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KIDS KALEIDSCOPE   .   .   .

First Annual Santa Barbara County Farm Day – “Explore, Learn, Taste"

                                                                             

More than 10 Santa Barbara County farms, ranches, wineries and nurseries in Santa Maria Valley and Lompoc will open their doors to the pubic during the first annual Santa Barbara County Farm Day. On Saturday, September 28, visitors will create their own itinerary to experience a day of agricultural activities and meet the farmers who grow the food they eat. Farm Day is free to attend.

 Tour hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Farm Day visitors travel at their own pace since they drive themselves to the farms they select. Each location is unique, but all feature a number of activities such as educational tours and free produce sampling. A barbecue lunch is available at Engel & Gray, Inc.

 Participating agricultural organizations include Babé Farms, Bonipak Produce Company, Innovative Produce, Driscoll's, Engel & Gray, Inc., L&G Chavez Family Farms, Main Street Produce, Plantel Nurseries, Primus Labs, Rancho Laguna Farms, Reiter Affiliated Companies/Union Valley Ranch, Riverbench Vineyard & Winery and Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery. More are expected to be added.

 Santa Barbara County Farm Day officially kicks off the night before, Friday, September 27 at Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the public can enjoy live music, a "Farm-to-Table" Santa Maria-style barbeque dinner and a Tres Hermanas wine flight.

 Santa Barbara County Farm Day is organized by the nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG). SEEAG’s mission is to help children understand the farm origins of their food through classroom agricultural and nutrition education and free farm field trips. SEEAG has been hosting Ventura County Farm Day for six years (the seventh takes place November 9). The Ventura County version attracts over 5,000 visitors each year.

 "Santa Barbara ranchers and farmers got wind of Ventura County Farm Day and saw the benefits of educating the community about how the food they eat is grown," says Mary Maranville, SEEAG founder and CEO. "They're excited about having this unique opportunity to connect with the public."

 For information about participating farms and dinner, visit www.SantaBarbaraCountyFarmDay.com or call 805-901-0213.

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SANTA BARBARA ZOO REVEALS “MYSTERY ANIMAL” AS BRADLEY THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER, THE ZOO’S FIRST AMBASSADOR DOG 

Ten-Month-Old Pup is in Training to Meet the Public, Take Part in Education Programs, Appear at Keeper Talks, and More  Facebook Clues Hinting of the New Arrival Spur 300+ Comments Adopted from a Northridge Family, Lives at the Zoo  Being Trained Using Positive Reinforcement 

Santa Barbara Zoo has ended weeks of online speculation about the identity of a “mystery animal” with the announcement today (3/19/19) that it is a Golden Retriever named Bradley, who is in training to be the Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.   Bradley has an official Zoo job description as Ambassador Dog, which states that his overall duty “is to connect with Zoo guests so they can understand and care about all animals, especially those in the wild animals.” “Bradley can connect with people in ways many of our other animals can’t,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care & Health.

“If people care about animals, then they are more likely to want to save them in the wild by preserving habitat, making sustainable choices, and other actions we talk about here at the Zoo.”  Dr. Barnes reports that Bradley is still young, so the training is takes place at his pace and is going quite well.  If it goes as hoped, Bradley will eventually participate in keeper talks on subjects like responsible pet choices and animal training using positive reinforcement. He may be involved in education programs such as Zoo Camp. He might provide outreach to local schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and elsewhere. 


“Though they might catch sight of him with his handlers and wearing his ‘In Training’ vest, Bradley is not ready to meet the public,” adds Barnes. “Currently, we tell people not to make a special visit to the Zoo just to see him. He’s rarely visible and not on a regular schedule.”


Facebook Clues Inspire Guesses   More than 300 comments were made on Facebook after the Zoo posted two photographic clues. The first, posted March 1, showed a close-up of Bradley’s black nose. The second ran on March 10 and was a paw print in muddy ground.  Popular guesses on Facebook as to the identity of this “mystery animal” were polar bear, red panda, kangaroo, beaver, wolf, and coyote. 

About Bradley’s Training As with the Zoo’s other animal residents, Bradley is trained using positive reinforcement, meaning he is rewarded for good behaviors and following instructions, and ignored or redirected for negative behaviors. The Zoo has retained a professional dog trainer who works with Bradley most days and is training specific staff to work with him as well.  “The goal is to guide him into making the right choices on his own,” says Dr. Barnes. “The training is currently going well, but will last as long as needed. Some training will continue indefinitely, to keep Bradley engaged as an ambassador dog.”
About Bradley Bradley is an English Cream Golden Retriever who was born on May 12, 2018. The “English Cream” refers to the light color of his fur. His original family lived in Northridge and had him as a young puppy. A family member’s unexpected medical development made it impossible for them to care for a puppy. The Zoo adopted him when he was nine months old.  

“Zoo staff spent six months visiting dog rescue facilities and following leads for a dog with the right temperament to be trained as our ambassador,” said Dr. Barnes. “Bradley has what we were looking for.” Bradley lives at the Zoo. It is hoped that he will eventually make visits to local schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and community events, but that depends on his training.  His sleeping area is in a heated office. The Zoo’s security guard checks on him several times during the night and gives Bradley toilet breaks. Bradley has a fenced exercise and play area on Cabrillo Lawn, across from Cats of Africa. There he is allowed to run free and play, and have play dates with specially selected dogs.

During breaks from training, Bradley also has “Sniff Time” while on the leash, when he is allowed to follow his nose and explore the Zoo. “Zoo animals are not unfamiliar with dogs, as service dogs sometimes accompany guests,” says Dr. Barnes. “However, his presence does help reinforce that the sight or smell of a dog is normal. So far, Bradley has responded well to zoo animals by remaining calm in their presence. Acclimating him to the other animals that live at the zoo is part of his training.” Bradley is sponsored by a local family that wishes to remain anonymous and is recognized at the Zoo simply as “Jackson and Alaia.”


Dogs in Zoos  Ambassador dogs are not uncommon in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The Oklahoma Zoo debuted canine animal ambassador Max, a two-year-old terrier mix, in summer 2018. Other zoos with ambassador dogs include the Denver Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (Tacoma, Washington) and Rosamond Gifford Zoo (Syracuse New York).  While dogs are sometimes used as companion animals for specific species, Bradley does not go into any animal enclosures.  The Santa Barbara Zoo provided dog companions for African lion cub Kiki when she was being hand-raised in 2004. The San Diego Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, and Metro Richmond Zoo, among others, have had companion dogs for cheetah cubs.


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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved