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Insights into Gardening

Gardening Events - Wed, 02/28/2018 - 7:09am
Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Insights Into Gardening is a day-long seminar hosted by Benton County Master Gardeners.  Whether you are an experienced or novice gardener, new to the area or an Oregon native, you will find plenty of practical, research-based ideas to make your gardening easier, more enjoyable, and more successful. 

For more information and to register please visit: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/benton/insights

NRCS local Work Group meeting for Benton and Linn Counties

Forestry Events - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 3:39pm
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
NRCS offices hold annual Work Group meetings in winter to collect input on how they should allocate conservation funds to meet the needs of the agriculture and forestry communities.  This is the key source of conservation cost share for many types of activities, so it is important that they hear about the needs of local woodland owners.

CBEE Club meeting

Environment Events - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 3:39pm
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Join the CBEE Club online through OSU Student Leadership and Involvement to be added to the mailing list. The $10 membership fee may be paid in person by attending a regular club meeting, held Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in Johnson 102. Follow the CBEE Club on Facebook for more updates. 


Forest Land Assessment and Surveying

Forestry Events - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 3:39pm
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Please plan on joining us for our February meeting. The program will include presentations by Eric
Olson, Appraisal Supervisor Rural Property, Washington County, and Scott Young, County Surveyor, Washington County. Mr. Olson will share his insights on appraisal of timber property in Washington County, including an overview of timber deferral programs and what it all might mean to timber property owners. Mr. Young will help us better understand the functions of the county surveyor office, public land corners, and when small woodland property owners might need a surveyor.

Saw Shop Tour

Forestry Events - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 3:39pm
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Join the Marion/Polk Small Woodlands Association for this tour of L & L Equipment , a complete, professional Saw Shop. Learn about the different saw sizes, qualities and options, accessories for successful timber falling or wood cutting, as well as services and supplies of all sorts including chain grinding, saw tuning and repair, safety equipment etc, etc.

Exploring the Small Farm Dream Workshop Series

Small Farms Events - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 3:39pm
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Exploring the Small Farm Dream

Are you considering launching a small farm enterprise, but are not sure where to start? Whether you are dreaming of raising sheep, growing berries, or selling heirloom vegetables, this class series will give you the tools to start making choices to determine if farming is right for you. In this four-session course you will learn about current opportunities in small-scale agriculture, explore objectives, assess personal and financial resources, conduct preliminary market research, and learn about farm business finances which will all feed into an action plan and guide your next steps.

If you are exploring the idea of starting a farm business, this course is designed for you. This includes people thinking about full-time farming, farming part-time while continuing other employment, changing careers to start a farm, and/or developing an existing but informal farming pastime into a more serious business activity.

What to expect:

  • Creative exercises, research, and class discussions that will help you assess your skills and resources.
  • Interview with local farm-business owner that will assist you in deciding how to carry your dream forward.
  • Learn about farm business finances to help form and fund your dream.
  • An opportunity to make connections with others interested in starting new farm enterprises.

Who should attend?
If you are exploring the idea of starting a farm business, this course is designed for you. This
includes people thinking about full-time farming, farming part-time while continuing other
employment, changing careers to start a farm, and/or developing an existing but informal
farming pastime into a more serious business activity.

Dates, times and locations:

Tuesdays, February 6, 13, 20, and 27th, 2018

6:00-8:30 pm          

Marys River Grange (24707 Grange Hall Rd, Philomath, OR 97370)

Fee: $60 for one individual; $75 for two farm business partners.
Fee includes worksheets and handouts, 10 hours of detailed instruction and class exercises
led by Extension Faculty and successful local farmers, and refreshments at each session.

