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University of California president visits Humboldt County

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EUREKA, Calif. - Janet Napolitano became the first University of California president to visit the North Coast with her trip Wednesday.

According to officials, she came to learn more about what the University of California's cooperative extension office is doing in Humboldt County. The office, located in Eureka, was the first of its kind in the state to be established.

The University of California has been in partnership with the county for 103 years.

Napolitano began her visit at the United Indian Health Services. She toured the two-acre vegetable garden, greenhouses and farmers market, before visiting Humboldt Bay.

Coast Seafoods Company Manager Greg Dale led a boat tour of the shellfish operation. Napolitano was able to eat oysters, fresh from the beds. UC Sea Grant scientists explained to the group climate change issues and their relationship to the North Coast.

From the bay, Napolitano ventured into the Arcata redwood forest. There, she learned about the challenges and opportunities of forest management.

Yana Valachovic is the county director and forest advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension Program in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

She said she wanted to make sure President Napolitano left with a great understanding of the program on the North Coast.

"I want to give her a sense of what the impact has been of this university programming in the North Coast and then also bring forward a number of key issues that perhaps the university could get more involved in," Valachovic said.

Napolitano said during her time Wednesday, she learned that everything is related and works together. "There's a relationship from the water to the land to the mountain and forest and there's a lot of science and biology that links those things in terms of how we think about them," she explained.

The UC president said she has seen that the community has a sense of attachment and respect to the natural resources that surround the living environment and surround the wonderful communities, homes, schools and churches.

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Napolitano will continue her tour of Humboldt County with a visit to Arcata High School Thursday morning before heading to Redding to host a networking reception at the Elks Lodge.

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