Polk Extension Citizen Advisory Network (PECAN)

Oregon State University Extension Service, Polk County




Program Areas



Purpose – Advise Extension, the District Board of Directors (Polk County Commissioners) and District Financial Officer on how resources are allocated and people are served in the county, and Advocate  on behalf of the OSU Extension Service in Polk County

Membership – People who support OSU Extension Service’s mission and related programs and represent the diversity of Polk County citizens, communities, and organizations.

Advisory Roles

  • Provide advice on current needs, future trends, program priorities, and resource development and allocation for serving Polk County citizens, businesses, and organizations.
  • Serve as liaison between Extension Service, elected officials, local communities and organizations to increase partnerships, improve relationships, and leverage efforts for current and future education programs.

Advocacy Roles

  • Advocate and build support for Extension programs and related budget and fundraising with county commissioners and other elected officials, state and local organizations, businesses, and individuals. 
  • Coordinate efforts with OSU Extension Service’s statewide Citizens Advisory Network. 

PECAN Structure

All members serve as advisors and advocates for Extension to volunteers, citizens, communities, organizations, elected officials and other stakeholders. They help identify issues, challenges and driving forces facing Polk County, review current OSU efforts within Polk County, identify needed education/research efforts and help obtain other available resources and partners.

Barbara Nichols
Vice Chair Darrel Ward
Recorder Cristina Oliveros-Fults

Program Liaisons 

Some members will be identified as Program Liaisons.  They report recommendations to PECAN based on their discussions and involvement with program faculty and their related networks.

Program Area  
Lead Faculty  
PECAN Liaison
Agriculture/Small Farms Gene Pirelli & Amy Garrett
Kathy Hadley & Jim Clawson
4-H/Youth Development Suzi Busler & Judi Peters Joyce Wahl
Family & Community Health Debra Minar-Driscoll Diane Kliewer
Master Gardener/Urban Hort Neil Bell
Dolores May & Darrell Ward
Forestry & Nat. Resource Brad Withrow-Robinson Bob Feldman


Task Groups

Ad Hoc groups established to carry out specific tasks within a designated time frame.  The Task Group Chair will usually be a PECAN member and Task Group members can be non-PECAN members.

Steering Committee

Provide leadership, overall direction, communication and representation for PECAN to Extension administrator, staff, OSU administration, state advisory network, District Board of Directors and District Administrator/Budget officer. This will include tracking progress and making recommendations for network actions, providing leadership for communications and outreach, attending periodic Service District update meetings with the Board of Directors, and participating in other administrative functions as necessary.

Current Members:, Barbara Nichols, Dolores May, Darrell Ward, Jim Clawson


Budget Committee Work with the Extension Regional Administrator, and County Administrator to develop a proposed budget and supporting documents, explore opportunities for non-tax funding, report recommendations to the PECAN.

Current Members: Barbara Nichols & Darrell Ward


Communications Committee

Develop a communications strategy (internal and external), Identify volunteers to assist with communications processes, Explore non-traditional opportunities, networking among community groups, report recommendations to the PECAN.

Current Members: Jim Clawson, Susan Busler, Alisha Atha