To register:
To register for the visit hereor contact Amy Garrett @ amy.garrett@oregonstate.edu or 541-766-3551

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

When Prisons Go Corporate

Terra - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 7:16pm

By Megan Tucker

In the United States, private companies manage about 7 percent of state prisoners and 18 percent of federal prisoners. In 2015, those numbers constituted 8 percent — a little over 100,000 people — of all prisoners in the country, an 83 percent increase since 1999, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Brett Burkhardt

Critics raise moral and ethical concerns of having for-profit companies manage incarceration and rehab centers. They argue that companies will cut costs in their drive to make money — likely in training, number of employees or compensation, leading to subpar services. Supporters of private prisons contend that the government saves money through privatization. However, evidence of reduced public expenditures is murky at best, consisting mostly of anecdotes and the few official reports available to researchers.

“It’s hard to get information about private prison operations, because companies view that information as trade secrets, despite the fact that they’re contracting with the government,” says Brett Burkhardt, professor of sociology at Oregon State University. “With the government, normally you can submit a freedom of information request and they are legally obligated to disclose the information, but that’s not the case with private prisons.”

Burkhardt graduated with a B.A. in sociology, from Linfield College 2002 and received master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently has three ongoing projects, the largest of which examines government use of private prisons operated by corporations for profit. The majority of these corporations are publicly traded companies such as CoreCivic — formerly the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)—and GEO Group.

Burkhardt analyzes power systems through the example of private prisons, which increase the power of the private sector by allowing them more influence in dealing with convicts. He focuses on the political and cultural forces that initially gave rise to prison privatization as well as how private prisons perform.

Megan Lynn Tucker from Terra magazine interviewed Burkhardt to discuss his research. Below are excerpts from the conversation.

Terra: When did private prisons become more commonplace? What spiked this increase in the use of private companies to run prisons?

Burkhardt: Government was in charge of most of the prison industry for the majority of the 20th century, but really, the modern private prison industry grew up in the mid 1980s. There are two reasons for that. One is that, that was the beginning of what would eventually be a massive increase in the prison population, and so federal and state governments simply didn’t have enough space to put all these prisoners. The second issue was that politically it was a time of conservatism in the sense that free markets are the way we create an efficient society, and government is really ineffective and inept at solving problems. So, on the one hand we know we have this prison population — we need more prisons — but also we know that government is not going to be able to do it, so we will let the private sector do it. So it was really the confluence of those two things that allowed the prison industry to spring up. 

Terra: What are the moral and ethical concerns of privately run prisons? Should we reserve punishment for crimes against society to the government?

Burkhardt: That’s always been one argument against private prisons, that punishment is a government responsibility. Government represents the people, and when we punish crimes we act on behalf of the people. Private companies act on their own behalf to maximize profits and revenues. So that’s always been a major argument against the industry, and it hasn’t really carried the day.

What’s more compelling to a lot of people is the argument that we can save money by doing this. And that’s not totally borne out in the evidence, but it’s a very compelling argument. A lot of people do have a moral issue with it and say that criminal punishment must be done by the government. We cannot pay people and fund a business model that’s based on punishing people.

Terra: What spiked the recent concerns about private prisons in the United States?

Burkhardt: Over the last 10 years or so, there’s been a growing recognition that the prison population in general is unsustainably large. One issue is that it’s just too expensive and people don’t want to pay for it, but in general there’s recognition that the prison population is too large. People increasingly realize that on all sides of the political spectrum, but as an offshoot of that, people increasingly recognize there is a private prison industry which probably has something to do with the massive prison population in the U.S. I think to some extent, people are paying more attention to privatization simply because they’re more aware of prisons generally. There have also been a number of scandals and cases of abuse at private prisons, and those kinds of things always flash on the news media.

In the 2016 presidential election both democratic candidates, Sanders and Clinton, came out pretty strongly and openly against privatization, so that raised it on the agenda as well. There are also pop culture things like Orange Is The New Black. I don’t actually watch that show. I understand it has some plot line involving private prisons. There are a number of things that bring this to public agenda.

Credit insunlight via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Terra: How many people do private prisons employ?

Burkhardt: That’s a good question to ask: How many people actually work in the prisons, because the companies will have executives and management. But in the actual prisons, it’s pretty common to have privately run facilities with less staff working in them. That’s one way of keeping costs down. If there are any cost savings with private prisons, it’s because they hire fewer people and typically pay less.

