OSU Extension Blogs

As boating season opens, remember: Pump, Don’t Dump!

Sea Grant - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 2:43pm

With Memorial Day coming up – and National Safe Boating Week underway now – a reminder that one way boaters can make the waters safer for everyone is to take advantage of sewage pumpout stations rather than dumping their waste in the ocean, rivers and lakes.

Dumping waste isn’t just bad for the environment and other water users – it’s against the law, and boaters caught dumping on inland waters or within 3 miles of the coast at sea risk hefty fines.

Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State Marine Board collaborated on this short, humorous public service announcement demonstrating just how easy proper waste disposal can be:

OSG has also designed and begun placing pumpout and dump station signs at marinas up and down the Oregon coast and on selected lakes.

Learn more

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Survey data

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Mon, 05/19/2014 - 5:16pm

Had a comment a while back on analyzing survey data…hmm…that is a quandary as most surveys are done on line (see Survey monkey, among others).

If you want to reach a large audience (because your population from which you sampled is large), you will probably use an on-line survey. The on-line survey companies will tabulate the data for you. Can’t guarantee that the tabulations you get will be what you want, or will tell you want you want to know. Typically (in my experience), you can get an Excel file which can be imported into a soft ware program and you can run your own analyses, separate from the on line analyses.

However…if your sample is your population and often times it is, you may not use an on-line system because your target audience is small, 30 or so. That being the case, a mail survey or a face-to-face survey will work–sometimes paper and pencil is still best.  Regardless of what form you use (and Dillman is my favorite guide), you will want to know something about your target audience. So the first thing you do is to compute the demographic statistics. Demographic statistics are the frequency and the percents of your different variables as well as the measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode) and distribution (range, standard deviation, and dispersion). These statistics may may include the demographic variables. You really want to know how many of each option you have. Most journals want to know that information as well as results of your other questions (which hopefully will tell you if you are making a difference with your program).

Then if you have a way to compare the participants in your target audience you will want to do those comparisons. Rule of thumb, it takes approximately 30 cases (participants in your target audience) to have a meaningful result. I think it is important to remember the difference between parametric and non-parametric statistics. It is rare that you will know the parameters of your target audience when it comes to descriptive statistics. I also think it is important to keep in mind that computing a mean on data that are NOT interval probably doesn’t make sense (after all, what does a mean of 3.5 actually tell you on a 4 point Likert scale?). This is just a quick review. I suggest you look in my archives for more detail–search on statistics or analysis; you will find a lot of relevant posts.

Analysis can be fun…

–molly.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

A summer opportunity – Oregon South Coast Tourism

Sea Grant - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 3:56pm

College students: Looking for a great way to spend the summer while learning and working with coastal Oregon communities? Take a look at our newest fellowship opportunity on Oregon’s south coast!

Oregon Sea Grant and the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance (WRCA) are offering an epic summer outreach experience. One upper-level undergraduate or graduate level student will experience the beauty of the south coast and help develop WRCA coastal tourism programs and initiatives to vitalize south coast communities. This hands-on experience features mentorship by a career professional, student housing in Bandon, Oregon, if needed, and a summer stipend. The fellowship dates are flexible -between June and September- and will span about ten weeks.

Visit http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/education/fellowships for more details about the fellowship and to submit an application.

Application deadline: May 30, 2014.

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Wednesday’s musings

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 3:34pm

I had a comment about last week’s post on Sustainability and Evaluation. I will share it here. I wonder what you readers think of this comment:

In preventive health/health promotion, ‘sustainability’ has generally been used to indicate that the intervention program, or elements of it, or benefits of it, are continued beyond the life of the funded program. It is about extending the value of the investment in a program, beyond the life of the funded program. So it’s about a legacy, about the continuation of things achieved, about leaving things, circumstances or communities better off than when you first arrived (more empowered, more resourceful, more able to continue improvements on their own).

I wonder how that fits with the definitions I provided? Is this a different sustainability? Does it speak to the future generations? Does that include equity and justice?

NEW TOPIC

Not knowing what to post today, I turned to Scriven’s book, Evaluation Thesaurus. It is a wealth of information on all (or almost all) things evaluation. The page to which I opened listed the “phenomenonology of evaluation” and “philanthropic foundations”.  I will summarize.

Phenomenonology of evaluation (pg. 262) is related to the psychology of evaluation. Scriven lists “certain highly functional aspects” of evaluating or being evaluated that include 1) “refocusing”; 2) “intimate interplay between the creative, critical, and data-gathering aspects of evaluation”; 3) “role of empathy”.  He also lists dysfunctional aspects, such as “the perceptions that taking account of evaluations amounts to i) conceding lack of competence, or ii)conceding power to the evaluator.” He suggests that the reader see “Goal-free evaluation.”

Philanthropic foundations (pg 262) talks about evaluations for those foundations that do philanthropic work. He provides a history (albeit brief) and justifications for evaluations conducted in foundations (contractual and fairness obligations). He goes on to list areas “that need evaluation and not necessarily professional evaluations”. He indicates that “evaluations of funded projects…fall into three maj0r categories of benefit: i) help for the recipients in achieving their goals; iiensuring accountability to donors’ wishes; and iii)improving cost-effectiveness.

Worth reading.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Invasive species aide named OSU Student Leader

Sea Grant - Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:00am

Jennifer Lam, an Oregon State University graduate student who has been part of Oregon Sea Grant’s aquatic invasive species team since 2009, has been named one of OSU’s Outstanding Student Leaders for 2014 by the OSU Women’s Center.

The award will be presented as part of the Women’s Center’s annual awards program on Monday, May 19 from 2:30-4:30 pm.

Lam, who is working on a master’s degree in Marine Resource Management, was nominated by her Sea Grant supervisors for her “outstanding initiative and leadership in helping us educate the public about the ecosystem threats posed by invasive animals and plants.”

Since coming to Sea Grant as a PROMISE intern, she has worked with the program’s watershed and invasive species team led by specialist Sam Can, developing k-12 curricula and public information guides, producing Congressional briefing papers as part of a multi-state legislative framework for controlling the spread of highly invasive mussels by recreational boaters, and conducting her own research into the problem of household pharmaceuticals winding up in the public water supply through improper disposal. Among the products she developed for the program is a classroom “pet pledge” – available in English and Spanish – to educate k-12 teachers and students about how classroom science “pets” can become invasive if released into the wild.

As an undergraduate, Lam served as event coordinator for the MU Program Council, receiving a 2010 award for her work; as a graduate student, she serves as a representative to the Student Advisory Committee of the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.

Learn more…

 

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Sustainability relates to evaluation

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Thu, 05/08/2014 - 2:25pm

To quote Annie Leonard, the word sustainability “gets thrown around all the time now and it’s not always clear what is intended.” She goes on to talk about the UN World Commission on Environment and Development definition of sustainable development as “…meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” That is a good definition, I think. Yet it is missing something which (according to Leonard) are equity and justice. Robert Gilman defines sustainability as “…equity over time”. She says (and I agree), quoting the Center for Sustainable Communities, that sustainability “consider(s) the whole instead of the specific. Sustainability emphasizes relationships rather than pieces in isolation.”

Now, given that evaluation to be effective must look at the whole (here is a good example of when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts); and

given that evaluation works to find out information that will benefit both the current and future generations; and

given that evaluation works to determine what difference was made in people’s lives, it seems to me that there is a relationship here that needs to be acknowledged.

A colleague of mine works in youth development and loves the job. My colleague has to determine the value of the program; the program needs to be evaluated. Yet, if the work is only for the program (i.e., the pieces in isolation) not the whole, what good is it that my colleague loves the job? The relationship between the youth involved and the bigger picture is truly more than can probably be captured in any evaluation. Still, the evaluation needs to be planned to consider that, even if the resources are limited (that is the “probably” above).

So yes, evaluation has something to learn from sustainability. Certainly sustainability can learn from evaluation (and economics, and equity, and ecology…).

NEW TOPIC

I’ve been, once again, getting comments about making a difference. I thought I’d post some of those comments (I’ve copied and pasted comments so the spelling is as it appears in the original text):

  • …every blog post makes a difference in a way or in another. You can answer at your questions just seeing how many comments are here, how many people are interested in answering you. I think you are a good person, and everything said by a good person is always a life’s lesson to keep in mind. Thank you for every helpful information, good job!

  • It may be a temporary difference – i.e. limited on the time, but of course that at least for some seconds your writing are touching the life’s of all your readers.

  • Every blog or article makes a difference to those who read it! They might strongly agree or disagree with what the blogger has wrote, making a difference by reafirming there opinion or being outraged that somebody else looks at ideas different to them! Keep writing Molly, you are making people think, which is always good
  • I think the best measure of the effectiveness of a blog are the number of shares it gets, as people that found something useful in it tend to want to share with others.

  • …I have written quite a bit about this topic and challenge that bloggers face and the bottom line is that you really can’t measure the value.  Sure I think asking for responses like you did might help you see a bit of it, but the reality is 99.9% of people will never comment.  As such, we as bloggers have to remember that each pageview is a real person who was on our site and who was impacted by what we wrote!

  •  Blogs are probably the best tool for engaging a customer in todays times.

My question: are blogs engaging readers or are they only outreach, even if the blog is read?

P.S. I also got a lot of comments about my analytics post…for next time.

 

References:

Leonard, A. (2011). Story of Stuff. NY: Free Press. (good book–worth the read)

Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). NY: UN World Commission on Environment and Development. http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf

Gilman, R., Director, Context Institute.

  • He says:  Sustainability is equity over time.  As a value, it refers to giving equal weight in your decisions to the future as well as the present.  You might think of it as extending the Golden Rule through time, so that you do unto future generations (as well as to your present fellow beings) as you would have them do unto you.

Center for Sustainable Communities is quoted in a variety of places: http://sustainablesonoma.org/keyconcepts/sustainability.html; http://isocs-sustainability.wikispaces.com, among others.

  • The entire definition is: Sustainability is part of a trend to…consider the whole instead of the specific. Sustainability emphasizes relationships rather than pieces in isolation…Sustainability is not about regressing to primitive living conditions. It is about understanding our situation, and developing as communities in ways that are equitable, and make sense ecologically and economically.

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Science Pub to explore the future of oceans

Sea Grant - Thu, 05/08/2014 - 9:31am

CORVALLIS – The effects of global climate change and associated threats to the oceans are the topic for the May 12 edition of Science Pub Corvallis, presented at the Majestic Theatre, 115 SW 2nd St., from 6-8 pm. Admission to the public talk is free.

Andrew Thurber, a post-doctoral fellow in Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS), will lead the discussion in an informal presentation where questions are welcomed.

The Earth’s oceans face multiple climate-related stresses: warming temperatures, low oxygen, acidification and a lack of biological productivity. As marine ecosystems respond, the consequences could be felt directly by about 2 billion people whose lives depend on ocean fisheries and other resources. Those are among the results reported by an international team of 29 scientists who studied the influence of climate change on marine systems from the poles to the Equator.

Thurber, who holds a Ph.D from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, helped to conceive the study and was a co-author of the report that appeared in October 2013 in the journal PLOS Biology. “What is really sobering about these findings is that they don’t even include other impacts to the world’s oceans such as sea level rise, pollution, over-fishing, and increasing storm intensity and frequency,” he says. “All of these could compound the problem significantly.”

Thurber will discuss the study and actions needed to avert the most significant changes.  His research focuses on deep-sea ecosystems, particularly the role of invertebrates in recycling nutrients and sequestering carbon. He has conducted experiments under seasonal sea ice in Antarctica and explored communities that live around methane seeps near New Zealand and Costa Rica.

Science Pub Corvallis is sponsored by OSU’s TERRA magazine

Learn more …
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Oregon Sea Grant wins two Hermes Creative Awards

Sea Grant - Wed, 05/07/2014 - 4:59pm

Oregon Sea Grant Communications has won two awards in this year’s Hermes Creative Awards competition: a Gold Award for the summer 2013 issue of Confluence magazine, and an Honorable Mention for the online video A Big Change.

For more information about the Hermes Creative Awards, please visit http://www.hermesawards.com

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 1:44pm

We participate in the Oregon State U Food Science Camp for middle school students.

Part of the STEM [science technology engineering math] Academies@OSU Camps.

We teach about bread fermentations, yeast converting sugars to CO2 and ethanol, lactobacillus converting sugar to lactic and acetic acids, how the gluten in wheat can form films to trap the gas and  allow the dough to rise. On the way we teach about flour composition, bread ingredients and their chemical functionalities, hydration, the relationships between enzymes and substrates [amylases on starch to produce maltose for the fermentation organisms]; gluten development, the gas laws and CO2′s declining solubility in the aqueous phase during baking which expands the gas bubbles and leads to the oven spring at the beginning of baking; and the effect of pH on Maillard browning using soft pretzels that they get to shape themselves..

All this is illustrated by hands on [in] activities: they experience the hydration and the increasing cohesiveness of the dough as they mix it with their own hands, they see their own hand mixed dough taken through to well-risen bread. They get to experience dough/gluten development in a different context with the pasta extruder, and more and more.

A great way to introduce kids to the relevance of science to their day to day lives: in our case chemistry physics biochemistry and biology in cereal food processing.

We were also fortunate to have Erik Fooladi from Volda University College in Norway to observe the fun: http://www.fooducation.org/

If you have not read his blog and you like what we do here: you should!

 

endless pasta

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Wed, 07/10/2013 - 1:25pm

pH, colloidal calcium phosphate, aging, proteolysis, emulsification or its loss and their interactions lead to optimum melting qualities for cheeses. A module in this year’s food systems chemistry class.

This module was informed by this beautiful article “The beauty of milk at high magnification“ by Miloslav Kalab, which is available on the Royal Microscopical Society website.

http://www.rms.org.uk/Resources/Royal%20Microscopical%20Society/infocus/Images/TheBeautyOfMilk.pdf

Of course accompanied by real sourdough wholegrain bread baked in out own research bakery.

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

in: The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

Family Food Educators of Central Oregon - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 9:24am

I’m back from maternity leave and getting resettled into some new responsibilities.  We had a staff member leave us, so Glenda and I are having to pick up the work load until we find someone new, or our responsibilites change.  Being a new mom is lots of work too, so I’ve gone part time (24 hours aweek) but am still trying to get everything done… that being said, we’ve decided to put our nutrition education volunteering on hold, until I have a managable workload.

We look forward to being able to start things back up in the summer or fall of 2011.  Thanks so much and since a few of you have been asking, here’s a photo of our boy.  He is 5 months old today!

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs