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Newport HS students qualify for international underwater robotics contest

Sea Grant - Wed, 05/03/2017 - 1:44pm

Students from Newport High School have qualified for an international underwater robotics competition in California after placing first at a similar contest in Lincoln City that tested their engineering and problem-solving skills.

“The Finnovators” were one of 31 teams from Oregon that participated in the state’s 6th annual Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition on April 29 at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. More than 200 students from elementary school through college demonstrated devices they built for the competition, which aims to prepare students for technical careers.

Teams hailed from Astoria, Warrenton, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport, Toledo, Eddyville, Waldport, Florence, Bandon, Albany, Aloha, Tigard, Beaverton and The Dalles.

The competition, which was coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant and sponsored by the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, was divided into four categories based on skill and grade level. Only two of the categories, Ranger and Explorer, allowed students to advance to the 16th annual international competition, which will be held June 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif., and will feature the top 60 teams from around the globe, including ones from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Russia.

“The Finnovators” were in the Ranger level, which requires students to perform all tasks without looking in the pool and instead rely only on the sensors and cameras on their robot. Although they are not required to compete in the regional competition, two Explorer-level teams from Linn-Benton Community College and Clatsop Community College demonstrated their robots. They, along with another Explorer team from Oregon State University, are working on fulfilling requirements to qualify for the international competition.

The Oregon event is one of 30 regional contests around the world that are coordinated by the California-based Marine Advanced Technology Education Center.

Each year a new theme is chosen. This year’s theme highlights the role of remotely operated vehicles – or ROVs – in monitoring the environment and supporting industries in port cities. Like port managers and marine researchers, the students at the Lincoln City contest guided their robots through tasks that simulated identifying cargo containers that fell overboard, repairing equipment, and taking samples of hypothetically contaminated sediment and shellfish. Students also presented marketing materials they created and gave engineering presentations.

Additional support for the event came from the MATE Center, the Marine Technology Society, the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Oregon State University, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. More than 50 volunteers from these and other organizations ran the competition and served as judges and divers.

Photos of the competition can be downloaded from Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page.

Read more about the event in the Newport News Times.

Winners of the Oregon competition are:
RANGER CLASS (intermediate level, 1st place finisher advances to international competition)

1st Place – The Finnovators from Newport High School in Newport

2nd Place – Knight Marine from Valor Christian School International in Beaverton

3rd Place – R.U.W.E. from Taft High School in Lincoln City

NAVIGATOR CLASS (intermediate level, participates only in regional competition)

1st Place – Laveer Enterprise from Life Christian School in Aloha

2nd Place – EROV from Taft High School in Lincoln City

3rd Place – ROV Sharks from Wasco County 4-H in The Dalles

SCOUT CLASS (novice level, participates only in regional competition)

1st Place – Valor Tech from Valor Christian School International in Beaverton

2nd Place – Jet Sky from Siuslaw High School in Florence

3rd Place – Water Warriors from Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton


Team Spirit Award – Water Warriors from Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton

The post Newport HS students qualify for international underwater robotics contest appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Differently and familiar

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 4:25pm

People don’t want something truly new, they want the familiar done differently.

OK. I got this idea from a blog post on sushi, well, actually “California Roll”.

Made me think. Evaluation is a service; that service is familiar; over the years it is done differently.

That moves the profession along–like language drift, only evaluation drift.

It is valuable to know formative/summative. (Thank you, Michael Scriven.)

It is also valuable to know that evaluation wouldn’t be were it is today if you didn’t understand that concept and how it applies to what you are doing with your evaluation.

So evaluation is like sushi (California Roll). Evaluation takes what is familiar and repackages it into something that will advance the profession.


If it didn’t take what is familiar it would result in unfamiliar interfaces that are more difficult to use and impede adoption.

We want adaption. Progress. Subtle change. People can accept adoption. They see it as progress (not necessarily change–even though it is).

Adaption is subtle change.

That subtle change takes place over time.

Evaluation is not the same profession it was when I entered it as a graduate student.

Evaluation changed.

And evaluators changed with the profession.

Although it makes much sense to know the history, doing evaluation today draws from many other disciplines.

Because evaluation draws from many disciplines, evaluation is a trans-discipline. One that includes many disciplines.

Knowledge is moved forward; evaluation adapts. It is not the same profession it was; it is still familiar.



The post Differently and familiar appeared first on Evaluation is an Everyday Activity.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Private forestland partnerships in eastern Oregon

Forestry Events - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 2:36pm
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Private forestland owners and partners in eastern Oregon have been increasingly working together to overcome common challenges and achieve shared goals. These partnerships differ in how they are organized, but share a focus on bringing together multiple properties and partners to seek markets, contractors, restoration funding, or other means to manage private forests. The objectives of this meeting are to:

·      Share specific activities, experiences, and lessons learned from these partnerships so that others with similar goals may learn what to do (and what to avoid);

·      Give eastern Oregon landowners and their partners a chance to visit and discuss common interests;

·      Provide a one-stop shop where landowners can learn about resources and organizations available to assist with private forestland management;

·      Provide updates on regional log markets, value-added processing opportunities, and restoration grants; and

·      If desired, to kick off future communication and connection to keep the learning and sharing going. 

This meeting was designed based on feedback from a survey of forestland owners and partners. It seeks to blend information-sharing and presentations with time for conversation. It is organized by Oregon State University’s Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Service, with assistance from Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Oregon Department of Forestry, American Forest Foundation, and Wallowa Resources.

·      Please RSVP to Emily Jane Davis (EmilyJane.Davis@Oregonstate.edu) by April 25th. Please send the names of all attendees from your family/organization, any dietary restrictions, and if you wish to receive travel reimbursement. Limited funds are available for participant mileage and lodging if participants request by April 25th, and you will be reimbursed after the meeting.

·      There is no registration fee or cost for this meeting.

·      Coffee/tea, light snacks, and a sandwich lunch will be provided on site.

·      Organizations that assist private landowners will have resource tables with information and people to answer questions.

Corvallis | Ovation: Building Connections and Recognizing Impact

Health & Wellness Events - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 2:36pm
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Join the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and Dean F. Javier Nieto as we applaud the contributions of our volunteers and supporters. This special reception and dinner honors individuals who have made a significant impact on our students, within their communities or at our college.

A complimentary seated dinner will be provided to invited guests. Additional guests are welcome at $25 per person.

Seating is limited, so please register by April 20

New publication provides agritourism guidance to coastal farmers

Breaking Waves - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 1:31pm

A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, “Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties: Land use policy and permitting requirements,” provides guidance for coastal farmers considering agritourism as a way to enhance or expand their business.

Agritourism is defined as any commercial enterprise at a working farm or ranch conducted for the enjoyment of visitors that generates supplemental income for the owner.

A growing number of agricultural enterprises across the country are entering the arena of agritourism to diversify their operations and generate additional income. Understanding the permits required to establish an agritourism enterprise is a crucial first step toward incorporating this type of activity into an existing operation.

Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties summarizes the agritourism land use policy and permitting requirements for farm use, farm stands, home occupation, agritourism events and wineries, and provides contact information for Oregon coastal county planning departments, as well as online resources for additional information.

You may download a free PDF of this four-page publication here.

The post New publication provides agritourism guidance to coastal farmers appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

New publication provides agritourism guidance to coastal farmers

Sea Grant - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 1:31pm

A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, “Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties: Land use policy and permitting requirements,” provides guidance for coastal farmers considering agritourism as a way to enhance or expand their business.

Agritourism is defined as any commercial enterprise at a working farm or ranch conducted for the enjoyment of visitors that generates supplemental income for the owner.

A growing number of agricultural enterprises across the country are entering the arena of agritourism to diversify their operations and generate additional income. Understanding the permits required to establish an agritourism enterprise is a crucial first step toward incorporating this type of activity into an existing operation.

Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties summarizes the agritourism land use policy and permitting requirements for farm use, farm stands, home occupation, agritourism events and wineries, and provides contact information for Oregon coastal county planning departments, as well as online resources for additional information.

You may download a free PDF of this four-page publication here.

The post New publication provides agritourism guidance to coastal farmers appeared first on Breaking Waves.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Native Tree Identification & May Day Basket Workshop

Forestry Events - Mon, 05/01/2017 - 2:35pm
Monday, May 1, 2017 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Sponsored by the Women Owning Woodlands Network

Come learn about the Women Owning Woodlands Network, how to identify trees & shrubs around your woodland, and make a festive May Day basket!

Snacks provided!

With Tiffany Fegel, WOWnet Coordinator & Valerie Grant, North Coast Agent, OSU Forestry and Natural Resources

RSVP by April 27

Reservations Required: call 541-574-6534 or email Valerie.Grant@oregonstate.edu



College of Public Health Speakers' Series: “You Just Don’t Understand: Cultural Humility, Communication and Health” - in Portland

Health & Wellness Events - Mon, 05/01/2017 - 2:35pm
Monday, May 1, 2017 6:00 PM - 7:50 PM

This 10-week long speaker series will highlight 10 public health issues important for all Oregonians taught by experts from the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University.

Click for more information about this special research-driven speakers' series in Portland featuring OSU experts.

The following speakers with tentative topics for their lectures are listed below. Refreshments provided. 

April 3, 2017: Jeff Bethel – “Getting Ready for the Big One"

April 10, 2017: Carolyn Aldwin – "Biopsychosocial Aging: How Stress Gets Under the Skin"

April 17, 2017: Kate MacTavish – "Health trajectories: Why zipcodes matter more than genetic codes"

April 24, 2017: Javier Nieto – “Sleep and Health”

May 1, 2017: Sunil Khanna – “You Just Don’t Understand: Cultural Humility, Communication and Health”

May 8, 2017: Rick Settersten – “Journey to Adulthood: The long and winding road"

May 15, 2017: Stephanie Grutzmacher – “Local Food, Good Nutrition”

May 22, 2017: Dave Dallas – “Human Milk and Your Baby’s Health”

June 5, 2017: Carolyn Mendez-Luck – "Caregiving in Cultural Context”

June 12, 2017: Jeff Luck – “Health Care System, What's next for Obamacare?”

Porcine Respiratory & Reproductive Syndrome

Small Farms Events - Mon, 05/01/2017 - 2:35pm
Monday, May 1, 2017 11:30 AM - 6:00 PM
The current status of PRRS and the issues/benefits of vaccinating.
Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Intro to Permaculture

Small Farms Events - Mon, 05/01/2017 - 2:35pm
Monday, May 1, 2017 12:00 PM

In this free, online permaculture course, you will learn about the process, ethics and principles of permaculture design while diving into climate-specific design elements through interactive technology, videos, graphics, and readings. The course is designed to benefit everyone regardless of your learning style, time commitments or available technology.

Students who complete all course activities should expect to spend between two to four hours each week on course work.  

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

The CO Maker Fair

Gardening Events - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 6:11am
Friday, April 14, 2017 - Saturday, April 15, 2017 (all day event)


OSU to host events celebrating hands-on learning and maker culture April 14-15


By Michelle Klampe, 541-737-0784, Michelle.klampe@oregonstate.edu

Contact: Charles Robinson, 541-737-6535, charles.robinson@oregonstate.edu


This article is available online: http://bit.ly/2mTy4lH


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will host The Co., a two-day event celebrating hands-on learning and maker culture, April 14-15 on the Corvallis campus.


“SEA Through the Eyes of an Artist” will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. April 14 at Furman Hall. The fourth-annual Corvallis Maker Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 15 in the Memorial Union Ballroom and the Student Experience Center Plaza. Both events are free and open to the public.


“Maker” culture is a popular movement honoring craftsmanship and technology and the sharing of knowledge, skills and resources. The CO. event offers the OSU community and the public an opportunity to collaborate, innovate and create. The event also provides a forum for teaching the value of hands-on learning in classrooms from kindergarten through college.


“SEA Through the Eyes of an Artist” is a new event this year, hosted by the College of Education in conjunction with The CO. and SPARK, OSU’s year-long celebration of the arts and science. All events are free and open to the public. The schedule is:

•   9:30 a.m. to noon: Activities for K-12 students including a Muddy Creek project demonstration; SMILE (Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences);StreamWebs; Art at Sea; and Storytime with Judy Li. Furman Hall.

•   1-2 p.m.: Keynote speaker, Brownwyn Bevan of the University of Washington College of Education, who will deliver an interactive keynote presentation on makerspace research in the Learning Innovation Center, Room 100.

•   2-5 p.m.: Activities for the OSU community, including an earthquake/tsunami activity station; an “interpret your research” competition for graduate students to demonstrate their dissertation or capstone projects through music, dance, painting or other art forms; and happy hour with Bevan. Furman Hall.

•   5-9 p.m.: Activities for families and the community, including a COSIA activity station. Furman Hall.


Other activities include an arts and science geocaching quest throughout the OSU campus; panels to inspire women and girls to enter STEM fields, presented by the campus groups Women in Science and Women in Engineering; and a show focused on arts and science presented by the Corvallis Public Library. A full schedule of events is available online: http://www.corvallismakerfair.org/the-co-2017/sea-through-the-eyes-of-an-artist/.


At Saturday’s Maker Fair, attendees can talk to experts in the arts, crafts, technology, and sciences and leave with unique souvenirs such as Michael Boonstra’s laser-etched cedar selfies. Visitors can also tie flies with OSU Fly Fishing, experience virtual reality gaming with Solid Fuel Studios, help build a Mars lander based on the actual Viking design plans with the Viking Mars Mission Preservation and Education Team, learn basic programming concepts with the OSU Open Source Lab, find out about the process of creating pigments with the Mobile Color Lab and more


The CO. is organized by a team of OSU faculty, staff, and students and professionals from the Corvallis area. Sponsors and partners for the 2017 event include HP, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, OSU College of Education, OSU College of Forestry, OSU Division of Outreach and Engagement, OSU College of Liberal Arts, OSU Libraries and Press, and SPARK.


Registration information, a complete schedule, exhibitor list and additional details about the events are available on the event website, www.corvallismakerfair.org.



About Oregon State University: OSU is one of only two U.S. universities designated a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution. OSU is also Oregon’s only university to hold both the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation for research institutions and its prestigious Community Engagement classification. Its approximately 27,000 students come from all 50 states and more than 90 nations. OSU programs touch every county within Oregon, and its faculty teach and conduct research on issues of national and global importance.

BCMGA Board Meeting

Gardening Events - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 6:11am
Monday, April 3, 2017 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Benton County Master Gardener board meeting

CC Master Gardener Board Meeting

Gardening Events - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 6:11am
Thursday, April 6, 2017 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

25th Annual Yamhill County Plant Sale

Gardening Events - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 6:11am
Saturday, April 29, 2017 9:00 AM - Sunday, April 30, 2017 2:00 PM

The Yamhill County Master Gardeners Association and the Yamhill County OSU Extension Service are pleased to announce that our 25th Annual Plant Sale will be held on Saturday April 29th from 9am to 3pm and Sunday April 30th from 11am to 2pm.           

The event will be held at the Yamhill County Fairgrounds located at 2070 NE Lafayette Avenue, McMinnville, OR 97128.

Thousands of ornamental and vegetable plants on-sale including perennials home grown by Yamhill County Master Gardeners

  • FREE Soil pH testing
  • Plant Help Clinic
  • Plant Selection Assistance
  • Plant information
  • 20+ Specialty Vendor Booths
  • Garden Art

Proceeds support YCMGA Educational Horticultural Programs in Yamhill

Presented to you by OSU Extension Service and the Yamhill County Master Gardener’s Association. Profits will fund continuing education for Yamhill County residents and college scholarships for Yamhill County high school seniors.

For more information contact the Yamhill County OSU Extension Office by calling 503-434-7517 or online at http://ycmga.org/2017PlantSale.php

Growing a Diverse Forest: Steps to a Structural Diversity “Forest Makeover”

Tree Topics - Fri, 04/14/2017 - 10:49am

By Amy Grotta and Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

Through a creative and carefully planned harvest, this mature forest has undergone a structural diversity makeover.

Continuing our series, we’ll now look at steps that woodland owners can take to enhance structural diversity in their forests.  Recall that “structural diversity” refers to the amount of three-dimensional variation in the forest. In other words, a structurally diverse forest has trees of different sizes arranged in uneven patterns across the site.

Why do we care about structural diversity? Structural diversity is important to creating an “older” or “natural” forest look that many people want on their property.

Structural diversity is also a very important part of wildlife habitat. By creating variation in the tree canopy, and creating layers of vegetation at many levels within a forest, you are creating micro-environments. These micro-environments, each with its own set of light, temperature and moisture conditions, allow different sets of plants and animals to flourish. You are setting the stage for biological diversity to develop. Raptors may perch in the upper branches of the tallest trees, while small birds that nest in thickets may find a home lower down. Light-loving shrubs will fill in the sunny openings, while mosses and lichen will be happy in the cool shade of taller trees.

To create structural diversity, we rely on all the same tools in our forest management toolbox that we use to achieve other things in our woods: planting, thinning, harvesting. We just apply them a little differently to produce a different outcome.   Many of the opportunities described below and illustrated in the graphic at the right will be familiar from our last post, since structural and species diversity often go hand in hand.

Preparing to grow a new forest: don’t clean it up too much

After a timber harvest, there will be a lot left behind: limbs and treetops (slash), and sometimes logs with too little value to take to the mill. Part of site preparation involves getting these residues out of the way to make room to plant new trees. Often slash is piled and burned, but leaving those logs and even a few of these piles creates instant structure. They will decompose over decades, providing a shelter for critters and slowly evolving into a substrate for new plants. Check out this article for some great how-to’s and cautions.

Planting a new forest

Since a diversity of tree and shrub species can also greatly enhance future structural diversity by creating different textures or layers in the forest, the steps at planting outlined in our previous post can do double duty.

Tending a developing forest: thin early, thin often and change it up

While a diverse forest is an appealing image to many small woodland owners, what they often actually have is a uniform forest of trees roughly the same size and spacing. In these situations, thinning is the best opportunity to enhance structural diversity.

From top to bottom, examples of young, intermediate and mature conifer forests with low structural diversity

You can use thinning early in the life of a forest to create both horizontal and vertical structure (recall the cookie metaphor for definitions). Some specific ideas for making your forest more structurally diverse through thinning include:

  • Thin early to promote layers of plants on the forest floor.
  • Mix it up with a variable density (rather than uniform) thinning strategy:
    • Leave some areas dense or even unthinned.
    • Thin some other areas heavily to grow big trees and promote regeneration of new trees.
  • Be messy. Leave snags and dead wood behind.
Grand fir started to seed in this stand after an earlier thinning. Structural diversity could be improved by removing a small patch of overstory trees (like the three in the foreground), releasing the trees beneath them.

Opportunities in an older, maturing forest are to create gaps and leave legacies.   If you find a group of young, shade-tolerant trees coming up on the forest floor, you can create a small gap to give them room to grow. Or you can cut a patch and plant it with shade tolerant species such as western hemlock or grand fir to create another canopy layer. Both of these things could be part of a regularly planned thinning harvest.


Any harvest is a chance to enhance the structural diversity of the future forest. Leaving dead wood (both standing and down) is particularly beneficial for wildlife.  If doing a clearcut harvest, you can also leave some live trees, in groups or islands when possible.  Good candidates include trees that are hard to access, have defects, or are intermixed with snags you wish to protect. Even if they blow down, the downed wood is another important structural legacy.

We hope this series has given you some new ideas about how to enhance your woodland diversity and enrich your experience as a landowner. There is lots more information out there to help you work out the details.  Here are a few:

This is an excellent publication from WSU Extension, Diversifying Forest Structure to Promote Wildlife Biodiversity in Western Washington Forests (written for our neighbors to the north, but just as applicable to western Oregon).

Wildlife in Managed Forests: Oregon Forests as Habitat published by Oregon Forest Resources Institute

Woodland Fish and Wildlife Publications

Alternative Forest Management series in the OSU Extension Catalog


The post Growing a Diverse Forest: Steps to a Structural Diversity “Forest Makeover” appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Opportunities to enhance species diversity in small woodlands

Tree Topics - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 12:27pm

By Amy Grotta and Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

Our previous installment of this series introduced the key elements of forest diversity. Species diversity (a.k.a. compositional or biological diversity) is one of those elements.  So how do you achieve it, especially if what you are starting out with is a plantation forest with only a few species? The transition to an older forest with many plant species will not happen quickly. However, at every stage in a forest’s life cycle, there are opportunities and choices one can make to move the needle to a more species-rich forest.

The rest of this article and the accompanying infographic takes us through these choices, stage by stage.

Preparing to grow a new forest: have more than zero tolerance for shrubs

One of your best chances to grow a more diverse mature forest is on a just-logged site, even before you plant any new trees. This is (perhaps ironically) often one of the most diverse stages in forest development, when many sun-loving leafy plants show up.  They provide important food and cover for many birds and other animals. The trick is to balance this vegetation with the needs of growing tree seedlings.  You’ll still need to establish a stand of young trees successfully to meet Forest Practices rules. We’ll look at this stage again later in another article.

After logging, there are typically still native shrubs left behind. Sure, they may have taken a beating, but most will rebound if given the chance. So as you prepare the site for planting, whether with herbicides or machinery, you can intentionally save (choose to keep) some of these shrubs to meet your diversity objectives. Some specific strategies:

  • Identify and mark the shrubs you want to preserve. Consider keeping them in scattered clumps and “sacrificing” the space they occupy, rather than planting trees there.
  • Be selective in the species that you preserve, choosing those that won’t quickly outgrow planted trees. For example, Oregon-grape, cascara, and oceanspray grow slowly, while salmonberry and thimbleberry spread quickly. Bigleaf maple clumps are too competitive for most objectives/situations and should be controlled.
  • Use spot sprays of herbicide instead of a broadcast spray.
  • Evaluate what vegetation is growing on the site, and choose an herbicide strategy that targets the worst competitors while leaving desired vegetation. For example, you could select an herbicide that controls grasses, thistles and other non-woody weeds but is easier on shrubs. Consult product labels and the PNW Weed Management Handbook for guidance.
  • Keep a close eye on things, and quickly take steps to correct a situation if things look like they are getting out of hand.
Young planted trees getting along nicely with broadleaf plants. The dead clumps are bigleaf maples controlled with herbicide.

Establishing a new forest: species and spacing choices

Planting multiple species of trees may seem like an obvious strategy to increase species diversity. Yet it’s not as simple as mixing up the seedlings across your planting site if you want to keep that diversity long-term. Trees all have different growth habits and growth rates. When trees of different growth habits are closely mingled, the faster growing tree tends to win out.  Red alder and Douglas-fir are a good example (see illustration). Plant clumps of individual species rather than an intimate mixture to reduce competition, make subsequent tending of the stand easier, and keep diversity longer. If one of your motivations for having a diverse forest is to have a resilient forest, then keeping a mix of species in the canopy may be important.

Fast-growing alder will overtop and kill neighboring Douglas-fir (top). Instead, plant these species in groups (bottom)

Work with, not against, your site, and use microsites as a “palette” on which to paint your species choices. For example, plant wet areas to cedar, alder, or even ash.

The other planting decision you can use to enhance diversity is tree spacing. By planting trees further apart (say at 12-foot instead of 10-foot), you are giving more room and time for shrubs to re-establish. You can also resist the urge to come back in and replant spots where seedlings did not make it (as long as you’ve met Forest Practices Act reforestation requirements). Instead, allow hardwoods to fill in small gaps.

Tending a young forest: stay proactive

Your job of growing diversity is not done after planting.  Invasive weeds and crowding are two things to keep an eye on.  Some specific tips:

  • Stay on top of invasive weeds before the canopy closes. Resist the temptation to leave blackberries or scotch broom to get shaded out once tree crowns touch. Unfortunately, shade is not a particularly selective form of weed control: by the time the weeds get shaded out, so will many of the understory plants you desire.
  • Extend the life of your understory by thinning early and often.
  • Thinning also is an opportunity to diversify the tree canopy, by choosing to leave behind “underrepresented” species. Thin around and release oaks, madrone, true firs, and any other minor species, as long as they are vigorous. (Don’t try to release suppressed trees that won’t respond to thinning.)

Harvest: leave a legacy

A mature forest can have many kinds of plants growing in the understory that you want to keep. When it comes time to do a timber sale, how can you carry that diversity into the next-generation forest? This is your opportunity to leave legacies.

  • Retain some hardwood trees. Better to leave a single-stemmed bigleaf maple than to cut it and deal with the inevitable stump sprouts.
  • Mark and protect clumps of native shrubs.

The bottom line with all of this is that growing a multi-species forest does not have to be a revolutionary form of forest management. As illustrated above, you can be opportunistic, make proactive decisions, and even small tweaks to your management practices to maintain and enhance species diversity according to your interests. This article provides some ideas, which you can tailor for your own forest. You might want to talk with a professional forester, including your local Extension agent, to design a site-specific strategy.

The next post in this series will look at structural diversity (the other major aspect of forest diversity), and ways to achieve it.

The post Opportunities to enhance species diversity in small woodlands appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Recipes for Growing a Diverse Forest

Tree Topics - Tue, 04/04/2017 - 12:28pm

Brad Withrow-Robinson and Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension.


Many landowners are interested in growing a diverse forest as discussed in the previous post.  Their reasons may include having an attractive woodland retreat, providing habitat for wildlife or having a more resilient forest.  Whatever the reason, knowing what different parts of forest diversity look like is a key step towards getting it.

There are several key parts to diversity: those things that grow and live in a forest, how those things are arranged and when those things happen. Each is shaped or influenced by the physical environment (like soils or elevation) and natural processes (like competition, storms or fire).  Many kinds of diversity can also be enriched by us.

Probably the first thing people think about as diversity is the number and types of plants and animals in the forest. Certainly, what is growing in the forest (the species composition) is an important part of diversity.  A mix of trees which includes cedar and maple along with Douglas-fir is more diverse than monocrop of Douglas-fir alone in the forest canopy.  You can think of the different kinds of plants as the building blocks of a forest, or maybe better, ingredients in a recipe.  An oatmeal raisin cookie is more diverse than an oatmeal cookie.  But not twice as much.  There are many ingredients in cookies that go unobserved or unseen.  While trees are the most obvious and the defining elements of the forest (like the oatmeal and raisins), understory plants, soil microorganisms, fungi, and other elements play less glamorous but essential roles (like the flour, sugar and baking powder) in making the cookie a cookie.



Another easily observed feature of diversity is the forest’s structure, or how things are arranged.   Looking up and down you may see one or more layers of vegetation from the tree canopy to the leafy plants growing on the forest floor.  Looking at these layers, you are looking at the vertical diversity.  An Oreo cookie has more of it than our oatmeal cookie does. This structure affects how the woods look, but also how things work. Having more vertical diversity can be visually appealing.  And because different animals use different parts of this vertical forest structure to forage, roost or nest, it may mean more types of animals using your woods too.


Likewise, looking side to side we can see the texture of the forest (its horizontal diversity).  The woods may be quite uniform throughout, with little difference from place to place.  Or the woods may be uneven, with groups or patches of different things scattered about. These could  be areas with different ages, sizes or species of trees. To picture this horizontal diversity, let’s think about cookies with a similar variety of ingredients but different horizontal structure: chocolate and chocolate chip.  Chocolate cookies are uniform throughout, but chocolate chip cookies are patchy, and more diverse. Like vertical structure, this horizontal structure provides different conditions that may be visually appealing or suit different animals.

Perhaps the least obvious part of woodland diversity is time, or perhaps better, processes that take time. It may be cheating a bit to include time as part of diversity, but as an observer of nature and care-taker of a woodland, it is important for you to recognize its impact on the different parts of diversity.   Some kinds of diversity can happen quickly, others just take time to develop.  Cookie dough is great, but it is not a cookie until it has spent some time in the oven.

Imagine a riparian restoration plantation along a stream. You can quickly create species diversity by planting a mix of species, and horizontal diversity by planting patches of different trees or shrubs rather than blending them together. However, to get vertical diversity with layers including large trees (desired to shade more of the stream longer and/or have large logs to fall in the steam), you need decades, maybe even a century or more for that to fully develop.

As a landowner, you have many opportunities (such as planting, controlling invasives or thinning) to shape your woodland property.  Each is a choice between paths that take you to different destinations, with different outcomes, depending on the recipe you pick. We hope this introduction will help you choose a path to your destination. Coming up in our next article: specific steps you can take to enhance your woodland’s diversity according to you objectives.

But now, it is time for a cup of coffee. And a cookie!

The post Recipes for Growing a Diverse Forest appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Growing a Diverse Forest: Choosing your path

Tree Topics - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 2:45pm

Brad Withrow-Robinson and Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension.

We often hear from landowners that that they want a diverse, natural-looking forest. Their reasons vary.  Some folks are aware of the many ecological benefits that diversity brings to a woodland property, while others may have been inspired by the beauty of an old growth forest.

Old growth forest at HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, Blue River OR

Of course, it takes centuries for an old growth forest to develop and many of our readers have young stands planted within the last decade or two that may look more like this:

Young D-fir plantation in foothills of the Coast Range

So how do you move from one situation to another?

Happily, a landowner has many ways to influence and encourage diversity in their woodlands. Even if you have just bought some recently cut-over land, it does not have to remain a simple timber plantation if you do not want it to be.  You can grow a diverse forest.  And it can be done within decades rather than centuries.  No, it will not be old growth, but it may help reach many of the diversity-related objectives landowners commonly mention, including an attractive forest setting, better habitat for a variety of animals and a resilient forest.

A network of paths leads from any starting point in a woodland’s development. Each crossing is an event or decision that leads in a different direction and towards a different woodland condition.

In this series, we will be exploring the pathways to a diverse forest in western Oregon. These ideas also apply to an oak woodland, a riparian forest as well as an upland conifer-dominated forest.  In our next post we look at what makes a forest diverse and why it matters.  In later posts we will consider turns you can take throughout the life of the forest to restore, enhance and maintain woodland diversity to match your particular objectives.

Another view of pathways, incorporating competitive zones leading to certain outcomes.


The post Growing a Diverse Forest: Choosing your path appeared first on TreeTopics.

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