OSU Extension Blogs

OSU Forage Management Series

Small Farms Events - 4 hours 34 min ago
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

This is a multi-part series including sessions on forage assessment, harvest management, irrigation, renovation techniques, and fertility and includes indoor meetings as well as outdoor to demonstrate the principles of the series.  We will have a "project ranch" that we work on together, including site visits and an on-line document sharing blog.  The project ranch will be the Wilson Farm, the OSU sheep facility with sheep and cattle grazing the pastures.  You can also work on your own ranch as a side project if desired.  The object of the series is to improve knowledge about managing forage on properties in the Willamette Valley.

Instructors:  Shelby Filley and other OSU faculty and local experts

Fee:  $25 per evening per individual or ranch/family group and $100 for the series of five sessions.

Please pre-register by completing the registration form

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Soil Workshop for small-scale vegetable farmers

Small Farms Events - 4 hours 34 min ago
Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
The second day of this two day workshop includes more advanced topics including soil testing, soil moisture, nitrogen management, and identifying nutrient deficiency symptoms. Participants will learn how to the the OSU Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Small Farm School

Small Farms Events - 4 hours 34 min ago
Saturday, September 6, 2014 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Small Farm School is a full day event with hands on and classroom workshops for beginning farmer and small acreage rural landowners. Join us the first Saturday of September at Clackamas Community College.

Field and classroom workshops include pig and poultry management, fruit and vegetable production, soil management, tractor safety and operation, on farm veterinary care and much more.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Soil Workshop for small-scale vegetable farmers

Small Farms Events - 4 hours 34 min ago
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM

The first  day of this two-day soil workshop covers beginning soils topics including soil types, texture, structure, and organic matter. Participants will have a chance to look at soil horizons in a deep hole pit, and oberve a tillage demonstration.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Seeds of the Future

Small Farms Events - 4 hours 34 min ago
Saturday, August 16, 2014 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM

POSTER Includes tour of two seed farms, lunch and a class for begining seed farmers. REGISTER ON LINE
Specialty Seed Crops are a niche market for small, sustainable Rogue Valley Farms.  Tour two family farms currently working on innovative breeding projects and cooperative seed marketing.  In the afternoon, attend an optional class for Beginning Seed Growers taught by Don Tipping, owner of Siskiyou Seed's and a long-time seed grower.

Addresses and directions to the farms will be provided to participants.  Class size is Iimited to 30.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Seeds of the Future

Small Farms Events - 4 hours 34 min ago
Saturday, August 16, 2014 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Seed Breeding and Production in the Rogue Valley: 
A farm tour and Primer for Beginning Seed Farmers

Specialty Seed Crops represent a great niche market to small, sustainable farms in the Rogue Valley. Tour of two family farms currently working on innovative breeding projects and cooperative seed marketing. For people interested in growing specialty seed crops, attend an optional class for Beginning Seed Growers with Siskiyou Seed's owner and long-time seed grower Don Tipping in the afternoon. 

REGISTER ON LINE: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/sorec/farms  

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Environmental Drivers May be Adding to Loss of Sea Stars

Breaking Waves - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 9:26am

NEWPORT – The rapid loss of sea stars along the US west coast may be caused in part by environmental changes, and not solely by a specific pathogen as many had previously thought.

This new hypothesis emerged from a recent symposium on sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS) hosted at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. Oregon Sea Grant enlisted the Center’s support to bring together 40 top researchers from as far north as Alaska and as far south as Santa Barbara, California. The goal was to clarify the science and develop recommendations for further research, monitoring and possible responses to SSWS.

“I think we can all agree that this is one of the biggest epidemics ever in the ocean in terms of range and the number of species,” said Drew Harvell, a researcher from Cornell who is on sabbatical at Friday Harbor Labs in Washington.

SSWS is the name for a series of symptoms exhibited as a sea star “wastes” away and ultimately dies. Other outbreaks have been observed in the 1970s and 1990s, but despite similar symptoms there are some key differences. The current outbreak—which began in 2013—continued throughout the winter, which has never before been observed, in addition to occurring on a much larger geographic scale.

Through the symposium, researchers from different fields—ecologists, pathologists, veterinarians, and more—joined forces to piece together what is known about the disappearing stars. New evidence has failed to show consistent signs of either bacterial or viral infections, leading scientists to question whether a single pathogen is the culprit. In addition, they noticed correlations between warmer average water temperatures and the syndrome’s appearance.

