LandSmart Education® inspires our community to learn about and participate in natural resource conservation activities through a variety of opportunities. The RCD offers on-farm youth education programs to students ranging in age from elementary to high school combining innovative hands-on experiences with classroom learning to help students develop leadership skills and understand local agriculture and our diverse ecosystems. We design technical workshops for landowners, land managers and the public in order to provide innovative scientific and field tested natural resource conservation tools to promote healthy watersheds. These LandSmart workshops are often in collaboration with regional RCDs, watershed groups, and agencies in partnership with local working landscapes. Workshops comprehensively cover topics like soil health, rainwater catchment, forest management, and farm conservation planning.
Inspiring youth to become leaders in agriculture and the environment
The Sonoma County FARMS (Farming, Agriculture, and Resource Management for Sustainability) Leadership program provides innovative, hands-on experiences to urban, suburban and rural youth at working farms, agri- businesses and universities. The program directly engages with Sonoma County’s local agricultural producers and stewards of the environment. Participants develop leadership skills and learn about agricultural practices that contribute to a healthier ecosystem, while connecting with agricultural, environmental, and food system career opportunities. The program model was founded by the Center for Land-Based Learning and is replicated across California. Locally sponsored by the Sonoma Resource Conservation District (RCD), the Sonoma County FARMS Leadership program has been operating over 20 years!
If it wasn’t for FARMS Leadership, I wouldn’t have learned more about agriculture and received a scholarship so I could go to college.
The RCD’s conservation and agricultural career pathway program was established in fall 2018. This advanced program builds on the lexicon and foundation created in FARMS Leadership, expanding on topics including: careers in agriculture, land stewardship, natural resource conservation, and leadership skill building. Working with diverse local farms and ranches, agency partners, and non-profit watershed leaders students are provided the opportunity to develop a deeper land ethic, become informed citizens of our community, and create a career pathway in the field of agriculture and the environment. The selected cohort is made up of no more than six FARMS Leadership alumni or FFA students enrolled in their junior or senior years of high school.
The TEAM (Teaching Environmental and Agricultural Memories) field trip program is a unique environmental education program offered to elementary youth county wide in partnership with the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD). The content of the TEAM program incorporates the significant role that Sonoma County’s characteristic agricultural landscape plays in environmental stewardship. Currently funded by the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Sonoma Ag + Open Space), the program invites elementary students to experience three diverse agricultural properties to learn about everything from the importance of maintaining bee populations for apple production, salmon habitat on a working cattle ranch, to nutrient management and cheese production on a local dairy, and soil health on a biodynamic farm. TEAM field trips emphasize the importance of partnership among diverse stakeholders in protecting our natural resources and the renowned agricultural landscape of Sonoma County.
These unique workshops are targeted to support land owners and managers with natural resource conservation practices and cutting edge land management techniques. Expert practitioners offer insights and resources to participants through detailed presentations and field tour sessions. Collaboration with other local and regional stakeholders to design and execute these informative workshops provides an invaluable opportunity for agriculturalists to gain tangible tools to support the efficiency and sustainability of their operation.
To check out our upcoming LandSmart Workshops or to register with us, please visit our Get Involved page.