to provide more grants to organizations like the Center for Land-Based Learning to empower youth.

“The Yolo Community Foundation has previously given out mini-grants to teachers in Yolo County and, with the funding provided by the Frank H and Eva Buck Foundation, there was an opportunity to provide larger grants that could really make a difference in the community,” Sandeen said. “We are excited by the first two rounds and look forward to giving out our final two rounds of funding in the coming year. The process is incredibly competitive, and it is heartening to see the kind of projects being contemplated in the county for Yolo County youth.”

Written by: Stella Tran — city@theaggie.org


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