“Increases in temperature lead to a cascade of oceanographic changes, ultimately leading to lower pH,” said Bruce Menge, an OSU researcher who studies the intertidal zone.

Under this hypothesis, the lower pH would deteriorate the protective outer layers of the sea star. The stars would then struggle to balance their internal concentration of salt and water and would slowly waste away. The increased acidity could also cause calcified bone-like support structures—called ossicles—to erode once exposed.

A similar idea is that the warming temperatures and lower pH could stress the animal and weaken its immune system. After that, any number of pathogens could be responsible for causing the animals to waste and die.

“It’s possible that sea stars only have a limited suite of ways to show they are stressed,” said Mike Murray, a veterinarian from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

A number of ocean conditions – upwelling, for instance – can cause pockets of warmer or cooler water. This variation could explain why a few areas of the west coast have thus far escaped the outbreaks for the most part.

Symposium participants agreed that the exact cause of the outbreak remains a mystery. While environmental drivers are getting new attention, the idea of an infectious disease is still prominent. Harvell and her colleagues are working to identify exactly which pathogen could cause SSWS. All of these potential hypotheses provide testable research questions for future studies.

Going forward, attendees are writing group documents to summarize both what is known and what further actions need to be taken to investigate these and other hypotheses. The papers are expected to be completed in August, and to include suggestions for how to best locate and compare existing environmental data, in addition to encouraging more directed monitoring.

Learn more

To find out more about SSWS, or to get involved in the monitoring, visit these sites with information on citizen science programs near you:

__________________________________

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Timeline:
  • 1976-79: A devastating SSWS event took out large numbers of sea stars along the west coast. It was believed to be a bacterial event due to the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment.
  • 1983-84: SSWS was found in areas with warmer waters as a result of an intense El Nino event. The outbreak spread to other echinoderms  such as sea urchins. Cold winter temperatures halted the spread.
  • 1997-98: Another round of SSWS hit, also spurred by an intense El Nino, but subsided in the winter like previous events.
  • June 2013: The current bout of SSWS was discovered in Olympic National Park in Washington.
  • October/November 2013: Sea stars began dying in large numbers in Monterey, CA.
  • December 2013: SSWS was detected at sites ranging from Alaska to San Diego. Oregon seemed immune at this point for unknown reasons.
  • January 2014: Despite the fact that previous SSWS events subsided during the winter,  the current outbreak continued to spread, especially in southern California.
  • April 2014: While SSWS spread widely along the California and Washington coasts, less than 1% of Oregon stars exhibited signs of the disease.
  • May 2014: About halfway through the month, the percentage of stars exhibiting SSWS skyrocketed in Oregon to between 40 and 60 percent of the populations surveyed.
  • June 2014: Researchers convened at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR, to discuss what is known and what should be done about SSWS.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Master Naturalist blogs about coast, nature and the environment

Sea Grant - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 1:58pm

Jane Wilson is a licensed K-8 teacher, an outdoor enthusiast, and a graduate of Oregon State University’s Oregon Master Naturalist certification program who blogs her thoughts and photographs – about coastal Oregon and the North Coast in particular.

In the introduction to her blog, Wilson writes:

“My commitment to learning how to better observe, interpret, and share information about the natural sciences associated with dynamic earth is heart-felt. Inspiration comes from eagerness to nurture a sense of wonder about the natural world. I’d like to be an advocate who supports others in defining their own connections with nature, understanding why those connections are important, and … in the process, becoming nature literate.”

Check out her observations, adventures and photographs about nature and our place in it at Just Another Nature Enthusiast.

Learn more:
  • OSU’s Oregon Master Naturalist program, a collaborative training program presented by OSU Extension with funding from Oregon Sea Grant Extension, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension and Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Extension, and by participants’ enrollment fees.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Master Naturalist blogs about coast, nature and the environment

Breaking Waves - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 1:58pm

Jane Wilson is a licensed K-8 teacher, an outdoor enthusiast, and a graduate of Oregon State University’s Oregon Master Naturalist certification program who blogs her thoughts and photographs – about coastal Oregon and the North Coast in particular.

In the introduction to her blog, Wilson writes:

“My commitment to learning how to better observe, interpret, and share information about the natural sciences associated with dynamic earth is heart-felt. Inspiration comes from eagerness to nurture a sense of wonder about the natural world. I’d like to be an advocate who supports others in defining their own connections with nature, understanding why those connections are important, and … in the process, becoming nature literate.”

Check out her observations, adventures and photographs about nature and our place in it at Just Another Nature Enthusiast.

Learn more:
  • OSU’s Oregon Master Naturalist program, a collaborative training program presented by OSU Extension with funding from Oregon Sea Grant Extension, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension and Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Extension, and by participants’ enrollment fees.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Blueberry Field Day

Small Farms Events - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 4:43pm
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Blueberry Field Day: July 16th, 1-5:30pm. Topics will include:

  • Organic blueberry production systems--from establishment through maturity
  • Rootstock evaluation and field performance of "blueberry trees"
  • Meet WSU's new berry crop scientist
  • Nitrogen fertigation management
  • Pesticide registation update
  • Mummy berry--ideas for control
  • Re-defined IPM programs after SWD
  • Challenges with new blueberry cultivar adaptability in BC
  • What blueberry cultivars/selections look good?

Events will be held at the NWREC and will focus on the breeding program and conventional and organic research projects for commercial growers.

Agenda and more info here: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/NWREC/sites/default/files/pg_programs/berry/documents/blueberry_field_day_2014_2.pdf 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Taking a stand

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:02pm

Recently I came across some old note of mine, from some meeting several years ago. I though it would be useful in my writing so I saved it; actually there were two notes that were similar in content. They both relate to blogging, although at the time I didn’t know I would be blogging.

I lump them all under the title of taking a stand, although stance would probably be more descriptive.

The notes are these:

  • Know your audience.
  • Be proactive to anticipate needs.
  • Be reactive to meet needs.
  • Be authentic.
  • Be direct.
  • Be unapologetic.

What you do with them affects you in your dealings, even your evaluation dealings.

If you do not know your audience , you cannot write to them; plan an evaluation with them; conduct an evaluation for them; teach them how to do the evaluation later. (That last sounds like you want to work yourself out of a job??? Maybe?) I have identified my audience as people who work for the Extension Service and need/want to know about evaluation (and sometimes other things… ) and other people who have an interest in evaluation in general–there are a lot of evaluators out there…

I listen to what folks are talking about and try to anticipate needs. Sometimes I’m not very good at anticipating needs; sometimes I am. I know that Fair Season is upon us and folks are probably not thinking EVALUATION right now. I think it is important to have evidence regardless of the season. Evaluation is one way to get evidence to support your contention.

When folks ask a question, I try to answer them (I see a question as a need–most of the time–and my knee jerk reaction is to find a solution). It may not be immediately. I look for answers and remember where those answers were. I send the answers (or at least where to find an answer) to whomever asked. No simple task. Fortunately, I’ve a bunch of good resources.

A long time ago, when I was first starting out in this business, I decided that being authentic (read: real) was the way to go. To me, that is the flip side of being direct. If you have to pussy foot around, you are not being real; you are not being direct. That doesn’t mean you have to be rude or insensitive. It does mean that you call a shovel a shovel, not that digging implement (unless you don’t know the name for something…).

At a certain point (probably after two, maybe after 18); there is no need to apologize for standing up for what you believe. You can only be a door mat if you lie down. So when it comes to taking a stand, no need to apologize. (I still find myself apologizing for things over which I have no control…I don’t need to do that). I do offer a caveat, however, letting the listener know this is my take on the issue.

I’m sure you can figure out how this is all evaluative.

My .

molly.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Tractor Safety and Operation for Adults

Small Farms Events - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 4:35pm
Monday, July 14, 2014 (all day event)

Join us for a full day covering the basic functions and operations of a tractor.  Saftey, parts, basic maintenance, hooking up implements and driving will be covered during this event.

Click here to register

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Watching out for the Emerald Ash Borer & other Invasives

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 9:19am
Large purple plastic triangular boxes illustrate monitoring activity

by Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties and Wyatt Williams, ODF Invasive Species Specialist

A large purple box hanging in the trees along Airlie Road last year caught my attention at 55 mph. Pulling over I recognized it as a monitoring trap for one of the current invasive species threatening Oregon’s woodlands. Luckily ODF and others are watching out.

The emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive insect from Asia, has killed an estimated 100 million trees and caused more than $3.5 billion dollars’ worth of damage and property value losses in the eastern U.S. since its arrival in the 1990′s. All 16 North American ash species are threatened with extinction, including our native Oregon ash. The furthest west population yet detected is in Boulder, Colorado – a day’s drive or so from Oregon in a motor home. Originally introduced to the U.S. via wood packaging material, it is now spread across the continent in infested firewood.


With summer travel and camping season upon us, you can do your part by educating people about the dangers of moving firewood. There is a whole national campaign about this: Don’t Move Firewood. If like me, you enjoy bossing people around, insist your visitors not transport wood!

ODF is working with Oregon State University and OSU Extension, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the US Forest Service, APHIS, and Washington Department of Natural Resources in order to ‘save our ash.’

Of course this is not the only invasive we worry about, as human travel and commerce create ever increasing opportunities for insects and diseases to jump around. Chestnut blight and Port-Orford-cedar root rot are some older examples and sudden oak death a more recent arrival. Here in the Willamette Valley, people are becoming aware of a problem in black walnuts. Here is a good article about the thousand canker disease which is killing black walnuts in the area that was just posted last week.

Wow.  That is a lot of grim information.  We’ll try to find something happier next time…..

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Yellowjackets

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 3:17pm

by Chal Landgren, OSU Extension Christmas Tree Specialist

Anyway it is spelled- Yellowjacket, Yellow Jacket or Yellow-Jacket, these insects are feared and hated not only by picnickers, but by many working in the woods, and in Christmas trees.  For Christmas tree growers they can inflict physical and economic pain, since they are unwanted hitchhikers in many shipping destinations.

First some biology- These are not honeybees. Rather, two predatory insects in the genus Vespula, whose common names are the Western Yellowjacket and German Yellowjacket. The Western

Comparison of queens. Photo courtesy ODA

Yellowjacket (V. pensylvanica) is a common native.  Yes, they are predators, but also scavengers, which makes them a pest at summer BBQs and picnics.  The German yellowjacket (V. germanica)  is an uncommon non-native species (not wanted in Mexico).  Both these insects feed on other insects as well as nectar, honeydew and fruit.

Queens will overwinter in protected locations above or below ground and emerge in May. After the queen emerges she will begin her colony which eventually can include hundreds to thousands of workers. Fertilized queens will emerge again in October or November. Males (stingless) begin to emerge in large numbers in late July.

Control strategies are very time sensitive. Some growers have observed fewer nests being formed if they can get out their lure traps before the females start forming colonies (May).  If you can trap a queen you can begin to control the populations. Once the females begin colonies they do not fly and the lure traps catch only workers or males.  Workers can fly ¼ mile or so from the nest in search of food. That “food” can be honeydew from aphid feeding on Christmas Trees, if present.

Where they conflict with work or recreation, nests can be targeted with insecticides. The PNW Insect Management Handbook reminds us wasp nests should be treated in evening when wasps are less active with a pesticide formulated specifically for wasp nests (rather than gasoline), and also that some professionals in the PNW collect wasps to be used in the manufacture of allergy injections. Find more here.

There are registered baiting options that can be useful around homes, campgrounds and zoos. The insecticide Onslaught is a microencapsulated version of esfenvalerate (a pyrethroid) is approved for use in bait stations. A company out of Bend, Alpine Pest Management, makes the bait stations.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Caneberry Field Day

Small Farms Events - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 4:31pm
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Caneberry Field Day: July 9th, 1-5:30pm. Topics will include:

  • Research updates on the organic blackberry research program (weed management, irrigation, fertilizer source, and cold hardiness will be addressed)
  • Learning about sampling time for primocane tissue nutrient testing in blackberry
  • Marketing caneberries to chefs
  • Pesticide registation update
  • Redefined IPM programs after SWD
  • Meet WSU's new berry crop scientist
  • Breeding for machine harvest in raspberry
  • Evaluating and walking through the caneberry breeding plots.
Agenda and more information here: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/NWREC/sites/default/files/pg_programs/berry/documents/caneberry_field_day_2014.pdf
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Doing to; doing with; doing as

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 1:01pm

How do you approach evaluation?

Are you the expert?

Do you work in partnership?

Are you one of the group?

To which question did you answer yes?

If you are the expert and know the most (not everything, no one know everything [although teenagers think they do]), you are probably “doing to”. Extension has been “doing to” for most of its existence.

If you work in partnership recognizing that the group with whom you are working has many cumulative years of knowledge and can give back to you, participants are co-equals, you are probably “doing with”.

If you are really one of the group, working daily to understand differences and biases, sharing that information and gathering information, you are probably “doing as”.

How does all this relate to evaluation? There are approaches to inquiry (of which evaluation is only one) that attempt to get the evaluator away from being the expert. David Fetterman has developed a model called empowerment evaluation ( and writes a blog about it here). His idea is basically to give the ability to evaluate away to the people who live the program/project…making them responsible, making them expert. The evaluator still needs to consult (obviously, or what would evaluators do?). Still it is an example of “doing with” that makes a world of difference. Community-based participatory research is another partnership form of inquiry often seen in public health and other outreach activities (read more about it here). Michael Quinn Patton  talks about participatory evaluation in his book, Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods Participatory action research is another; I’m sure there are others…

The “doing as” concept comes from the diversity literature and includes information on cognitive bias. I heard it first from an evaluation colleague who is an indigenous person from NZ. And although I find this label compelling in its description, I find little or nothing on the concept in the literature. So let me see if I can describe it to you…when you evaluate from the perspective of “doing as” you evaluate as though you are a member of the community, owning the experience, and sharing what you know. It does include the “doing with” concept, to be sure, and goes further than that; the evaluator wears the hat, clothes, shoes of the group, the target group. It is being culturally aware, culturally competent; it is understanding, even if you cannot truly know, what it is like to be that person.

So, dear Readers. Are you doing to, doing with, or doing as when you evaluate?

We need to work diligently to do  “doing as” when we evaluate.

my.

molly.

 

 

 

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Shop at the Dock takes mystery out of seafood buying

Sea Grant - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 12:36pm

NEWPORT – With summer at its peak, so is the craving for fresh, local seafood – but first-time buyers sometimes have questions about purchasing directly from local fishermen.

Enter Oregon Sea Grant’s Fishery Extension Agent, Ruby Moon, who will provide four free, guided “Shop at the Dock” seafood-buying tours this month from the commercial fishing docks in Newport.

Tours start at noon on July 11, 19, 24 and 30 at the entrance of Port Dock 5 on the Newport bayfront. Buyers should bring:

  • An ice chest filled with ice
  • Cash for purchasing seafood
  • Their questions about direct market vessels and choosing and buying fresh seafood.

Learn more:

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Shop at the Dock takes mystery out of seafood buying

Breaking Waves - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 12:36pm

NEWPORT – With summer at its peak, so is the craving for fresh, local seafood – but first-time buyers sometimes have questions about purchasing directly from local fishermen.

Enter Oregon Sea Grant’s Fishery Extension Agent, Ruby Moon, who will provide four free, guided “Shop at the Dock” seafood-buying tours this month from the commercial fishing docks in Newport.

Tours start at noon on July 11, 19, 24 and 30 at the entrance of Port Dock 5 on the Newport bayfront. Buyers should bring:

  • An ice chest filled with ice
  • Cash for purchasing seafood
  • Their questions about direct market vessels and choosing and buying fresh seafood.

Learn more:

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Caneberry Field Day

Small Farms Events - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 4:30pm
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

A focus on the breeding program & research on conventional and organic production systems for commercial growers.  

More information on the event will be forthcoming.  Please hold this date on your calendar.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Tomorrow is July 4th

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 3:03pm

The US has been a country for 238 years. A long time. Perhaps it is an opportunity to reflect on what are the rights, privileges, and obligations of citizenship. Perhaps it is just another holiday. Perhaps it is just a time for blueberry pie and peach ice cream. Perhaps it is a…fill in the blank.

I’m not feeling particularly patriotic. I am feeling very evaluative. Recently I viewed a map indicating that on a US passport an individual could travel to 172 different countries. The only country passports which were more powerful (i.e., able to visit more countries) were UK, Finland and Sweden. I wonder to where (what country) can’t I travel on my US passport? That question requires evidence. That is evaluative. I value my US passport. My girls and I travel with them even though driver’s license would be easier.  (Being able to fly to Paris at a moment’s notice is important..  ) My passport is one of the privileges that comes with my citizenship. So is voting. So is freedom of speech and worship, and freedom from want and fear (FDR’s four freedoms).

What are you doing tomorrow…remembering?

Remember, evaluation is an everyday activity.

Enjoy the holiday.

my .

molly.

 

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs