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4H Wildlife Stewards
Bringing Science and Nature Together...one school at a time.


OSU 4-H Urban-Rural Exchange Offers Students a New Perspective

By Judy Scott, 541-737-1386
Source: Maureen Hosty. 541-916-6075

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Portland middle school students had an opportunity to experience life on the other side of the urban-rural divide this winter through an award-winning program from Oregon State University.

The students helped milk cows and birth calves, chop wood and clean barns – and they got up at 6 a.m. to do so.

In return, host families from Oregon's Grant, Klamath and Wallowa counties welcomed the students and a few of their parents and teachers to experience rural life. This is the third year that ranch families and students from Sunnyside Environmental School, a southeast Portland school, have participated in the OSU Extension 4-H Urban-Rural exchange program.

Efforts to break through cultural misunderstandings have earned the exchange program two national awards this year. Abigail Kimbell, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, presented the 2007 National Excellence in Rangeland Management Award in January to the exchange program for bringing together a diverse group of people to understand natural resource issues from both a rural and urban perspective. Gary Delaney, OSU Extension faculty from Grant County and co-coordinator of the program, accepted the award on behalf of the 4-H youth, Oregon ranchers and farm families and the project staff.

"The exchange also provides a platform of knowledge on which to base decisions on natural resource management," said Maureen Hosty, co-coordinator of the program, which also received the National Association of 4-H Extension Agents 2007 Excellence in Urban Programs award.

In an evaluation of the exchange, Hosty reported, "It's clear there were significant changes in attitudes. The biggest changes were in the students' appreciation of ranchers and rural lifestyles, but also in understanding the need to work together to maintain a healthy environment."

In addition, rural families reported better understanding and appreciation of how urban youth are involved in and understand natural resource management, Hosty said in the report.

Youth from the rural counties also have participated in the exchange, staying five days with Portland host families, riding city buses and the light-rail train, attending urban schools, visiting local festivals and markets and shopping at the mall.

Everyone involved – from both sides of the so-called "cultural divide" – had to set aside their worries and plunge into unfamiliar territory, said 4-H parent volunteer Keith Rolle, who helped launch the program.

"One rancher would have pulled out at the last minute if the inner-city kids had not already been on their way to stay with his family for five days," Rolle said.

Teacher Jan Zuckerman also was worried, although she had helped organize the exchange and was one of the first to spend time on a ranch in Grant County. "I was afraid they would think I was a radical wolf lover," she said.

A year earlier, her students testified at a state Fish and Wildlife Commission hearing as part of a class project on how westward settlement of the United States has affected wildlife. Most were in favor of re-introducing wolves in Oregon. The outcry to the students' remarks from farmers, ranchers and others made it clear that more had to be done to make students aware that some people may have alternative points of view.

The first day of the first exchange, Zuckerman, 20 students and a few parents drove for hours across the Cascades and warily joined their ranch-family hosts for a potluck at a church. But only that first meeting was awkward. At the end of five days, both students and ranch families described the time spent together as the best experience of their lives. "We didn't want to leave," Zuckerman said.

Although she has traveled around the world, Zuckerman said her time on the ranch was more of a cultural difference than visiting other countries. "Although there's a huge divide between us, we had so much in common," she said. Her family and the host family have become good friends. Some of the ranchers are now selling meat directly to participating families.

"We enjoyed the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the students – to hear their views, see their eagerness to learn and watch them change,” one rancher said.

Student comments are another indicator of how the exchange program "is making a profound difference," Zuckerman said. One student said, "The families have a lot more to live through than we do, and I think it's important to know."

Another said, "I really learned how to be open and how to make new friends that have a different life style than me."

The exchange program is sponsored by OSU 4-H Extension programs in Grant, Klamath and Wallowa counties. OSU faculty John Williams, Jed Smith and Deb Schreiber are working with Delaney and Hosty in making plans for the upcoming year that might include an exchange in the fall. There are also plans to expand the three exchanges a year to four.

Note to Editors:

A digital photograph is available for use in the news media: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/images/4hExchange_orig.jpg

• (Cutline information) A middle school student from Portland milks a goat in Klamath County as a participant in the OSU 4-H Urban/Rural Exchange program. Photo courtesy of 4-H Urban/Rural Exchange program.

About the OSU Extension Service: The OSU Extension Service is the statewide educational outreach arm of the university; it helps Oregonians find solutions to priority economic, social and environmental issues and delivers research-based educational programs in agriculture, forestry, family and community development, marine and fresh water issues and 4-H youth development.

