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 c.kr/s/aHskYZdMiF

 

Based on a Digital Measures impact report by Stacey Sowders and Patrick Willis, Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development, Metro Region

 

Mariachi STEAM Summer Camp rehearsal, summer of 2017. Photo: Ann Murphy.
Mariachi STEAM Summer Camp rehearsal, summer of 2017. Photo: Ann Murphy.

Mariachi STEAM Summer Camp offers middle and high school Hispanic musicians an immersive musical experience while emphasizing exploration of STEAM topics (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).

Hispanic students are currently the largest minority group in the Oregon public school system, and they score lower than national averages on math and science tests. Their participation and success in higher education is also significantly lower than other youth populations. Using music as the common denominator, the Mariachi STEAM Summer Camp stimulates curiosity about and interest in STEAM careers.

The Mariachi STEAM Summer Camp is the brainchild of Romanna Flores, a dedicated 4-H STEM volunteer and Intel employee. Started in 2016 and now in its second year, the camp has created enthusiastic participants and supporters.

“I did not think college was an opportunity for me before this camp.” Student testimonial

In 2016, underserved youth from diverse schools in Portland, Hillsboro and Forest Grove participated in a five-day residential Mariachi Camp on the OSU campus in Corvallis. Music-focused activities introduced students to music theory and audio processing concepts, and connected music to STEAM concepts, all while advancing their music performance skills. Activities included:

  • Assembling a musical greeting card with electrical components
  • Digital audio recording
  • Three-dimensional model construction and printing
  • Rehearsals
  • Performances
Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez, assistant professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez, assistant professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, helps student with a science and math activity. Photo: Alice Phillips.

Students learned to analyze the properties of audio signals from their own digitally recorded music files using MATLAB. OSU’s Dr. Cotilla-Sanchez introduced basic filtering techniques and demonstrated the math behind those filters.

Intel volunteers led a technology workshop that combined digital audio editing with an introduction to hardware and electronics. The result was a personalized musical greeting card.

Oregon State University students led recreational activities and provided invaluable guidance to college preparedness and expectations.

 

Quotes from the 2016 cohort:

“I feel like it would be fun just to push our limits and see more parts of OSU and their classes and what it takes to be in OSU.”

 

“After learning about the technology … I wanted more time because of how fun it was.”

 

“I loved to learn about the technology like MATLAB and making music with SoundTrap. Now I can make music anytime anywhere!”

 

2016 camp leadership included:

  • Romanna Flores – Intel Project Manager (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers)
  • Richard Flores – Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Daniel Bosshardt – Hillsboro School District (Music Instructor)
  • Lesslie Nunez – Forest Grove School District (Music Instructor)
  • Sativa Cruz – OSU Student, Graduate Research – Environmental Sciences

Funding was provided by the 4-H Foundation, Oregon State University Precollege Program, Hillsboro School District, Intel, individual donors, registration fees from families, and in-kind donations by OSU Extension 4-H in Washington County.

2016 Mariachi STEAM Summer Camp participants are ready for the final camp performance dressed in traditional Mariachi costumes.
2016 Mariachi STEAM Summer Camp participants are ready for the final camp performance dressed in traditional Mariachi costumes.

At the request of the 2016 cohort, the 2017 program expanded to a seven-day and six-night experience. It continues the tradition of music rehearsals, music theory and composition and the history of Mariachi music, all culminating in a concert.

Throughout each day, math, science and technology activities engage the 30-youth cohort. Several high school graduates from the 2016 inaugural cohort returned in 2017 to work as camp counselors. Other students from last year had such a memorable experience they returned for a second year of Mariachi Camp.

A little about Mariachi

  • In 2011, UNESCO recognized mariachi, a hard-hitting, lively music, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • The music originated in the center-west of Mexico. Over the decades, the music that transformed from a regional rural folk music into an urban form of music that is viewed as quintessentially Mexican.
  • A 10-day International Mariachi Festival is held each year in Guadalajara. It attracts more than 500 mariachis (bands), who perform in concert halls and city streets.
  • Traditional mariachi instruments are trumpets; violins; guitar; the vihuela, a high-pitched, round-backed guitar that provides rhythm; and a bass guitar called a guitarrón, which also provides rhythm. Six violins, two trumpets, and one each of the guitar, vihuela and guitarrón makes up the ideal mariachi band.
  • Historically, mariachi groups have been made up of men but there is growing acceptance of female mariachis.
  • Big-city radio stations, movie studios, and record companies took mariachi music to new audiences throughout Mexico and abroad beginning in the 1930s.
  • There is not a lead singer in Mariachi.  Everyone in the ensemble does some vocalization even if it is just during the chorus parts.

Sources: Wikipedia, Smithsonian, TeacherVision

 

Written by Ann Marie Murphy. Photos by Stephen Ward, Extension and Experiment Station Communications.

 

Pacific Seafood
Tour of Pacific Coast Seafood’s Tongue Point processing operations.

The inaugural Clatsop County Commercial Fisheries Tour welcomed—and enlightened—a hundred guests in Astoria on May 31, 2017. The goal of the first-ever community organized fisheries tour was to educate local, state and federal elected leaders about the economic value of and sustainable management practices used by the seafood processing and fishing industries. The event provided a forum for open dialogue and relationship building among community leaders, fishermen, seafood processors, and other stakeholders involved in the commercial fishing industry.

 

The fisheries tour audience learned:

  • Fishing is a meaningful way of life.
  • North Coast fisheries inject millions of dollars into the state’s economy.
  • Labor shortages and housing availability for seasonal workers are critical issues facing the industry.
  • Newer net and trap technology let non-target fish to escape, virtually eliminating bycatch.
  • Federal, state and industry cooperation—and using the best science available—ensure long-term sustainable commercial, cultural and recreational fisheries.

 

The goal of the fisheries tour is to help decision-makers understand the industry and its issues.”  Patrick Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant and OSU Extension Service county leader for Clatsop County

 

Amanda Gladics
Amanda Gladics, Oregon Sea Grant Extension, welcoming guests at the inaugural Clatsop County Commercial Fisheries Tour, May 31, 2017.

The fishing community on the North Coast identified the need for better-informed community leaders and came together to educate, inform and connect with elected officials, including Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, government agency staff, local bankers, and other local decision-makers. OSU Extension in Clatsop County played an indispensable role in the event, but it was a community effort. In addition to Amanda Gladics, coastal fisheries Extension faculty member with Oregon Sea Grant; Patrick Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant; and Lindsay Davis, OSU Extension – Clatsop County; other steering committee members included Andrew Bornstein, Bornstein Seafoods; Hiram Cho, Pacific Coast Seafoods; John Corbin, Buck & Ann Fisheries; Kurt Englund, Englund Marine & Industrial Supply; Kevin Leahy, Clatsop Economic Development Resources, Chang Lee, Great Ocean Da Yang Seafood Inc.; and Scott McMullen, Oregon Fishermen’s Cable Committee.

 

“The steering committee wanted to show that the fishing industry is a vital, driving force of our North Coast economy,” said Amanda Gladics. “The OSU Extension Service served to convene the steering committee and worked with them to refine and prioritize their goals. OSU Extension in Clatsop County also supports an annual forestry tour, now in its 27th year, that served as a model for the fisheries tour. It was really satisfying to facilitate this community-led learning experience and see such a positive response from community leaders.”

 

Paul Kujala
Paul Kujala, Skipanon Brand Seafood, talks about the groundfish fishery.

The regional and global connections of Clatsop County’s commercial fishing sector were highlighted during the opening presentations and as participants visited WCT Marine & Construction Inc., a marine repair facility, Pacific Coast Seafoods’ temporary processing facility at Tongue Point, the Great Ocean Da Yang Seafood Inc. processing facility, and over lunch at Englund Marine and Industrial Supply, a marine supplier. Questions posed by the audience deepened the understanding of the issues:

Q: Are we getting new fishermen?

WCT Marine & Construcvtion Inc.
Touring Marine repair and boatyards with WCT Marine & Construction Inc. Construction Inc. hosting.

A: It is harder to find good crew and there is not enough demand for a community college fisheries degree program. People can make a good living, but crewing or working in canneries is hard work.

Q: How do we sustain our fleet?

A: Educate high school counselors that fisheries is a good job. All the fisheries commission will start going to job fairs.

Q: What do we need to do to build the ship repair and new vessel construction businesses in Astoria?

A: Substantial commitments are needed from the state, county, port and city to improve the port. For Tongue Point to be a regionally competitive ship repair facility, the port would need to install a boatlift, deepen waters, address contamination issues and replace sewage infrastructure. There is nothing else on the North Coast like J&H and WCT Marine, but from the port’s perspective, the investment economics do not pencil out (the port currently loses $260,000/year and a boat lift costs $4 million).

 

WCT Marine & Construction
Community leaders, business owners, and politicians tour marine repair and boatyards with WCT Marine & Construction Inc.

Presenters highlighted Oregon’s major fishing sectors: Dungeness crab, pink shrimp, groundfish, albacore tuna, and salmon.

 

Dungeness crab is the backbone of Oregon fisheries. It experienced a record $60 million harvest in 2017. It takes about four years for a Dungeness crab to reach harvestable size. Strict guidelines ensure small and female crabs are returned to the ocean to safeguard future harvests.

  • The Oregon crab fleet has 424 boats.
  • Crab Season typically runs from December to August.
  • There are six major ports running the length of the Oregon Coast.

To learn more about the crabbing industry and its importance to Oregon, visit OregonDungeness.org.

 

Amanda Gladics and Willie Toristoja
Amanda Gladics (left) and Willie Toristoja, yard superintendent for WCT Marine & Construction Inc.

Did you know that Oregon has a shrimp fishery? The Oregon Trawl Commission provides leadership to the shrimp and groundfish fisheries. Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats. There are more trawlers in Oregon than anywhere else on the West Coast, and most of those are located between Astoria and Warrenton.

 

Fisheries are well-managed for the long-term, for the future. Every person is accountable for everything he or she catches. The transition was difficult, but depleted fisheries are being rebuilt so they can be fished again. It’s a real success story.”  Scott McMullen, Oregon Fishermen’s Cable Committee

 

According to commission Executive Director Nancy Fitzpatrick, the Oregon Albacore Commission and the Oregon Salmon Commission have started providing canned fish, recipes and a few other ingredients to Central Oregon school kids to create a greater “farm” to table connection. Started in Seaside, Oregon, the program serves as a model for schools statewide.

  • The Oregon albacore fishing fleet has 350-500 boats.
  • Albacore fishing season runs from June to October.
  • There are 17 ports running the length of the Oregon Coast.

 

Clatsop Commercial Fisheries Tour, May 2017. Photo: Stephen Ward
Clatsop Commercial Fisheries Tour, May 2017

A strong U.S. dollar creates competitive challenges. The majority of Oregon’s catch ships overseas—to Africa, Ukraine, Nordic and other countries. Investing in automation helps drive down costs and offset the shortage of labor, reducing the need for labor in processing plants by up to two-thirds, or more. The loss of container shipping out of the Port of Portland forces processed fish from Oregon to be transported to Tacoma or Seattle, increasing costs.

 

Steve Fick. Photo: Stephen Ward
Steve Fick, Fishhawk Fisheries, describes the importance and challenges of managing salmon fisheries in the Columbia River Basin.

The Columbia River Basin, which spans two countries, seven states and 13 federally recognized Indian reservations, is the largest freshwater contributor to the Pacific Ocean. Natural resource management throughout the basin is essential to healthy fisheries and to the livelihoods of 150,000 Oregon workers. Cultural and recreational aspects of salmon and other fisheries need to be respected and understood.

  • The Oregon salmon fishing fleet has 350-450 active fishing boats.
  • Salmon fishing season typically runs from April to October.
  • There are 17 ports running the length of the Oregon Coast.

 

Congresswoman Susanne Bonamici
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, U.S. House of Representatives provides a policy update to fishery tour audience.

“We need to use the best available science,” stated Steve Fick, Fishhawk Fisheries, to the lunchtime audience. “If you have healthy salmon stock, then you have healthy wildlife populations. And healthy industries that provide living wages and contribute to the local, county and state tax base…and the ripple of revenue injections into the economy.”

 

For another fisheries outreach experience, this time for the public, save July 14 and September 15 as days to “Shop at the Dock & Beyond” in Warrenton. Join Oregon Sea Grant to learn about local commercial fisheries, how to buy seafood directly from fishermen, and for a behind the scenes tour of Skipanon Brand Seafood cannery. View a PDF of the event: dock_shop_NorthCoast. Newport offers a “Shop at the Dock” experience, too. Here’s the Newport summer schedule: dock_shop_2017_3.

Based on a 2016 Digital Measures impact report submitted by Lynn Long, Extension horticulturist and co-county leader for Wasco County. Michelle Sager, Master Gardener education program assistant, supported the project. Edited by Ann Marie Murphy.

 

Wasco County Master Gardeners
Wasco County Master Gardeners working in the NORCOR greenhouse preparing plants for sale.

A greenhouse, purchased many years ago by Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facilities (NORCOR) teaching staff, languished empty and unused. In 2009, OSU Master Gardeners (MGs) in Wasco County  began a partnership with the facility to share the greenhouse space originally intended to be used by student detainees as part of their science curriculum. NORCOR houses youth from Wasco, Hood River, Sherman, and Gilliam counties.

 

The MGs work with NORCOR youth to grow a large variety of plants—including  annuals, herbs, perennials, vegetables, and ornamental grasses—for their fundraising spring plant sale. In exchange, they share their knowledge and passion for plants with the detained youth and a portion of the funds are used to operate the greenhouse.

 

“The people who attend the fair often tell Master Gardener volunteers that they intentionally buy our plants to support the NORCOR youth and show appreciation for our involvement with the NORCOR project.”*

 

NORCOR provides the greenhouse, water and power along with the staffing required to monitor the in-custody youth while in the greenhouse. Master Gardeners provide hands-on learning experiences for the students and NORCOR’s high school education staff provides academic support in the form of theoretical science curriculum.

 

For the MGs, preparation begins in the fall when they scour seed catalogs for an array of plant varieties that are anticipated to grow well in the region and are marketable at the spring plant sale. The seeds are ordered and the greenhouse is prepared for the spring growing season. In January, supervised greenhouse sessions with the youth begin.

 

WCMGA Spring Plant Sale
Selling plants raised in the NORCOR greenhouse at the WCMGA Spring Plant Fair

Over the years, Master Gardeners recorded the number of seeds planted and planting dates and bloom times in order to produce marketable plants that are mostly sold at the one-day WCMGA Spring Plant Fair. From January to May, more than 250 different varieties—totaling approximately 6,500 plants—are grown in the NORCOR greenhouse.

 

NORCOR students are able to participate under close NORCOR staff supervision after they have maintained several days of exemplary behavior as rated by NORCOR staff.  Youth are paired with a Master Gardener to perform a variety of greenhouse tasks.  MG volunteers develop mini greenhouse sessions for the students. Because many of the youth are residents for fewer than six weeks, short lessons with easily grasped concepts are essential. At the end of their sessions, students discuss what they learned that day.

 

Working with MGs in the greenhouse is a positive environment where students learn about seeds, soils, plant identification, transplanting, irrigation techniques, fertilizer schedules, temperature control, and the ability to work together with adults and co-workers. All while gaining life-long work skills and experience.

 

Student tasks include:

  • Filling pots with the soil mixture suitable for the plant;
  • Seeding the pots;
  • Dividing and transplanting the plants as they outgrow their containers;
  • Rotating the plants so they receive sunlight and water evenly;
  • Helping maintain and fertilize the plants; and
  • Sweeping the floors before they leave, part of learning greenhouse sanitation management.

 

Students take insect traps and plant tissues to view in their classroom microscopes. This expands their hands-on knowledge by investigating plant life more thoroughly and ties the greenhouse project to their academic classroom training. Additionally, some of the youth are allowed to leave the facility to attend the Spring Plant Fair, participating by providing information to buyers, making sales and helping to transport the plants to vehicles.

 

A NORCOR high school teacher  indicated three major benefits of the project:

  1. Students develop a sense of pride and accomplishment; the impact is greatest for long-term residents.
  2. They learn to collaborate and work with adults on a project. Teenagers working along with adults on a mutually beneficial project is an unique experience in a secure facility.
  3. The project provides students with an opportunity to learn and enjoy nature and discover a new interest outside of their academic courses; this helps with the transition to a ‘bigger world’ upon their release.

 

The participating NORCOR youth are asked to write thank you letters to the Master Gardeners. A memorable message from a young pregnant woman recognized that nurturing plants was like nurturing a child: they require observation and their needs to be provided for. “Without color” is how a student described her time at NORCOR, that is until she worked at the greenhouse and she began to see colors in her life once again.

 

Plants ready for the Wasco County Master Gardener Spring Plant Fair.
Plants grown in the NORCOR greenhouse are ready for the Wasco County Master Gardener Spring Plant Fair.

The looks on the faces of the greenhouse kids is priceless when the MGs roll out approximately 6,500 plants and load them onto flatbed trucks and into vehicles. The colorful parade of healthy, beautiful flowers and plants is  impressive. The youth are stunned when they see the results of their labors and take pride in their accomplishment. This is an important outcome because the majority of NORCOR kids have had few successes in their young lives. When the students complete their term at the facility, they are encouraged to take home a plant of their choice.

 

The greenhouse project encourages learning that goes beyond horticulture; however, because of confidentiality reasons, it is difficult to assess how the Master Gardener/NORCOR greenhouse project affects the lives of the youth after their release. Master Gardeners present certificates of accomplishment to students that worked in the greenhouse five times or more during the season. Those certificates have been used for job references. At least one young man living in the area worked for a local agriculture business after his release, putting the greenhouse program knowledge and skills to work.

 

Though challenging, the MGs also consider this project educational for themselves. The Master Gardeners increase their knowledge of greenhouse management and develop techniques to ensure the health of the plants. The project is an excellent, practical, hands-on teaching experience and it is an opportunity to put their Master Gardener training into practice.

 

The project received national attention when it took third place in the International Master Gardener’s Association Search for Excellence Program. Everyone involved in the greenhouse project shares a sense of accomplishment!

 

“It is a win-win-win project and could be modified to be used in other institutions and locations.”*

 

* Source: “Wasco County Master Gardener’s NORCOR and Spring Fair Project,” posted June 19, 2017.

 

Based on the abstract for the University Outreach and Engagement 2017 Vice Provost Awards of Excellence nomination

 

Coos Bay Watershed assessment areas
Coos Bay Watershed assessment areas

Federal and State agencies in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest have invested millions of dollars assessing watershed health and identifying habitat restoration opportunities. Unfortunately, many restoration efforts lack a clear process for prioritization of projects, leading to inefficient application of scarce financial and personnel resources.

In 2005, Guillermo Giannico (PI) and Jon Souder (co-PI) obtained National Sea Grant funding for a collaborative project between OSU Forestry Extension, Oregon Sea Grant and the Coos Watershed Association (CoosWA) to develop a series of watershed restoration plans for six lowland coastal basins north of Coos Bay. Some of the main collaborators in the development of the decision making process included Drs. Phil Roni, Tim Beechie and George Pess (NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, USA), Dr. Gordie Reeves (U.S. Forest Service), Pam Blake (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality), Bruce Miller (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife), Criag Cornue (South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve), and others.

Giannico is an Extension Fish Ecology and Watershed Specialist, has an Oregon Sea Grant appointment and is an associate professor of Fisheries and Wildlife in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Souder is an Extension Forestry and Natural Resources Specialist and assistant professor of Forestry Engineering Resources and Management in the College of Forestry.

There are at least six reasons to prioritize restoration projects. In addition to the fact that funders are asking for it, prioritization:

  1. Leads to strategic planning and evaluation.
  2. Recognizes capacity constraints.
  3. Turns assessments into action plans.
  4. Makes tradeoffs explicit.
  5. Gives the ability to say “no!”
Coffee klatches involve community stakeholders in conversations leading to better outcomes.
Coffee klatches involve community stakeholders in conversations leading to better outcomes.

In order to maximize public involvement, a series of coffee klatches, i.e., informal conversations, were held within each basin to elicit landowner visions and concerns. Associated with the conversations, work with Oregon scientists led to the development of a flexible and transparent restoration prioritization process that considers both ecological and socio-economic criteria. The process is called the Coos Bay Prioritization Approach (CBPA).

The CBPA was completed in 2008 and has been applied to restoration plans for 14 watersheds on the South Coast.  An outcome of these assessments was the establishment of the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds (PCW), a joint effort with the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The PCW convened a multi-stakeholder group and used the CBPA to revise the Coos Bay Estuary Management Plan.  In addition, a multi-agency group led by the Wild Salmon Center has identified the CBPA as the preferred method for Coastal Watershed Council. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering requiring the CBPA for any project requesting state funding to restore Coho habitat on the coast. Several watershed councils in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia have adopted CBPA.

During 2016, Giannico and Souder hosted three workshops, which included 55 participants from 45 organizations in 10 states (and Korea).  Many of these participants have requested additional training.  International workshops also were conducted in the Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, and Mexico.

Words of advice from Drs. Giannico and Souder: “Get out of the office and partner with community organizations!”

The prioritization of watershed projects was recognized as one of 10 outreach and engagement projects to receive the 2017 Vice Provost Awards of Excellence.

 

 

Editor’s Note: Outreach takes on many forms. The goal most often is to understand the needs of a particular community. In this case, the goal was to improve Latino nursery worker educational materials. The results of the research can improve communication tools well beyond the nursery industry, OSU Extension, and Oregon State University. The “What Workers Think” project is one of 15 university outreach and engagement projects recognized at the 2017 Vice Provost Awards of Excellence celebration on April 17.

 

"How to Control Slugs in Your Garden" bilingual publication published by Extension and Experiment Station Communications
“How to Control Slugs in Your Garden” bilingual publication published by Extension and Experiment Station Communications

Spanish-speaking workers make up most of the labor force in Oregon’s horticulture industries; however, few Oregon State University Extension publications and multimedia materials are designed to meet their vocational and linguistic needs.

 

A team at Oregon State set out to understand how instructional materials can be designed to improve the learning process for Latino nursery workers. The team consisted of Ariel Ginsburg and Dionisia Morales, publishing managers with Extension and Experiment Station Communications (EESC); Luisa Santamaria, Extension plant pathologist for nursery crops and bilingual educator, North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) and associate professor, Botany and Plant Pathology, College of Agricultural Sciences; and Gilbert Uribe, education program assistant (NWREC), now pesticide registration and certification specialist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

 

EESC translates into Spanish some publications from the Extension catalog. Feedback from Extension faculty working in Latino communities suggested that the choice of topics was not always well-suited to horticultural workers. Publications were often too technical, written at too high a reading level, or required a computer to download and print.

 

Dionisia Morales (middle) and Ariel Ginsburg (right) accept a Honorable mention for the WHAT WORKERS THINK: COMMUNICATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR LATINO NURSERY WORKERS project. Ed Feser (left), OSU provost and executive vice president, presents the award.
Dionisia Morales (middle) and Ariel Ginsburg (right) accept a Honorable mention for the WHAT WORKERS THINK: COMMUNICATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR LATINO NURSERY WORKERS project. Ed Feser (left), OSU provost and executive vice president, presents the award.

This feedback sparked a number of questions: Do workers want information to help them do better at their jobs. Do they want to learn key English vocabulary to communicate more easily with their employers? Are workers more interested in web-based training they can do on their own time, or in face-to-face sessions? Are they more likely to access information on their smartphones?

 

Using a $1,500 professional development grant from the Association for Communication Excellence, the team conducted three focus groups. They asked workers directly about their needs and interests. Integrating into existing, employer-supported worker training events allowed maximum participation. The three focus groups conducted thus far involved 21 community members. A final focus group will take place in spring 2017.

 

The findings have already started to shift how EESC delivers translated content. Latino workers want more photo-rich, mobile-friendly information and they want publications in which English and Spanish appear side-by-side.

 

In 2017, members of the team will write an article for the Journal of Extension. Findings will be presented at conferences to help other Extension and communication specialists learn how they can engage Latino community members to learn what education needs they have and their preferred learning formats.

 

Based on an abstract submitted for the 2017 University Outreach and Engagement Vice Provost Awards of Excellence.

 

Written by Gregg Kleiner and Tiffany Woods for Oregon Sea Grant (April 17, 2017)

 

Editor’s Note: This story is a great example of outreach and engagement work: co-creation of solutions, cross-disciplinary collaboration, applied research, building community capacity, partnerships, and more.

 

Crab fishing. Photo by Oregon Sea Grant.
Crab fishing. Photo by Oregon Sea Grant.

West Coast crabbers and faculty with Oregon State University and Sea Grant programs in Oregon and Washington have been exploring ways to reduce injuries at sea.

The effort is part of the Fishermen Led Injury Prevention Program, which was funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“The ideas are generated by the fishermen, and the goal is that the solutions are voluntarily embraced and are not imposed,” said Laurel Kincl, the leader of the project and an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Gathering research

To gather the suggestions as well as build rapport with the fishermen, nine community members with ties to the fishing industry were contracted, including several fishermen’s wives. Kincl and others then trained them to conduct outreach, engagement and research.

As part of the project, in the fall of 2015, the nine community members surveyed 365 crabbers in Washington, Oregon and California about the types and number of injuries they may have experienced during the 2014-15 crabbing season. The crabbers reported 65 injuries, 36 of which required them to take time off work or change how they worked. Of those 36, sprains and strains were the most frequent, with 13 incidents. Out of the 36 injuries, hands, arms and shoulders were the most commonly injured body parts, with 17 reports. Nine of the 36 injuries occurred while handling gear on deck, and seven happened while hauling in gear.

When asked what they thought contributed most to injuries, fishermen gave answers that included not paying attention, weather and sea conditions, inexperience, unsafe vessels or gear, a lack of training, and poor physical shape. When asked what they thought was the most important thing for staying safe, responses included having a good captain and crew, being aware, taking care of oneself, avoiding fatigue and having a well-maintained boat and gear.

Co-created solutions

Fishermen suggested the need for a fishing-specific first aid and CPR course. As a result, a wilderness medicine expert was invited to the Oregon towns of Newport and Astoria in the fall of 2016 to train fishermen on how to treat medical conditions and at-sea injuries such as cuts, broken bones, dislocated shoulders and hypothermia.

Another fisherman suggested looking at the design of banger bars, which are metal bars that are welded to the tables where crabs are sorted. Crab pots are hoisted over and slammed against the bars to force the crabs onto the table.

“Some say the bars make it easier on fishermen’s wrists and backs if positioned correctly,” said Kaety Jacobson, a marine fisheries Extension specialist with Oregon Sea Grant and a partner on the project. “But there’s not a standard design, so crabbers make their own – if they use them at all. We’re pretty sure someone has come up with the ideal banger bar, so we’re trying to find that design and share it with the community.”

The research team is considering using fishermen-focused Facebook pages, like the Oregon Sea Grant Fisheries Extension Facebook page, to ask for information about the use, design and benefits of the bars. With this information, she said, Sea Grant could create a publication on what a banger bar is and why fishermen use them. It could also include photos or schematics of designs that work better.

Also because of fishermen’s feedback, Jacobson and the nine community members will interview experienced deckhands and boat captains about what makes a good crew, how to size up a boat to see if it’s safe, and what safety-related language fishermen should look for when signing a contract to become a crew member. Jacobson and her team plan to share this information with novice or aspiring crewmembers.

“We’ll put these findings in an infographic or factsheet that we’ll post on social media or mail out so that fishermen looking for work can have that resource,” she said.

Importance to Oregon

During the 2015–16 season, fishermen in Oregon landed just over 14 million pounds of Dungeness crab, which they sold for a record $51 million, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dubbed the official state crustacean, Dungeness crabs make up the most valuable single-species commercial fishery in Oregon.

Based on a submission for Vice Provost Award of Excellence

 

Often times, it is not a high priority for seed companies to engage with or consider the unique needs and preferences of organic farmers and their customers during the plant breeding process. To ensure success, organic farmers need varieties bred under organic conditions in order to select for traits including weed competitiveness, disease resistance, organic nutrient management and stress tolerance.

 

Organic customers demand superior flavor and culinary attributes and have an appreciation for uniqueness, quality and novelty. Incorporating chefs, farmers, produce buyers and other stakeholders into the plant breeding process gives breeders deeper insight into preferred traits. It also promotes awareness and understanding of organic plant breeding to a broader audience.

 

In 2012, the Culinary Breeding Network (CBN) was formed to convene breeders and these stakeholders to discuss and identify traits of culinary excellence for vegetables and grains. The Variety Showcase is an annual CBN event. Its goal is to increase communication in order to develop more relevant and desirable cultivars for all parties. Attendees have the opportunity to taste commercially available cultivars, provide feedback on breeding populations, and exchange ideas and perspectives with breeders.

 

OSU faculty involved in CBN include:

 

  • Nick Andrews, Senior Instructor and Small Farms Extension Educator
  • Pat Hayes, Professor, Barley Breeding & Products, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Jim Myers, Professor, Vegetable Breeding and Genetics, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Heidi Noordijk, Education Program Assistant—Small Farms
  • Lane Selman, Faculty Research Assistant, Department of Horticulture, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Alex Stone, Associate Professor, Horticulture Extension – Vegetable Cropping Specialist

 

Impact

 

Community partnerships are essential to the success of the CBN and the Variety Showcase. Partners include: Organically Grown Company, Oregon Tilth and The Sage Restaurant Group.

 

Event attendance has more than tripled from 2014 to 2016 and attendees have been exposed to more than 150 commercially available cultivars and 135 breeding lines of vegetables and grains. Seed companies report significant sales increases because of the Variety Showcase events. Creating a venue for the interactive exchange of specific needs has resulted in a greater understanding of what consumers want from breeders. For all other participants, the event creates a greater understanding of the important role breeders play in the food we eat.

 

Engaging with chefs and buyers through qualitative sensory evaluations like the Variety Showcase to assess cultivars and breeding lines sets this work apart from standard quantitative sensory panels.

 

The Culinary Breeding Network Variety Showcase will receive a Vice Provost Award of Excellence Honorary Mention on April 17, 2017.

Based on a submission for Vice Provost Award of Excellence

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon. Photo: Ashlei Edgemon.

Designed to meet various community needs, Alternative Break trips meet community needs while providing compelling learning and civic leadership development opportunities for students.

 

In June 2016, nine students and one staff member worked with the Warm Springs Extension Office and nine community partners on several environmental, cultural, and health and well-being projects during a week-long Warm Springs-based learning trip sponsored by OSU’s Center for Civic Engagement.

 

The students participated in community-based service learning to gain increased cultural understanding and intercultural connections, complete projects that met community-identified needs, and explore policy issues impacting the Warm Springs community. In total, the group contributed 78 service hours and participated in 176 educational hours. Projects included assisting in landscaping work, invasive species removal, and grass planting.

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Photo: Julianna Cooper

“I have formed new relationships with incredible people, have been inspired to be more independent, walked away with knowledge about life on reservations, and a commitment to make a positive influence in my community.” Student quote

 

Through educational sessions, community events and direct service work, the group explored cultural programming and events, tribal policy and governance, community services and resources, education, healthcare, and hydroelectric energy that all impact the cultural preservation and celebration and health and well-being of the Warm Springs area.

 

“The trip reinforced my desire to work in public health and brought to light more public health disparities than I was aware of prior to embarking on the trip. [It also] increased my awareness of the health needs of tribal communities.” Student quote

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Clearing ground and planting grass seed at the Museum at Warm Springs. Photo: Julianna Cooper.

Educational sessions covered a wide range of topics related to tribal life, challenges, and solutions. The group discovered various factors impacting community health and well-being in Warm Springs by exploring elements of food sourcing, tribal ceremonies, community and cultural activities, and outdoor recreation.  The group visited extensively with faculty and staff at the Warm Springs Extension Office to learn about the services and programs put on by OSU Extension for the community and the role of OSU Extension in the Warm Springs community.

 

“I’ve been impacted immensely by this trip. I always knew I wanted to do community work no matter what field I ended up in, but seeing it with my own eyes really solidified my future plans for a career in activism.” Student quote

 

Students also learned about Native traditions, customs, the history of the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Pauite tribes and the Treaty of 1855 through their conversations with tribal members and visiting the Museum at Warm Springs. By spending time with tribal members, trip participants explored and learned about the tribal customs and issues impacting tribal communities today through personal narrative and story sharing.

 

OSU units, tribal government agencies, and local nonprofits are all a part of this program to co-create environments for students to learn about social issues and contribute to addressing community needs each year. Partnerships are foundational to this program, the content is cross-disciplinary (public health, ethnic studies, environmental science, education), and the result is transformational learning for OSU students.

 

June 2016 Alternative Break program participants at Warm Springs, Oregon.
Photo: Julianna Cooper.

“I am amazed, intrigued, and humbled. I will forever hope to continue to grow and open my mind in the way I did on this trip.” Student quote

 

Community Partners

 

Creating the Alternative Break program relies on community and staff partnerships to co-create experiences that are rewarding for the students and valued by the Warm Springs:

 

  • Carol Leone, Executive Director, Museum at Warm Springs
  • Tamera Moody, Education Coordinator, Museum at Warm Springs
  • Kacey Conyers, Community Health Dietitian, Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center
  • Alyssa Macy, Chief Operations Manager, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • Jefferson Greene, Director of Youth Development, Warm Springs Culture & Heritage
  • Jim Manion, General Manager, Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises
  • Ken Kippley, Tribal Police Officer, Warm Springs Police Department
  • Frank Smith (Footer), Elder, Tribal member
  • Emily Bowling, Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Involvement, Oregon State University
  • Rosanna Sanders, OFNEP Nutrition Education Program Assistant , OSU
  • Beth Ann Beamer, County Leader at Warm Springs Extension, Family & Community Health Coordinator, OSU

 

The Warm Springs Student Alternative Break Program will receive a Vice Provost Award of Excellence on April 17, 2017.

Based on a blog post by Hayden Bush

 

Editor’s note: Powerful partnerships are growing across Oregon’s landscape and the Partners for Rural Innovation Center is a prime example. Collaborations are focused on building community vitality in Tillamook County by supporting “innovation, entrepreneurship, job readiness and post-secondary degree attainment for citizens of Tillamook county. It is a shared commitment and investment in long-term economic vitality and the educational needs of Tillamook County.” (Source: Tillamook Bay Community College) As Scott Reed, vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement and director OSU Extension Service, says: True partnerships create what cannot be done otherwise. The opening of the facility will be celebrated March 6, 2017.

The Third Street corridor of Tillamook has a different landscape, thanks to an exciting partnership of community groups.  The Partners for Rural Innovation Center is an 11,000 square foot, multi-use facility housing OSU Open Campus, OSU Extension Service, Tillamook Bay Community College’s Agriculture and Natural Resources degree program, the Small Business Development Center, Tillamook County Economic Development Center, and the Visit Tillamook Coast tourism team.

The project was funded by a matching bond from the Oregon state legislature, a variety of grants, and local community donations.

The Partners for Rural Innovation Center will help small businesses in Tillamook County thrive by fostering a more deliberate team effort between the Small Business Development Center, OSU Open Campus, and OSU Extension. Business owners who are seeking technical advice and assistance with growth opportunities, and help with agronomic and production practices will be able to find answers and support in one location.

Central to serving citizens will be a large classroom space for students in 4-H youth programs, community education, and post-secondary learning. Additionally, the space will serve as a community convening space for after-hours activities. The facility boasts a computer lab designed to assist students completing distance education though OSU.  The Open Campus education coordinator mentors citizens striving to further their education.  In addition, the Juntos program offers new and unique opportunities to serve our county’s Latino population.

Read more about OSU Open Campus  the by visiting the Open Campus blog and website.