Terra: What are the demographics of private prisons?

Burkhardt: Private prisons tend to be used more for lower security inmates; they don’t tend to operate maximum security facilities. And one consequence of that is that they do get a different population in them. The prisoner populations in private prisons tend to have fewer needs; they are lower risk generally; they serve shorter sentences; they tend to be slightly less white, so slightly larger populations of Hispanic or black inmates. They tend to be younger as well.

Private prisons also tend to employ more women and minorities then federal prisons, which raises ethical question about paying them less.

Terra: Why don’t private prison companies run maximum security prisons?

Burkhardt: I don’t know. There are two possible explanations, and I don’t think anyone’s really answered this. But one possibility is that the companies just don’t want to take on that responsibility. Either because they don’t think they have the capacity to do it, or they don’t want to have the image of operating real prisons.

The other possibility is that policy makers, or the public at large, simply don’t want that to happen. There is a cutoff point to how much you can delegate to private business. I think we as a society are OK with giving them low-risk inmates. We’re not really OK with giving them the worst of the worst.

One way you can see that is to think about terrorists. Terrorists. A big threat to our society. So what do we do with them? We send them off to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. They need their own prison in a whole separate country in the middle of the ocean. But we would not think of having GEO Group run a prison for terrorists because, culturally, we are not willing to grant that authority to a private business. So we reserve the government function of punishment for certain types of offenses.

Why do privates not operate maximum security prisons? It’s either because they don’t want to do it, or because we don’t want them to do it.

Terra: Is there any evidence that private prisons are more cost effective than government run prisons?

Burkhardt: It’s really hard to answer that question, for a number of reasons. One is that they do tend to hold different prison populations, so it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges. One of the challenges is that private prisons carry different types of responsibilities.

So for example, in private business, you have to draw up contracts, so you need more lawyers involved, or you might have to have someone from the government on site who is monitoring and doing accountability checks and audits. That’s not really something that you have in the public system, or at least it would work a different way. So it’s really hard to do the accounting. Yes, there is some evidence. You can point to specific examples where there have been cost savings, but as a general proposition, it’s not totally obvious that simply by virtue of privatizing you will save money.

But that kind of gets to a larger point, which is that all of these things are contract dependent, so it depends on how you write the contract. Because ultimately, it’s a contract based relationship. The government is entering into a contract with a private company. The private company wants to get the most favorable terms in there; the government wants to get the most favorable terms in there. And sometimes it turns out that it costs less money for the government; sometimes it doesn’t. It comes down to how the contract is drawn out.

Terra: Since private prisons generate profit, do they create an incentive for the criminal justice system to produce more prisoners?

Burkhardt: The companies say “no.” Now, the companies will say openly that they do hire lobbyists, they do pay millions of dollars for lobbying, they do contribute to electoral campaigns — and they contributed a lot to Donald Trump’s inauguration celebration, for example. They say, “We spend money in politics,” but they say, “We’re not trying to work for harsher punishment.” It’s kind of like, “We’re letting people know we’re providing a valuable service.”

Some years ago, there was a really interesting investigation about this law in Arizona. It was called the “show me your papers law,” SB1070. It was a new state law that would have called for local law enforcement — state law enforcement — to check the immigration documents of people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Normally, that’s the federal government’s responsibility, but this was a state law saying local law enforcement should be doing that. That would have the result of putting more people into immigrant detention. And as it turns out, private prison companies do a lot of business with immigrant detention.

Through the reporting, it turned out that private prison companies were part of this group called ALEC (the America Legislative Exchange Council), which is kind of a business-government partnership, but it’s a conservative organization, and one thing they do is develop model legislation that states can implement. One of their model bills is this law, which would crack down on immigration offenses through local law enforcement, which again would have the result of putting lots of people into detention, which is a main revenue source for these companies. So you can kind of connect the dots like that, and you can see how they influence the policy and legislation that way, but the official response is “no.

Terra: How do you predict the size and scope of the prison industry will change in the coming years?

Burkhardt: These companies will remain, but they are changing as we speak. In the past eight or nine years, the prison population reached its peak, and it started to decline just a little bit. That’s part of a broad movement to reform criminal justice and get that prison population down, and the industry recognized this is happening, and so as a result, they’re shifting into other activities.

One big one is immigrant detention. They operate a lot of immigrant detention centers, which aren’t technically prisons because they’re not designed to hold people convicted of a crime. Instead they’re holding people temporarily while they await some sort of immigration hearing or they await deportation. But they look a lot like prisons. The industry increasingly contracts with immigration and customs enforcement, which is part of the federal Department of Homeland Security.

And now it’s about 60 percent of ICE immigrant detainees that are held by a private prison company. So ICE is really relying pretty heavily on private industry and moving forward with the crack down on immigration in the U.S. in the Trump era. We can expect that the population of immigrant detainees is going to grow, and who’s going to hold them? It’s going to be a lot of private prison contracts.

So that’s one area — immigrant detention — but they also are increasingly getting into what we could call non-custodial services, things that don’t involve coercive confinement in a prison. So they operate things like halfway houses for people who were released from prison and are transitioning back into society. They operate day reporting centers, which is an arrangement where someone released from prison might have to check into the center once a day, or electronic monitoring.

Geogroup, for example, has been buying up smaller companies that make up electronic monitoring devices, operate halfway houses, and run day reporting centers. They’re bringing these smaller companies into the larger Geogroup, and have actually reclassified them into a separate division called Goecare. It’s got a humanitarian, rehabilitative aspect to it. They see that as a way of maintaining revenue and diversifying so they don’t get caught on the downside of this prison decline.

Terra: Are private prisons common in other countries?

I know most about the U.S. but there are some other countries, typically English speaking countries, which use private prisons. You can find them in Australia, somewhat in England, Scotland, South Africa; all have privatization to some extent. It’s not like it’s a wholesale takeover of their prisons, but they selectively use private prisons. But it does tend to be those English colonies.

Canada doesn’t though, that’s the exception. They toyed with the idea some years ago, but I think they eventually scrapped that. I think there was some backlash against it. For whatever reason culturally, they didn’t feel comfortable delegating that power.


Read Brett Burkhardt’s essay about private prisons on The Conversation, March 20, 2017..

Note: Megan Tucker is a junior in the colleges of Science and Liberal Arts.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Lights, Action, Physics!

Terra - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 5:58pm

By Leto Sapunar

If KC Walsh invites you to his office to show off his latest instructional technology, prepare to be dazzled.  His massive, room-dividing glass whiteboard complete with a recording studio might look more like the latest in home entertainment systems, but he is turning this exceptional display into an effective teaching tool for a topic that has been mired in tradition.

Walsh is a senior instructor of intro physics at Oregon State University. The Lightboard uses an optical phenomenon called “frustrated total internal reflection of light” inside the glass to make words and equations luminesce brightly and colorfully where a marker draws on the surface.

A bowling ball on a wire turns into a physics teaching tool in KC Walsh ‘s classes.

If that sounds confusing, think of light trapped, bouncing around inside the glass and released wherever the marker touches. This is part of a recording setup, funded by a Learning Innovation Grant from Oregon State, for making new, engaging and high-quality recorded lectures. In the videos that Walsh creates, writing appears to float unobstructed in front of the instructor as he works, making it easy to film and to add in digital figures. The Lightboard was unintentionally a perfect hybrid of Walsh’s duel passions — physics and teaching.

The content of intro physics classes and textbooks has remained largely unchanged for well over a hundred years. Walsh is breaking the mold of conventional classroom dynamics by using online resources paired with data-driven research as a guide to make physics classes less painful for students.

His grand project, dubbed Project BoxSand, brings an innovative and open-source teaching structure designed to promote active learning. Also funded by a Learning Innovation Grant, BoxSand’s backbone is the “flipped” classroom, flipped in the sense that the course relies on content delivery through pre-lecture material on the class website, freeing up class time for more engaging practice.

The site, BoxSand.org, now boasts thousands of videos and broad-ranging physics learning resources all compiled in one place. If you log in, you would find a long sidebar of carefully selected and organized introductory physics overviews, concept maps, videos, problems and more. Students receive a “Daily Learning Guide,” which directs them to the appropriate pre-lecture content before each day of class. In class, students work through now-familiar problems on the board and hands-on activities in small groups.

Though physics is the topic in question, the project sights are high. Walsh is carving a path for modular and accessible educational tools and methods for any field of study. With a grant from Open Oregon State through OSU’s Ecampus, he is leveraging online resources to create an open-source textbook.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Walsh says, “because we’re providing free resources for the students. I don’t think it will ever be 100 percent done. The idea of this is, it’s a sort of organic, moving, shared resource for people to use.”

Evidence Based for Students

KC’s 2016 study of BoxSand site usage by Physics 201 students provides data for the project’s Evidence-based Instructional Practices, or EBIP for short. EBIP sounds like common sense, but although the concept has been around for decades, it hasn’t been widely implemented. By tracking what resources students use and how they use them and by comparing that information to conventional classrooms, Walsh and other EBIP instructors systematically modify their classes to improve student learning.

When he isn’t teaching, KC Walsh can be found on a hiking trail or one of Oregon’s rock climbing destinations. Mount Jefferson is a favorite.

After completing his Ph.D. at Oregon State, KC discovered that he preferred teaching to theoretical physics research. He wanted to make a direct impact on his students. In his first few years teaching hundreds of students, he just tried to keep his head above water, but he began a long and ever-evolving quest to improve his teaching methods, which culminated in BoxSand.

His methods have come a long way. Before the recent addition of the studio, he recorded pre-lecture videos with a tablet computer. His first BoxSand.org precursor was a glorified Wiki page. Now he’s driven by the same motivations that led him to teaching in the first place, a desire to further students’ understanding of the world and make education ever more accessible.

Finding Content

Ikaika McFadden described his work early in the project. “We were scouring the internet for any kind of open source physics resource we could find,” said the recent Oregon State physics graduate with a leading role in curating site content. “There’s a lot of information out there for students, but it’s nice to have physics eyes on it to filter it for you, to tell you, ‘this group of stuff is helpful, you should look at this.’” Ikaika, along with others, have taken on the painstaking task of finding and organizing large amounts of site-destined physics content over the past three years.

The mindset of the flipped classroom emphasizes learning by experience rather than exposure. Students can read and view course material before class via the site, saving class time for the important part — active, engaged learning. “If you’d never shot a free throw,” Walsh said, describing this philosophy, “you’d never think watching somebody shoot free throws for fifty minutes would help you get better.”

According to him, active-learning practices have proven to be both more effective than a conventional lecture and to be disproportionately more helpful for typically underrepresented students.

Walsh first flipped his classroom four years ago, starting a website for 300 lecture videos and some external links in addition to the required textbook. In fall 2017, BoxSand — featuring far more content, continually improved with the help of a team of undergraduate and graduate students — completely replaced the required textbook. This change, Walsh says, “saved OSU students about $70,000 this year and every year going forward.”

The big question is, after a full course redesign, which leans heavily on the idea that students use the course content, will they keep up on the pre-lecture material? The whole system quickly falls apart if they don’t.

According to the latest results, students have been using the site and doing considerably better.

Proof in the Data

Before Walsh implemented the reformed curriculum, the DFW (drop-fail-withdraw) rate for Physics 201 was 36 percent. By Fall of 2016, that number dropped to just 13 percent with the average grade 6 to 8 percent higher. There are many possible reasons for grade fluctuation, but the fact that an additional 23 percent of students who were on the low end of the grading curve are now passing without bringing down the course average is remarkable.

Student feedback through end-of-term eSET (electronic Student Evaluation of Teaching) surveys has also been key in assessing students’ experience with the course. The surveys ask specific questions regarding course satisfaction and allow students to leave comments. Based on the change in student responses, physics students are, on the whole, much happier having the flipped classroom and BoxSand site compared to the previous, more conventional intro classes.

Student Experiences

Madison Gorton, a biology and nutrition double major taking Physics 202 winter term, said the site made it “way easier to find things and navigate” than a traditional textbook. She also appreciated that the pre-lecture course content consistently related directly to what they were studying in class the next day.

When asked if the extra time spent on pre-lecture videos was a hassle, Sam Ellis said it balanced out, explaining that he found seeing the material beforehand and working out problems in class helpful. Becky Wick, a biology major in the class added, “It’s not worse than the textbook readings for other classes, especially for a five-credit course. Physics is hard, but with him teaching it, it’s better.”

Overall Walsh’s students think the class challenging but find the innovative course structure helpful and the instructor’s passion for teaching undeniable.

Down the Road

Project BoxSand, however, is far from finished. One of the next project goals is replacing the publisher’s online homework system with a modified version of OpenStax Tutor from Rice University — an open source alternative which will be both free to students and feature BoxSand integration. The project is still in heavy development with help from three Oregon State computer science majors. It is scheduled to replace the current for-profit system in fall 2018, saving students an additional $70,000 a year. Once complete, all these learning resources will be freely available to 20X series students.

Further project goals involve the inclusion of an online collaborative studying and digital whiteboard system called Async Sync. Walsh hopes this will become a crucial tool for Ecampus students as well as an additional resource for those on campus. He also looks forward to a formal comparative study of on- and off-campus versions of the intro physics classes.

Though he and his team have done some preliminary number crunching, there’s still much work to do with last year’s roughly 3.5 million datapoints (in the form of website clicks) from the roughly two-thirds of the class who agreed to be part of Walsh’s ongoing study. The analysis will be done with a computational method for large datasets known as Correlation Data Mining. In this case, Walsh wants to determine what online behavior patterns are associated with higher knowledge gain.

Walsh was recently awarded funding from the Ecampus Research Fellows Program, which will allow for a three-month break in his teaching, giving him the chance to work full time on processing, learning from and publishing the data. He also has a fellowship in the Oregon State Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning ESTEME@OSU program, an Oregon State initiative that supports lower division teachers pursuing EBIP research and implementation.

Walsh’s vision for educational reform is bold and uncompromising. His long-term goal is building a platform with which one can teach “anything about anything,” as he puts it. He believes that modular, free to access course material could be shared and improved upon in a digital course building system. A longtime believer in open source content, he doesn’t think that the cost of course materials should be a limiting factor for those who want to learn.

In the future, he also hopes to build predictive functionality into the site to help identify struggling students, as he said, “before it’s too late, so that we can intervene and reach out and offer them service and support.”


Note: Leto Sapunar is a senior in physics at Oregon State University.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

80th Annual Oregon Logging Conference & Equipment

Forestry Events - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 3:35pm
Thursday, February 22, 2018 - Saturday, February 24, 2018 (all day event)

Join Us at the 80th Oregon Logging Conference and Equipment Show

Showcasing, Logging, Construction, Trucking and Heavy Equipment

February 22, 23, and 24, 2018, Lane Events Center and Fairgrounds

Eugene, Oregon - Headquarters Hotel - Eugene Hilton

For more information visit www.oregonloggingconference.com

or call 541.686.9191

Woodland Mini Series - Clatsop

Forestry Events - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 3:35pm
Saturday, February 24, 2018 (all day event)

This five-session course is ideal for anyone who is just starting out taking care of a woodland property, or a woodland owner wanting to write a forest management plan.

Topics covered:
Getting Started: Assessing your property and your site.

What’s Going on in Your Woods? Understanding tree biology and forest ecology.

Taking Care of Your Woods: Tree planting, care for an established forest, weed control.

Getting it Done: Safety, timber sale logistics, and laws and regulations.

Saturday Field Trip to see first hand examples of what you've learned.

Property site visit with instructor or other mentor.

Registration is required.

Forest Health & Fuels Field Day

Forestry Events - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 3:35pm
Saturday, February 24, 2018 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Learn & practice skills for creating & maintaining a healthy, fire-resistant woodland, including the assessment, thinning, pruning, slash disposal and safe and effective use of chain saws.  This is a field program, rain or shine; dress accordingly. 

Location: Wimer. 

Cost:  $10/person, $15/ couple.  Pre-registration required; see www.extension.oregonstate.edu/sorec/forestry for details. 

Introduction to Woodland Management: A Basic Forestry Shortcourse

Forestry Events - Sat, 02/24/2018 - 3:35pm
Saturday, February 24, 2018 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

This shortcourse is ideal for anyone who is just starting out taking care of a woodland property. Classes are designed to provide woodland owners with a broad and thorough overview of many topics of importance when managing a woodland.

To register online, visit:
Or call (541) 672-4461

Extended: SURF 2018 deadline

Environment Events - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 3:37pm
Friday, February 23, 2018 (all day event)
The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program will award approximately 15 to 20 fellowships of $4,500 to undergraduate students to support hands-on research in the areas of community resilience, clean water engineering, safety, and infrastructure renewal. During the eight-week program, students will work with a faculty mentor and graduate student on a specific project and will develop research skills to increase graduate school opportunities. More information, including current research topics, eligibility, expectations, application information, and example projects from 2016 and 2017, is available at cbee.oregonstate.edu/surf.

Wendell Berry Film Screening and Community Seed Exchange

Small Farms Events - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 3:37pm
Friday, February 23, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Join the Spring Creek Project and the OSU Center for the Humanities for a screening of Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry on Friday, February 23, at OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center. We’re pairing the film with a community seed exchange for anyone who would like to participate. The seed swap will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the film will start at 7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets will be required. Reserve your tickets on Eventbrite.

About the film: Look & See is a cinematic portrait of the changing landscapes and shifting values of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture, as seen through the eyes of writer, farmer, and activist Wendell Berry. You can view the trailer here. 

This award-winning documentary was filmed in and around the rolling hills of Henry County, Kentucky, where Berry has lived and farmed since the mid-1960s. His lifelong relationship with the land and community form the core of his prolific writings. Henry County, like many rural communities, has become a place of quiet ideological struggle. In the span of a generation, agrarian principles of simplicity, land stewardship, sustainable farming, local economies, and rootedness-to-place have been replaced by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion, and debt. Watching this struggle unfold, Berry has become one of the most passionate and eloquent voices speaking in defense of agrarian life. Film runtime is approximately 90 minutes. 

About the seed exchange: As part of this event, we’ll be hosting a community seed exchange that participants can take part in as they mingle before the film. Sharing and planting seeds connects us to each other and to the land, and each variety has a story to tell—some heirloom varieties are rich with lore and have been passed down for generations. Here’s how the seed swap will work: 

  • Bring any open-pollinated seeds you’d like to share, whether home-saved or purchased seeds (make sure they’re relatively fresh, as many seed types are only viable for a couple of years).
  • For each variety, also bring a notecard stating the variety name and any descriptive notes about the variety.
  • If you have a limited quantity and would like to specify an amount participants can take, make note of that as well (e.g., “Please take up to 10 seeds per person”).
  • We’ll have large tables set up for the swap. When you arrive, set out your seeds and accompanying notecards on a table, so that each is clearly labeled. You may wish to bring a small scoop or spoon to help divvy up seeds.
  • We invite you to bring along small jars, envelopes, or baggies for seeds you'll be taking home. We'll also have blank seed envelopes available.
  • Even if you don’t have any seeds to bring to the swap, we invite you to participate. Oftentimes, some people at a seed swap will have bulk quantities to share. Chat with your community members and grab a few seeds here are there if there are plenty available.

Note: If you'd like to attend the seed swap but not the film, a ticket will not be required. Please simply join us at 6:00 p.m. outside of the Construction & Engineering Hall of the LaSells Stewart Center.

“Odd as I am sure it will appear to some, I can think of no better form of personal involvement in the cure of the environment than that of gardening. A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world.”  —Wendell Berry

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Bugs vs Bad: Using biological controls in SWD managment

Small Farms Events - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 3:37pm
Friday, February 23, 2018 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

National team will present latest information on biological control of Spotted Wing Drosophila

With funding from the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative, a team of researchers from across the United States is collaborating to improve management of spotted wing Drosophila. This invasive pest has challenged producers of berries and cherries across the United States and around the world in recent years. A key component of the project is to learn the role of biological control in controlling spotted Wing Drosophila, and to discover new biocontrol agents. To update growers and other stakeholders, the team will report on the current state of their research during a one hour webinar on February 23 from 12-1pm Eastern Time. Titled “Good Bugs vs Bad: Using Biological Controls in SWD Management” this webinar will include an overview of the project, an update on the native biocontrol agents that have been found in surveys at farms from Oregon to Maine, and the latest information on their search for parasitic wasps from Asia. This webinar is free and open to all. Register with your name and email address at http://bit.ly/2EhwqPf  

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

2018 Oregon Stater Awards

Environment Events - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 3:35pm
Thursday, February 22, 2018 6:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Please join Oregon State University's College of Engineering for the 20th anniversary of the Oregon Stater Awards to celebrate achievements at the frontiers of engineering and their profound impact on the profession and our world. The Oregon Stater Awards honor alumni and industry partners whose contributions exemplify Oregon State's leadership over the past 150 years.

Reception 6 p.m. | Dinner & Program 7 p.m
Semi-formal attire

Kindly register by February 8.

Basic Woodland Management Shortcourse

Forestry Events - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 3:35pm
Thursday, February 22, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

This five-session course is ideal for anyone who is just starting out taking care of a woodland property. It also serves as preparation for the OSU Master Woodland Manager Training.

Topics covered include:
• Getting Started: Assessing your property and your site
• What’s Going on in Your Woods? Understanding tree
biology and forest ecology
• Taking Care of Your Woods: Tree planting, care for an
established forest, weed control
• Getting it Done: Safety, tools and techniques, timber
sale logistics, and laws and regulations.

Instructor: Glenn Ahrens, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent.

Please pre-register no later than February 5. Register online at: https://tinyurl.com/BFS2018Clack

Questions? Contact Glenn Ahrens, 503-655-8631
or glenn.ahrens@oregonstate.edu

A Practical Approach to Regenerative Farming Techniques

Small Farms Events - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 3:35pm
Thursday, February 22, 2018 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Scott Goode and Anna Eichner of Nourishing Systems in Central Point, Oregon will share information about how to begin implementing regenerative farming techniques on your property.  Regenerative farming utilizes practices that work with natural systems such as photosynthesis, soil microbiology and soil chemistry, as well as practices like integrated pest management, cover cropping, crop rotation, nutrient cycling, and reduced tillage to actively engage in carbon sequestration.

Hosted by OSU Extension Service Small Farms program & Willamette Women's Farm Network 

When: Thursday, February 22, 6:30-8:30 PM
Where: Lane County Extension, 996 Jefferson Street, Eugene, OR
Class Fee: $10 per person. 
Click here to register!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Grower to Grazier Connections

Small Farms Events - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 3:35pm
Thursday, February 22, 2018 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

 Join the Polk SWCD staff as we host forage seed growers from our region to learn about the many seed resources grown in our region.  Livestock and horse owners will learn about the many grass, legume and other kinds of seed available for high quality forage production.  Factors such as suitability to soil type and moisture, hardiness and livestock dietary need will be discussed by our panel of growers and seed company representatives.

   Please RSVP to Claudia.Ingham@PolkSWCD.com or 503-623-9680 ext. 101 to ensure your light dinner at 5pm.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs