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Designing Your Career Path: Guidance and Opportunities

Health & Wellness Events - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 2:35pm
Friday, October 7, 2016 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

“Designing Your Career Path: Guidance and Opportunities” with Dr. Ramesh Krishnamurthy, PhD, MPH. The College of Public Health and Human Sciences presents a Coffee and Conversation: A Professional Development Seminar and Q&A.

Dr. Krishnamurthy, an OSU alum is a senior advisor at the World Health Organization, Health Metrics Network. Previously, he was a senior advisor at the CDC, with appointments in the Global AIDS Program and the Coordinating Office for Global Health.

Dr. Krishnamurthy’s career path has taken him across the globe and offered diverse and challenging professional opportunities. His talk will focus on highlighting the vast and exciting career possibilities for graduates of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences

Read more about Dr. Krishnamurthy

OSU students have said the following about Dr. Krishnamurthy:

“[He] was an absolutely brilliant speaker!  His stories were eye-opening and inspirational.”

“I wish I could revisit/re-watch the [his] presentation when I need inspiration in the future...”

CPHHS Graduate Student-Faculty Welcome Luncheon

Health & Wellness Events - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 2:35pm
Friday, October 7, 2016 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Luncheon Keynote “Emerging Trends in the Use of Big Data and Data Analytics for Public Health” Keynote speaker: Dr. Ramesh Krishnamurthy, PhD, MPH

Dr. Ramesh Krishnamurthy leads the Information Systems and Framework team at the Health Metrics Network (HMN) within the World Health Organization. He has extensive experience in designing, implementing, coordinating, and managing national and subnational eHealth systems and services, including health information systems, emergency operations centers, and public health surveillance information systems. Previous to the WHO, he worked for the CDC as a scientist and Senior Informatics Advisor with appointments in the Global AIDS Program and the Coordinating Office for Global Health.
Dr. Krishnamurthy is an OSU alum (MS Wildlife Biology, MA International Studies).

Click here to RSVP (required)

For more information, please contact Marie.Harvey@oregonstate.edu.

The Art of Managing Up

Environment Events - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 2:35pm
Thursday, October 6, 2016 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

October 6th

Featuring: Mike Hermens (Capgemini US LLC)

Leadership Academy Pillar: PROFESSIONAL

New employees have a lot to learn: their job, processes, coworkers, supervisors’ expectations. Most employees quickly develop an understanding of their position and perform well. However, a few will rise at an accelerated pace. Developing a strategy for successfully creating the right kind of visibility for oneself among decision makers is crucial for getting on the fast track. Join us to learn how to develop a strategy that is compatible with your goals and personality.   


This event is for Leadership Academy Members only. Not a member?  Submit your application today!

(All OSU engineering students in good academic standing with a minimum of 45 total earned credits are eligible to apply)

Plant Propagation Class

Forestry Events - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 2:35pm
Thursday, October 6, 2016 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Would you like to learn how to propagate native plants for your forest or landscape? Native plants support the local wildlife habitat, and are low maintenance when planted in the proper place. If you have a natural area that needs to be restored, or are just interested in putting more natives into your home garden, farm or woodlot, then propagating your own can be very rewarding and save you money to boot!

Clackamas Community College’s fall term Plant Propagation class will emphasize native plants this year, and is designed to give you hands-on experience reproducing a variety of plants from seeds and cuttings. There is also an online component where you will get more of the background on how and why plants are propagated the way that they are.

The class is offered by the Horticulture Department at Clackamas Community College on the Oregon City campus Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm, September 29 - December 8, 2016, taught by Jen Gorski.

Democracy by Smartphone

Terra - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 9:47am
Illustration by Oliver Day

By Annie Athon Heck

When he was 16, Dan Faltesek would sit at home in an unfinished basement chatting with a friend through AOL Instant Messenger on the family’s Acer computer. It was 1999, before Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. The conversation, he recalls, was about “nerdy stuff,” Clinton administration politics of interest to him and his partner in a high-school debate class.

Little did Faltesek, now an assistant professor in New Media Communications at Oregon State University, realize that his youthful foray into social media would launch his career.

Today’s online landscape has changed drastically. Faltesek immerses himself in the study of social media across all platforms. When he was a teenager, this field didn’t even exist, and now it occupies an increasing share of the focus for him and other communications researchers. That’s a strong testament to the rapidly expanding role that social media play in a global society.

“Social networks are the next evolution of TV networks,” Faltesek says. “People like ‘flow media’ and streams of news stories, personal stories, ads and a wide variety of content.”

From daily news feeds to personal updates and crisis communications, social media are changing the way people around the world create, share and engage with stories and information. Faltesek refers to this space as the “public sphere.” Through his work, he has gained insights on how social media affect election campaigns and are changing the way Americans process news and opinions about candidates — all through engagement in the public sphere.

During this election cycle, for example, Twitter has become a dominant place for people to talk about candidates, debates, primary elections and conventions. “In some respects, this is a new Golden Age for political communications,” he says. “People can have political conversations through social media without having
to have a screaming match with a drunk uncle at a family gathering.

“As media events unfold, such as the debates during the primaries this year, Twitter can become just like network TV 20 years ago. All the politicos were on Twitter commenting on the candidates and the debates.”

Nearly a year before Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton garnered enough delegates to move on to the general election, Faltesek’s analysis of hashtags — those “#” symbols used to compile Twitter posts by topic — led him to predict that Trump and Clinton would become their respective party’s “presumptive nominees.” In the summer of 2015, Faltesek began collecting and studying large numbers of campaign tweets from all the candidates. At that time, the Republican field was crowded with more than 15 candidates, and Bernie Sanders was beginning his slow rise as a viable candidate for Democrats.

“Trump was getting 12 times the numbers of other candidates in terms of retweets and engagement on Twitter,” Faltesek says. “It became clear to me that the candidates’ social media activity, or lack of it, was tracking to campaign success. It was just obvious at that point that Trump was winning the nomination.”

Damien Pfister, an associate professor of communication at the University of Maryland, has known Faltesek and followed his emerging work. He believes that social media has given populism a stronger foothold in the electoral process.

“Republicans and Democrats are in different universes,” he says. “This is amplified by social media as well as traditional media. The media ecosystem is really complicated right now, and that’s why we need different takes on it and why Dan’s research is so interesting. Looking at how discourse evolves over time, through data analysis of hashtags, for example, can help us understand these different patterns of communication.”

This progressive approach to communication research is just beginning to emerge, and Faltesek is on the leading edge. He is convinced that the prevalence of social media, which he believes will only grow and evolve, will continue to change the way Americans navigate the country’s increasingly complex political and electoral landscapes.

“New technologies have expanded both the number of channels for reaching voters as well as the capacity to evaluate the effectiveness of those messages,” Faltesek says. “Instead of buying national time for a single ad, candidates can focus on very narrow advertisements for different constituents.”

In addition to more targeted and personal advertising, which will occur online rather than on television, Faltesek envisions that political work will become more interesting as mobilization efforts and policy communications increase through social media.

“Candidates will be reaching out on social media about the policies they’re pursuing instead of running attack ads,” he says. “An attack ad is not democracy. People talking to each other on social media, that’s democracy.”

And we can participate wherever we happen to be, whether in a convention hall in the heat of a campaign or at home in an unfinished basement.

The post Democracy by Smartphone appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Musical Openings

Terra - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 5:22pm

It started out as a “fun toy,” a flying disc that plays music. But when Alex Dassise, one of the inventors, tossed it to his brother Stefan, their connection fundamentally shifted.

The relationship between Stefan Dassise, left, and his brother Alex shifted when they began using a musical flying disc. (Photo courtesy of Alex Dassise)

As a child, Stefan was diagnosed with autism; he doesn’t speak. His interaction with Alex had always been severely limited. “The first time we threw it, it was amazing,” says Alex. “It was the first time of interactivity between us. We were engaged. We got to laugh, smile and dance. It was a whole new relationship.”

Alex was a senior at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego when he and a friend, Logan Insinga, came up with the idea of the music-playing disc. When he came to the College of Business at Oregon State, Alex entered the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. With help from director Sandy Neubaum and program manager Dale McCauley, he began turning his idea into a product. He spent hours using the 3-D printing and other resources in the Weatherford Hall “maker space.” He created a company, DiscJam, pitched his idea at a venture conference in Bend and sold 50 discs to other students. He won first place and $1,000 in a “Shark Tank” competition organized by OSU and the University of Oregon.

But then Dassise discovered that the disc may offer a new avenue of communication for autistic people. “There aren’t other products that have all these features. It’s visual, because there are lights. It’s engaging and kinetic because you can throw it back and forth. It has audio,” says Alex.

Stefan Dassise on the Oregon State campus. (Photo courtesy of Alex Dassise)

Last summer, with help from the Accelerate program in the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator, the company, now known as Seiji’s Bridge (Seiji is Stefan’s middle name), is exploring the potential for the disc to serve as a therapy tool. Dassise and his partner, Spencer Kleweno, a senior in the College of Business, are giving prototypes to therapists (speech, occupational and physical) who are testing the potential for the disc to open new avenues for communication with their clients.

“I hope this becomes a basic learning tool,” says Alex. “You could learn a language with it or learn to count. The market is anyone who needs to develop skills. There’s a lot of potential.”

The post Musical Openings appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Fearless Faculty

Terra - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 3:54pm
Cynthia Sagers, Vice President for Research, Oregon State University

It seems only moments ago that I assumed my post as the vice president for research at Oregon State University. The last year has been a time of onboarding and acclimating to OSU. I had the opportunity to learn much about the university’s research enterprise and to be inspired by the work that takes place here every day.

There is an evolving story here at Oregon State — nested in this national treasure of the Willamette Valley between the grandeur of the Pacific and the majesty of the Cascades. OSU draws strength from this place, its productive farms, can-do ethic and practical, get-it-done culture. The OSU faculty, the people at the heart of this story, garnered $762 million in economic and societal impact last year, according to a 2015 assessment by the consulting firm ECONorthwest.

My first and strongest impression from this past year on the job centers on our Oregon State faculty. Quite simply, they are fearless — fearless in tackling some of our planet’s most pressing problems. From climate change and food security to renewable energy and earthquake resilience, OSU researchers are at the leading edge of their respective fields.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, Oregon State reached a record $336 million in research funding. (Illustration: Long Lam)

For the second straight year, Oregon State research funding set a new record. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, researchers earned $336 million in grants and contracts. This accomplishment is testament to our faculty’s expertise and dogged quest for discovery. The culture of collaboration across disciplines distinguishes our faculty and contributes to OSU’s success. This unique community fosters discovery, creativity and innovation and inspires new scientists, engineers and teachers who come to OSU from around the world.

As the chief steward of Oregon State’s research enterprise, I am committed to supporting our students and faculty in their drive to better understand the challenges of the modern world and to use their knowledge to improve the lives of all. These are my priorities for the Research Office in the coming year:

  • Raise the international profile of OSU as a research institution
  • Generate additional revenue to support the research enterprise
  • Advance a climate of inclusion for research programs at OSU
  • Support emerging programs by building closer ties to federal agencies and national laboratories

The challenge for Oregon State is to do even better. I am committed to finding the resources and the support our faculty needs to continue their exceptional pursuit of knowledge.

The post Fearless Faculty appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Community Leader's Forestry Tour

Forestry Events - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:37pm
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Clatsop Forestry and Wood Products Economic Development Committee invites you! Join us for a tour of forestry operations and demonstrations related to the protection and enhancement of forests in Clatsop County. Morning refreshments, box lunch, and bus transportation provided by the committee. Please wear boots or sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing for the field tour.

Reservations required by Sept. 30 at 4:30pm.

Drought Impacts on Central Oregon Forest Health

Forestry Events - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:37pm
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Join forest health experts from Oregon State University, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the US Forest Service for a day of forest health learning. We will spend a little time in the classroom and then head out to Roy Beyer’s Wine Down Ranch for hands-on experience diagnosing drought related forest health issues such as bark beetles, mistletoe, and maybe even some root rot! We will also discuss potential mitigation strategies.

RSVP required.

This workshop qualifies for 5.0 SAF CFE Cat 1 Contact Hours (ISA CE request in progress)

2016 OSU Extension Land Steward Training

Forestry Events - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:37pm
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Visit our website for details and registration here.

·        -Have land but not sure how to take care of it? 

·        -Need a plan for your property? 

·        -New to the area?

·        -Thinking of purchasing land?

The award winning Land Stewards training helps local small-acreage landowners learn about ways to create a healthy environment on their property.  The program incorporates weekly field classes, presentations from natural resource professionals, and the creation of a personalized management plan. This program is great for land owners who want to learn or enhance or develop land management skills as a part of their rural lifestyles. 

The 11-week training covers topics such as wildfire risk reduction, woodland and forest management, natural vegetation and wildlife, rivers and stream ecosystems, pasture management, soils and organic waste, small acreage systems and infrastructure, economics and enterprise on your land, stewardship planning and much more!

Weekly classes will meet at OSU Extension at 569 Hanley Road, Central Point

Wednesday afternoons, September 7th – November 16; 12:00-5:00pm

Photo gallery: Flora Around Oregon

Terra - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 2:33pm
jQuery(document).ready(function($){ var stackedResizer = function(){ $('.aesop-stacked-img').css({'height':($(window).height())+'px'}); } stackedResizer(); $(window).resize(function(){ stackedResizer(); }); }); Malheur Lake (Photo: Dennis Albert) Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowas (Photo: Ellen Bishop) Steens Mountain (Photo: Paul Slichter) The Wallowas (Photo: Ellen Bishop) Douglas fir in the Cascades ({hot: Tanya Harvey) Broken Top in the Cascades (Photo: Tanya Harvey) Leslie Gulch (Photo: Ellen Bishop) Finley Wildlife Refuge (Photo: Edward Alverson) Cape Perpetua (Photo: Tanya Harvey) Darlingtonia fen in the Siskiyous (Photo: Dennis Albert) Zumwalt Prairie (Photo: Ellen Bishop)

The post Photo gallery: Flora Around Oregon appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Photo gallery: TERREWODE in Uganda

Terra - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 11:14am
jQuery(document).ready(function($){ var stackedResizer = function(){ $('.aesop-stacked-img').css({'height':($(window).height())+'px'}); } stackedResizer(); $(window).resize(function(){ stackedResizer(); }); }); Gentle support comes through dance for a fistula survivor and advocate in Soroti, Uganda. A woman with obstructed labor suffers in a health post without support near Soroti, Uganda. TERREWODE staff found her and provided assistance. TERREWODE staff provided support to this woman struggling with obstructed labor at a health post near Soroti. Akello Loy, a the mother of four children, lives in Ogweto Village in the Amuria district of Uganda. She suffered paralysis and a fistula while giving birth to her fourth child. Oregon State students and faculty are working with TERREWODE to learn from and to empower women like Loy. Fistula survivors and advocates sing and dance to welcome TERREWODE representatives to their village. Alice Emasu with newly purchased goats from Heifer International. Milk from this Saanan goat will make its way into soap made by this woman and other fistula survivors. Saanan goat provided by Heifer International. Goat milk soap making by TERREWODE fistula advocates and survivors. Goat milk soap making by TERREWODE fistula advocates and survivors. Goat milk soap making by TERREWODE fistula advocates and survivors. Goat milk soap making by TERREWODE fistula advocates and survivors. Shea nuts harvested by farmers in Soroti, Uganda. Fistula survivors and advocates served by TERREWODE. McKinsey Starguard, a homesteader in Spray, Oregon, makes goat milk soap in her kitchen. Starguard's recipe and bars of soap were gifted to the TERREWODE women and inspired the soap-making project.

The post Photo gallery: TERREWODE in Uganda appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Our Floral Commons

Terra - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 10:52am

Kirsten Hill cares for the plants on her 25-acre Cascades foothills farm with the knowledge and sensitivity that most of us reserve for our closest friends. She nurtures skullcap, borage, calendula and other herbs and yanks out Timothy grass by the handful. In her Douglas-fir woodlot, she fells trees to carve out openings for ocean spray, huckleberry and blackberry. She watches over marshmallow, California poppies, hyssop, stinging nettle and sorrel that survive nestled in a field under towering stalks of Queen Anne’s lace (aka wild carrot), grasses and thistle.

Every species has a role to play and a story to tell, and like a teacher with her students, Hill wants each one to fill its niche. “Take thistle, for example. It’s nasty for a reason,” she says. “It’s a massive toxin-removal plant. Its main job is to restore damaged systems. With its thorns, it’s telling you to leave this place alone. It goes in there with its tap root, breaks the soil up and brings up minerals from deep below.”

In 2013, when Hill bought the farm (“My family has always enjoyed that saying,” she laughs), she wanted to learn more about the plants that had become what she views as her co-conspirators in restoring the land. So she reached out to the state’s top-seeded source of botanical knowledge, the Oregon Flora Project at Oregon State University. This two-decades-long effort to monitor and catalog botanical biodiversity has produced — in print and online — an unparalleled resource for people who manage farms, ranches, forests, roadways, public green spaces and other lands. Key to this accomplishment is a network of more than 1,000 volunteers like Hill, people with a passion and curiosity about the natural world.

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Twice a month, Hill makes the one-hour drive from Holley down the valley of the Calapooia and across the Willamette to Corvallis. She hunkers in the OSU herbarium, the state’s largest collection of dried specimens of plants found within its borders, and pulls out volumes of plants meticulously arranged and annotated like books in a library. Under the supervision of Stephen Myers, Oregon Flora Project taxonomic director, she uses plant samples submitted by other volunteers, whether they be weekend hikers or professional scientists, to confirm or edit the plant identification keys created for the project. Rarely, after she has exhaustively evaluated the color, shape and structure of petals, stems, seeds and other plant parts, she may suggest reassigning the identification of a specimen.

“I literally go character by character,” she says. “Plants are like people. You can bunch them together, but you may not want to say they’re all the same.” Along the way, she is gaining insight into her land in Holley. “I read about these plants and go, ‘Wait, I’ve got that one. Where did I see it?’ I start looking around at home,” she says, “and when I see it, I say ‘That’s you; I know you now.’ It’s helping me get on a higher level and learn about my property.”

Keys to the Planet

In fact, says Linda Hardison, director of the flora project and an assistant professor in the Oregon State Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, knowing what plants are in our midst is key to understanding the environment. “Everything on this planet hinges around plants,” she says. “They make the air we breathe. They are the primary sources of food, from phytoplankton to grasses for cattle. Plants are the lynchpin for the whole planet.”

For people charged with managing a landscape, she adds, not knowing what plants are present would be like making dinner in the dark. “You can fumble around and try things, but without knowing what’s there, you can’t appreciate what options you have.”

The flora project’s roots go back to 1994 when Scott Sundberg acutely felt the need for an accurate, accounting of Oregon’s floral landscape. The Eugene native and graduate of the University of Oregon had just been hired at Oregon State to oversee the integration of herbarium collections from both institutions. By then, the last published assessment of Oregon’s plant diversity was more than 30 years old. He founded the Oregon Flora Project to create an up-to-date resource. He sought advice and contributions from fellow scientists and the public.

“Scott developed a lot of personal relationships to get this program going because he had deep respect for the knowledge that amateur plant enthusiasts possessed,” says Hardison, who was married to Sundberg. “Good examples are the partnership he formed with the Native Plant Society of Oregon and the decade-long exchange of information with Douglas County amateur botanists. Four ladies who met at the Glide Wildflower Show got together and botanized most of Douglas County.” They exchanged plant lists with Sundberg and painstakingly confirmed identifications. Their annotated samples were housed in the county museum. Others became part of the herbarium at Oregon State.

Plant by plant, county by county, Sundberg worked with citizens and professional botanists, such as OSU’s Ken Chambers. Sundberg created a database to organize the hundreds of thousands of plant samples that are glued to sheets of stiff, acid-free paper and stored in cabinets in the OSU herbarium.

One of his goals was to put the complete collection online, where it would be widely available to anyone with an internet connection. With financial support from the National Science Foundation and the federal Bureau of Land Management, Sundberg and a small team of experts developed interactive maps and other digital resources that enable citizens to visualize where and what kinds of plants occupy every nook and cranny of the state (see oregonflora.org).

“Scott was 6 feet, 5 inches, over 200 pounds; he was a big guy, and he loved little duckweeds,” says Hardison. “There he is, this behemoth of a man, crawling around in the pond scum, and he’d be so excited. He had a sharp eye for recognizing all the plants in an area, but he really enjoyed discovering the little things.”

Sundberg’s efforts were cut short when, in 1999, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Having earned her Ph.D. in botany at the University of Washington, Hardison gradually assumed responsibility for the project and became its director after Sundberg’s death in 2004.

Flora of Oregon, Volume 1

In 2015, Hardison and her team reached a milestone. They published Flora of Oregon, Volume 1, part of the first comprehensive treatment of the state’s floral communities in more than a half century. Dedicated to Sundberg, this celebration of Oregon’s remarkable landscape reflects more than 340,000 observations of plants contributed by members of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, Oregon State scientists, government researchers and individuals. It describes plants from the rain forest of the north coast to the arid Columbia basin, from the Siskiyous in the southwest to the Owyhee Uplands in the east.

In addition to laying out grasses, sedges, lilies, ferns, conifers and other plants in exhaustive technical detail, the volume includes a history of botanists in Oregon, including pioneering Oregon State professor Helen M. Gilkey. Color photos highlight plant communities in the state’s 11 major ecoregions. Hikers can use an annotated list of 50 mapped locations to explore Oregon’s botanical heritage.

While Flora of Oregon comprises a snapshot in time, it also marks an ongoing transition. Its roughly 4,700 species, subspecies and varieties include about 15 percent more than were recorded in the 1961 assessment. Some have moved into the state from Nevada and California, possibly reflecting the influence of a warming climate. And, notes Harrison, another 159 found in the previous century have not been collected in the last 50 years. The samples in the OSU herbarium may be the last remnants of their presence in the state.

The project notes a change of another sort, whether a species is native or exotic. While that difference holds meaning for people concerned about invasives and their impact on the environ- ment, “what’s native and what’s not becomes a really squishy question,” Hardison says.

“‘Native’ is an intersection of time and place. You have to consider native over what time period and in what place. You can talk about what’s native to North America, which will be different from what’s native to the Willamette Valley. Some exotic plants can become troublesome, weedy things,” she adds, “because they don’t have the checks and balances of indigenous pests or pathogens to keep populations in equilibrium.”

The Oregon Flora Project uses habitats and ecosystems as a frame of reference. “So when you look at where we are, whether it’s the Willamette Valley, the Columbia Basin or the high lava plains, what plants would you find in undisturbed habitats and plant communities? That can serve as an expression of what’s native,” says Hardison. “Making people aware of the frames of reference is an aha! moment. It’s technical information, but it’s really graspable.”

Plants in Our Future

By providing an outlet for sharing personal interests, the project has inspired people. One woman wrote to Hardison to tell of her father’s enjoyment in finding new flowers on hikes at Crater Lake and along the Umpqua River. They were “the soul-feeding endeavor that gave meaning to his life in retirement,” she said.

For others, Flora has become a useful reference. “The background work that the project has done, and now the book that has been published, has been used by natural resource managers, master gardeners and especially the various native plant societies around the region,” says Russ Karow, the former chair of the Crop and Soil Science department at Oregon State and now director of the Agricultural Research Foundation.

For Kirsten Hill, the notion of what’s native on her farm intersects with the past and her own vision of a diverse, functioning ecosystem. “I can see what’s there now, but I can also see what was there before. I want to restore this place. I want to find a happy medium between what was there before Europeans came over and what we’ve done. We can’t restore to what it was because the climate is warming and plants are moving. I have a 50-year plan, and I’m a little bit bullheaded,” she says with a grin.

The herbs she is planting have another purpose: They can help humans adapt to the stresses of a changing planet. One example is borage (aka star flower), a Mediterranean native that provides dietary micronutrients and fatty acids. Some people have found it to be useful for handling stress. In Hill’s vegetable garden, borage has spread with abandon.

Knowledge of plants is critical to her hopes for the future. “If you don’t understand the environment around you, you’re vulnerable,” she says. “That’s our reason for being here, understanding who we are and how we fit.”

The post Our Floral Commons appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Beyond Encryption

Terra - Tue, 10/04/2016 - 3:28pm

By Rachel Robertson

Although data science and engineering aim to improve our lives — and have done so in many ways — the threat of misuse of our private data and of intrusion into our personal affairs is very real.

Vast amounts of information travel nearly instantaneously between giant server farms and our home computers and handheld devices. We rely on this data for banking, shopping, buying airline tickets, making dates and countless other daily activities. Institutions and businesses collect, analyze and store these data to better serve customers, improve health, perform political functions and much more.

Unencrypted data are vulnerable to attacks that can lead to significant consequences. In 2014, a hack of Sony’s computer system exposed company and personal secrets and destroyed information. An attack on an individual could be as benign as leaked email addresses but can lead to identity theft and major financial headaches. If medical or genomic databases are breached, sensitive personal information such as health status and predisposition to disease could be revealed.

“We need techniques that protect these data, and cryptography traditionally serves as the backbone of security systems to protect the information,” says Attila Yavuz, assistant professor of computer science.

Data in secure systems are encrypted using permutation and substitution operations (methods that scramble and distort data) again and again until the information becomes nearly indistinguishable from random bits. Decryption reverses these steps to restore the integrity of the original.

“We are only in the first stages of a society centered around massive data,” says Mike Rosulek, assistant professor of computer science. “I don’t think we yet understand all the implications of generating and storing it all. I hope it doesn’t take a catastrophic breach to make people realize that cryptographic precautions are necessary.”

Cryptography has come a long way since Alan Turing cracked the Enigma codes during World War II. Advances have made it possible to perform operations on encrypted data without decrypting it first and without leaking critical information.

“We call it the privacy-versus-data-utilization dilemma,” Yavuz says. “When we use strong encryption, accessing and analyzing these data become very difficult. Unless we can break this trade-off, it is really difficult for us to achieve both secure and usable information. So our objective is to fill this gap and create a system where we can search and analyze without compromising the data-analytics functionalities.”

Medical confidential

Yavuz is currently working with Robert Bosch LLC to provide more security for data collected from the company’s medical devices. The research has demonstrated that his dynamic searchable algorithms can make encrypted queries on an encrypted dataset in two to 10 milliseconds per search, without decrypting it. The ultimate goal of his research is to integrate the algorithms into Bosch’s telemedicine database, so that practitioners can remotely access patient data while keeping it secure.

In contrast to Yavuz’s work, which advances applied cryptographic techniques for a specific purpose, Rosulek’s research focuses on theoretical cryptography — finding solutions that can be used to support any kind of computation on encrypted data.

Over the last couple of years, Rosulek has been working on what is known as “garbled circuits.” They are not physical circuits but a cryptographic domain where the computations on encrypted data are performed.

“You can think of a garbled circuit as a sealed box,” he said. “This box is like an isolation or containment chamber with gloves attached to it, so the scientist can reach in and manipulate what is inside. But the garbled circuit is a black box so the operations being performed are not visible.”

The idea for garbled circuits was first introduced in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that people began implementing the techniques with real data. In the last decade, researchers have been working on finding ways to make these operations more efficient.

“Most modern processors have specialized hardware for cryptographic computations, so the computational cost is under control,” Rosulek says. “The bottleneck is the amount of information that has to be exchanged between the parties that are doing the computation. The improvements we make are new, clever ways to encode these encrypted data with all the guarantees of a garbled circuit.”

In two recent publications, Rosulek and colleagues demonstrate that, compared to other approaches, their new algorithms are 33 percent faster and have 33 percent less overhead in the amount of communication required for the computations.

“We also proved that by looking at all the known techniques, you can’t do better than our most recent work,” he adds. “So we have shown that our techniques are optimal until someone invents something totally new. It’s been fun, because it’s spurring people to think of different ideas.”

The challenge of protecting private data is not likely to diminish. The amount of data in the world is doubling every two years and, according to the International Data Corporation, will reach 44 zettabytes (44 trillion gigabytes) by 2020. Much of that will be personal information collected by the millions of smart devices in our homes and cars, or even attached to our bodies.

“One should never forget that it’s vitally important for us to be able to secure our information, because in the future, that will be the single most valuable thing that mankind will possess,” Yavuz says. “Researchers and every individual should realize the importance and value of the information that they have at their hands and try their best to keep it secure.”

The post Beyond Encryption appeared first on Terra Magazine.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Pole Harvest Tour

Forestry Events - Tue, 10/04/2016 - 2:40pm
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Tour an active pole harvest site and learn about specific requirements for timber to be sold for use as power poles. The discussion will include when to take poles out of a stand, tree form, roads, site requirements, and economics of such a harvest.

Ken Nygren, Certified Forester of White Oak Natural Resource Service, will lead the tour and will be joined by a Forester from Bell Pole yard in Lebanon. Tour sponsored by Linn and Benton County chapters of Oregon Small Woodlands Assoc.

Directions: Head west from Philomath on Hwy 20 to Wren. Turn right on Hwy 223 Kings Valley Hwy. Go 6.3 miles and turn left on Hoskins Rd (watch for event sign) Proceed 5.2 miles up Hoskins / Luckiamute Rd. There will be another event sign at the gate on the right side of the road. Nearest house address is 39720 Luckiamute Rd. Parking will be across the private bridge. Approximately 30 minutes from Corvallis. 

Woodland Management

Forestry Events - Tue, 10/04/2016 - 2:40pm
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

This five-session course is ideal for anyone who is just starting out taking care of a woodland property in Lane, Linn, or Benton Counties.

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.

Shrubs for wildlife – Vine maple

Tree Topics - Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:53pm

By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

Happy fall!

For the fourth installment in our series on native shrubs that are beneficial to wildlife, I’ve chosen one that appropriate to the season, provides some nice fall color to our forests.  Now I’ve met more than a few woodland owners who are not fans of vine maple; it’s not a favorite of those who prefer a tidy or parklike forest. Working or wandering in mature forests you’ve probably tripped over it or crawled under it and possibly cursed it under your breath.  Nevertheless, vine maple is another of those “brush” species that benefits wildlife in numerous ways. With some tolerance for its rambling ways you can find a place for this species to provide that service on your woodland in concert with your other land management goals.  If you are interested in enhancing wildlife habitat on your property, read on for our species profile.

Species name: Vine maple (Acer circinatum)

Two photos taken on the same day and site in late September. Top, on the edge of a patch cut, with colorful foliage and abundant seeds. Bottom, in adjacent mature stand with green foliage and few seeds.

Description: A large, multi-stemmed large shrub or small tree. Like all maples, leaves are lobed like a fan or the palm of your hand (“palmate”) and in opposite arrangement on the branch; seeds are in winged pairs (“samaras”).  The bark is smooth and greenish.  Vine maple grows on moist sites in sun or shade, in regenerating to mature forests.  In sun, its habit is denser and erect; seed production is more abundant, and leaves turn orange to red in fall.  In a shady understory, it lives up to its name, with long spindly stems that arch to the ground and re-root upon contact.  Fall foliage is less brilliant in the shade, and fewer seeds are produced.

Wildlife value: Vine maple is considered a preferred and nutritious summer forage for deer and elk. Elk continue to browse the twigs and buds in winter. Squirrels will cache the seeds for winter feeding. In open regenerating (i.e. early seral) areas, songbirds rely on deciduous shrubs such as vine maple for nesting cover and will forage for insects that feed on the foliage.

Management considerations:  Vine maple is considered a “good shrub to leave behind”, or carry over from one timber rotation to the next to support early seral associated songbirds.  Doing so, acknowledge that you’ll have to grant it a little real estate as it won’t play too well with little neighboring conifer seedlings.  You don’t need a lot to make a difference. Leaving vine maple along the edges of patch cuts or in clumps with other retained shrubs reduces interference with planted trees. In mature stands, vine maple will fill in the understory after thinning or disturbances allow light to filter through the canopy, providing a food resource and cover for deer and elk.


Jensen, E. 2013. Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests

Uchytil, R. 1989.  Acer circinatum.

Oregon Forest Resources Institute. 2015. Wildlife in Managed Forests: Early Seral-Associated Songbirds

Woodland Fish & Wildlife. 2014. Managing for Deer and Elk on Small Woodlands.


The post Shrubs for wildlife – Vine maple appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Forest Field Day & Equipment Demonstration

Forestry Events - Sat, 10/01/2016 - 2:36pm
Saturday, October 1, 2016 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This field day will feature demonstrations fo small-scale equipment and techniques useful to woodland owners and other rural landowners.

Fuels reduction, brushing, pruning, slash disposal & chipping, log handling & yarding, pole peeling & utilization, tree planting, fire control and more.

You'll see everything from hand and power tools to tractors with winches for pulling logs and the Ascender, a self-propelled tree pruning system. Small acreage and new and inexperienced landowners are especially encouraged to attend, but there will be something for landowners of every experience level!

More info:


McCool Mill Works Tour

Forestry Events - Sat, 10/01/2016 - 2:36pm
Saturday, October 1, 2016 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
This tour will visit a mill that refinishes old timbers for commercial use. The tour is hosted by Linn County chapter of OSWA.

Native Seed Propagation Workshop

Forestry Events - Sat, 10/01/2016 - 2:36pm
Saturday, October 1, 2016 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Would you like to know how to propagate your own native plants to grow in your forest? If you’re interested in the biology of plants, would like to know how to do it yourself, and are interested in enhancing wildlife habitat, this is the perfect chance! You’re welcome to bring your own collected native fruit or work with what we’ve been busy collecting all summer. This is a combination of learning the biology first in beautiful Everett (Forest) Hall, then heading out to a seed cleaning area where you will get hands-on experience cleaning many different types of fruit.
You’ll learn:
•How to clean fleshy fruit like red-flowering currant, serviceberry, blackhawthorn, snowberry, red-osier dogwood, and twinberry
•Learn the fleshy fermentation process
•How to clean dry fruit like Pacific ninebark and Douglas spirea
•How to ripen cones
•How to clean seeds from Valley Ponderosa pine, western redcedar,noble fir, and western white pine
•When it’s best to buy seed and when it’s helpful to pick your own
•How to store seed
•How to pretreat and overcome dormancy in seed to get it ready for

You will take home some of the provided seed and obtain propagation protocols to know how to grow on your own. For more information about the workshop or if you wish to bring in your own collected native fruit to clean, please contact Jen Gorski, to ensure we review the best cleaning practices for all species prior to the workshop.

Registration is required.