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Education & Outreach

Outreach photoFor years, the Yolo County RCD has been a leader in developing a number of unique classroom and field-based workshops, trainings, conference presentations, and site tours for various conservation needs, including environmental education for youth. We also have a variety of reports, field guides and manuals available. The Yolo County RCD can host a variety of outreach efforts such as:

  • Event planning
  • Newsletter, brochure and flyer production
  • Website content
  • Landowner surveys

Recently, we’ve been able to utilize this experience to help other organizations host workshops and provide unique educational experiences to students in Yolo County.


The Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Program works with high school students and teachers to install habitat restoration projects on farms, ranches and open spaces. SLEWS partners with many groups and agencies, including the Yolo County RCD. SLEWS projects have a real and lasting impact on the land, and students see the results of their efforts and know that they are improving wildlife habitat. By including students in our restoration work, the YCRCD is able to help them engage with restoration professionals, landowners and the landscape.

Slews1Image result for student planting


Woodland High School

An former SLEWS site revisited



Day 1

November 6, 2013

Students from Woodland High School's Plant & Soil Science class joined teacher Jerry Delsol and Yolo RCD restorationist Heather Nichols for a day of learning at Lewis Butler's property in Woodland. The property had been restored with the help of SLEWS students from Woodland and Florin High Schools in 2006-07, and the 7 year old hedgerow provided a useful setting for students to learn about some of the native plants they will help reintroduce at their SLEWS site along Cottonwood Slough downstream at property managed by Blake Harlan.

After learning names with a game of 'Group Juggle', Jerry Delsol shared what the site looked like before his students began restoring native habitat through the SLEWS program in 2006-07. His insights shed light on just how much the site had been transformed over the past 8 years from a barren irrigation ditch to a vegetated slough capable of supporting wildlife such as great blue herons, quail, pheasants, and river otter. 

For most of the morning, students divided into mentor groups which were led by volunteer mentors from UC-Davis, the Woodland NRCS field office, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service staff. Each group went a separate direction on the property with the focus of learning about and identifying at least 5 new native plants while also cleaning out bluebird boxes and collecting mulefat cuttings to plant at their restoration site in December.

After refueling on a lunch of burritos from Chuy's Taqueria, two SLEWS mentors shared their education and professional experiences. Karleen Volherbst talked about her experiences as an environmental educator leading her to her current position as the Schoolyard Habitat Coordinator for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Sacramento, and Allison Simler talked about her jobs studying wildlife internationally, which eventually led her to pursue a PhD at the UC-Davis. 

Their presentations illustrated the wide array of opportunities that a career in natural resources management provides, and underlined the importance of working hard, being reliable and professional, and gaining a variety of different experiences. 

I am looking forward to starting our restoration work together, which will certainly provide some new experiences and learning opportunities for everyone involved!


40 mulefat cuttings collected
8 bluebird boxes cleaned


Day 2

December 4, 2013



A core group of Woodland High School students arrived at the Harlan restoration project site, and were met with cold and windy conditions. Despite the challenging weather, students worked hard alongside mentors to accomplish the ambitious goal of planting 240 native shrubs and trees, installing an irrigation system, and adding emitters and tree protectors to each plant.

Some of the plants that students planted included the mulefat cuttings that they had collected on their first SLEWS day over a month ago. Since that day, some of the students had been taking care of the cuttings in the school greenhouse, and it was gratifying to see them plant the sticks which had recently sprouted roots!

After regrouping during lunch, the group agreed to continue with restoration work and was able to install almost 3,000 ft of irrigation line with emitters at each of the plants they had planted. It was an impressive accomplishment given the windy, cold conditions. I am already looking forward to seeing what the group is able to accomplish during our next SLEWS day on February 12th when we will be installing a row of deergrass and leymus plugs along the road!


240 shrubs planted
~2,700 feet of drip line installed
240 emitters installed
240 tree protectors installed