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A Message from Our CD

Goodbye 2020 - Hello 2021!
As we approach the holidays and bring 2020 to a close, many thoughts come to mind. Foremost in my mind is the drive and perseverance that our staff has shown in dealing with the corona virus pandemic. For most of this year, it has impacted our work, our lives and individuals throughout our community.
Our programs have needed to be modified with new delivery methodologies developed. However, through individual efforts and teamwork we have been able to deliver many successes. Our San Mateo County 4-H Youth Development Program created a Virtual 4-H Livestock Show. Our Healthy Living Ambassadors (HLA) Program worked collaboratively with CalFresh Healthy Living, 4-H, Master Gardeners, and Elkus Ranch, to deliver hundreds of vegetable seedlings, nutrition instruction and homemade face masks to Pescadero Elementary students and their families. Our Master Gardeners (MG’s) converted their annual plant sale to an on-line event and have delivered 17 virtual gardening workshops, our Master Food Preservers (MFP’s) held two in-person workshops in early March and adapted 4 food preservation workshops for on-line delivery. EFNEP and UC CalFresh Healthy Living programs also pivoted to providing on-line nutrition education with partner organizations, and Elkus Ranch was able to modify their educational programs to private tours and small, learning pod groups. I recently attended the very successful Harvest Craft Workshop at Elkus Ranch (outdoors, masked & socially distanced), where we made wool dryer balls from ranch sheep’s wool, Calendula oil from our flowers, and pumpkins with ranch grown succulents and a hairdo of collected moss and pinecones.
Our Advisors continue their respective work and research, collaborating both virtually and with safe, limited, in-person site work. Amid the pandemic, we brought on two new Advisors to support our community. Carolyn Whitesell, for the newly created Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor position, serving San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and Sonoma Counties, and Laura Volmer to fill the Nutrition, Family, and Consumer Sciences (NFCS) Advisor, serving San Mateo, Santa Clara & San Francisco counties.
It has been a difficult year, yet our many volunteers, educators, advisors, and staff have worked tirelessly to overcome the many challenges brought by this pandemic. I want to thank all our staff for their hard work and effort this past year which were directly responsible for our successes during this health crisis.
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Wishing all of you a very Happy Holidays and New Year and encouraging each of you to celebrate safely as you spend time with family and friends. 
Frank McPherson
County Director for San Mateo / San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties