amgen foundation

(USGS Photo)

A tiny, scarce type of turtle almost wiped out of a Southern California lake by a combination of the drought and fire is getting a second chance thanks to researchers and turtle rehabilitation facilities in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.

Photo by NASA New Horizons

Fran Bagenal is one of the team leaders for NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto, and she will share her discoveries at Cal Poly this week. 

She says it took nine years for the spacecraft to finally make a flyby and 15 more months to beam images back to Earth. She says the data far exceeded her expectations.

It can be challenging to encourage high school students to eat healthy and stay fit. That’s especially true for schools with low-income students where there are high rates of obesity and family histories of diabetes. One such high school on the South Coast is helping their students kick the bad habits and turn to a healthier lifestyle.

Someday in the future, NASA hopes to send a swarm of autonomous rovers to explore Mars. But, before they can do so, they need to create a computer code so that these robots can run on their own and work together. Some computer science students on the South Coast are among those across the nation who are working on code that could revolutionize space exploration.

(NOAA image)

It’s been an impressive rainfall season for the Central and South Coasts, but a researcher says it was far from a drought buster.

Photo by Darcy Bradley

A UC Santa Barbara researcher has been studying how scuba diving with sharks – which has become a multi-million-dollar global tourism industry -- impacts the shark population. The findings were surprising.

With a quarter of shark species at risk of extinction, Darcy Bradley, a postdoctoral researcher with the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB, wanted to know if scuba diving influences the behavior and the abundance of shark populations.

“So, our question very simply was:  Do sharks avoid areas that are frequented by scuba divers?” she said.

When you think about first aid training, you probably think about CPR and using those skills to help someone suffering from a cardiac emergency. But that’s not the only first aid training that helps save lives. You can become certified in mental health first aid on the South Coast.

Leticia Yanez shook with anxiety as she pretended to have a panic attack. Her instructor and classmates tried to calm her down. Yanez said she actually felt anxiety even though she was just role-playing.

Middle school girls on the South Coast are using their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills to create their own innovations.

Using scissors, glue and tape to attach things like astroturf, tin foil, play-doh and bubble wrap to their projects, more than 80 nine to 13-year-old girls from Ventura County schools are building prototypes of future cities at this STEM Innovation Challenge at Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo.

Hundreds of teenagers and their hand-made robots from across California, the western U.S., Hawaii and as far as Chile converged on the South Coast, and some local teams were among the winners.  

It’s the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition, which was a three-day event that ended Saturday at Ventura College. Forty-two high schools with about 2,000 students took part.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that the fruits and vegetables you eat don’t start out at the supermarket. Instead, they begin with a seed. You could take an entire college course on how a seed turns into what ends up on your dinner plate. But, this course is being taught to an unusually young audience on the South Coast.

Preschoolers – ages three to five – are learning about gardening, sustainability, eating healthy and the environment.

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