Podcast brings science-based information to woodland owners and managers.

When woodland owners encounter problems beyond their expertise, they often approach Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Service experts for help, either through email or phone or through professional Extension events like field days, workshops, seminars and short courses.

Those approaches can be limiting, though. Direct contact involves travel time for all involved and conflicting schedules and obligations mean some people can’t attend events.

In response, Lauren Grand, OSU Extension forester in Lane County, and her Extension colleagues created a podcast. Instead of having to be present at a certain time and place to reach a limited audience, Extension professionals present their educational content to an unlimited audience 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing more people access to the information they want and need.

Twice a month, the “In the Woods” podcast shares stories and interviews with forest scientists, land managers and members of the public, communicating science-based and forest-related research. The podcast helps strengthen the forestry community, reaching both traditional and new audiences. While the traditional Oregon woodland owner is often older, listeners to “In the Woods” trend younger with 39% of listeners ages 28-34 and 26% ages 23-27. Reaching more young, urban, non-forest owners and natural resource professionals is in line with Extension’s mission of being accessible to all.

The podcast was one of the top 20% of podcasts shared globally on Spotify and the three highest-rated podcasts discussing water, soil and forest fungi. Half of listeners have, or plan to, adopt tips and skills they learned about in the episodes they’ve listened to. 75% of listeners report the podcast has improved their understanding of how research informs natural resource management.

A version of this story appeared in the 2021-2022 College of Forestry Biennial Report.

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