OSU Extension 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program Receives National Award
By Judy Scott, 541-737-1386, Source: Maureen Hosty, 503-916-6075

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program of the Oregon State University Extension Service has been selected to receive the inaugural 2008 Fish and Wildlife Service—4H Natural Resources Conservation Award.

The OSU Extension Service 4-H Wildlife Stewards program is the first to be recognized this way since the U.S. Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture began a partnership in 1980 to honor 4-H involvement in natural resource conservation.

Wildlife habitat education sites have been established and maintained on the grounds of 54 schools in 19 Oregon counties over the last 10 years, according to Maureen Hosty, OSU Extension 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program coordinator. "Our volunteers are trained to use these outdoor laboratories to enhance learning and give students actual experiences in science, wildlife and natural resource conservation," Hosty said.

These natural areas, which now grace once-stark school grounds, are home to native plants and woodlands, flowers, garden ponds, butterfly gardens, nesting boxes, nurseries and other habitat amenities.

The 4-H Wildlife Stewards program engages students in grades kindergarten through high school. The adult stewards volunteer for a minimum of 50 hours of service and receive 25–30 hours of training. "These volunteers, and the students and teachers they work with, do a wonderful job of improving out environment and helping young people become good stewards of our natural heritage," Hosty said.

Cathann Kress, director of the national 4-H headquarters, said, "We are pleased that a program of this caliber will receive this award. The development, implementation and evaluation of this outstanding education program demonstrate sound stewardship of fish and wildlife resources."

The recognition consists of a $5,000 cash award and travel for five representatives of 4-H Wildlife Stewards to attend an awards reception March 26 at the 73rd North American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference, sponsored by the Wildlife Management Institute, in Phoenix, Ariz.

The award represents the partnership between National 4-H Headquarters, Cooperative Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Fish and Wildlife Services, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Corvallis Resident Wins National 4-H Volunteer Award


CORVALLIS, Ore. - Patti Warner of Corvallis has been awarded the 2006 National 4-H Wildlife and Fisheries Adult Volunteer Leader Award for outstanding service to the Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program in Benton County.

The award, given annually for exceptional achievement as a 4-H wildlife or fisheries leader, is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National 4-H Headquarters, Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Warner received recognition for her work as coordinator of the Jefferson Elementary School 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program, "Keepers of the Creek," a hands-on wildlife habitat education site and urban stream restoration project for grades K-5. She is one of six 4-H fisheries and wildlife volunteer leaders from throughout the U.S. to receive the national award this year.

"We're thrilled to have Patti Warner represent our program as a national award winner," said Maggie Livesay, 4-H youth development program field faculty in the Benton County office of the OSU Extension Service.

Warner will attend the 71st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference on March 22-26 in Columbus, Ohio, where all the award recipients will be recognized, Livesay added.

The 4-H Wildlife Stewards program trains volunteers who partner with K-12 school educators to create wildlife education sites on school grounds that give students the opportunity for hands-on science experiences outside their classroom door.

Volunteer 4-H Wildlife Stewards use the sites as outdoor laboratories to help students gain a better understanding and appreciation of science, wildlife and natural resources topics. In return for 25-30 hours of training, 4-H Wildlife Stewards volunteer a minimum of 50 hours service.

Trained 4-H Wildlife Stewards volunteer in 45 schools in 16 Oregon counties, according to Maureen Hosty, 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program leader.

For more information about the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program contact Maggie Livesay at 541-766-6750, or visit the website at http://wildlifestewards.4h.oregonstate.edu

By Bob Rost, 541-737-3381

Source: Maggie Livesay, 541-766-6750

About the OSU Extension Service: The OSU Extension Service is the statewide educational outreach arm of the university, working to help Oregonians find solutions to high priority economic, environmental and social issues. Extension delivers research-based educational programs in agriculture, forestry, family and community development, marine and fresh water issues and 4-H youth development.

Sunnyside School Ranch Exchange to Eastern Oregon

On February 18-22nd, 20 middle schools students from Sunnyside Environmental school, a teacher, a parent, and 3 4-H staff traveled to Eastern Oregon for a 5-day exchange with ranch families from Eastern Oregon.  The purpose of the trip was to provide Portland youth with the opportunity to learn about the lifestyles of rural Oregonians and learn about natural resource management from an Eastern Oregon Perspective.  Several newspapers covered this groundbreaking trip.  You can find them at:

Overcoming the Urban-Rural Divide


City Kids, Ranches try Wolf Detente


There have also been two articles in the Blue Mountain Eagle Paper (both front page articles) that can also be accessed on-line

Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide


Walking in the Shoes of an Eastern Oregonian


And two articles in the Oregon Capital Press (also both front page articles).  Only one article can be accessed on-line

A Mile in their Boots



CORVALLIS – Roger Rennekamp has been named 4-H program leader for the Oregon State University Extension Service and head of the Department of 4-H Youth Development Education in the OSU College of Education.

Rennekamp, who began his duties July 1, brings 26 years of experience with 4-H youth development programs to his new position.

Lillian Larwood, OSU Extension assistant 4-H program leader and department head, has been interim program leader since December 2004.

Rennekamp will provide overall leadership for OSU Extension’s youth education program, which last year saw more than 100,000 young people participating under the direction of about 6,000 volunteer adult leaders. He succeeds Jim Rutledge who retired.

Rennekamp’s responsibilities include statewide leadership for Oregon’s 4-H program, department administration, fiscal management and policy development. He will also provide program oversight for the Oregon 4-H Conference and Education Center.

The new Extension leader comes to OSU from the University of Kentucky, where he was an Extension specialist in program and staff development for several years. He began his Extension career with the University of Kentucky in 1979 when he started out as a county Extension agent for 4-H youth development. He received his doctorate from Ohio State University in 1987.

Rennekamp is co-chair of the National 4-H Professional Development Task Force and is a past chair of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents’ Professional Improvement Committee.

His research interests are in the area of youth engagement and community youth development.

By Bob Rost, 541-737-3381

SOURCES: Roger Rennekamp, 541-737-2421 and Lillian Larwood, 541-737-1316

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CORVALLIS – Since its publication in black and white more than 50 years ago, “Trees to Know in Oregon” has become the Oregon State University Extension Service’s most-requested publication.

A new revised edition is now available – in full color.

The expanded, 152-page “Trees to Know in Oregon” provides a new generation of youth, hikers, gardeners and foresters with text that combines identification and anecdote with maps and color photographs.

Edward C. Jensen, an OSU forestry professor, is the primary author and principal photographer of the new edition of the book, but he is quick to recognize the contributions of others, especially the book’s original author, retired OSU Extension forestry specialist Charles R. Ross.

The new edition has updated sections on ornamental trees, Oregon’s forests and record-breaking big trees.

According to the book, Oregon is home to more than 50 national champion trees listed in the American Forestry Association’s National Register of Big Trees. They include the nation’s largest black cottonwood (370 feet), black walnut (278 feet), and garden plum (a 47-foot giant more than 10 feet around).

Of the truly giant Douglas-firs, the authors describe a tree in Coos County that is taller than a 28-story building with a circumference “larger than two compact cars parked side by side. Its canopy, at high noon, casts a shadow the size of a swimming pool.”

The soft-cover book is full of tidbits to help you get to know Oregon trees. For example, the authors point out that lodgepole pine was first named by Lewis and Clark. They describe how whitebark pine and birds called Clark’s nutcrackers are highly dependent on each other for survival. And they note that, although more than 1,000 varieties of pears have been named, only a half-dozen varieties are grown commercially.

Far more than just a field guide, “Trees to Know in Oregon” will be a good companion on the trail or on the nightstand, Jensen says.

The book costs $12 per copy and is available from many county offices of the OSU Extension Service.

Or, you may order copies for an additional $4 shipping and handling fee. To order, send your request for EC 1450 with a check or money order for $16 to: Publication Orders, Extension and Experiment Station Communications, Oregon State University, 422 Kerr Administration, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119.

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Raleigh Hills Elementary Worm Project (March 2005)

Kids Can Learn From Worms


The Wiggles


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By Bob Rost, 541-737-3381
Source: Mary Arnold, 541-737-1315

Trained volunteers in the Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Wildlife Stewards program have proven to be extremely effective partners with Oregon public schools in teaching children about the environment, according to an OSU Extension educator speaking at a national conference on policy and practice in exemplary educational programs for youth.

The conference, "Creating Common Ground in Youth Development," was held at the University of Arizona, Tuscon. Mary Arnold, OSU Extension 4-H Youth specialist, was invited to present on Oregon's 4-H Wildlife Stewards program and the success it has enjoyed over the past five years. She stated that the program offers the potential to improve natural resources education in elementary schools throughout the country.

The 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program trains adult volunteers who work with children to conduct wildlife habitat projects on school grounds.

Wildlife stewards cooperate with school officials, teachers and community members to convert portions of school yards into wildlife habitat demonstration areas. The stewards then use the areas to show students relationships between wildlife and the environment.

Local businesses often donate materials used in the construction of the demonstration areas.

The program currently serves 55 4-H Wildlife Stewards Member Schools and 12,887 students in five Oregon counties.

OSU Extension specialists and field faculty are developing the program into a national 4-H program model for natural resources education thanks to a $748,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Arnold is evaluating the Wildlife Stewards Program.

"So far program organizers have found that the trained wildlife stewards have been very good as informal science educators in public schools," said Arnold. "They tend to be very enthusiastic about what they do, often—but not always—because they have a child going to the school where they volunteer.

"The real value of Wildlife Stewards is that it provides a way for public schools to offer a hands-on experience to go along with the environmental education students receive in class," Arnold continued. "Due to increasing class size and shrinking budgets in many schools, teachers are simply unable to give students hands-on learning opportunities in the natural science area."

She added that many Oregon school administrators are especially appreciative of the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program because it helps them meet new Oregon Benchmarks for science education in elementary and middle schools.

The Wildlife Stewards program is a somewhat unique 4-H program in that volunteers receive subject matter training on wildlife, wildlife habitat and how to work effectively with public schools, Arnold said. 4-H volunteers usually lead club projects in subjects they already know a lot about, she said.

"The 4-H Wildlife Stewards program is actually similar to OSU Extension's Master Gardener program where volunteers receive subject matter training that enables them to answer gardening questions from the public," said Arnold. "In return for the training the volunteers agree to give a set number of hours of their time back to the program."

The 4-H Wildlife Steward volunteers complete 30 hours of training, and are required to volunteer 50 hours of instruction at a school that offers the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program. Maureen Hosty, a 4-H field faculty member in the Multnomah County office of the OSU Extension Service, started the 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program in 1997.

"This program demonstrates the powerful role that trained volunteers can play in the education of young people," Arnold said. "And, the design of the program is a great example of how new and innovative partnerships between schools, businesses and communities can enhance the education of our youth."

OSU Extension 4-H PROGRAM Wins National Recognition
By Bob Rost, 541-737-3381
Source: Maureen Hosty, 503-916-6074

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program - a partnership between Oregon 4-H and public schools to teach children about nature, science and the environment - has won two national achievement awards.

The National 4-H Council presented the 2005 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Youth Environmental Award to the Oregon 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program. Sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National 4-H Council award includes $7,500.

The council is a national, non-profit partner of 4-H and the Cooperative Extension System.

Last fall, OSU's Wildlife Stewards program received the Wildlife Society's Group Achievement Award for "outstanding accomplishments to benefit wildlife." The society is an international, non-profit scientific and educational organization of wildlife conservation and resource management professionals.

The NRCS Youth Environmental Award citation commended the Wildlife Stewards Program for "changing the way 4-H faculty and staff deliver 4-H programs and creating new ways for parents and teachers to work together in providing informal science education inside and outside of the classroom."

"These awards are great recognition for all the volunteers and Extension 4-H faculty who have built the 4-H Wildlife Stewards into a nationally recognized model program," said Roger Rennekamp, OSU Extension 4-H statewide program leader.

The 4-H Wildlife Stewards program trains volunteers who partner with K-12 educators to create and sustain wildlife habitat education sites on school grounds that allow students to experience some of the science they learn in class. Volunteer wildlife stewards use these sites as outdoor laboratories to help students gain a better understanding and appreciation of science, wildlife and natural resources topics.

In return for 25-30 hours of training, the stewards volunteer a minimum of 50 hours of service. Trained 4-H Wildlife Stewards volunteer in 54 schools in 19 Oregon counties, according to Maureen Hosty, OSU Extension 4-H Wildlife Stewards Program coordinator. "These volunteers, and the students and teachers they work with, are doing a wonderful job of improving our environment and helping young people to become good stewards of our natural heritage," said Hosty.


4-H Wildlife Stewards, Sunnyside Environmental School, 3421 SE Salmon 1209,
Portland, OR 97214 - 503-916-6074, e-mail: wildifestewards@oregonstate.edu
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