Excerpts from the Spring/Summer 2016 Confluence, an Oregon Sea Grant publication –
drought map May 2015_National Drought Mitigation Center
May 2015 U.S. Drought Monitor Map, National Drought Mitigation Center

Editor’s note: Climate change is perhaps the toughest problem facing our world today. This week’s blog features excerpts from the most recent issue of Confluence, a publication produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG). OSG works on issues related to freshwater and marine waterways and climate change is dramatically impacting both.

Oregon Sea Grant has an interesting history and is an integral part of OSU’s community outreach and engagement model. Housed on the OSU campus, OSG is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and funds research conducted at OSU and other universities. Climate change, tsunami preparedness, and wave energy are three areas of research priority.

According to the OSG website, “congress created the NOAA Sea Grant program in 1968 in an effort to bring the kind of national attention and resources to ocean and coastal issues that the USDA’s Extension Service had brought to rural agricultural communities since the early 20th century. In 1971, Oregon was designated one of the nation’s first four Sea Grant states, along with Washington, Texas and Rhode Island. Today Sea Grant programs are found in every coastal state; and Oregon’s is still widely considered one of the very top programs.

Drought map intensity key
Drought intensity

“With resident Extension faculty stationed up and down the coast, a core of marine educators and aquarists at the (now Hatfield) Marine Science Center, and capable scientists, communicators and administrators on the OSU campus, Sea Grant has become an important part of OSU’s research and public engagement portfolio.”

Drought map May 2016_National Drought Mitigation Center
May 2016 U.S. Drought Monitor Map, National Drought Mitigation Center

Four new videos produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) show how certain business practices, farming techniques, and riparian management strategies are better poised to tolerate droughts in Oregon. The videos, produced by OSG videographer Vanessa Ciccone in collaboration with John Stevenson, a climate specialist with OSG Extension at OSU, can be found on the OSG YouTube Channel along with other fascinating videos.

 

The short videos form a series called Documenting the Drought: Mitigating the Effects in Oregon. OSG created them in response to the state’s 2015 drought, said Stevenson. “We found that the people and places that did better during the drought were the ones where investment had been made in water conservation and restoration efforts over the past decade.”

 

The conditions that led up to the 2015 drought is described in one video. Another features Frank Burris, the county leader of the OSU Extension Service in Curry County and OSG’s watershed health specialist for the southern Oregon coast, describing riparian restoration projects along Pea and Gallagher Creeks. The projects were prompted by concern over the effects of rising stream temperatures and reduced stream flow on salmon, a mainstay of the region’s recreational fishing economy.

 

If you’ve skied in Ashland, one of the videos may be of particular interest to you. Mt. Ashland Ski Area adapted to sparse winter snowfall by relocating snow and was able to open for 38 days in 2014-15 versus none in the prior ski season. During the summer months, you’re likely to be able to enjoy ziplining, a bungee trampoline, disc golf and concerts, all of which will supplement declining ski-season income.

 

In another video, Bill Buhrig, a crops specialist with OSU Extension in Malheur County talks about planting faster maturing plants as a success strategy for farmers where a full season of water is no longer available. Strategies to conserve water through buried pipelines and gravity systems are described and extend the irrigation season by two to three weeks.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy —
Master Gardener
Get your gardening questions answered by OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers like Judi Sanders. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

How often do you find exceptional, customized advice for free?

If you, family members, or friends have a gardening question, there are two ways to get free, reliable advice. No, it’s not an Internet search! Email a question to Ask and Expert, or pick up the phone and call a Master Gardener. Both resources are courtesy of OSU Extension Service.

Kym Pokorny, news writer for OSU Extension and part of the Extension and Experiment Station Communications (EESC) news team, recently wrote an article about Master Gardeners. Below are a few highlights of the article; the full article can be found here.

Twenty-eight county Extension offices host Master Gardeners. Novice or experienced gardeners with questions are encouraged to bring samples or send photos of the plant or insect into the local Extension office. Then let the Master Gardener go to work to comprehensively research your question.

It takes almost 70 hours of intensive training to become a Master Gardener, then every year thereafter additional training for recertification is required. After certification, Master Gardeners are asked to donate 70 hours of their time for community service. (In my experience, quite a few volunteer many times that amount of time!) Manning the phones and having office hours in an Extension office are ways to fulfill their volunteer commitment. Master gardeners also work directly with the public at farmer’s markets, plant sales, garden shows, county fairs, demonstration gardens, schools, and correctional facilities. Most counties offer a seasonal slate of classes, too.

MG_OrangeBlack_Logo-102x106Gail Langellotto, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture, College of Agricultural Sciences, is the statewide master gardener coordinator, a program that encompasses more than 3,000 active volunteers. Training is essential. “A lot of times people call wanting verification of something they’ve looked up on the Internet,” Langellotto said. “We use that as a jumping off point for a conversation. We make sure a person knows the questions to ask to get the answers they need.” And that’s why scientific advice, customized to situations in Oregon are so important.

You may also want to check out OSU Extension’s Gardening Community Page for information on a variety of gardening topics. The site includes gardening tips, videos, podcasts, monthly calendars of outdoor chores, how-to publications, and information about the Master Gardener program.

OSU also has several publications, of specific interest to home gardeners, available online on the OSU Extension Publication Catalog.

 

 

Written by Ann Marie Murphy —
Katie Linder
Dr. Katie Linder, Research Director, Ecampus

Every day I learn something new. Today I learned that Oregon State Ecampus launched a podcast on research literacy in higher education. The “Research in Action” podcast is hosted by Katie Linder, Ecampus research director.

 

(Ecampus is part of Extended Campus, which rolls up to Educational Outreach, and then to the Division of University Outreach and Engagement. The Division has a full and flourishing family tree!)

 

If asked, I would guess that the podcast focuses on research related to online learning. But no, its purpose is broader than that. “Research in Action” addresses topics and issues facing researchers across the nation with goals to increase research literacy and build community among researchers.

 

For those in the Division conducting research, there is much to learn and contribute. For those of us curious about the scientific process and research conducted at universities, accessible information is also available.

 

Podcasts are recorded and are available on the Ecampus Research Unit website and on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

 

“No researcher has all of the skills or expertise, and it’s incredibly valuable to have researchers come in with a diverse range of experiences and talk about these niche areas,” Linder said.

 

“Research in Action” has already published four episodes and has received more than 500 downloads. Over a dozen guests have been pre-recorded and more than 10 episodes are in production.

 

Upcoming “Research in Action” episodes include:

  • Jim Kroll, Office of the Inspector General, National Science Foundation, discussing research misconduct.
  • Nina Huntemann, researcher at edX, learning new research skills at mid-career.
  • Joshua Weller, psychology researcher from OSU, discussing psychometrics.

 

Source: April 28, 2016 press release written by Heather Turner

Written by Heather Turner, April 4, 2016, for Summer Session, Extended Campus —

 

Editor’s note: This post is about OSU’s Natural Resources Leadership Academy (NRLA), which is part of Summer Session. Summer Session is part of Extended Campus, which is part of the Division of University Outreach and Engagement. The NRLA brings together professionals and graduate students from across the world to learn from experts. Its hands-on education at its best for natural resources professionals.

 

Climate change is often a heated topic, no pun intended. Many have different ideas and beliefs, and sometimes the issue can cause a passionate debate.

John Matthews, however, isn’t interested in discussing whether or not climate change is real. His goal is to create a collaborative environment where people of diverse backgrounds work together to find sustainable solutions to climate change and climate adaptation.

“I believe this topic is important because it is the central problem of our time,” he says. “It’s a hard problem, it’s an important problem, it’s an ongoing problem, but it’s also a tractable problem.”

To get the conversation going this summer, John will teach a track, or course, Resilient and Robust Resource Management, at Oregon State University’s fifth annual Natural Resources Leadership Academy (NRLA).

“This course is going to focus on sustainability as a moving target, especially the aspect of climate change and how we relate to ecosystems and to economics,” he says.

John’s track will be held during the second week of the NRLA, June 20-24, along with a track titled Environmental Water Transactions. Week 1 of the academy, held June 12-17, features three tracks: Natural Resources and Community Values, Collaborative Governance, and Water Conflict Management.

John was the ideal person to lead this track on resource management. He serves as secretariat coordinator and co-founder of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) – a global network of more than 800 professionals who are focused on mainstreaming the process of climate adaptation in their work.

“Having someone of John’s caliber and experience here at OSU is a real boon to the academy and to the campus community at large,” says NRLA Academic Director and Instructor Aaron Wolf. “He works globally at the highest levels and will bring vast expertise into the classroom. Moreover, given the structure of the academy, those interested in the tracks offered the first week can supplement their training with John’s track and vice versa.”

The track will use global case studies to approach climate adaptation from several perspectives, including how the eco-hydrological landscape responds to climate shifts, how built and managed aspects of the landscape interact with climate change, how a variety of institutions engage with non-stationary management, and how governance frameworks and management agreements encompass dynamic institutional and hydrological relationships.

“This is the time, this is the topic that young people really need to begin to consider what the implications are for their work going forward,” John says. “I cannot stress enough that our generation, the next generation, my great-grandchildren are really going to be worried about how is it that we respond to ongoing climate impacts.”

John, an aquatic ecologist, will be taking a holistic approach to his NRLA track, where he will co-teach with experts from a wide range of backgrounds, including an economist, an engineer and a geographer.

“No single discipline has all of the answers,” he says. “The state of the science is moving so rapidly now that if we’re not engaged in a full conversation between researchers, practitioners and the policy world, then we won’t come to an effective solution in time.”

Having completed postdoctoral studies at Oregon State almost a decade ago and living in Corvallis for 10 years, John is a neighbor, member of the community and now colleague at Oregon State.

“What I’m most looking forward to from the Natural Resources Leadership Academy is seeing not just our class working in isolation, developing its own insights by itself, but interacting with all of the other classes,” he says. “Having a broader conversation, a family of conversations that are coming together, feeding and building on each other.

“I hope participants come out of this class with a very positive attitude toward climate change. It’s something they can successfully integrate into their work and develop useful and sustainable solutions for.”