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Spring Into Fun At COC Canyon Country Campus

| Canyon Country Magazine, Spotlight News | April 3, 2012

Have a passion for native gardening, but want to learn more? Or would you prefer to enjoy an evening gazing at the stars — along with the moon, Mars and Saturn? Is physical fitness and overall body/mind wellness a focus for you?

Well, if you answered yes to one, or even all, of the questions above then you’ll definitely want to check out what’s going on at the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus this spring!

Get Active and Be Fit
Kicking off the spring schedule of events will be the campus’ first Educational Fitness Walk, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 12, as part of the College of the Canyons SNAC (Student Nutrition Advocates at COC) group’s ongoing Body, Mind, Wellness (BMW) Fitness Walk and Seminar Series.

Designed to encourage students and community members to experience the many benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle, this roughly 1.5-mile fitness walk will allow participants to walk through the campus, at their own pace, while making stops at four educational stations along the route. Those who complete the walk, along with all associated activities, will be awarded a special prize at the conclusion of the event.

Come See the Stars…and Saturn, the Moon and Mars!
This semester, the campus will also host its annual spring Star Party, taking place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 4, in the Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater. Admission is free of charge and open to the public.


During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to view the night sky — with particular emphasis on Saturn, Mars and the Earth’s moon — through one of several high-powered telescopes that will be pointed toward these celestial bodies.
To begin the evening, guest speaker Matt Wallace, Flight Systems Manager at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), will deliver a brief orientation lecture based on his experiences working with NASA’s Mars Exploration Program on the famed Mars rover project.

COC faculty members and other local astronomers will be on hand to provide audiences with additional background about our moon, along with some interesting insights about the many awe-inspiring aspects of Saturn’s unique features and planetary makeup.

“The elevated nature of our location, combined with the clear views we experience on a nightly basis, makes the Canyon Country campus a perfect venue for gazing at the moon, stars and planets,” said Dr. Dena Maloney, vice president of the Canyon Country Campus and Economic Development.

As the Flight System Manager for the Mars Science Laboratory project, Wallace and his team are responsible for overseeing the development of spacecraft systems for the next Mars rover, code named Curiosity, which launched from Kennedy Space Center in November 2011, and is expected to reach Mars on Aug. 5, 2012.

In addition, Wallace has made significant contributions to various other robotic planetary missions and three Mars rover missions, including management of the assembly, test and launch operations team for both the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. He also handled surface mission operations for the Opportunity rover, after it landed on Mars in 2004.

“We’re very excited to have someone with Mr. Wallace’s level of knowledge and in depth experience join us for what is sure to be a fascinating evening under the stars.”
Go Native: Gardening Lecture Series Continues
Later in the month, the campus will present the second installment of its new Native Planting lecture series, which is aimed at helping community members learn how they can adopt some of the environmentally sensitive and draught tolerant gardening techniques the Canyon Country campus has implemented into its landscaping design.

The next lecture in the series, “The Secret Lives of Plants,” will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 19, and will include a walking tour of the campus’ Outdoor Research Garden, and accompanying lecture by COC biology and environmental science professor, Jeannie Chari.

Admission to the bi-annual lecture series is free and open to students and community members of all ages, thanks to a community grant from the City of Santa Clarita. All attendees will also receive a packet of native seeds and an assortment of informative notecards featuring the plant life at the Canyon Country campus.

During the lecture portion of the event, Chari will lead a discussion about several gardening related topics, including: water issues in Southern California; the chaparral biome and its many secrets; the characteristics of drought resistant native plants; and seed collection and hybridization techniques.

In addition to the Native Gardening lecture series, the college’s Community Education department will be offering a pair of on-campus gardening workshops beginning in late April. The cost of each workshop is $45, with attendees asked to register in advance with the Community Education office.

The workshop Organic Gardening will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 28, in one of the campus’ new garden areas. Designed to show how easy it is to produce fruits and vegetables without the use of harmful pesticides, the course will teach attendees how they can grow their own herbs, berries, and other edibles right in their own backyard.

Later in the semester, the workshop Natural Pest Control will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 12. Participants in this workshop will learn how to use inexpensive household items to help control most garden pest problems, indoors and out!

For more information about the COC Canyon Country campus or any of the upcoming spring semester events please visit www.canyons.edu/Offices/CCC/.

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