Written by Kevin Leahy for The Daily Astorian, published on November 16, 2016.

[Editor’s note: The outreach and engagement work of OSU Extension Service takes many forms. In this case it’s taking part in a Clatsop County tour showcasing stream restoration and forest best practices for the 26th annual Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee leaders tour. This article appeared in The Daily Astorian and features the efforts of Valerie Grant, a new OSU Extension forestry and natural resources faculty.]

Valerie Grant, new Oregon State University Extension forestry and natural resources faculty shares her story as a fourth generation person connected to forestry work.
Valerie Grant, new Oregon State University Extension forestry and natural resources faculty shares her story as a fourth generation person connected to forestry work. Photo: George Vetter for The Daily Astorian.

More than 100 attendees braved the elements for the 26th annual Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee leaders tour this year, including state Rep. Deborah Boone.

The day started out bright and early with an introduction by committee Chairman Kevin Leahy at the Barbey Maritime Center, reinforcing that this sector continues to be 30 percent of our Clatsop County economy, and is 12 percent of our county employment. Leahy also noted that $23,500,000 was distributed from Oregon Department of Forestry to Clatsop County in 2016 from timber harvests that support schools, law enforcement, Clatsop Community College, roads, and more.

Forestry tour participants look through a fish habitat and stream enhancement project.
Forestry tour participants look through a fish habitat and stream enhancement project. Photo: George Vetter for The Daily Astorian

From there the group was transported by bus to the Walooski Fish Stream Enhancement Collaborative Project, where Tom Clark from Lewis & Clark Timber/Greenwood Resources, Brook Stanley from the North Coast Watershed Association, Troy Laws from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Jeff Van Osdol from Big River Construction shared the public/private partnership success that included a fish habitat and stream enhancement project, and invited all the attendees to walk down the stairs and across the wood bridge specifically built for the Leaders Tour for an “up close and personal” walk through the culvert where salmon are swimming through for the first time.

Next, the two full school buses headed to the Clatsop Ridge Logging Operation & Reforestation to hear about the “active harvest operation” project from speakers Mark Gustafson, owner of Gustafson Logging, and Sam Sadler of Lewis & Clark Timber and Greenwood Resources.

A box lunch was paid for by the employer members of the Clatsop Forestry Economic Development Committee and was provided to all attendees. Presentations were given at the Netul Landing, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Interim park Superintendent Marcus Koenen and rogram specialist Carla Cole presented project updates on the park properties on both sides of the Columbia River.

Forestry committee member Valerie Grant, Oregon State University Extension’s new forester, shared her background and priorities within the three-county area that she covers [emphasis added].

State Rep. Deborah Boone, center, and others view a demonstration of logging techniques and best practices.
State Rep. Deborah Boone, center, and others view a demonstration of logging techniques and best practices. Photo: George Vetter for The Daily Astorian

Participants were asked to share reflections on this tour and past ones. It was mentioned that the forestry tour was under way Sept. 11, 2001, and the lifelong memory of where you were when 9/11 happened will always be with them.

And Sara Meyer, a longtime tour participant and member of the local American Association of University Women chapter choked up when she said it was so exciting to see so many women in this traditionally male-dominated field.

Column author Kevin Leahy is the executive director of Clatsop Economic Development Resources.

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Photo and video by Jill Wells 

To connect with underserved communities and encourage them to experience the great outdoors, Extension in Linn and Benton counties collaborate with community partners to produce “Get Outdoors Day.” Tune into this month’s video to learn how the event is relevant, fun and friendly to hundreds of kids and the Latino community.

Is there a project you think should be featured in a First Monday video? Reply by posting a comment or emailing jill.wells@oregonstate.edu.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy —
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Leaders of the units supporting SPARK, including University Outreach and Engagement, Colleges of Science, Education, Liberal Arts, Honors College and the OSU Library and Press.

Outreach and engagement work connects the university with communities to find ways to address wicked problems. By their nature, wicked problems are not easily solved. Making progress requires innovative thinking and different ways of looking at an issue. Many perspectives are necessary. Because people learn in different ways, conveying to stakeholders and community the work that needs to be done and the desired outcome in relevant and meaningful ways requires creativity and open minds.

“There is no one approach to solve the urgent problems of today and tomorrow. They demand the inspiration and genius of multiple disciplines and multiple perspectives. Collaboration across the arts and science directly advances [OSU’s] strategic goal to create transformative learning experiences for all Oregonians” (OSU SPARK initiative website).

University Outreach and Engagement is one of six units – along with the Colleges of Science, Education, Liberal Arts, Honors College, and the OSU Library and Press – supporting SPARK, a year-long collaborative initiative to celebrate arts and science. “Through SPARK, OSU hopes to elevate the relationship between the arts and science, their critical interplay with each other, and the rich partnerships and collaborations that make it possible.” Charles Robinson, who has a joint appointment with University Outreach and Engagement, College of Liberal Arts and Graduate School, is leading the SPARK initiative.

An approach to increase success with wicked problems might be “design thinking.” Ask, imagine, design, create, evaluate, refine, and share is the model. Sound familiar? This is art and science at work.  Watch this engaging design thinking video (below) created by OSU’s College of Education. Even though the video is focused on helping teachers help students be successful in the classroom, the approach is applicable in many aspects of outreach and engagement work. It is 17 minutes well spent.

Have you used design thinking in your outreach and engagement work? Do you think the design thinking model would work with community problem solving? Share your comments below.

See photos of SPARKS opening reception here.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy

ad_league-or-cities_sponsorship_ad_080416An Outreach and Engagement partnership is being built one step at a time with the League of Oregon Cities (LOC). LOC is a governmental entity formed by an intergovernmental agreement by Oregon’s incorporated cities (a direct quote from the LOC website).  Founded in 1925, LOC works with its member cities to help local government better serve the citizens of Oregon. Introduced to LOC by Vince Adams and Lena Etuk through their work on the Rural Communities Explorer, Scott Reed, Lindsey Shirley and Patrick Proden, metro region administrator, continue to deepen the relationship.

 

The results so far? Sponsorship of the League of Oregon Cities’ 2016 conference and an article in the October 2016 issue of Local Focus, their monthly magazine. The issue focused on how universities – Oregon State University, Portland State University and University of Oregon – are helping Oregon cities. Proden and Maureen Quinn, Extension Family and Community Health Program, attended the late-September conference on behalf of University Outreach and Engagement, both indicating it was well worth their time to attend.

 

osuarticle-oct2016localfocusedited_page_1_outline The article, titled “OSU Extension Service: Helping Communities Envision and Create a Better Future,” was collaboratively written with Patrick Proden. It was an exercise in squeezing the substantial, 100-year story of Extension and its impact in Oregon into a mere 1,500 meaningful words (plus a few pictures and a graphic).

 

Read the story here: osuarticle-oct2016localfocusedited. Reprints of the article are available by contacting Jill Wells (jill.wells@oregonstate.edu). Or, here’s a link to the magazine if you have an interest in reading about PSU and UofO.

 

Help us hone the outreach and engagement story. Tell us how it can be improved by commenting below.

By Mark Floyd, News and Research Communications, Oregon State University

Editor’s Note: A lot of fascinating work is being done by Extension faculty. This is one story that might surprise you. Be sure to watch the mesmerizing video! Leigh Torres, Oregon SeaGrant Extension, specializes in the spatial and behavioral ecology of marine megafauna including marine mammals, seabirds and sharks. The following was distributed to news media on October 4, 2016.

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Leigh Torres, Oregon SeaGrant Extension, whale watching. Photo courtesy of OSU.

A lot of people think what Leigh Torres has done this summer and fall would qualify her for a spot on one of those “World’s Worst Jobs” lists.

After all, the Oregon State University marine ecologist follows gray whales from a small inflatable boat in the rugged Pacific Ocean and waits for them to, well, poop. Then she and her colleagues have about 20-30 seconds to swoop in behind the animal with a fine mesh net and scoop up some of the prized material before it drifts to the ocean floor.

Mind you, gray whales can reach a length of more than 40 feet and weigh more than 30 tons, making the retrieval of their daily constitutional somewhat daunting. Yet Torres, a principal investigator in the university’s Marine Mammal Institute, insists that it really isn’t that bad.

“We’re just looking for a few grams of material and to be honest, it doesn’t even smell that bad,” she said. “Now, collecting a DNA sample from a whale’s blow-hole – that’s a bad job. Their breath is horrendous.”

Being a marine pooper-scooper isn’t some strange fetish for the Oregon State research team. They are conducting a pilot project to determine how gray whales respond to ocean noise – both natural and human – and whether these noises cause physiological stress in the animals. Technology is changing the way the researchers are approaching their study.

“New advances in biotechnology allow us to use the fecal samples to look at a range of things that provide clues to the overall health and stress of the whales,” Torres said. “We can look at their hormone levels and genetically identify individual whales, their sex and whether they are pregnant. And we can analyze their prey and document what they’ve been eating.

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Whale fluke. Photo courtesy of OSU.

“Previously, we would have to do a biopsy to learn some of these things and though they can be done safely, you typically don’t repeat the procedure often because it’s invasive,” she added. “Here, we can follow individual whales over a four-month feeding season and pick up multiple samples that can tell us changes in their health.”

The study is a pilot project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Acoustics Program to determine the impacts of noise on whale behavior and health. Torres, who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, focuses on gray whales because they are plentiful and close to shore.

“Many marine mammals are guided by acoustics and use sound to locate food, to navigate, to communicate with one another and to find a mate,” said Torres, a faculty member in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and an ecologist with the Oregon Sea Grant program.

Ten years ago, such a study would not have been possible, Torres acknowledged. In addition to new advances in genetic and hormone analyses, the OSU team uses a drone to fly high above the whales. It not only detects when they defecate, it is giving them unprecedented views of whale behavior.

“We are seeing things through the drone cameras that we have never seen before,” Torres said. “Because of the overhead views, we now know that whales are much more agile in their feeding. We call them ‘bendy’ whales because they make such quick, sharp turns when feeding. These movements just can’t be seen from the deck of a ship.”

The use of small, underwater Go-Pro cameras allows them to observe what the whales are feeding upon below. The researchers can identify zooplankton, benthic invertebrates, and fish in the water column near feeding whales, and estimate abundance – helping them understand what attracts the whales to certain habitats.

Joe Haxel and Sharon Nieukirk are acoustic scientists at the Hatfield center who are assisting with the project. They deploy drifting hydrophones near the whales to record natural and human sounds, help operate the overhead drone camera that monitors the whales’ behavior, and also get in on the fecal analysis.

“Gray whales are exposed to a broad range of small- and medium-sized boat traffic that includes sport fishing and commercial fleets,” Haxel said. “Since they are very much a coastal species, their exposure to anthropogenic noise is pretty high. That said, the nearshore environment is already very noisy with natural sounds including wind and breaking surf, so we’re trying to suss out some of the space and time patterns in noise levels in the range of habitats where the whales are found.”

It will take years for the researchers to learn how ocean noise affects whale behavior and health, but as ocean noises continue increasing – through ship traffic, wave energy projects, sonar use, seismic surveys and storms – the knowledge they gain may be applicable to many whale species, Torres said.

And the key to this baseline study takes a skilled, professional pooper-scooper.

“When a whale defecates, it generates this reddish cloud and the person observing the whale usually screams “POOP!” and we spring into action,” Torres said. “It’s a moment of excitement, action – and also sheer joy. I know that sounds a little weird, but we have less than 30 seconds to get in there and scoop up some of that poop that may provide us with a biological gold mine of information that will help protect whales into the future.

“That’s not such a bad job after all, is it?”

For a video of the research, click here

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Healthy communities are important to our quality of life. Vince Adams, extension educator and coordinator of the Rural Communities Explorer (RCE), joined Scott for this month’s First Monday video. RCE is a web-based tool that provides demographic and economic indicators about all–rural and urban–communities in Oregon and should be used by Extension and community leaders as a resource to identify areas of community strengths and challenges. Vince announced that a new more intuitive RCE interface will launch at the end of October.

Let us know how you have used RCE in your community work by commenting on the blog.

Congratulations to Marilyn Lesmeister for sharing her thoughts on innovation on the O&E blog. The Innovator’s Dilemma, by bestseller author Clayton Christensen, will be heading her way. Thank you, too, to the others that shared how they focus on innovation. Click here to read all the comments.

By Tyler Hansen —

Ecampus blog photo
Kristina Trevino is a graduate of Oregon State University who completed her degree online through Ecampus last June. Trevino worked as a chemist in San Antonio, Texas, before enrolling in OSU’s Master of Natural Resources program online. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

Oregon State University’s distance education program has been named the nation’s best online college in terms of value by ValueColleges.com, an organization that provides in-depth analysis and rankings on affordability and quality in higher education.

 

Oregon State Ecampus ranks first on a list of the Top 50 Best Value Online Colleges for 2017. The rankings assess online bachelor’s programs based on tuition costs, reputability, and return on investment using data from the website Payscale.com.

 

In its evaluation, the organization noted that Ecampus delivers the most online undergraduate major and minor programs in Oregon, and that OSU is a leader in STEM research and boasts the Carnegie Foundation’s highest research activity classification.

 

“This ranking speaks to our mission to provide learners with access to a high-quality Oregon State education,” said Ecampus Executive Director Lisa L. Templeton. “The value comes in the form of highly engaging programs that give our students opportunities for career advancement.”

 

All Ecampus students pay the same tuition rate no matter where they live. Ecampus serves adult learners in all 50 states and more than 40 countries by delivering 21 undergraduate degrees and 27 graduate programs online.

 

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 19,000 OSU students took at least one Ecampus class.

 

Oregon State has developed a reputation as a leader in online education, having been ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report each of the past two years. In 2014, Ecampus won the Online Learning Consortium’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching – one of the industry’s most prestigious awards.

Written by Ann Marie Murphy —

 

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Miss Warm Springs greets 2016 Roads Scholars at the Museum of Warm Springs and shares her experiences at the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest.

Two days on the road in Central Oregon with more than 50 new OSU faculty confined to a bus can be a daunting prospect. But the team that planned the tour, led by Jeff Sherman, pulled it off with aplomb.

 

As part of the Engagement Academy of University Outreach and Engagement, a special initiative of the division, the fourth Roads Scholar cohort hit the road before 8 a.m. on September 12, 2016. Faculty new to OSU or new to engagement work from across the university were exposed to the outreach and engagement philosophy of OSU and to the work of Extension in Central Oregon and the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center (COARC).

 

At this writing, I am 11-months new to outreach and engagement work and have spent much of that time attempting to internalize and deeply understand what it means to engage communities. As the communication and marketing manager for the Division of University Outreach and Engagement, I spend most of my time trying to tell the story of engagement work, so I was eager listen and learn.

 

The tour reinforced the fact that outreach and engagement is not a unilateral act. The “expert model” isn’t the way to engage. Rather, the listening and learning part, essential to building trust and relationships, is just as important as the knowledge part of the equation.

 

At COARC, in addition to learning that the seeds that grow virtually every carrot we eat likely come from Oregon, we heard how central Oregon farmers want better ways to minimize water usage – irrigation changed what can be grown in the region, but with only 11 inches of rain a year, water resources are scarce. COARC is there to test new crops and production methods protecting the farmers and ranchers from risking their incomes and field productivity. That’s a big value to the area; so big, the farmers and ranchers help fund the work of the center.

 

Heading north to the Warms Springs Indian Reservation, we learned a few – many? – cultural lessons. At the Museum of Warm Springs, we heard from tribal members about the state of education of the tribe’s children, reservation and ceded lands for hunting and gathering of traditional foods, and first nation traditional foods, their importance to ceremonial occasions and threats to availability and access.  We even were able to taste the foods (dried bitterroot is surprisingly tasty!). Schooling for K-8 is available on reservation; high school students must travel great distances to attend classes (sadly, graduation rates are below 30 percent). Credit for learning tribal language isn’t available because the Indian elders teaching the courses don’t have the required teaching certification.

 

Sunrise over the peaceful landscape at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort.
Sunrise over the peaceful landscape at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort.

In 1855, Joel Palmer, superintendent for the Oregon Territory, received his orders to clear the Indians from the land they had lived on for more than 10,000 years. He did so by negotiating a series of Indian treaties including the one establishing the Warm Springs Reservation. Under the treaty, the Warm Springs and Wasco tribes relinquished approximately ten million acres of land, but reserved the Warm Springs Reservation for their exclusive use. The tribes also kept their rights to harvest fish, game and other foods off the reservation in their usual and accustomed places. Later the Paiutes joined the confederation. Not surprisingly, the way of life of the tribes changed dramatically, and holding onto spiritual and cultural traditions continues to be hard fought. (Source: The Confederated Tribes of Warms Springs)

 

Hearing the words “we are a conquered people” was sobering. The immediate impulse is to swoop in with solutions, but that isn’t the way of engagement. Extension has worked with the community for years, building the trust necessary to help with nutrition and food safety, rebuild gardening skills for access to fresh fruits and vegetables, manage tribal forests, encourage commercial enterprises, and more.

 

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Young Warm Springs dancers share traditional dances with Roads Scholars at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort.

After a night of luxuriating in a salmon feast, watching young tribal dancers and listening to cultural myths around the wood-burning fire – coyote finds himself in many ticky situations – at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort, we headed to Bend for the opening of the OSU – Cascade Campus.

 

The final leg of the journey, not counting the beautiful ride back to campus later in the day, included learning about the Upper Deschutes River Coalition (navigating the 4-H high ropes course, or learning about food preservation, gardening and greenhouse, or Juntos were other options). The mission of the coalition is to protect upper Deschutes River communities by restoring and sustaining healthy fire-resistant forests, pure and abundant river flows and wildlife habitat.

 

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Upper Deschutes River Coalition member talks to 2016 Roads Scholars about her role as a volunteer and bird watching enthusiast.

OSU Extension, one of many coalition stakeholders, provides access to OSU research, which helps coalition members make decisions about forest management practices, and educates the community about what users are seeing in their managed forest forays. The outreach takes the form of traditional brochures and less traditional beer labels and coasters. Nicole Strong, Extension forester, professor of practice and coalition member, invited other coalition members to share with the Roads Scholars their roles and the importance of the group’s work. It was a proud moment to learn about the crucial and creative role Nicole and OSU play in the coalition.

 

Last year’s Roads Scholar cohort went to the coast. Where will next year’s tour participants head? Stay tuned…and take advantage of the opportunity!

 

PS: One of the best parts about being a Roads Scholar this year was the impromptu discussions that took place on the bus. It’s not often one is surround by such interesting people from so many different disciplines, so it was a great pleasure to learn about the outreach and engagement work being done by those on the tour. Another best part was the traditional fry bread and huckleberry jam! Of course the succulent salmon – crusty bits on the outside and buttery on the inside – was wonderful, too.

Written by Charles Robinson, University Outreach and Engagement special initiatives, including Extension Reconsidered and Engagement Academy

 

IMG_1688Art has the ability to connect people, share knowledge and experiences, and serve communities. Teaching art at a land grant university means getting off campus, experiencing the landscape and connecting with Oregonians. And that is especially true for students participating in the Creative Coast as part of ART 406-Community Arts Studio.

 

In 2014 and 2015, Community Arts Studio students and others headed to the forest. In 2015 and 2016, ART 406 headed to the Oregon coast to take part in the State of the Coast conference and learn about the Marine Studies Initiative.

 

Creative Coast students from the OSU Art, Music and Theater programs visited Cape Perpetua over two Saturdays in the 2016 Spring term as part of the joint partnership between the College of Liberal Arts and the Division of University Outreach and Engagement. Engagement with Oregon’s people and landscape is a guiding principle of the College of Liberal Arts, and art is a powerful means to realize that educational and social purpose.

 

13120028_10153347952102126_6875238460301234320_oOn the first Saturday, students learned the cultural history of Cape Perpetua from local historian Joanna Kittel. They also heard the poignant and tragic real-life story of Amanda, as told by Don “Doc” Slyter of Coos Bay, an elder of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indian Tribes. Amanda was a blind first-nations woman who was forced to walk over the rocky terrain of Cape Perpetua on her way to the sub-Alsea reservation at Yachats, where she later died. Mr. Slyter played a moving musical piece on his flute for the students, titled “Amanda.”

 

OSU Extension Service partners at Cape Perpetua and the U.S. Forest Service Rangers also aided students with their research by taking the students on natural history tours of the Cape Perpetua area. The tours enhanced the students’ understanding of the relationship the forest has to the ocean and allowed them to explore the tide pools.

 

Art student Auna Godinez responded to the story of Amanda and recreated part of the walk by walking 1.5 miles in bare feet to the Cape Perpetua lookout. Back on campus, she planned to create a painting of Doc Slyter playing his flute combined with a dream-like narrative-image of the story of Amanda.

 

Creative_Coast_ (5)Likewise, student Hanna Gallagher also responded to Doc’s story about the forced movement of the first nations people. She chose to respond by researching Native American basket weaving and, during her second visit to the coast, wove a basket from stalks of grass.

 

Video artists Courtney Kaneshiro, Courtney Mullis and Victoria Rivoire worked on a collaborative video project using editing techniques to weave together images of the ocean tide pools with images from the forest. They also created a unique soundscape to accompany the video.

 

Students in Anna Fidler’s foundation arts class chose to work with sea water to create dye-effects on fabric. Back on campus, they planned to add a crochet element to the artwork.

 

Creative_Coast_(14)Reaching beyond the boundaries of the Corvallis campus provides vital inspiration for novel ways to integrate Oregon landscapes into student creative and community projects, and to provide guided access and practice for building the collaborative relationships so crucial to community work.

 

As Scott Reed, Vice Provost of University Outreach and Engagement points out with an observation by Marcel Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” The Creative Coast and courses like Community Arts Studio offer students an opportunity to see with new eyes and share their inspiration with others.

First Monday Update with Scott Reed September 2016

The first Monday – actually Tuesday – video features Scott talking about innovation. How do you bring innovation into your work? And what might need to drop off your plate in order to deliver innovative solutions to the people of Oregon? Share your comments and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a book from one of Scott’s favorite authors mentioned in the video.