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Paired Watershed Studies

Forestry Events - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 4:35pm
Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

In 1971, Oregon passed the Forest Practices Act (OFPA), based in part on the Alsea Watershed Study, the most far-reaching paired watershed study of its time.  Since then, changed harvest paractices, new environmental priorities and the absence of new research have raised questions about whether current stream protection laws are adequate, go too far, or don't go far enough.

To answer those questions, three paired watershed studies of unprecedented magnitude - on Hinkle Creek and the Trask and Alsea rivers - have been designed to help guide future stream protection practices in Oregon forests.  Each study is ten-years long, involves projects that span thousands of acres, and uses sophisticated monitoring and tracking technology that did not exist 30 years ago.  Scientists are investigating fish, water quality and aquatic habitat at spatial and time scales never before possible.  These studies will provide the research necessary to update or confirm Forest Practices Act requirement for the 21st century.

Mike Cloughesy, Director of Forestry for the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, will present the results of the three paired watershed studies conducted under the auspices of the Watershed Stewardship Cooperative at the OSU College of Forestry.  Mike is responsible for the development and implementation of OFRI's forestry education programs for landowners and the general public, and serves as a liaison with the forestry and forest science communities.

Please RSVP to 541-776-7371

Spring’s Scotch broom show is around the corner

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 3:15pm

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

As tree planting season winds down and the weather warms, we are already starting to see buds popping on spring’s earliest bloomers. Soon the spring explosion will be in full force. It won’t be long before the hillsides are brilliant yellow – and not with daffodils.

Photo: Eric Coombs, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, bugwood.org

Colorful and abundant as it is, Scotch broom is one of the more serious forest weeds that we have to contend with. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has estimated the economic impact of Scotch broom on Oregon forestland at $47 million annually – that figure includes lost forest productivity and control costs.

Shade from a closed forest canopy is the ultimate control for Scotch broom, but unless the infestation is minor, using this passive approach is undesirable. Dense Scotch broom outcompetes desired vegetation including tree seedlings, produces seed that persists in the soil for decades, and reduces biodiversity.

Photo: Eric Coombs, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

Different people have their preferred methods of controlling Scotch broom. Good recommendations can be found in two publications available through the OSU Extension Catalog:

Whatever control method you choose (hand pulling, mowing, spraying, etc.), timing is everything. As tempting as it may be to tackle your Scotch broom when it is in full flower and easy to spot, this can be counterproductive in the end if care is not taken. For example:

  • Plants that are cut or mowed in spring tend to resprout. If using this control method, it is best to wait until the driest part of the summer, when the plant is stressed and before the seeds have fully matured.
  • While Scotch broom is quite susceptible to correctly applied herbicide  during the bloom period, some herbicides can harm conifer seedlings in the springtime, if the buds on the conifers have already begun to swell/break. Consult the Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook for specifics.
Scotch broom plant infested with a bud gall mite. Photo: Eric Coombs, Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, bugwood.org

Scotch broom has a few natural enemies that may aid in the fight. These insect predators, called biological controls, are researched and regulated by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

One of these, a bud gall mite, just showed up in Oregon within the last decade. Scotch broom plants infested with the bud gall mite would have weirdly deformed buds and little to no flowering, like in the photo. If you suspect that you have seen this, contact your Extension office as there is interest in the spread of this natural enemy.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Contending with overgrown Christmas trees

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 5:29pm

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

Dark and gloomy: the escaped Christmas trees at Tualatin River Farm

It’s a familiar story. A few acres of Christmas trees were planted on the farm, perhaps for tax purposes, or because they were perceived as a low-maintenance investment, or maybe because the market was strong at the time. Fast forward a couple decades…the land has changed hands, and the Christmas trees, well, they never did make it into someone’s living room. Now, the new owner has “escaped” Christmas trees to contend with.

This is the situation at Tualatin River Farm, a 60-acre property now under a conservation easement and being turned into a working educational and demonstration farm and riparian restoration site. About five acres of the site is in this old noble fir plantation, presumed to have been planted for Christmas trees, and estimated to be about 25 years old. The new property managers wish to transform this area into a mixed upland forest, more representative of what might naturally occur on the site. What to do, they asked? Can these trees be saved?

Some considerations:

  • The stand displays all the visual signs of an overstocked forest: no vegetation growing on the ground, trees with a very high height-to-diameter ratio, and with a very low ratio of live canopy to total tree height. All of these add up to a situation where the trees are at an unhealthy density.
  • The trees are so close together, that one can barely walk between them. Getting any of them down in a thinning scenario would be challenging. It might be feasible to remove every third or fourth row, but even then the stand would still resemble an orderly plantation…not the type of forest that is desired by the owner in this case.
  • A pocket of dead trees in a low-lying area suggests possible root disease (2010 photo from Google Earth).

    The trees are noble firs, which make fine Christmas trees, but which would not naturally be found at this elevation (<200 feet) just above the floodplain. Here, they are an “offsite” species, and as they mature become more susceptible to diseases. Aerial photos show evidence of possible disease pockets.

So, can these trees be saved? Probably not. Given the owner’s goals, it’s likely best to start over with a clean slate.

A portion of this stand is in better shape. Presumably, some Christmas trees were actually harvested here, so that when the rest “escaped” the stocking was already patchier and less dense. And, the previous owner (who still lives on the site, as a caretaker) has been taking out trees here and there over the years for firewood. The remaining trees have a healthier live crown ratio (more of the tree’s trunk still has live branches attached); indicating that thinning probably started a while ago.

Gradual thinning has resulted in better density, understory regeneration (and lots of firewood).

Choices for this part of the stand are not as clear-cut (pardon the pun). The managers wondered, should they continue gradually thinning out the overstory, and plant underneath with native trees and shrubs? Cut out a few patches to allow more sunlight in, giving the option to plant in more sun-loving species? As the nobles age, more will probably succumb to disease. They could become snags, which could be seen as an asset (for wildlife/structural complexity) or a liability (as a hazard tree – recall that the farm is to be used for education, with lots of kids and other groups visiting). There’s no right answer, but starting over might be the best option here too.

If this situation rings true for you, it’s important to remember that Christmas tree fields do not grow up to become healthy forests, at least not without some careful planning. Gilbert Shibley, a Clackamas County Master Woodland Manager, has developed some useful materials on the promises and pitfalls of converting escaped Christmas trees.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Fossil Fest rescheduled for April 26

Sea Grant - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 10:10am

NEWPORT -  Guy “Oregon Fossil Guy” DiTorrice returns OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center on Saturday, April 26, for this year’s edition of the popular Fossil Fest – rescheduled from early February due to snow.

DiTorrice, a longtime fossil hunter and lecturer, joins Dr. William Orr for special presentations about fossil finds in Oregon and elsewhere. Mike Full, a local Pleistocene fossil hound, and Newport’s own Kent Gibson will show exhibits of amazing Oregon fossils, and the American Research Group will host additional displays and hands-on activities for the whole family. Visitors are invited to bring their own “mystery fossils” for expert identification.

Schedule:

  • 11:30 am – Guy DiTorrice speaks about seeking and finding dinosaur fossils at the Montana ranch where parts of Jurassic Park were filmed, including Duckbill (Hadrosaurus) dig sites .
  • 1:30 pm – Dr. Bill Orr, “In Search of the Conodont Animal” – a talk about the recent discovery of a small fish-like animal that has for 150 years been a mystery to the paleontology community. The Conodonts are one of the most important guide fossils to the entire Paleozoic interval of time: a duration of 300 million years, and the discovery has stirred immense interest among paleontologists.

All day:

  • Mike Full’s “Willamette Valley Pleistocene Project” display captures a glimpse of 50,000 years of prehistory in our own backyard. Giant bison and wooly mammoth fossils will be on display.
  • Kent Gibson, who has provided fossils to the Smithsonian’s collection will display a cross-section of fossils found in Lincoln County, including dolphin skulls, scallops, and whale vertebrata.

All events take place in the HMSC Visitor Center, which is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm.

For more information, visit the HMSC Visitor Center Website.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Oregon Sea Grant partners in new regional STEM Hub grant

Sea Grant - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 9:22am

NEWPORT – Oregon Sea Grant is partnering with the Lincoln County School District to create a new Oregon Coast Regional STEM Hub to serve coastal communities from Astoria to Coos Bay.

The effort, under a $644,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Education, will be based at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center under the guidance of Sea Grant’s marine education team. The goal is to help equip teachers to better provide STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to k-12 students.

The grant is to the Lincoln County School District, which is partnering with Sea Grant, Tillamook School District and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The new STEM Hub is one of six across Oregon intended to foster 21st Century career skills, particularly for historically under-served student populations. The new Oregon Coast Regional STEM Hub will help provide coastal schools and educators with the tools and support necessary to deliver world-class STEM instruction to rural students.

Learn more

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Sea Grant survey: Coastal professionals, managers concerned about climate change

Sea Grant - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 8:43am

The American public may be divided over whether climate is changing, but coastal managers and elected officials in nine states say they see the change happening—and believe their communities will need to adapt.

That’s one finding from a NOAA Sea Grant research project, led by Oregon Sea Grant and involving multiple other Sea Grant programs, which surveyed coastal leaders in selected parts of the nation’s Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lakes coasts, as well as Hawaii.

Three quarters of coastal professionals surveyed – and 70% of all participants – said they believe that the climate in their area is changing—a marked contrast to results of some national surveys of the broader American public which have found diverse and even polarized views about climate change and global warming.

The Sea Grant survey was developed to understand what coastal/resource professionals and elected officials think about climate change, where their communities stand in planning for climate adaptation and what kinds of information they need, said project leader Joe Cone, assistant director of Oregon Sea Grant.  Sea Grant programs in Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois-Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington—states that represent most of NOAA’s coastal regions—took part, administering the survey at various times between January 2012 and November 2013.

Learn more:
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Models

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Fri, 03/07/2014 - 5:14pm

I’ve been reading about models lately; models that have been developed, models that are being used today, models that may be used tomorrow.

Webster (Seventh New Collegiate) Dictionary has almost two inches about models–I think my favorite definition is the fifth one: an example for imitation or emulation. It seems to be most relevant to evaluation. What do evaluators do if not imitate or emulate others?

To that end, I went looking for evaluation models. Jim Popham’s book has a chapter (2, Alternative approaches to educational evaluation) on models. Fitzpatrick, Sanders, and Worthen  has numerous chapters on “approaches”  (what Popham calls models). (I wonder if this is just semantics?)

Models have appeared in other blogs (not called models, though). In the case of Life in Perpetual Beta (Harold Jarche) provides this view of how organizations have evolved and calls them forms.(The below image is credited to David Ronfeldt.)

(Looks like a model to me. I wonder what evaluators could make of this.)

The reading is interesting because it is flexible. It approaches the “if it works, use it” paradigm; the one I use regularly.

I’ll just list the models Popham uses and discuss them over the next several weeks. (FYI-both Popham and Fitzpatrick, et. al., talk about the overlap of models.) Why is a discussion of models important, you may ask? I’ll quote Stufflebeam: “The study of alternative evaluation approaches is important for professionalizing program evaluation and for its scientific advancement and operation” (2001, p. 9).

Popham lists the following models:

  • Goal-Attainment models
  • Judgmental models emphasizing inputs
  • Judgmental models emphasizing outputs
  • Decision-Facilitation models
  • Naturalistic models

Popham does say that the model classification could have been done a different way. You will see that in the Fitzpatrick, Sanders, and Worthen volume  where they talk about the following approaches:

  • Expertise-oriented approaches
  • Consumer-oriented approaches
  • Program-oriented approaches
  • Decision-oriented approaches
  • Participant-oriented approaches

They have a nice table that does a comparative analysis of alternative approaches (Table 10.1, pp. 249-251)

Interesting reading.

References

Fitzpatrick, J. L., Sanders, J. R., & Worthen, B. R. (2011). Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Popham, W. J. (1993). Educational Evaluation (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Stufflebeam, D. L. (2001). Evaluation models. New Directions for Evaluation (89). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

 

 

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Do what I say not what I do

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Mon, 02/24/2014 - 5:07pm

People often say one thing and do another.

This came home clearly to me with a nutrition project conducted with fifth and sixth grade students over the course of two consecutive semesters. We taught them nutrition and fitness and assorted various nutrition and fitness concepts (nutrient density, empty calories, food groups, energy requirements, etc.). We asked them at the beginning to identify which snack they would choose if they were with their friends (apple, carrots, peanut butter crackers, chocolate chip cookie, potato chips). We asked them at the end of the project the same question. They said they would choose an apple both pre and post. On the pretest, in descending order, the  students would choose carrots, potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter crackers. On the post test, in descending order, the students would choose chocolate chip cookies, carrots, potato chips, and peanut butter crackers. (Although the sample sizes were reasonable [i.e., greater than 30], I’m not sure that the difference between 13.0% [potato chips] and 12.7% [peanut butter crackers] was significant. I do not have those data.) Then, we also asked them to choose one real snack. What they said and what they did was not the same, even at the end of the project. Cookies won, hands down in both the treatment and control groups. Discouraging to say the least; disappointing to be sure. What they said they would do and what they actually did were different.

Although this program ran from September through April, and is much longer than the typical professional development conference of a half day (or even a day), what the students said was different from what the students did. We attempted to measure knowledge, attitude, and behavior. We did not measure intention to change.

That experience reminded me of a finding of Paul Mazmanian . (I know I’ve talked about him and his work before; his work bears repeating.) He did a randomized controlled trial involving continuing medical education and commitment to change. After all, any program worth its salt will result in behavior change, right? So Paul Mazmanian set up this experiment involving doctors, the world’s worst folks with whom to try to change behavior.

He found that “…physicians in both the study and the control groups were significantly more likely to change (47% vs 7%, p<0.001) IF they indicated an INTENT (emphasis added in both cases) to change immediately following the lecture ” (i.e., the continuing education program).  He did a further study and found that a signature stating that they would change didn’t increase the likelihood that they would change.

Bottom line, measure intention to change in evaluating your programs.

References:

Mazmanian, P. E., Daffron, S. R., Johnson, R. E., Davis, D. A., & Kantrowitz, M. P. (August 1998). Information about barriers to planned change: A randomized controlled trial involving continuing medical education lectures and commitment to change. Academic Medicine, 73(8), 882-886.

Mazmanian, P. E., Johnson, R. E., Zhang, A., Boothby, J. & Yeatts, E. J. (June, 2001). Effects of a signature on rates of change: A randomized controlled trial involving continuing education and the commitment-to-change model. Academic Medicine, 76(6), 642-646.

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Invasive species still a threat, three years after Japan tsunami

Sea Grant - Wed, 02/19/2014 - 9:53am

Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species specialist, Sam Chan, visited Vancouver B.C. recently and took some time to walk the beaches with his Canadian counterparts and talk about the potential for unwanted plant and animal visitors, washed to sea in the Japanese tsunami of 2011, to make it to North American shores – and the consequences if they do:

http://globalnews.ca/video/1136779/still-waiting-for-tsunami-debris

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Naturalistic models

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Mon, 02/17/2014 - 4:53pm

When Elliot Eisner died in January, I wrote a post on his work as I understood it.

I may have mentioned naturalistic models; if not I needed to label them as such.

Today, I’ll talk some more about those models.

These models are often described as qualitative. Egon Guba (who died in 2008) and Yvonna Lincoln (distinguished professor of higher education at Texas A&M University) talk about qualitative inquiry in their 1981 book, Effective Evaluation (it has a long subtitle–here is the cover). They indicate that there are two factors on which constraints can be imposed: 1) antecedent variables and 2) possible outcomes, with the first impinging on the evaluation at its outset and the second referring to the possible consequences of the program. They propose a 2×2 figure to contrast between naturalistic inquiry and scientific inquiry depending on the constraints.

Besides Eisner’s model, Robert Stake and David Fetterman  have developed models that fit this model. Stake’s model is called responsive evaluation and Fetterman talks about ethnographic evaluation. Stake’s work is described in Standards-Based & Responsive Evaluation (2004) .  Fetterman has a volume called Ethnography: Step-by-Step (2010) .

Stake contended that evaluators needed to be more responsive to the issues associated with the program and in being responsive, measurement precision would be decreased. He argued that an evaluation (and he is talking about educational program evaluation) would be responsive if it “oreints more directly to program activities than to program intents; responds to audience requirements for information and if the different value perspectives present are referred to in reporting the success and failure of the program” (as cited in Popham, 1993, pg. 42). He indicates that human instruments (observers and judges) will be the data gathering approaches.  Stake views responsive evaluation to be “informal, flexible, subjective, and based on evolving audience concerns” (Popham, 1993, pg. 43).  He indicates that this approach is based on anthropology as opposed to psychology.

More on Fetterman’s ethnography model later.

References:

Fetterman, D. M. (2010). Ethnography step-by-step. Applied Social Research Methods Series, 17. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Popham, W. J. (1993). Educational Evaluation (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Stake, R. E. (1975). Evaluating the arts in education: a responsive approach. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.

Stake, R. E. (2004). Standards-based & responsive evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

 

 

 

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

endless pasta

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

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

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

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

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

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

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

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

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

 

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

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

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

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

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs