OSU Extension Blogs

National Get Outdoors Day

Small Farms Events - 1 hour 54 min ago
Saturday, June 3, 2017 (all day event)

The fifth annual National Get Outdoors Day event will be held on Saturday June 3rd, 2017 from 10am-3pm at Peavy Arboretum. This free event is hosted by OSU College of Forestry and OSU Benton County Extension, and will feature a variety of hands-on activities to connect youth and families with the great outdoors. Spanish speaking volunteers will provide bilingual assistance. 

Join us and discover the forest in your backyard. For more information visit the website at: http://cf.forestry.oregonstate.edu/get-outdoors-day

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

OSU Forage Management Series

Small Farms Events - 1 hour 54 min ago
Thursday, May 25, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Each part consists of an evening classroom presentation at the Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility on the OSU campus, followed by a morning field practical at a local outdoor location.

Class meets Wednesdays (6 – 8:30 pm) and Thursdays (10 – noon). Topics for each month are:
April 19 & 20 – Farm and Forage Assessment
May 24 & 25 – Harvest Management
June 28 & 29 – Irrigation
August 16 and 17 – Fertility
September 20 and 21 – Renovation Techniques

Speakers will be Shelby Filley, David Hannaway, Serkan Ates, Gene Pirelli, and Troy Downing, plus other OSU faculty and local experts.

This series will focus on a “project ranch” that we work on together, including site visits and on-line document sharing and 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 objective of the series is to improve knowledge about managing forage on properties in the Willamette Valley.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

OSU Forage Management Series

Small Farms Events - 1 hour 54 min ago
Wednesday, May 24, 2017 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Each part consists of an evening classroom presentation at the Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility on the OSU campus, followed by a morning field practical at a local outdoor location.

Class meets Wednesdays (6 – 8:30 pm) and Thursdays (10 – noon). Topics for each month are:
April 19 & 20 – Farm and Forage Assessment
May 24 & 25 – Harvest Management
June 28 & 29 – Irrigation
August 16 and 17 – Fertility
September 20 and 21 – Renovation Techniques

Pre-registration and a $30 fee per part per ranch is required. There is a discounted price of $120 for signing up for all five parts. Click here for on-line registration. If you do not have Internet access, stop by or call the OSU Extension Linn County office, 541-248-1088 for assistance.



Speakers will be Shelby Filley, David Hannaway, Serkan Ates, Gene Pirelli, and Troy Downing, plus other OSU faculty and local experts.

This series will focus on a “project ranch” that we work on together, including site visits and on-line document sharing and 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 objective of the series is to improve knowledge about managing forage on properties in the Willamette Valley.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Domestic Well Safety

Small Farms Events - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 2:34pm
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

The class is designed for domestic well owners to learn the basics of groundwater and water well stewardship. Learn steps to protect the health of your family, neighbors, animals, your property investment, and the safety of groundwater resources.

The class is free, but space is limited.

RSVP by calling 503-588-5407 or emailing gdeblase@co.marion.or.us

Presented by Marion County Environmental Health in partnership with OSU Extension Service. 

More information at http://www.co.marion.or.us/HLT/PH/EHS

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Oregon Sea Grant wins three communication awards in international competition

Breaking Waves - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 2:05pm
Oregon Sea Grant has won three awards in the 2017 Hermes Creative Awards competition. “Animal Care at the HMSC Visitor Center” won an Honorable Mention in the Educational Videos category; “Confluence” won Gold in Publications – Newsletters; and “The U.S. West Coast Shellfish Industry’s Perception of and Response to Ocean Acidification” won Platinum in Publications – Reports. The Hermes Creative Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. According to Hermes, “AMCP judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.” This year’s competition attracted about 6,000 entries from around the United States, Canada and numerous other countries, according to Hermes.

The post Oregon Sea Grant wins three communication awards in international competition appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Oregon Sea Grant wins three communication awards in international competition

Sea Grant - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 2:05pm
Oregon Sea Grant has won three awards in the 2017 Hermes Creative Awards competition. “Animal Care at the HMSC Visitor Center” won an Honorable Mention in the Educational Videos category; “Confluence” won Gold in Publications – Newsletters; and “The U.S. West Coast Shellfish Industry’s Perception of and Response to Ocean Acidification” won Platinum in Publications – Reports. The Hermes Creative Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. According to Hermes, “AMCP judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.” This year’s competition attracted about 6,000 entries from around the United States, Canada and numerous other countries, according to Hermes.

The post Oregon Sea Grant wins three communication awards in international competition appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

(Outreach and) Engagement.

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 5:01pm
Engagement

Engagement is about evaluation.

I read a lot of blogs.

One blog said: “Development programs have to prove that they have had a strong and positive impact.”

Sounds like engagement to me.

(And you can’t have engagement without outreach.)

And outreach and engagement often takes place beyond the walls of the academy. In community.

What is community?

So I went looking.

Not a definition in Scriven’s book.

Did find a book called Methods for Community-based Participatory Research for Health edited by Barbara Isreal, Eugenia Eng, Amy J. Schulz, and Edith A. Parker.

The book can be a resource for students, practitioners, researchers, and community members who use CBPR. Probably is.

You would think that CBPR would have a definition of community.

 

Community.

The community is a unit of identity, or so says the book. And units of identity are “…entities in which people have membership…” Could be a “…family, social network , or geographical neighborhood…”. Since identity is socially created, it applies to community. “Community…is defined by a sense of identification with and emotional connection to others through common symbol systems, values, and norms…may be geographically bounded…or geographically dispersed…”

I decided to look further. Found a web site on community engagement

This site said what I found to be true. “‘Engagement’ is used as a generic, inclusive term to describe the broad range of interactions between people.” “‘Community’ is also a very broad term used to define groups of people”. These groups of people could be “…stakeholders, interest groups, (or) citizen groups…A community may be a geographic location (community of place), a community of similar interest (community of practice), or a community of affiliation or identity (such as industry or sporting club).”

So then the question is, “What is impact?”

Impact

I go back to my sources. Scriven says that there is an “impact evaluation” (“…an evaluation focused on outcomes or payoff rather than process, delivery or implementation evaluation.”) A start. Will go look at “…outcomes or payoff…”

Scriven also talks about outcome (“…immediate outcomes, end of treatment outcomes, and long-term outcomes to be discovered in follow-ups.”) as well as outcome (evaluation).  He also talks about payoff (evaluation). Parentheses, mine.

Both (outcome evaluation and payoff evaluation) focus on results, not process.

To me, it sounds like impacts is another word for outcomes.  Perhaps a long-term outcome (to be discovered in follow-up)?

(Although the health and medical fields use impact to mean short-term outcomes [Green & Lewis, 1986]. The term outcome is generally used to mean changes in health status.)

The terminology is confusing (at least) and obfuscating (at most). What does that say about outreach? About engagement?

So be upfront about what you mean when you say it. Make it clear at the outset of an evaluation. At the very beginning!

 

The post (Outreach and) Engagement. appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City

Breaking Waves - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 9:32am

Oregon students from elementary school through community college will compete in Lincoln City on April 29 in an underwater robotics contest that tests their engineering and problem-solving skills.

The students, who hail from 20 schools largely along the coast, will be showing off devices they built for the annual Oregon Regional MATE ROV competition, which is coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and aims to prepare students for technical careers.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the swimming pool at the Lincoln City Community Center at 2150 N.E. Oar Place.

The event is one of about 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Center (MATE). Top teams from Oregon qualify to compete in the International MATE ROV Competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif.

Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s contest highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles — or ROVs — in securing the health and safety of seaports and helping lay the groundwork for “port cities of the future.” Like port managers, the students will guide their ROVs through tasks that simulate finding cargo containers that fell overboard, constructing an underwater tunnel, and cleaning up contaminated sediment. Students will also present posters or marketing displays they created and give engineering presentations.

Students are also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their ROVs. The students gain project management and communication skills as they manage a budget, work as a team, brainstorm solutions and deliver presentations, all skills transferable to other careers.

Local marine technology professionals, engineers, and scientists from Oregon State University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency volunteer as judges. Volunteer divers from the Oregon Coast Aquarium and OSU’s Scientific Dive Team also support the competition.

The post Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City

Sea Grant - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 9:32am

Oregon students from elementary school through community college will compete in Lincoln City on April 29 in an underwater robotics contest that tests their engineering and problem-solving skills.

The students, who hail from 20 schools largely along the coast, will be showing off devices they built for the annual Oregon Regional MATE ROV competition, which is coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and aims to prepare students for technical careers.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the swimming pool at the Lincoln City Community Center at 2150 N.E. Oar Place.

The event is one of about 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Center (MATE). Top teams from Oregon qualify to compete in the International MATE ROV Competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif.

Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s contest highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles — or ROVs — in securing the health and safety of seaports and helping lay the groundwork for “port cities of the future.” Like port managers, the students will guide their ROVs through tasks that simulate finding cargo containers that fell overboard, constructing an underwater tunnel, and cleaning up contaminated sediment. Students will also present posters or marketing displays they created and give engineering presentations.

Students are also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their ROVs. The students gain project management and communication skills as they manage a budget, work as a team, brainstorm solutions and deliver presentations, all skills transferable to other careers.

Local marine technology professionals, engineers, and scientists from Oregon State University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency volunteer as judges. Volunteer divers from the Oregon Coast Aquarium and OSU’s Scientific Dive Team also support the competition.

The post Students to compete in underwater robot contest in Lincoln City appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Feeding and Marketing Pigs

Small Farms Events - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 2:34pm
Thursday, April 20, 2017 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

If you are new to raising market pigs, this may be the class for you. OSU Extension Service faculty, Gene Pirelli and Melissa Fery will be teaching about feeding and nutrition for raising market pigs, basic health topics and information about processing and marketing pork. 

The class will be held Thursday, April 20 at the Linn County Extension Service office at 33630 McFarland Rd in Tangent from 6:00 to 8:30 pm.  Pre-registration is required. $10 per person. scholarships may be available.  Register online or by contacting Chrissy Lucas at (541) 766-3556.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

OSU Forage Management Series

Small Farms Events - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 2:34pm
Thursday, April 20, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Each part consists of an evening classroom presentation at the Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility on the OSU campus, followed by a morning field practical at a local outdoor location.

Class meets Wednesdays (6 – 8:30 pm) and Thursdays (10 – noon). Topics for each month are:
April 19 & 20 – Farm and Forage Assessment
May 24 & 25 – Harvest Management
June 28 & 29 – Irrigation
August 16 and 17 – Fertility
September 20 and 21 – Renovation Techniques

Speakers will be Shelby Filley, David Hannaway, Serkan Ates, Gene Pirelli, and Troy Downing, plus other OSU faculty and local experts.

This series will focus on a “project ranch” that we work on together, including site visits and on-line document sharing and 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 objective of the series is to improve knowledge about managing forage on properties in the Willamette Valley.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

OSU Forage Management Series

Small Farms Events - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 2:38pm
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Each part consists of an evening classroom presentation at the Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility on the OSU campus, followed by a morning field practical at a local outdoor location.

Class meets Wednesdays (6 – 8:30 pm) and Thursdays (10 – noon). Topics for each month are:
April 19 & 20 – Farm and Forage Assessment
May 24 & 25 – Harvest Management
June 28 & 29 – Irrigation
August 16 and 17 – Fertility
September 20 and 21 – Renovation Techniques

Pre-registration and a $30 fee per part per ranch is required. There is a discounted price of $120 for signing up for all five parts. Click here for on-line registration. If you do not have Internet access, stop by or call the OSU Extension Linn County office, 541-248-1088 for assistance.


Speakers will be Shelby Filley, David Hannaway, Serkan Ates, Gene Pirelli, and Troy Downing, plus other OSU faculty and local experts.

This series will focus on a “project ranch” that we work on together, including site visits and on-line document sharing and 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 objective of the series is to improve knowledge about managing forage on properties in the Willamette Valley.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Communication. Connection.

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Mon, 04/17/2017 - 3:24pm
Communication.

Connection. Communication. How important is it that you communicate; that you connect?

In reading over some of the comments I have received through this blog, I came upon this partial quote. (Partial because I didn’t report all of it; the remaining is not relevant.)

“I personally…think (blogging) as a one way channel to transfer any information you have over the web.”

Certainly, transferring information about evaluation from me to you, the reader, is this person’s view of blogging.

There has been a lot in the press (among others) over the last several years about avoiding “blue light” and connecting to real people. People with whom you are friendly; they might even be your friends. (I’m not talking about Facebook.) I’m talking about connections; communications. Talking to people face to face. Real connections. Real communications.

Bonding

Professor Peter Cohen  says (in talking about addiction) “…that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find…He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’” Bonding. It relates to connections; to communication.

So you are probably wondering how this relates to evaluation.

Let me see if I can make it clear to you.

Evaluators cannot work in isolation. (Oh, I suppose they can if they are hermits or know everything about everything and who does?)

Having worked as a community-based program evaluator for a long (read very long) time, I see myself as a generalist. Although I’ve worked with health programs , nutrition programs, natural resource programs , they all had one thing in common–they set out to change the lives of the participants who came from the community. To understand what they were doing with the program being evaluated, I asked questions. I listened to what they said about the program. I worked with a team of content experts. The program leaders knew about the content, the specifics; I knew about how to determine if the program made a difference, if the program had value, merit, worth.

In the long run, I “bonded” with the program team. I connected with them around their program. And in that process, I communicated with them. It is always a two way street.

Evaluators, through evaluation, communicate. Evaluators connect.

The post Communication. Connection. appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Growing a Diverse Forest: Steps to a Structural Diversity “Forest Makeover”

Tree Topics - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 10:49am

By Amy Grotta and Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

Through a creative and carefully planned harvest, this mature forest has undergone a structural diversity makeover.

Continuing our series, we’ll now look at steps that woodland owners can take to enhance structural diversity in their forests.  Recall that “structural diversity” refers to the amount of three-dimensional variation in the forest. In other words, a structurally diverse forest has trees of different sizes arranged in uneven patterns across the site.

Why do we care about structural diversity? Structural diversity is important to creating an “older” or “natural” forest look that many people want on their property.

Structural diversity is also a very important part of wildlife habitat. By creating variation in the tree canopy, and creating layers of vegetation at many levels within a forest, you are creating micro-environments. These micro-environments, each with its own set of light, temperature and moisture conditions, allow different sets of plants and animals to flourish. You are setting the stage for biological diversity to develop. Raptors may perch in the upper branches of the tallest trees, while small birds that nest in thickets may find a home lower down. Light-loving shrubs will fill in the sunny openings, while mosses and lichen will be happy in the cool shade of taller trees.

To create structural diversity, we rely on all the same tools in our forest management toolbox that we use to achieve other things in our woods: planting, thinning, harvesting. We just apply them a little differently to produce a different outcome.   Many of the opportunities described below and illustrated in the graphic at the right will be familiar from our last post, since structural and species diversity often go hand in hand.

Preparing to grow a new forest: don’t clean it up too much

After a timber harvest, there will be a lot left behind: limbs and treetops (slash), and sometimes logs with too little value to take to the mill. Part of site preparation involves getting these residues out of the way to make room to plant new trees. Often slash is piled and burned, but leaving those logs and even a few of these piles creates instant structure. They will decompose over decades, providing a shelter for critters and slowly evolving into a substrate for new plants. Check out this article for some great how-to’s and cautions.

Planting a new forest

Since a diversity of tree and shrub species can also greatly enhance future structural diversity by creating different textures or layers in the forest, the steps at planting outlined in our previous post can do double duty.

Tending a developing forest: thin early, thin often and change it up

While a diverse forest is an appealing image to many small woodland owners, what they often actually have is a uniform forest of trees roughly the same size and spacing. In these situations, thinning is the best opportunity to enhance structural diversity.

From top to bottom, examples of young, intermediate and mature conifer forests with low structural diversity

You can use thinning early in the life of a forest to create both horizontal and vertical structure (recall the cookie metaphor for definitions). Some specific ideas for making your forest more structurally diverse through thinning include:

  • Thin early to promote layers of plants on the forest floor.
  • Mix it up with a variable density (rather than uniform) thinning strategy:
    • Leave some areas dense or even unthinned.
    • Thin some other areas heavily to grow big trees and promote regeneration of new trees.
  • Be messy. Leave snags and dead wood behind.
Grand fir started to seed in this stand after an earlier thinning. Structural diversity could be improved by removing a small patch of overstory trees (like the three in the foreground), releasing the trees beneath them.

Opportunities in an older, maturing forest are to create gaps and leave legacies.   If you find a group of young, shade-tolerant trees coming up on the forest floor, you can create a small gap to give them room to grow. Or you can cut a patch and plant it with shade tolerant species such as western hemlock or grand fir to create another canopy layer. Both of these things could be part of a regularly planned thinning harvest.

 

Any harvest is a chance to enhance the structural diversity of the future forest. Leaving dead wood (both standing and down) is particularly beneficial for wildlife.  If doing a clearcut harvest, you can also leave some live trees, in groups or islands when possible.  Good candidates include trees that are hard to access, have defects, or are intermixed with snags you wish to protect. Even if they blow down, the downed wood is another important structural legacy.

We hope this series has given you some new ideas about how to enhance your woodland diversity and enrich your experience as a landowner. There is lots more information out there to help you work out the details.  Here are a few:

This is an excellent publication from WSU Extension, Diversifying Forest Structure to Promote Wildlife Biodiversity in Western Washington Forests (written for our neighbors to the north, but just as applicable to western Oregon).

Wildlife in Managed Forests: Oregon Forests as Habitat published by Oregon Forest Resources Institute

Woodland Fish and Wildlife Publications

Alternative Forest Management series in the OSU Extension Catalog

 

The post Growing a Diverse Forest: Steps to a Structural Diversity “Forest Makeover” appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Opportunities to enhance species diversity in small woodlands

Tree Topics - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 12:27pm

By Amy Grotta and Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

Our previous installment of this series introduced the key elements of forest diversity. Species diversity (a.k.a. compositional or biological diversity) is one of those elements.  So how do you achieve it, especially if what you are starting out with is a plantation forest with only a few species? The transition to an older forest with many plant species will not happen quickly. However, at every stage in a forest’s life cycle, there are opportunities and choices one can make to move the needle to a more species-rich forest.

The rest of this article and the accompanying infographic takes us through these choices, stage by stage.

Preparing to grow a new forest: have more than zero tolerance for shrubs

One of your best chances to grow a more diverse mature forest is on a just-logged site, even before you plant any new trees. This is (perhaps ironically) often one of the most diverse stages in forest development, when many sun-loving leafy plants show up.  They provide important food and cover for many birds and other animals. The trick is to balance this vegetation with the needs of growing tree seedlings.  You’ll still need to establish a stand of young trees successfully to meet Forest Practices rules. We’ll look at this stage again later in another article.

After logging, there are typically still native shrubs left behind. Sure, they may have taken a beating, but most will rebound if given the chance. So as you prepare the site for planting, whether with herbicides or machinery, you can intentionally save (choose to keep) some of these shrubs to meet your diversity objectives. Some specific strategies:

  • Identify and mark the shrubs you want to preserve. Consider keeping them in scattered clumps and “sacrificing” the space they occupy, rather than planting trees there.
  • Be selective in the species that you preserve, choosing those that won’t quickly outgrow planted trees. For example, Oregon-grape, cascara, and oceanspray grow slowly, while salmonberry and thimbleberry spread quickly. Bigleaf maple clumps are too competitive for most objectives/situations and should be controlled.
  • Use spot sprays of herbicide instead of a broadcast spray.
  • Evaluate what vegetation is growing on the site, and choose an herbicide strategy that targets the worst competitors while leaving desired vegetation. For example, you could select an herbicide that controls grasses, thistles and other non-woody weeds but is easier on shrubs. Consult product labels and the PNW Weed Management Handbook for guidance.
  • Keep a close eye on things, and quickly take steps to correct a situation if things look like they are getting out of hand.
Young planted trees getting along nicely with broadleaf plants. The dead clumps are bigleaf maples controlled with herbicide.

Establishing a new forest: species and spacing choices

Planting multiple species of trees may seem like an obvious strategy to increase species diversity. Yet it’s not as simple as mixing up the seedlings across your planting site if you want to keep that diversity long-term. Trees all have different growth habits and growth rates. When trees of different growth habits are closely mingled, the faster growing tree tends to win out.  Red alder and Douglas-fir are a good example (see illustration). Plant clumps of individual species rather than an intimate mixture to reduce competition, make subsequent tending of the stand easier, and keep diversity longer. If one of your motivations for having a diverse forest is to have a resilient forest, then keeping a mix of species in the canopy may be important.

Fast-growing alder will overtop and kill neighboring Douglas-fir (top). Instead, plant these species in groups (bottom)

Work with, not against, your site, and use microsites as a “palette” on which to paint your species choices. For example, plant wet areas to cedar, alder, or even ash.

The other planting decision you can use to enhance diversity is tree spacing. By planting trees further apart (say at 12-foot instead of 10-foot), you are giving more room and time for shrubs to re-establish. You can also resist the urge to come back in and replant spots where seedlings did not make it (as long as you’ve met Forest Practices Act reforestation requirements). Instead, allow hardwoods to fill in small gaps.

Tending a young forest: stay proactive

Your job of growing diversity is not done after planting.  Invasive weeds and crowding are two things to keep an eye on.  Some specific tips:

  • Stay on top of invasive weeds before the canopy closes. Resist the temptation to leave blackberries or scotch broom to get shaded out once tree crowns touch. Unfortunately, shade is not a particularly selective form of weed control: by the time the weeds get shaded out, so will many of the understory plants you desire.
  • Extend the life of your understory by thinning early and often.
  • Thinning also is an opportunity to diversify the tree canopy, by choosing to leave behind “underrepresented” species. Thin around and release oaks, madrone, true firs, and any other minor species, as long as they are vigorous. (Don’t try to release suppressed trees that won’t respond to thinning.)

Harvest: leave a legacy

A mature forest can have many kinds of plants growing in the understory that you want to keep. When it comes time to do a timber sale, how can you carry that diversity into the next-generation forest? This is your opportunity to leave legacies.

  • Retain some hardwood trees. Better to leave a single-stemmed bigleaf maple than to cut it and deal with the inevitable stump sprouts.
  • Mark and protect clumps of native shrubs.

The bottom line with all of this is that growing a multi-species forest does not have to be a revolutionary form of forest management. As illustrated above, you can be opportunistic, make proactive decisions, and even small tweaks to your management practices to maintain and enhance species diversity according to your interests. This article provides some ideas, which you can tailor for your own forest. You might want to talk with a professional forester, including your local Extension agent, to design a site-specific strategy.

The next post in this series will look at structural diversity (the other major aspect of forest diversity), and ways to achieve it.

The post Opportunities to enhance species diversity in small woodlands appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Soil School

Small Farms Events - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 2:42pm
Saturday, April 8, 2017 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Soil School 2017 will be held at the Portland Community College Rock Creek campus Event Center.  The day will again be kicked off by Dr. Soil, James Cassidy, OSU Soil Scientist, who will give us an overview of soil – what it’s made of and why.

We’ll have 12 sessions featuring expert speakers on a wide variety of topics related to soil health including but not limited to invasive species, landscaping with native plants, cover crops and irrigation, composting and fungi.

Registration will be open soon so please watch your mailbox or check our website, www.wmswcd.org/projects/soil-school/.  

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

WELDING & BASIC METAL WORK FOR FARMS-FULL

Small Farms Events - Sat, 04/08/2017 - 2:42pm
Saturday, April 8, 2017 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Limited to 8 people. The class is FULL. If you'd like to be on a waiting list, please call Paula, 541-776-7371, ext. 208

Hands on class held at Dunbar Farms. Instructor: David Mostue
Register: http://bit.ly/JacksonSmallFarms

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Innovation, again.

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Wed, 04/05/2017 - 11:47am
Innovation, again, leads to two thoughts for today:
  1. Innovation is the first one, from the first Monday video from Scott Reed : Do something. Try anything.  and
  2. the other from Harold Jarche who sites the book, Only Humans Need Apply about automation and intelligent machines.

This does relate to evaluation. Just wait. Patiently.

Where would evaluation be if evaluators didn’t question? Didn’t try anything or something? Evaluators would still be thinking separately; in silos. Would any of the current approaches be available? Would evaluation as a field be where it is today? Not if evaluators didn’t do something; try anything; innovate. Fortunately, evaluators do something.

Only humans need apply.

This is an interesting post.

Jarche presents this as a book review.

In this review, Jarche says that “…the authors identify five ways that people can adapt to automation and intelligent machines. They call it ‘stepping'”. Jarche added in parentheses the main attributes he thinks are needed for each option. The five steps are:

  1. Step-up: directing the machine-augmented world (creativity);
  2. Step-in: using machines to augment work (deep thinking);
  3. Step-aside: doing human work that machines are not suited for (empathy);
  4. Step narrowly: specializing narrowly in a field too small for augmentation (passion); and
  5. Step forward: developing new augmentation systems (curiosity).

I think all of these attributes are needed by the evaluation profession.

Evaluation

Evaluation would not be where it is today without creativity. Evaluators think deeply to answer difficult questions. Where would evaluators be without empathy? We certainly have passion and curiosity.

I’ve been an evaluator for a long time. I have seen the evolution of this field.

When I first came to evaluation as a graduate student, the AEA was not even a figment in any ones eye.

There were two associations, one for practice and one for research.

In 1986, they merged, making the AEA.

Bob Ingle had been organizing the joint meeting between those two organizations since 1981.

Then there were only several hundred members (200-300 maybe). Austin could hold us all, easily. (Not so, today.)

Since 1981, the field has slowly and tenaciously become a major player in the evaluation of programs, policies, personnel, products, performances, and proposals (thank you Michael Scriven   ).  As Scriven points out, evaluation as a profession has “…its own Library of Congress classification”.

There are new topical interest groups being founded. And affiliate organizations popping up all over the country. The organization, once a completely volunteer organization, is now managed by a firm specializing in such activities.

Evaluation has come a long way, baby.

The profession will continue to evolve as innovations continue.

 

The post Innovation, again. appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Recipes for Growing a Diverse Forest

Tree Topics - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 12:28pm

Brad Withrow-Robinson and Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension.

 

Many landowners are interested in growing a diverse forest as discussed in the previous post.  Their reasons may include having an attractive woodland retreat, providing habitat for wildlife or having a more resilient forest.  Whatever the reason, knowing what different parts of forest diversity look like is a key step towards getting it.

There are several key parts to diversity: those things that grow and live in a forest, how those things are arranged and when those things happen. Each is shaped or influenced by the physical environment (like soils or elevation) and natural processes (like competition, storms or fire).  Many kinds of diversity can also be enriched by us.

Probably the first thing people think about as diversity is the number and types of plants and animals in the forest. Certainly, what is growing in the forest (the species composition) is an important part of diversity.  A mix of trees which includes cedar and maple along with Douglas-fir is more diverse than monocrop of Douglas-fir alone in the forest canopy.  You can think of the different kinds of plants as the building blocks of a forest, or maybe better, ingredients in a recipe.  An oatmeal raisin cookie is more diverse than an oatmeal cookie.  But not twice as much.  There are many ingredients in cookies that go unobserved or unseen.  While trees are the most obvious and the defining elements of the forest (like the oatmeal and raisins), understory plants, soil microorganisms, fungi, and other elements play less glamorous but essential roles (like the flour, sugar and baking powder) in making the cookie a cookie.

 

 

Another easily observed feature of diversity is the forest’s structure, or how things are arranged.   Looking up and down you may see one or more layers of vegetation from the tree canopy to the leafy plants growing on the forest floor.  Looking at these layers, you are looking at the vertical diversity.  An Oreo cookie has more of it than our oatmeal cookie does. This structure affects how the woods look, but also how things work. Having more vertical diversity can be visually appealing.  And because different animals use different parts of this vertical forest structure to forage, roost or nest, it may mean more types of animals using your woods too.

 

Likewise, looking side to side we can see the texture of the forest (its horizontal diversity).  The woods may be quite uniform throughout, with little difference from place to place.  Or the woods may be uneven, with groups or patches of different things scattered about. These could  be areas with different ages, sizes or species of trees. To picture this horizontal diversity, let’s think about cookies with a similar variety of ingredients but different horizontal structure: chocolate and chocolate chip.  Chocolate cookies are uniform throughout, but chocolate chip cookies are patchy, and more diverse. Like vertical structure, this horizontal structure provides different conditions that may be visually appealing or suit different animals.

Perhaps the least obvious part of woodland diversity is time, or perhaps better, processes that take time. It may be cheating a bit to include time as part of diversity, but as an observer of nature and care-taker of a woodland, it is important for you to recognize its impact on the different parts of diversity.   Some kinds of diversity can happen quickly, others just take time to develop.  Cookie dough is great, but it is not a cookie until it has spent some time in the oven.

Imagine a riparian restoration plantation along a stream. You can quickly create species diversity by planting a mix of species, and horizontal diversity by planting patches of different trees or shrubs rather than blending them together. However, to get vertical diversity with layers including large trees (desired to shade more of the stream longer and/or have large logs to fall in the steam), you need decades, maybe even a century or more for that to fully develop.

As a landowner, you have many opportunities (such as planting, controlling invasives or thinning) to shape your woodland property.  Each is a choice between paths that take you to different destinations, with different outcomes, depending on the recipe you pick. We hope this introduction will help you choose a path to your destination. Coming up in our next article: specific steps you can take to enhance your woodland’s diversity according to you objectives.

But now, it is time for a cup of coffee. And a cookie!

The post Recipes for Growing a Diverse Forest appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs