Students learn how art can work hand-in-hand with Oregon communities

The mission of OSU Extension Service essentially is to understand the needs of Oregon communities then develop collaborative partnerships to find ways to solve community challenges with research-based solutions. Historically, much of the outreach has been based in agriculture, but that has been changing. This blog introduces you to Extension Reconsidered.


photoExtension Reconsidered (ExtRe), an Outreach and Engagement initiative introduced at OSU in 2014, addresses community needs via the arts, humanities, design and humanitarian engineering. By working with new and traditional partners, ExtRe explores the ways in which the OSU Extension Service can evolve to best support the people of Oregon.


2015-11-20 10.35.14In fall 2015, the Art 406 course was offered for the first time. The course — a partnership between OSU Extension and the College of Liberal Arts — teaches both arts engagement methods and studio art techniques in a single class. The course is designed as a collaborative arts experience that engages and supports OSU arts students, Tillamook High School students and the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum.


2015-11-20 17.53.25The innovative course involved mentoring partnerships between the OSU and Tillamook students and culminated in a joint art exhibit curated by all the students at the Pioneer Museum. Coastal identities experienced as residents of Tillamook and the Oregon Coast emerged as themes in many of the high school students’ art pieces.


In tune with OSU’s Marine Studies Initiative, the OSU students built on a tradition of arts involvement in coastal discussions. They took part in the State of the Coast conference, which brings together communities of people that live, work or study the Oregon coast. Through their participation as artists, resulting work and subsequent inspiration, the OSU students contribute to the evolving understanding of Oregon’s coastal environment.


OSU plans to offer Art 406 again in spring 2016.


2015-11-20 13.32.44To learn more about the innovative approach Extension Reconsidered takes to engage and serve the needs of communities, talk with Charles Robinson. We’ll be hearing more from him as we approach the dates of the maker fair in April. Charles works with the College of Liberal Arts, the Division of Outreach & Engagement, the Graduate School and The CO.


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.


Honey bees are crucial pollinators for blueberries, pears, cherries, apples and some vegetable seeds. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

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.


Seed to Supper
Participants in the Seed to Supper classes improve their diets with fresh vegetables. (Photo: Hannah O’Leary)

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!


Master Woodland Managers
Oregon’s forestland owners manage almost 5 million acres. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

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