The holidays are winding down; gifts given and received, time spent with friends and family; Christmas trees soon will be un-decorated (and some will be repurposed for the fish).

Our rain gauge, officially known as OR-CB-16

This year I bought our Extension office a holiday gift: a CoCoRaHS rain gauge. CoCoRaHS stands for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. It is a national network of citizens who collect and report precipitation data using a standardized system. Having data collection points dispersed all across a region helps scientists understand localized weather patterns. In Oregon, the CoCoRaHS project is supported by the Oregon Climate Service, which is housed at OSU.

We set up our rain gauge a few weeks ago in a clearing outside our office. We put the data recording form on the fridge in kitchen. The first willing person goes out and checks the gauge in the morning. And now our data shows up on the CoCoRaHS map!

Based on our few weeks’ experience, participating in CoCoRaHS has been fun, easy, and educational. If you want to get in on it, the CoCoRaHS website has all the information you need to get started. We also plan to do some local workshops next year for Master Gardeners and woodland owners to help populate the map with more data points. Stay tuned for the dates and details.

As thoughts turn to the New Year, I’m pleased to announce that we will have a new contributor to this blog in 2013. Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Agent for Linn, Benton and Polk Counties will be sharing the writing with me and sharing his insights on woodland management with all of you. You can share, too. Pass TreeTopics along to a friend, and pass your article suggestions on to us.

With warm wishes for a happy 2013,

Amy Grotta

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