Feed aggregator

OSU Forage Management Series

Small Farms Events - 4 hours 11 min ago
Wednesday, October 1, 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

2014 Land Stewards Program

Forestry Events - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:14pm
Thursday, September 25, 2014 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM

The Jackson County OSU Extesnion Service and Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District is please to offer the 2014 Land Steward Program.

This is an 11-week training course - weekly classes will meet at the OSU Extension auditorium, on Thursday afternoon, September 11 - December 4 from 1:00 - 5:30 p.m.. (With a break for the Thanksgiving holiday).

Land Steward training will help local small-acreage landowners learn about ways to create a healthy environment on their property through classroom sessions, field trips and the creation of a personalized management plan for their property, the course is targeting owners who want to learn how to balance sustainability with their rural lifestyle.

Land Stewards will be equipped to design and implement programs to help people:

  • Live safely in wildfire-prone areas
  • Identify and eradicate noxious weeds
  • Promote and develop wildlife habitat
  • Conserve water and reduce runoff
  • Reduce yard waste and wood biomass
  • Make their own mulch and compost
  • Maintain healthy trees and forest

Applications received before August 28th save $25 ($150 per person, or $20 for couples).

Applications received on/after August 29th, subject to standard fee ($175 per person, or $225 for couples).

For application please go to:  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/sorec/sites/default/files/ls_application_course_info_2014.pdf

CPHHS New Student Picnic

Health & Wellness Events - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:14pm
Thursday, September 25, 2014 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Join us for lunch, games, info fair and orientation sessions at our annual picnic for all new students in the College of Public Health and Human Science.

Noon-1pm
Grab a bite to eat, mingle with faculty and students.

1-2pm
Take a tour, get information on student clubs within the college, and study abroad programs and more.

2-3pm
Eat dessert, play games and enter to win raffle prizes.

Where
This event is located in the Women's Building
This event is part of OSU CONNECT Week Activities.

 

NWREC Specialty Vegetable Variety Field Day

Small Farms Events - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 1:30pm
Monday, September 22, 2014 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Join us at NWREC for a field day featuring specialty vegetable variteies.

For more information and a list of specific varieties click here: http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/specialty-vegetable-variety-showcase-aurora

 

There will be field tours, raw tastings and discussions on:

Mild habenero peppers

Leaf celery

Specialty beets

Thai Basil

Cilantro

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

The Positive Impacts of Master Gardener Training

Master Gardener Blog - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 1:18pm

Infographic created by Liz McGovern of Oregon State University Extension (Benton County), based upon data provided by Pami Opfer (Oregon State University Extension in Linn and Benton Counties).

This infographic does an excellent job of communicating the positive impacts of Master Gardener training in just 2 of the 29 counties where volunteers are trained in Oregon.

Way to go, Master Gardeners!  Knowledge is indeed power.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Oregon citizens become coastal scientists

Breaking Waves - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:34am

You don’t need a degree to be scientist. For more than 30 years, the number of citizen scientists has been steadily increasing along the Oregon Coast as part of an effort to engage people of all ages in scientific activities.

These diligent volunteers work on projects stretching from one-time learning events like a school sampling trip, to long-term data monitoring such as monthly beach surveys.

“There is a range of citizen science,” said Shawn Rowe, an Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) researcher studying citizen science. “Some you go collect data as monitoring projects such as sea stars or bird counts. On the other end of spectrum is a collaborative effort where [volunteers] help design research” – and even write up the results.

Citizen scientist Ralph Breitenstein teaches students about different sampling methods in the Yaquina Bay.

OSG citizen science projects include programs such as StreamWebs—where K-12 students adopt a stream site to study—and supporting the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST)—where volunteers monitor dead birds on west coast beaches. Moreover, individuals such as Ralph Breitenstein have even taken on independent research projects at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Rowe’s research is two-fold: First, he is looking at what motivates citizens to become scientists. Second, he is analyzing what aspects of citizen science projects are effective. Rowe says there is a tendency to create new programs rather than improve existing ones.

“You may have 5 or 6 groups in one area measuring water quality or marine debris and they might all be using different protocols,” Rowe explained. “We are looking at what we can do besides just running another program.”

The biggest obstacle for any citizen science project is data reliability. COASST, for example, has more than 800 volunteers ranging in age from nine to 90 all conducting the same research. To ensure the data is useful, they have rigorous protocols on top of a five-hour training for volunteers.

“All of the COASST data are collected in the same fashion,” said Jane Dolliver. “There are set beach lengths. You never alter your pattern and you don’t change it up. All of those data—because they are collected the same way across all of the sites—can be compared.”

COASST’s data is regularly used by both state and federal agencies. While many citizen science projects strive for that level of data reliability, others, such as StreamWebs, exist simply to engage students in science.

“That’s the education philosophy now,” said Vicki Osis, who served as OSG Marine Education Specialist from 1971-2002. “When it comes to research, it’s often repetitive tasks, but it does give them a taste of what it is like to do science. You have to gather your data and analyze it.”

OSG’s first attempt to engage citizens was the Seatauqua program in the late 1970s. These free, non-credit courses did not involve monitoring, but they connected non-scientists to science through topics such as tidepooling and beach safety. Osis built upon the success of these classes by integrating the content into school visits, where she also had students conduct water quality monitoring. More than 30 years later, OSG and the Oregon Coast Community College are resurrecting the Seatauqua program.

Since OSG was established in 1971, the number of citizen scientists on the coast has grown steadily. What started with free classes has expanded to include student sampling, bird surveys, water quality monitoring and much more. As these programs continue, researchers like Rowe are helping increase both their effectiveness and longevity.

Below is a list of current citizen science projects connected to Oregon Sea Grant:

  • Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) supports the COASST program, which has hundreds of volunteers from Alaska to Southern California monitoring coastal conditions and checking for dead birds. OSG researcher Shawn Rowe is helping identify what motivates volunteers to participate and stay on for long periods of time. http://depts.washington.edu/coasst/
  • StreamWebs is a monitoring program aimed at K-12 students. The project gets students into nature and allows them track changes to an area over time by graphing data from past studies at the same site.  http://www.streamwebs.org/
  • With Sea Star Wasting Syndrome afflicting west coast echinoderms, citizen science monitoring has been put in place to detect exactly where the outbreak is occurring. http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal/index-logo.html
  • Ralph Breitenstein is a citizen scientist at Hatfield who has devoted five years conducting research on invasive species in Newport’s Yaquina Bay. He has published his work in a scientific journal along with giving presentations. http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/visitor/get-involved/volunteers-speak
  • The Seatauqua courses—though not strictly citizen science—are being revived after 30 years and offer a way for non-scientists to further their understanding of coastal and marine resources. http://oregoncoastcc.org/seatauqua

The post Oregon citizens become coastal scientists appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Oregon citizens become coastal scientists

Sea Grant - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:34am

You don’t need a degree to be scientist. For more than 30 years, the number of citizen scientists has been steadily increasing along the Oregon Coast as part of an effort to engage people of all ages in scientific activities.

These diligent volunteers work on projects stretching from one-time learning events like a school sampling trip, to long-term data monitoring such as monthly beach surveys.

“There is a range of citizen science,” said Shawn Rowe, an Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) researcher studying citizen science. “Some you go collect data as monitoring projects such as sea stars or bird counts. On the other end of spectrum is a collaborative effort where [volunteers] help design research” – and even write up the results.

Citizen scientist Ralph Breitenstein teaches students about different sampling methods in the Yaquina Bay.

OSG citizen science projects include programs such as StreamWebs—where K-12 students adopt a stream site to study—and supporting the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST)—where volunteers monitor dead birds on west coast beaches. Moreover, individuals such as Ralph Breitenstein have even taken on independent research projects at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Rowe’s research is two-fold: First, he is looking at what motivates citizens to become scientists. Second, he is analyzing what aspects of citizen science projects are effective. Rowe says there is a tendency to create new programs rather than improve existing ones.

“You may have 5 or 6 groups in one area measuring water quality or marine debris and they might all be using different protocols,” Rowe explained. “We are looking at what we can do besides just running another program.”

The biggest obstacle for any citizen science project is data reliability. COASST, for example, has more than 800 volunteers ranging in age from nine to 90 all conducting the same research. To ensure the data is useful, they have rigorous protocols on top of a five-hour training for volunteers.

“All of the COASST data are collected in the same fashion,” said Jane Dolliver. “There are set beach lengths. You never alter your pattern and you don’t change it up. All of those data—because they are collected the same way across all of the sites—can be compared.”

COASST’s data is regularly used by both state and federal agencies. While many citizen science projects strive for that level of data reliability, others, such as StreamWebs, exist simply to engage students in science.

“That’s the education philosophy now,” said Vicki Osis, who served as OSG Marine Education Specialist from 1971-2002. “When it comes to research, it’s often repetitive tasks, but it does give them a taste of what it is like to do science. You have to gather your data and analyze it.”

OSG’s first attempt to engage citizens was the Seatauqua program in the late 1970s. These free, non-credit courses did not involve monitoring, but they connected non-scientists to science through topics such as tidepooling and beach safety. Osis built upon the success of these classes by integrating the content into school visits, where she also had students conduct water quality monitoring. More than 30 years later, OSG and the Oregon Coast Community College are resurrecting the Seatauqua program.

Since OSG was established in 1971, the number of citizen scientists on the coast has grown steadily. What started with free classes has expanded to include student sampling, bird surveys, water quality monitoring and much more. As these programs continue, researchers like Rowe are helping increase both their effectiveness and longevity.

Below is a list of current citizen science projects connected to Oregon Sea Grant:

  • Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) supports the COASST program, which has hundreds of volunteers from Alaska to Southern California monitoring coastal conditions and checking for dead birds. OSG researcher Shawn Rowe is helping identify what motivates volunteers to participate and stay on for long periods of time. http://depts.washington.edu/coasst/
  • StreamWebs is a monitoring program aimed at K-12 students. The project gets students into nature and allows them track changes to an area over time by graphing data from past studies at the same site.  http://www.streamwebs.org/
  • With Sea Star Wasting Syndrome afflicting west coast echinoderms, citizen science monitoring has been put in place to detect exactly where the outbreak is occurring. http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal/index-logo.html
  • Ralph Breitenstein is a citizen scientist at Hatfield who has devoted five years conducting research on invasive species in Newport’s Yaquina Bay. He has published his work in a scientific journal along with giving presentations. http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/visitor/get-involved/volunteers-speak
  • The Seatauqua courses—though not strictly citizen science—are being revived after 30 years and offer a way for non-scientists to further their understanding of coastal and marine resources. http://oregoncoastcc.org/seatauqua

The post Oregon citizens become coastal scientists appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

'Run For Your Life' benefit run

Health & Wellness Events - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 5:07pm
Sunday, September 21, 2014 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Run For Your Life supports the critical work of the CPHHS Multiple Sclerosis Exercise Program and raises awareness for multiple sclerosis. For 15 years the program has been providing individualized physical activity instruction for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The program is offered free of charge. Two graduate students run the program with the assistance of 25 undergraduates who volunteer their time. The program has no funds to purchase new equipment for participants. Primary pieces have been handed down from gyms on campus, which often need to be repaired or modified for the participants with disabilities. Your sponsorship would assist the program providing the latest in equipment to help those with MS reach their potential for activity. For example, arm ergometers and seated cable stations could be purchased for individuals in wheelchairs or with balance issues.

Details, course maps and register at http://corvallisrunforyourlife.com/

Competencies

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 4:01pm

I’ve just spent all of August and most of September editing chapters for a volume of New Directions in Evaluation (NDE) on Accreditation, Certification, and Credentialing. These topics all relate to competencies which all relate to building capacity. Now I can site a lot of references for competencies. (For example, Stevahn, King, Ghere, Minnema, 2005, AJE 26(1), pp. 43-59., among others see the work by King and cadre–that one cited just happens to be on my desk right now.) This group has been working on competencies for the last 15 or so years. This is important work–as well as problematic (hence the issue of NDE). I won’t go into details here because the NDE volume pretty much addresses these issues from a variety of perspectives. We (my co-editor, Jim Altschuld and I) have assembled (what I think is) a  stellar collection of writers who have good ideas. Editing an issue of NDE (again) was a valuable experience for me: I learned again why I don’t write the definitive text on anything; I learned again how important Accreditation, Certification, and Credentialing are; I am reminded how complicated it is to assemble a list of competencies that adequately capture what is an evaluator; and I am once again humbled, recognizing that cynicism does not come with the territory–it is acquired.

Now, a bit on competencies and why they are important.

I think everyone will agree that there are certain knowledge (what a person can learn), skills (what a person can do), and dispositions/attitudes (what a person can  think and/or feel–they are different BTW) necessary for an individual to function effectively as an evaluator. The question is what exactly are they? And can evaluation be a profession without an established list of competencies? The Worthen 1994 article is important here (Worthen, B. R. [1994]. Is evaluation a mature profession that warrants the preparation of evaluation professionals? In J. W. Altschuld & M. Engle [Eds.], New Directions for Program Evaluation: No. 62. The preparation of professional evaluators: Issues, perspectives and programs. [pp. 3–15]. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass). The Stevahn et al. article lists six different categories of competencies (professional practice, systemmatic inquiry, situational analysis, project management, reflective practice, and interpersonal competence). The CES list includes five categories (reflective practice, technical practice, situational practice, management practice, and interpersonal practice). They are similar, yet different.

The Canadian Evaluation Society has established a credentialing process  that involves the a list of competencies that went through an extensive and exhaustive process research, consultation, and validation process. The AEA has yet to develop (or endorse) a similar list, and a similar list exists (see the Stevahn, King, Gere, & Minnema citation above).

How many of you who are practicing evaluators can honestly say you were taught in your preparation programs (even if you did a preparation program in a discipline other than evaluation) to analyze situations? To manage projects? To reflect on practice? About interpersonal communications? I’m guessing most people were exposed (even briefly) to professional practice (after all part of preparation is the socialization to the profession) and technical practice/systematic inquiry. With that disparity across preparation, how can evaluation be a profession?

my .

molly.

 

 

The post Competencies appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Creating Fire Resistant Communities in

Forestry Events - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 5:07pm
Thursday, September 18, 2014 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Jackson-Josephine Small Woodlands Association Presents:

 Rich Fairbanks will present ideas for reducing the wildfire threat to both community and forest.

Fire is a big part of life in Southwest Oregon.  In 2002 we earned the dubious distinction of having the largest fire in Oregon's history.  An event like the 500,000 acre Biscuit fire will happen again, according to the experts.  Meanwhile, most of our house are wood frame construction, our fire agencies face declining budgets and severe drought promises nasty fire seasons ahead.

We can address these problems by individual and community action.  We can create fire permeable communities here if we can learn from each other, from other communities and from the fire science research.

The presentation proposed specific actions we can take now to move our community and our forest toward a fire permeable landscape.

Speaker:  Rich Fairbanks has worked in fire management since 1972.  He was Interdisciplinary Team Leader for the Biscuit Fire Recovery Project.  He currently teaches fire training courses at RCC.

2014 Land Stewards Program

Forestry Events - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 5:07pm
Thursday, September 18, 2014 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM

The Jackson County OSU Extesnion Service and Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District is please to offer the 2014 Land Steward Program.

This is an 11-week training course - weekly classes will meet at the OSU Extension auditorium, on Thursday afternoon, September 11 - December 4 from 1:00 - 5:30 p.m.. (With a break for the Thanksgiving holiday).

Land Steward training will help local small-acreage landowners learn about ways to create a healthy environment on their property through classroom sessions, field trips and the creation of a personalized management plan for their property, the course is targeting owners who want to learn how to balance sustainability with their rural lifestyle.

Land Stewards will be equipped to design and implement programs to help people:

  • Live safely in wildfire-prone areas
  • Identify and eradicate noxious weeds
  • Promote and develop wildlife habitat
  • Conserve water and reduce runoff
  • Reduce yard waste and wood biomass
  • Make their own mulch and compost
  • Maintain healthy trees and forest

Applications received before August 28th save $25 ($150 per person, or $20 for couples).

Applications received on/after August 29th, subject to standard fee ($175 per person, or $225 for couples).

For application please go to:  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/sorec/sites/default/files/ls_application_course_info_2014.pdf

Pet owners, veterinary care professionals sought for national study

Breaking Waves - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:13pm

Scientists have long been aware of the potential environment impacts from using and disposing of the array of products we use to keep ourselves healthy, clean and smelling nice.

Now a new concern is emerging – improper disposal of pet care products and pills.

Dog shampoos, heartworm medicine, flea and tick sprays, and a plethora of prescription and over-the-counter medicines increasingly are finding their way into landfills and waterways, where they can threaten the health of local watersheds. An estimated 68 percent of American households have at least one pet, illustrating the potential scope of the problem.

How bad is that problem? No one really knows, according to Sam Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s watershed health expert.

But Chan and his colleagues aim to find out. They are launching a national online survey of both pet owners and veterinary care professionals to determine how aware that educated pet owners are of the issue, what is being communicated, and how they dispose of “pharmaceutical and personal care products” (PPCPs) for both themselves and their pets. Pet owners are encouraged to participate in the survey.

“You can count on one hand the number of studies that have been done on what people actively do with the disposal of these products,” Chan said. “PPCPs are used by almost everyone and most wastewater treatment plants are not able to completely deactivate many of the compounds they include.” …

Learn more

 

The post Pet owners, veterinary care professionals sought for national study appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Pet owners, veterinary care professionals sought for national study

Sea Grant - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 4:13pm

Scientists have long been aware of the potential environment impacts from using and disposing of the array of products we use to keep ourselves healthy, clean and smelling nice.

Now a new concern is emerging – improper disposal of pet care products and pills.

Dog shampoos, heartworm medicine, flea and tick sprays, and a plethora of prescription and over-the-counter medicines increasingly are finding their way into landfills and waterways, where they can threaten the health of local watersheds. An estimated 68 percent of American households have at least one pet, illustrating the potential scope of the problem.

How bad is that problem? No one really knows, according to Sam Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s watershed health expert.

But Chan and his colleagues aim to find out. They are launching a national online survey of both pet owners and veterinary care professionals to determine how aware that educated pet owners are of the issue, what is being communicated, and how they dispose of “pharmaceutical and personal care products” (PPCPs) for both themselves and their pets. Pet owners are encouraged to participate in the survey.

“You can count on one hand the number of studies that have been done on what people actively do with the disposal of these products,” Chan said. “PPCPs are used by almost everyone and most wastewater treatment plants are not able to completely deactivate many of the compounds they include.” …

Learn more

 

The post Pet owners, veterinary care professionals sought for national study appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

2014 Seed Crop and Cereal Production Meetings

Small Farms Events - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 5:12pm
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

3 ODA PESTICIDE CREDITS AVAILABLE

3 LOCATIONS AND TIMES

FULL AGENDA FLYER:  http://oregonstate.edu/valleyfieldcrops/2014-fall-seed-crop-and-cereal-production-meetings

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Demystifying modeling

Breaking Waves - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 2:02pm

Want to predict the population of a particular whale species 50 years into the future? There’s a model for that. Want to know exactly how much water is moving around one spot of the ocean at any given time? There’s a model for that too.

Modeling has a long history in science, and advancements in technology have significantly improved the capabilities in recent years. Yet, despite our fondness for some new technology – smartphnes, for instance – many people seem to greet scientific models with more skepticism than fascination.

To find out more about modeling and how it can help researchers, Oregon Sea Grant talked with some of the scientists we fund and collaborate with who specialize in modeling.

In its simplest form, a model is a mathematical way of estimating variables that can’t readily be measured in the field.

When laypeople express skepticism or mistrust about models, it may be that they’re nervous or uncertain about the arithmetic.

“Most people don’t think that they can do math,” said Selina Heppell, a Fisheries and Wildlife professor at Oregon State University who specializes in population models. “When in fact they can do math. They use math all of the time although they don’t necessarily realize that they’re doing it.”

Another way to think about a model is as a laboratory experiment where you hold one variable constant and see what happens to the others.

“The point of doing a lab experiment isn’t to know what’s going to happen in the real world, it’s to control factors that you can’t control in the real world so you can see the effect of a couple of variables,” explained Julie Alexander, a postdoctoral researcher studying aquatic invertebrates. “That’s the same goal of a model, to see the effect of variables that you can’t manipulate in the lab.”

MODELS FEEDING MODELS

If you were a scientist trying to study the presence of particular larvae in Yaquina Bay, you would need information on tides, currents and more. Many of these data can be found in come from existing models, and they are combined with field data to answer research questions.

Moreover, there is a tendency to add additional factors into your system (precipitation, for example) in an attempt to make the model more accurate. In fact, Heppell explains, this approach can make the models less reliable.

“Making a more complicated model adds more parameters which adds more uncertainty,” she said. “That uncertainty can be accounted for, but adding too many details that you don’t know much about can make the model hard to understand and not very useful.”

Each model has its own level of uncertainty based on the data that went into making it. That problem only expands as you combine multiple models with the uncertainty already present in your own data.

To account for this, scientists spend a lot of time analyzing model outputs to ensure the results are reasonable. Microbiology professor Jerri Bartholomew is the lead biologist in her lab studying pathogens, and she constantly checks that the data correlates with her prior knowledge of the species.

“I think transparency is very important. You have to be very honest about what you can say with your model,” she said, adding that her lab also calibrates its models annually against new field data to ensure accuracy.

PROJECTING THROUGH TIME

Technological advancements are improving our ability to reduce uncertainty and run multiple simulations in a short period of time. But new technology does little to help explain models to the general public or decision-makers.

 A large portion of Heppell’s work is reviewing the models used to set fisheries harvest regulations and explaining the outputs to fishermen and coastal leaders. As a modeler, she puts fish life cycle information into equations and simulations to show how various species will be impacted by new policies. She uses Microsoft Excel to help managers see how the model was created and how the outputs change with new information.

“The reason I use Excel is because it’s a platform that everybody has,” she said. “I create modeling tools that I can then give to a manager and they can manipulate it and look at what if this changes and what if that changes.”

As models become more widely used in science, it’s important for those who make them know where the data came from, and for those who use them to understand their limitations. Whether field data or computer-generated values are fueling the model, the strength of the source makes all the difference in the usefulness of the model.

YOU ARE A MODELER

Let’s look at a simple model. The link below will take you to an Excel worksheet with information on whale populations. Through this model you can estimate changes in whale abundance over 50 years in the face of changing survival or reproduction affected by stressors like pollution, ship traffic and climate change. By tweaking simple variables such as lifespan and number of offspring, you will be able to see first hand how we can get a sense of the impact our policies have on animals with lifespans as long as your own.

You can find the model here: Modeling Practice

The post Demystifying modeling appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Demystifying modeling

Sea Grant - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 2:02pm

Want to predict the population of a particular whale species 50 years into the future? There’s a model for that. Want to know exactly how much water is moving around one spot of the ocean at any given time? There’s a model for that too.

Modeling has a long history in science, and advancements in technology have significantly improved the capabilities in recent years. Yet, despite our fondness for some new technology – smartphnes, for instance – many people seem to greet scientific models with more skepticism than fascination.

To find out more about modeling and how it can help researchers, Oregon Sea Grant talked with some of the scientists we fund and collaborate with who specialize in modeling.

In its simplest form, a model is a mathematical way of estimating variables that can’t readily be measured in the field.

When laypeople express skepticism or mistrust about models, it may be that they’re nervous or uncertain about the arithmetic.

“Most people don’t think that they can do math,” said Selina Heppell, a Fisheries and Wildlife professor at Oregon State University who specializes in population models. “When in fact they can do math. They use math all of the time although they don’t necessarily realize that they’re doing it.”

Another way to think about a model is as a laboratory experiment where you hold one variable constant and see what happens to the others.

“The point of doing a lab experiment isn’t to know what’s going to happen in the real world, it’s to control factors that you can’t control in the real world so you can see the effect of a couple of variables,” explained Julie Alexander, a postdoctoral researcher studying aquatic invertebrates. “That’s the same goal of a model, to see the effect of variables that you can’t manipulate in the lab.”

MODELS FEEDING MODELS

If you were a scientist trying to study the presence of particular larvae in Yaquina Bay, you would need information on tides, currents and more. Many of these data can be found in come from existing models, and they are combined with field data to answer research questions.

Moreover, there is a tendency to add additional factors into your system (precipitation, for example) in an attempt to make the model more accurate. In fact, Heppell explains, this approach can make the models less reliable.

“Making a more complicated model adds more parameters which adds more uncertainty,” she said. “That uncertainty can be accounted for, but adding too many details that you don’t know much about can make the model hard to understand and not very useful.”

Each model has its own level of uncertainty based on the data that went into making it. That problem only expands as you combine multiple models with the uncertainty already present in your own data.

To account for this, scientists spend a lot of time analyzing model outputs to ensure the results are reasonable. Microbiology professor Jerri Bartholomew is the lead biologist in her lab studying pathogens, and she constantly checks that the data correlates with her prior knowledge of the species.

“I think transparency is very important. You have to be very honest about what you can say with your model,” she said, adding that her lab also calibrates its models annually against new field data to ensure accuracy.

PROJECTING THROUGH TIME

Technological advancements are improving our ability to reduce uncertainty and run multiple simulations in a short period of time. But new technology does little to help explain models to the general public or decision-makers.

 A large portion of Heppell’s work is reviewing the models used to set fisheries harvest regulations and explaining the outputs to fishermen and coastal leaders. As a modeler, she puts fish life cycle information into equations and simulations to show how various species will be impacted by new policies. She uses Microsoft Excel to help managers see how the model was created and how the outputs change with new information.

“The reason I use Excel is because it’s a platform that everybody has,” she said. “I create modeling tools that I can then give to a manager and they can manipulate it and look at what if this changes and what if that changes.”

As models become more widely used in science, it’s important for those who make them know where the data came from, and for those who use them to understand their limitations. Whether field data or computer-generated values are fueling the model, the strength of the source makes all the difference in the usefulness of the model.

YOU ARE A MODELER

Let’s look at a simple model. The link below will take you to an Excel worksheet with information on whale populations. Through this model you can estimate changes in whale abundance over 50 years in the face of changing survival or reproduction affected by stressors like pollution, ship traffic and climate change. By tweaking simple variables such as lifespan and number of offspring, you will be able to see first hand how we can get a sense of the impact our policies have on animals with lifespans as long as your own.

You can find the model here: Modeling Practice

The post Demystifying modeling appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

NAWLA Wood Basics

Forestry Events - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:56pm
Monday, September 8, 2014 8:00 AM - Thursday, September 11, 2014 5:00 PM

The NAWLA Wood Basics Course was started in 1981 to educate and develop a skilled workforce for the forest products industry. Over 1,500 have graduated from the Course since its inception, representing a broad cross section of the industry. Since that time, the curriculum has evolved with the industry, in areas such as technology and global trade. Today, the Wood Basics Course provides companies the best value and option to ensure its employees have the tools and knowledge to help them succeed.

The Wood Basics Course is a four-day immersion class that includes both classroom training and field operations. The curriculum encompasses the entire spectrum of the forest products industry: from seed to tree, from production to sales. Classes are taught be industry experts and cover all the topics relevant to success, such as:

  •  Negotiation Training
  •  Product Knowledge
  •  Understanding Industry Pricing
  •  Logistics & Transportation
  •  Forest Management & Operations 

The instructors are recognized experts in their respective fields, including corporate executives and industry consultants. The Department of Wood Science & Engineering, College of Forestry at Oregon State University & the College of Forest Resources at Mississippi State University provide many of the facilities, while its professors also act as instructors.

See http://www.nawla.org/education/wood-basics-course/ for more information.

2014 Land Stewards Program

Forestry Events - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:56pm
Thursday, September 11, 2014 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM

The Jackson County OSU Extesnion Service and Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District is please to offer the 2014 Land Steward Program.

This is an 11-week training course - weekly classes will meet at the OSU Extension auditorium, on Thursday afternoon, September 11 - December 4 from 1:00 - 5:30 p.m.. (With a break for the Thanksgiving holiday).

Land Steward training will help local small-acreage landowners learn about ways to create a healthy environment on their property through classroom sessions, field trips and the creation of a personalized management plan for their property, the course is targeting owners who want to learn how to balance sustainability with their rural lifestyle.

Land Stewards will be equipped to design and implement programs to help people:

  • Live safely in wildfire-prone areas
  • Identify and eradicate noxious weeds
  • Promote and develop wildlife habitat
  • Conserve water and reduce runoff
  • Reduce yard waste and wood biomass
  • Make their own mulch and compost
  • Maintain healthy trees and forest

Applications received before August 28th save $25 ($150 per person, or $20 for couples).

Applications received on/after August 29th, subject to standard fee ($175 per person, or $225 for couples).

For application please go to:  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/sorec/sites/default/files/ls_application_course_info_2014.pdf

Demeter's Biodynamic Garden & Lounge returns to the National Heirloom Exposition.Santa Rosa, Ca

Small Farms Events - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:55pm
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - Thursday, September 11, 2014 (all day event)

 

 

For immediate release

Demeter's Biodynamic Garden & Lounge
returns to the National Heirloom Exposition

 

Santa Rosa, CA August 13, 2014—With a mission to heal the earth through agriculture, Demeter USA once again hosts its popular Biodynamic Garden and Lounge with a full slate of speakers and panels at this year's 2014 National Heirloom Exposition.

A three-day fair devoted to the pure food movement, heirloom seeds, and anti-GMO education, the National Heirloom Exposition takes over the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 9-11, 2014.

Now in its fourth year, the Expo last year drew over 18,000 visitors and Demeter's Garden and Lounge was a favored attraction. Located in the heart of the Expo footprint, this 15,000-square-foot installation offers relaxation and refreshment for guests to enjoy while learning about Biodynamic® farming principles and products.

Offering three full days of free education with Expo admission, Demeter's Garden and Lounge featured speakers this year include Dan Kent of Salmon-Safe, a new Demeter USA partner in the national "Farming in the Wild" program; Cynthia Sandberg of Love Apple Farm, the partner-grower to the esteemed South Bay restaurant Manresa; Harald Hoven of the Rudolph Steiner College; apiarist Michael Thiele, co-founder of Melissa's Garden bee sanctuary; Demeter USA co-director Jim Fullmer; "Slow Money" expert John Bloom; and many others.

As part of the Expo's Kid's Day programming, Demeter's Garden and Lounge hosts Malibu Compost in a free activity for students ages 5-17 on Wednesday, Sept. 10. Using open-pollinated Biodynamic seeds donated by Turtle Tree Seed company, young people will be invited to start plants that can be taken home for their own gardens—helping them grow into a healthier future as adults.

Interest in Biodynamic farming, viticulture, and products has never been higher, particularly in Northern California, where some 40 producers are either Demeter-certified or amid the transition to certification.

More comprehensive than organic, Biodynamic production treats the farm as a closed loop, a holistic whole in which all elements from the people to the soil are interdependent. Grape growers and vintners have been enthusiastic adopters of Biodynamic farming, not only because it is the best for their land, but because such wines are of avid interest to educated consumers. Look for a display of Demeter-certified products, including wine, onsite.

Join us at Demeter's Biodynamic Garden and Lounge this September at the National Heirloom Exposition, quickly becoming known as "The World's Fair of Pure Food."

 

Details: Demeter's Biodynamic Garden & Lounge at the National Heirloom Exposition

Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 9-11, 2014

Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa

Open 11am to 8pm

Exposition admission, $10 a day; $25 for all days; under 17, free.

Demeter Lounge and Garden admission included

 

Participating Organizations: Amanda Lane Photography, Blossom’s Farm, Biodynamic Association of Northern California (BDNAC), Bohemian Stoneworks, Dark Horse Farming Company, Demeter USA, DIY Edible Gardens, Frizelle Enos, Gaia Bees, Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products Inc., Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery, Healdsburg SHED, Healing Spirit Plants, Hundred Acre Wood Farm, Live Power Farm, Love Apple Farms, Lundberg Family Farms, Malibu Compost, Permaculture Artisans, Quantum Culture, RSF Social Finance, Robinwood Construction, Rudolf Steiner College, Salmon-Safe, Whole Foods Market

 

 

Sponsors: Demeter USA, Whole Foods Market, Presence Marketing, Dark Horse Farming Company, DIY Edible Gardens, Frey Vineyards, Healdsburg SHED, Lundberg Family Farms, Frey Vineyards, RSF Social Finance

 

Media

Contact: Elizabeth Candelario

Co-Director, Demeter USA

707.529.4412

Elizabeth@demeter-usa.org

 

About Demeter USA

Demeter USA is the United States’ representative of Demeter International. It is a not for-profit that was incorporated in 1985 with the mission to enable people to farm successfully, in accordance with Biodynamic® practices and principles. Demeter’s vision is to heal the planet through agriculture. For more information, please visit www.demeter-usa.org.

 

About the National Heirloom Expo

Produced by the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and the Petaluma Seed Bank, the 4th annual National Heirloom Exposition is a significant voice in the worlds of heirloom and artisan food and products, non-GMO, and sustainable farming. Known as "The World's Fair of Pure Food," this year’s event is expected to draw close to 20,000 people from all over the country. With emphasis on the increased awareness of label GMO campaigns, there will be a particularly large presence of pure food advocates, truth in labeling activists, and many more interested in promoting healthy living. In addition to the Demeter Biodynamic classes and workshops, over 100 speakers will present on subjects as diverse as seed saving, GMOs, home gardening, food politics and policy, farming, marketing local foods, and more. 

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Needs, wants, and evaluation

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 4:39pm

This summer I spent a lot of time dealing with needs assessments and talking about needs and assets. It occurred to me that the difference between need and wants has a lot to do with evaluation (among other things). So what are needs? What are wants? How does all this relate to evaluation?

Needs.

Maslow spoke eloquently about needs in his hierarchy, and although the hierarchy is often presented as a pyramid, Maslow didn’t present the needs this way. He did present this hierarchy as a set of building blocks with basic needs (physiological) as the foundation, followed by safety, loving/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. He talks about this theory of motivation in his book, Motivation and Personality (a 3rd edition is available as well). This view of the individual ushered in the humanistic view of psychology (often called the third theory after behaviorism and psychoanalysis). He believed that human could not live without these needs and advocated that they are necessary for survival.

Wants

A “want” is often considered a desire based purely in economic, social, or  psychological reality of human existence. It is something that an individual would like to have. (Chocolate, any one?) A want is not essential to human existence; it is only something an individual would like to have. Unfortunately, there are limited resources (as well as a large body of literature) talking about having enough. If you have enough, then wants are few and resources are available for everyone.

Evaluation

When does needing become wanting? Does wanting dominate even when there are needs? If you don’t have enough to eat, do you need food or want it? Or water? Same thing. Evaluation is like that. When do you have enough? When do you know enough? Are programs always about needs or are they about wants? If they are about wants, who is in the best position to determine if they are assets or needs? I’m sure it sounds like I’m going in circles; perhaps I am. I think (a caveat) that evaluation isn’t a want. I think (another caveat) that evaluation is a need, probably falling somewhere in the safety sphere (according to Maslow). Safety being security of various parts of an individuals life (body, employment, resources, morality, family, health, and property). I’m sure other arguments can be made as well.

Evaluation talks about the worth, merit, value of a program. Evaluation is one way to determine if something works, if the program has made a difference with the target audience. That sounds like security to me. Determining the worth, merit, value of a program, moves from wanting to needing. By determining the worth, merit, value of something (in this case a program), you help ensure security, you help ensure safety of the target audience.

my .

molly.

The post Needs, wants, and evaluation appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs