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KCBX News Update: Cal Poly hosts CA College Corps event, monarch butterflies rebound

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Courtesy of California Volunteers
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California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday at Cal Poly SLO.

Local, state higher education officials promote California College Corps at Cal Poly

Local and state leaders in higher education met at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo today to promote the Californians For All College Corps, a state program designed to make college more affordable for students in exchange for volunteer service.

Students at 45 California colleges and universities can apply to receive $10,000 for their education by volunteering for a year in areas like climate action, food insecurity and education.

In addition to California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday, the presidents of Cal Poly SLO, Cuesta College and Allan Hancock College attended and spoke at Thursday’s event.

“Our diverse student population brings to the Corps a wide range of experience, cultural backgrounds and generational perspectives which will enhance the community organizations and institutions where students will invest their talent," said Jill Stearns, President of Cuesta College.

The program will involve 6,500 undergraduate students over the next two years, which officials say is roughly the same amount of volunteers in all of the Peace Corps.

Western monarch butterfly conservation efforts seem to be working

Scientists say a million-dollar state-funded project to boost the Western monarch butterfly population in California by restoring their habitat appears to be working.

Hillary Sardiñas is with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. She said they're seeing caterpillars on recently planted milkweeds and other flowering native species.

Thousands of monarch butterflies gather in the eucalyptus trees at the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.
KCBX
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Getty Images
Thousands of monarch butterflies gather in the eucalyptus trees at the Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove.

30,000 milkweeds were planted, mostly in Central California, according to Sardiñas.

"But we also planted nectar plants because nectar can be considered like the fuel for migrating monarchs, they need it to help them get these really long distances that they move," she said.

The latest monarch count announced earlier this year - was 250,000 butterflies. That's a 100-fold increase from the previous count 12 months earlier.

Most of the monarchs were concentrated along the Central Coast in places like Pismo Beach.

This story was based on reporting from CapRadio News through the CapRadio Network for public radio stations in California.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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