Martin Luther King, Jr. asked the question: What are you doing for others? To honor his life, service and sacrifice, take a moment to learn about several ways the 13,000 OSU Extension Service volunteers serve the people of Oregon.
Without pollinators, most plants cannot produce fruit and seeds. Pollinators such as bees, bats, butterflies and birds help pollinate over 75% of our flowering plants, and nearly 75% of our corps.1
The almost 500 people that have enrolled in the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program understand the importance of bees to our food supply. OSU Extension Service created the program to help people help our struggling bee population. Participants are paired with mentors in cities around the state. They learn to harvest honey, treat for pests and diseases, and help colonies survive the winter.2
Graduates of the beekeeper program serve others: each is required to share their new knowledge, for example with beekeeping clubs and schools.
Speaking of feeding Oregonians, unemployment and the increasing cost of living are forcing more Oregonians to seek food assistance. To help stretch limited budgets, the OSU Extension Service and the Oregon Food Bank launched the Seed to Supper program, a free, five-week gardening course taught in English and Spanish. The course enables novice gardeners to affordably grow some of their own food.
Extension-trained Master Gardeners teach participants where to find free and reduced-cost soil, compost, seeds, starts, trellis materials, mulch, tools, garden space and OSU Extension gardening publications.2 Master Gardeners also serve the people of Oregon with their knowledge, passion for gardening and a minimum of 70 hours of volunteer service (though many dedicated Master Gardeners volunteer many times the expected hours).
Master Woodland Managers share their knowledge with other landholders. About 70,000 small woodland owners hold title to nearly 5 million acres, or 40 percent, of the state’s private forestland. Each year, they harvest about 11 percent of the state’s annual wood production. But not all of them have a background in forestry or know what to do with their land.
To help small private landowners, the OSU Extension Service created the Master Woodland Manager Program, which educates these owners on topics such as management planning, ecology and forest inventory methods. In return for 80 hours of instruction from professional foresters and forestry instructors, the trainees agree to volunteer a similar number of hours to help other small woodland owners. On average, most Master Woodland Managers have volunteered for almost 10 years. Some have served for more than 20 years!
Since its inception in 1983, nearly 500 landowners have completed the program, volunteered close to 96,000 hours and reported over 130,000 contacts with the public, family forestland owners and various organizations.2
Thank you to the OSU Extension – and its many volunteers – for serving the people of Oregon and providing meaningful ways for volunteers to pursue their areas of interests and passions while also serving the people of Oregon.
Tell us your favorite story of service! Don’t be shy.
2Source: Bridges to Prosperity