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Purpose–we all need one.

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Fri, 07/01/2016 - 3:29pm

The person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder. (Thomas Carlyle)

There is much written about finding your purpose if life.  Songs are written about purpose; self-help books are written about purpose; businesses are devoted to the concept; jewelry, leadership, among other things, all focus on purpose.

So how do you find purpose? How do you know what your are “supposed” to do in this life? How does that relate to evaluation? Finding your purpose can be really confusing.  Let me share a story with you.

I lived in Birmingham, AL in the 80s and 90s. Birmingham is the only place I have lived (and I’ve lived many places) where if you woke up on the first day of spring, EVERYTHING would be in bloom. Everything! In Oregon, spring creeps up on you (a wonderful experience, to be sure). In Minnesota, it feels like it is spring one day and summer the next (or if you are not lucky, winter, again). In Tucson, spring happens in February and if you blink you miss it (well, almost). So I was marveling one day around the first day of spring how wonderful life was and I had an epiphany. I conceptualized what were the three things I wanted to do in this life. I wanted to do good work. I wanted to be a good friend. I wanted to grow spiritually. (I knew that being a boss was not for me, even though it came with perks.)

I had just finished a doctoral program in program evaluation. I realized that I would be “in the trenches” a long time and would spend most of my career doing evaluation work (as opposed to teaching evaluation, researching evaluation, writing about evaluation). I saw that as my purpose. To do good work–good evaluation work.

So what does it mean to do “good evaluation work”?

As an evaluator, I am a member of the American Evaluation Association . That provides me with at least an annual update for interaction with my colleagues (and friends) and skill building. (This year’s meeting is in Atlanta, more on that later.) It also provides many opportunities for me to learn (see the hyperlink above). It also provides me with a structure in the form of the Guiding Principles.   This is important because the AEA is NOT a policing body, rather it is an organization that provides guidance for its membership. (You can find the  Mission, Vision, Values and Governing Policies here. In addition to what the organization provides there is another body, independent of the AEA, which provides Standards for program evaluators.

I’ve talked about these two documents before. I will talk about them still. I believe that if an evaluator follows the Guiding Principles (Systematic Inquiry, Competence, Integrity/Honesty, Respect for People, and Responsibilities for General and Public Welfare) and the Program Evaluation Standards (and the standards sub parts) (Utility, Feasibility, Propriety, Accuracy, Evaluation Accountability, the evaluator will go good work.

Is this easy? No.

Is following these guidelines and standards worth while? You bet.

The profession is made better. Evaluators are made better. The world (hopefully) is closer to world peace. It certainly has provided me with purpose.

Speaking of world peace, Monday is the celebration of the US independence from Britain.. The US will celebrate the 240th anniversary of the independence then. There will be BBQs (with and without meat) fire works and flags,, parades and picnics and time with friends and family .

Enjoy the holiday!

my

molly.

 

 

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Small-Scale Tractor Logging Demo

Forestry Events - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 2:37pm
Thursday, June 30, 2016 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Demonstration and discussion of small-scale tractor logging by Dave Hibbs and John Westall. They have developed a class for the Clackamas Tree School and have offered to share it with those who were unable to attend. Demonstration includes using a farm tractor with a Farmi winch to harvest and yard logs, and the pros and cons of using synthetic rope instead of the traditional steel cables.

Van pool time: 5:15 pm van leaves Corvallis, from the former Albertson’s parking lot Kings Blvd. and Circle Blvd.

RSVP required as space is limited!

H3 interpretive hikes

Forestry Events - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 2:37pm
Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:00 PM

The first H3 interpretive hike of 2016 will take place on Saturday, June 11, from 9am to 12pm at Cooper Mountain Nature Park.

 

H3 (Health, Habitat, & Hiking) trips are led by Oregon Master Naturalists and take place in a different metro region park or natural area on the second Saturday of each month, June through November. H3 is a partnership between the Oregon Master Naturalist Metro Chapter, OSU Extension’s 4-H program in Washington and Multnomah counties, and Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Department (THPRD). The target audience is 4-H kids and their families, but anyone in the community interested in learning more about flora and fauna in our parks and natural areas is welcome. Master Naturalists Donna Acord and Wendy Doerner will lead the hike on June 11th. They have entitled their hike: From Firs to Oak Savannah- Reclaiming the Willamette Valley’s past for a healthy future at Cooper Mountain.

 

Registration is required to attend. Please follow this link to register. You can also contact me for more information (see signature for contact information). I encourage you to bring school-age kids or grandkids along, especially if they are involved in 4-H at school!

New curriculum explores microplastics in the sea

Breaking Waves - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 9:25am

A new middle school science curriculum from Oregon Sea Grant guides teachers and their 6th- through 8th-grade students through the growing threat to our oceans posed by microplastics – tiny particles of plastic which wind up in the sea.

Microplastics – particles less than five millimeters in size that deteriorate from larger plastic pieces, as well as plastic “microbeads” used in personal care products such as face and body scrubs – have emerged as a growing ocean pollution concern due to their small size and persistence in the environment.

A 2015 study published in Environmental Science & Technology estimated that eight trillion microbeads were entering aquatic environments throughout the United States every day. When consumed by crustaceans, shellfish and other marine animals, the plastics can affect reproduction, growth and survival.

The new, 70-page curriculum, compiled by Marie Kowalski, a recent graduate of OSU’s Marine Resource Management program in collaboration with Oregon Sea Grant’s marine program manager, Tracy Crews, includes three lessons designed to engage students with the issue by analyzing the problem and investigating possible solutions.

The lessons include opportunities for student inquiry, as well as collaboration and engagement with real data collected by researchers working in the field. Each lesson includes an estimated length, which will vary by classroom. The entire curriculum is designed to take about one week, but may be extended by including a project at the end of the curriculum.

The curriculum is available, free of charge, as an accessible .pdf download from the Oregon Sea Grant Website.

Learn more:

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Shrubs for wildlife: Snowberry

Tree Topics - Fri, 06/24/2016 - 10:11am

By Brandy Saffell and Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

Snowberry leaves and fruit in the fall. Photo: Pat Breen, OSU

If one of your land management goals is to provide wildlife habitat, you’ll want to consider keeping a mix of native shrub species on your property. Shrubs provide a host of services to wildlife, including shelter or cover, nesting space, and food from their twigs, leaves, flowers, and fruit. With thought given to species selection and location, retaining existing shrubs or planting them can benefit wildlife without compromising timber growth or forest operations. This is the second article in our Shrubs for Wildlife series (first is here). Each article will highlight one species that benefits wildlife in northwest Oregon forests.

Species Name: Common snowberry – Symphoricarpos albus

Description: Snowberry is a medium sized shrub, growing in thickets and up to six feet tall. The leaves are simple, opposite, deciduous, and variable in shape. They are generally oval but can be nearly round (3/4 – 2 1/2” long). The leaf edges vary from entire to shallowly lobed on the same plant and same stem. The flowers are small (1/4”), pink-white, bell-shaped, and found in clusters at the end of the branch. The round, white, waxy berries persist into the winter; they are non-edible to humans and toxic due to the saponin they contain. Twigs are opposite, slender, smooth, and yellow-brown.

Small pink blossoms are present this time of year. Photo: A. Grotta

Wildlife Value: Snowberry is useful to pollinators as a host and food plant. The flowers attract Anna’s and rufous hummingbirds, as well as various insects including bees. Several birds have been observed eating the berries, such as towhees, thrushes, robins, grosbeaks, and waxwings. Birds also use snowberry thickets for cover. In addition, the Vashti sphinx moth (Sphinx vashti) relies on it as a food plant in its larval stage.

Management Considerations: Following harvest, snowberry resprouts readily from belowground.  To ensure optimum survival and growth of planted trees, control snowberry where it is likely to overtop planted seedlings.  Consider retaining snowberry plants on the site where they are not in direct competition with seedlings.  For those who would like to actively enhance wildlife habitat by planting snowberry, it tolerates a variety of environments, and can be planted in coarse sand to fine-textured clay, full sun to dense understory, dry well-drained slops to moist stream banks, and low to high nutrient soils.  It also establishes readily and tolerates general neglect.

Plant habit and fruit in winter. Photos: Pat Breen, OSU

If you are interested in learning more about creating wildlife habitat on your property, check out the Woodland Fish and Wildlife website.

 

 

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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