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Andony Melathopoulos, pollinator health Extension specialist, joins Scott Reed to talk about the statewide Oregon Bee Project initiative. The diversity of the Pacific Northwest’s pollinator species may be unrivaled in the U.S. Led by OSU Extension, Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Forestry, the initiative takes a comprehensive look at the state’s bee population.

As Scott points out, pollinator health is the responsibility of all of us. Tell us what you are doing for pollinator health by commenting on the blog.
Note: The defective “Captcha” security feature has been removed from the blog, so it is much easier to comment/reply!

Scott Reed introduces Becca Gose, general counsel for OSU, in this month’s First Monday Update. “It’s not ‘who you gonna call,’ but ‘when are you gonna call,’” as Scott points out. The Office of General Counsel was essential to the process of bringing Outdoor School on board. The team is a resource to provide you with the legal advice to do your job. Becca shares scenarios where a call to her office is essential.

Do you have questions about how, or when, to use the General Counsel team? Start a conversation in the comment (reply) section.

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Scott Reed reflects on the exceptional commitment Extension staff and faculty make to our communities and looks ahead to three 2018 initiatives.

Change will continue at a fast pace, but what won’t change is our passion for connecting people with information and expertise to help meet local challenges and help Oregon’s people, communities, ecosystems, and economies thrive.

Best wishes for an incredible new year! Share your 2018 resolution or plans to bring joy to your life in the comment section.

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Extension has a vital role to play in student success by offering experiential learning opportunities: community engagement—volunteering and service learning—and job shadowing, co-ops and internships. This month, Scott talks with Sam Angima, assistant dean for Outreach and Engagement in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Extension program leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Download this pdf to learn more about the benefits of experiential learning, including how it increases graduation rates. Sam challenges Extension to include student experiential learning in 2018 program plans.

Use the comment section of the blog to share how your Extension office and program can create experiential learning opportunities for students—in real time and/or virtually.

Economic impact is one of many ways to communicate the value and relevance of OSU Extension’s work in and with communities. Mallory Rahe, an Extension community economist, joined Vice Provost Scott Reed to share highlights from a recent study on the economic impact of local food producers in Central Oregon. They also mention the importance of working with community partners and across programs to build on and broaden this and similar work in the future.

Please post a comment on the blog to let us know how you measure or interpret the economic impact of your Extension work.

To learn more about the OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems, or our cross-program Community Food Systems community of practice, please contact Lauren Gwin.

Ask an Expert is a vital entry point for thousands of people to learn about OSU Extension. Kym Pokorny, Ask an Expert coordinator for Oregon, and Chrissy Lucas, an OSU Extension question wrangler, joined Vice Provost Scott Reed to reveal best practices for answering questions. More experts are needed. To join the ranks of Ask an Expert experts, please get in touch with Kym online, or at 541-737-3380.

Tell us the most unusual Ask an Expert question you’ve had to answer by posting a comment on the blog.


Jim Johnson, senior associate dean and program leader for Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) Extension, joins Scott Reed for the September Monday Update. Scott learns FNR’s secret for using time and FTE to effectively tackle statewide challenges.

How can we reserve FTE to address challenges that are beyond one person to solve and how can we work in teams to accomplish things that we can’t do individually. Share your thoughts by commenting on the blog.

Photo and video by Jill Wells

Fall 2017 will see the launch of new state-funded outdoor schools administered by OSU Extension Service. Susan Sahnow, interim Outdoor School director, shares with Vice Provost Scott Reed what it means for OSU Extension Service.

Share a memorable outdoor school experience—or a profound experience you’ve had in the great outdoors—in the comment section below. 

One of the greatest natural cosmic coincidences likely to happen in the Pacific Northwest in our lifetimes occurs on August 21: the total eclipse of the sun. It is an experience that will be shared by millions. Visit for information about how to view the eclipse safely and much more. Learn about the events OSU has planned for the phenomenon.

For information about the eclipse in Spanish, click here.

The University Outreach and Engagement blog is reinstating People Profiles. This month, learn something about one of your colleagues: Tracy Crews. “Stop by” and say hello!

Written by Bennett Hall, Corvallis Gazette-Times, June 15, 2017. Reprinted with permission.


OSU graduate Madelaine Corbin was in the Community Art Studio Class and participated in the Extension Reconsidered Creative Oregon series. Part of the groundwork for “The Mobile Color Laboratory” came from conversations Creative Coast activities in Newport and elsewhere with OSU Master Gardeners.


Madelaine Corbin stands next to her art project, the "Mobile Color Lab," in Fairbanks Hall at Oregon State University on June 7. Photo: Amanda Loman, Gazette-Times
Madelaine Corbin stands next to her art project “The Mobile Color Lab” in Fairbanks Hall at Oregon State University on June 7. Photo: Amanda Loman, Gazette-Times

As they are every year at this time [in June], the walls of Oregon State University’s Fairbanks Gallery are adorned with the thesis projects of graduating art majors.

But this year’s [2017] show has something different: Parked in the middle of the floor is a 4-by-8-foot flatbed utility trailer holding four galvanized planters filled with colorful flowers.

It’s the latest iteration of “The Mobile Color Laboratory: A Natural Pigment and Dye Garden,” an evolving project that has become something of an obsession for Madelaine Corbin, who will graduate from OSU on Saturday with a bachelor of fine arts degree.

Displayed in the midst of a gallery, it clearly appears to be a work of art — but its homely materials and functional design just as clearly mark it as part of the workaday world.

For Corbin, that’s kind of the point.

“The idea is really to try and experiment with community engagement, art and horticulture, see where those boundaries are (and) open up those boundaries between art and community and campus life,” she said. “That’s why it’s mobile, because it really exists in those in-between spaces.”

The project had its genesis when Corbin was working in OSU professor Mas Subramanian’s chemistry lab, where she was part of a team that found a way to synthesize a previously unknown blue pigment. Another source of inspiration came when she did a practicum with New York artist Mary Mattingly, who created an edible landscape on a barge that floated through the city’s waterways.

Corbin really liked the idea of taking art out of the gallery and bringing it to the people.

“I started looking at how people could inject color into their everyday lives,” said Corbin, a 2012 Corvallis High graduate. “My project is focused more on color and the origins of color and how we could grow our own.”

An earlier version of the project was built on a repurposed bicycle trailer.

For the current incarnation, Corbin assembled a trailer kit purchased at a local hardware store. She used recycled cedar boards and fence posts for the deck. The plants were grown from donated starts or seeds or bought with donated funds (a “license plate” on the back of the trailer lists the names of the donors). At some point, Corbin says, she may add some PVC hoops and plastic sheeting to turn the whole thing into a rolling greenhouse.

Madelaine Corbin's rolling garden, cum art project. Photo: Amanda Loman, Gazette-Times.
Madelaine Corbin’s rolling garden, cum art project called “The Mobile Color Laboratory: A Natural Pigment and Dye Garden.” Photo: Amanda Loman, Gazette-Times.

Both versions of “The Mobile Color Lab” are designed to be towed to various sites for art workshops. Corbin has also designed two companion pieces — a field guide to the plants in the lab and a workbook with space for notes, sketches, rubbings and so on — that can be ordered online.

At Corbin’s workshops, participants are encouraged to use plants from the rolling garden in a variety of ways. Some, such as marigolds, sunflowers and dahlias, can be simmered to produce dyes for tinting textiles. Basil is edible, echinacea and chamomile have medicinal properties, and still others — the pasqueflower plant, for instance — have elegantly filigreed leaves that can be pounded onto pretreated cloth in an ancient Japanese printmaking process.

“Part of why this is called a laboratory is because they’re total experiments,” Corbin said. “I have no idea what’s going to happen, and that’s really exciting to me.”

Of course, she could have done it the other way around by setting up workshops in a gallery or art studio and inviting people to attend. But Corbin really liked the idea of taking art out of the gallery and bringing it to the people.

“Sometimes the gallery can be intimidating, and this project really wants to be approachable,” she said.

“And the reversal of that is kind of the same question I have: Why, out in the world, do we not see more things as art? I just love that idea that you’re actually immersed in it all the time and you don’t have to go to a special place to see it.”

After graduation, Corbin will be showing a version of her “Mobile Color Laboratory” at the highly regarded Blackfish Gallery in Portland and starting a job as assistant to the director of Djerassi, a residential retreat for artists in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco.

She’s not sure what direction her own art will take next, but she intends to keep on questioning the assumptions that create artificial barriers between the art world and everyday life.

“That’s kind of the responsibility of an artist is to break out questions and think of them in different ways,” she said.

“I get that way every day. I have so many questions, and if the art is doing that for you, then, oh my God, it’s working!”

Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

Posted by Rick Cooper, Oregon Sea Grant, Breaking Waves Blog, July 25, 2017


2017 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.
2017 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.

A new video shows how Oregon students are preparing for technical careers by building underwater robots for an annual competition in which they demonstrate their skills in front of engineers and scientists.

The video, which was produced by Oregon State University with funding from Oregon Sea Grant, was filmed during the 2017 Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition, which Oregon Sea Grant coordinates. It is one of about 30 regional contests around the world in which students qualify for an annual international competition.

Contestants often have to troubleshoot in real time. (photo by Daniel Cespedes)
Contestants often have to troubleshoot in real time. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.

“Our goal is to really get students interested in science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — and connect them with marine technicians and engineers and marine scientists that utilize remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs,” Tracy Crews, the manager of Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program and OSU Extension Service, said in the video.

Thirty-one teams from Oregon participated in this year’s competition, which was held in April at the pool at the Lincoln City Community Center. More than 200 students from elementary school through college demonstrated devices they built.

“For students who struggle with conventional school, it’s a chance for them to really shine,” Melissa Steinman, a teacher at Waldport High School, said in the video.

Contestants operate their underwater devices remotely, and sometimes with a video monitor. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.
Contestants operate their underwater devices remotely, and sometimes with a video monitor. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.

A new theme is chosen each year. This year’s theme highlighted the role of remotely operated vehicles in monitoring the environment and supporting industries in port cities. Like port managers and marine researchers, the students 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.

“A couple of teams, they just nailed it,” Ken Sexton, one of the judges and owner of The Sexton Corp., said in the video.

Contestants in MATE ROV competition learn engineering and problem solving skills. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.
Contestants in MATE ROV competition learn engineering and problem solving skills. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.

Students were also tasked with creating mock companies, thinking like entrepreneurs and working together to “manufacture, market, and sell” their robots. The students gained project management and communication skills as they managed a budget, worked as a team, brainstormed solutions and delivered presentations.

“Some of my team members are really, really good at programming, now,” Natalie DeWitt, a senior at Newport High School, said in the video. “And we have one kid who is really good at using CAD software design, now. And they actually had internships over the summer … those experiences we had in robotics gave us qualifications for jobs that we wouldn’t have had before.”

“It’s really good problem-solving, teamwork, just everything all together. It really helps … you have better skills for the future,” said Kyle Brown, a junior at Bandon High School.

Robotics poster presentation by a team from Newport High School. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.
Robotics poster presentation by a team from Newport High School. Photo: Daniel Cespedes.

Photos from the 2017 contest in Oregon are on Oregon Sea Grant’s Flickr page at