Natural resource science and youth leadership development programs
The success of our After-School 4H Youth Development programs for middle and high school students has led us to leverage these resources for in-school programs, targeted to students who initially did not succeed in the traditional school environment. The Fresh Start program at Roberts High School now includes a “Fresh YES” class – a Youth Enviro Squad that applies place-based service learning in more direct application to enriching other academic skills. These students write and produce video presentations of their experiences, including documenting invasive and native plant species, and producing a documentary on vandalism in outdoor recreation areas.
A pilot program with previously expelled middle school students is Salem Outdoor Stewards (SOS) at the Roberts school. These youth are in the field several days per week applying their stewardship skills while learning about the components of our natural environment and the best ways to protect and enhance it.
Beyond the science component, these students have honed their work ethic, developed stronger interpersonal and communication skills, and show increased interest and enthusiasm for the class.
Natural and Enhanced Infrastructure Education; Maintenance
We strive to work with community organizations and individuals who seek science-based information, resources and assistance for sustainable actions in their communities and on their own lands. Watershed councils and outdoor recreation enhancement groups are active. We offer Small Acreage Landowner Conservation Stewardship Eight-Week Workshops based on interest and need. Contact us if you would like more information about these workshops.
A key barrier to sustainability for our rural communities is adequate alternative transportation between communities and to Salem and beyond. We work with Willamette Valley Railway directly and through a non-profit “Cascade Scenic Railway” to improve the 28-mile line that connects Woodburn to Mt. Angel, Silverton, Aumsville and Stayton. Improved capacity and purchase of the line will allow greater industrial and commercial use of the line, with eventual passenger excursion service.
We also work with the Salem-Keizer Transit district to sustain and grow the CARTS (Chemeketa Area Regional Transit System) that connects communities in Marion and Polk counties with scheduled service Monday through Friday. http://www.cherriots.org/CARTS_schedules.htm
Acknowledgements and Program Support
Programs are supported primarily through foundation grant programs, with about five percent public funding the past two years. Youth fund raise their travel expenses. We especially want to thank the State Farm youth Advisory Board for their generous support. Additional contributions and donations are most welcome through the 4-H Foundation.
Our partnerships are more than links to the community. They are the essence of our ability to leverage both resources and professional knowledge. Our educational programs are enriched with science-tested best sustainability practices, economic reality and local community context. Many partnerships have worksites. Many provide professional expertise and knowledge critical to the understanding of multiple variables of law, natural and built systems, natural resource management and competing interests. Our partners are the building blocks for the economic, social and environment components of sustainability.
Agri-Plas - Recycling Plastics
Bill Sanderson River Rafting Tours
Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel
Cascade Scenic Railway; Willamette Valley Railway
City of Salem
Kettle Chips – Industrial Sustainability
Marion County Board of Commissioners
Mud Slough Wetland Mitigation Bank
Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center – Old growth forest ecology overnight program
Oregon AgFest - Annual Exhibition
Oregon Department of Agriculture – Entomology, Pesticide and Herbicide Management
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife - River Seining, Vertebrate and Macro-Invertebrates
Oregon Garden – Garden and Wetland Management – Oak Grove and Settling Ponds and Trails
Oregon Parks and Recreation
Oregon State University
Pringle Creek Watershed Council
Salem Audubon Society
Salem-Keizer Transit District - CARTS Rural Transit Service
Salem Rotary - Yurt outdoor Classroom
SOLV - Oregon Beach Clean-Up
State Farm Insurance Youth Advisory Board
US Forest Service - Wildlife Vegetation management
Xerces Society – Macro-invertebrates