What a year! Anita Azarenko hopes the holidays provided some respite from the tumultuous year behind us and looks ahead to the New Year.  

She has an “ask” of us: Share what you learned in the past year that will shape how you work in 2021. After Anita wraps up her comments, please continue to stay tuned for a how-to video.  

She is asking you to record and share a short (less than a minute) video on Zoom, or share your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.  

Here are a few other things to know: 

  • Watch the First Monday Update video through to the end. 
  • Record your thoughts in the comment section of the blog, or record on Zoom by Monday morning, January 11. 
  • Add Victor Villegas as a collaborator on your video in Media Space by noon on January 11.  
  • Look for links to the blog and to view the what-we-learned videos in the January 12 edition of ConnEXTion. 

Kris Elliott, Outdoor School program leader, and Charissa Jones, outreach and inclusion coordinator, join Anita Azarenko to share the work they are doing to make outdoor school accessible for all eligible 5th and 6th graders across the state.  

With a recently updated vision, mission and organizational “why,” equity remains at the forefront. Transparency is an essential characteristic as the Outdoor School program builds equity, diversity and inclusion awareness both internally and externally.  

Charissa shares a few of the projects Outdoor School is engaging in to help outdoor school programs and providers build equity into their programming. 

Please comment: Anita wants to know how you safely shared the holidays with family and friends. Staying connected is important to our well-being and we can learn from each other for future, safe holiday celebrations. Happy holidays! 

Grow Where You Are

The November topic began with learning about the Grow Where You Are project of the Extension office located on the tribal lands of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. The conversation also was about the unique nature of serving a sovereign nation. 

  • The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is the largest reservation in Oregon.
  • The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is the only reservation in Oregon with an Extension office.
  • The Confederated Tribes of Warms Springs is three Native American tribes: Warm Springs bands, Wasco and Paiute people.

The conversations before and after the recording session with Olivia Davis, SNAP-Ed outreach coordinator and Family and Community Health educator, and Tracy Wilson, Central Oregon agricultural literacy coordinator and local liaison to the tribes, were insightful. Unfortunately, we’re unable to share those discussions, but you’ll get a glimpse of them in this month’s First Monday Update. (John Brunoe, 4-H and Family and Community Health educator, was also instrumental in the project.)

Join Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko as she explores one of the ways Extension is working with The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to provide residents with homegrown foods in a food desert with limited water resources during a pandemic and severe wildfire season. 

Want to learn more about the project or about serving Oregon tribes? Olivia and Tracy would enjoy hearing from you. 

The garden kit included: 

  • A raised garden box (2’x2’)
  • 4 bags of soil
  • Seeds (green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots)
  • 2 marigold plants
  • OSU Extension Food Hero Vegetable informal sheets, recipes and Youth coloring pages.
  • Informal sheets on setting up the garden box and planting.

We work and live on the lands of the indigenous tribes, and Oregon State initially was funded by land taken from indigenous people. You are encouraged to explore and reflect on these articles and resources.

  • Explore the land you live on
  • Land-grab UniversitiesHigh Country News, Robert Lee and Tristan Ahtone, March 2020.
  • Ask Who Paid for America’s UniversitiesNew York Times, Tristan Ahtone and Robert Lee, May 7, 2020.
  • Books and films (list compiled by Nicole Strong, Olivia Davis and Ellise David in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day):
    • There There: a novel, by Tommy Orange 
    • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer 
    • An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
    • Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources, M. Kat Anderson
    • Nch’i-Wána “The Big River” Mid-Columbia Indians and Their Land. Eugene S. Hunn and James Selam
    • The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, Beth Dooley and Sean Sherman (cookbook)
    • Feeding Ourselves, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (film)
  • Support A Community of Warm Springs Artists

Healthy eating can be a fun topic, and Lahaina Phillip knew it was important to her community.

A colleague recommended that Lahaina, a community health specialist for the Portland-area Micronesian Islander community, contact OSU Extension’s Elena Illescas, a SNAP-Ed Education Program Assistant in Clackamas County, who taught nutrition education as part of a Spanish-language Cooking Matters class with community partners.

After Lahaina cold-called Elena, their partnership—and friendship—has flourished. They share their story in this month’s First Monday update.

First, they collaborated to design and deliver a series of nutrition education and cooking classes with the Micronesian community. See photos from the classes.

Lahaina adapted traditional community recipes to make them healthier by including more vegetables. Soon, two of the recipes—Chicken Kelaguen and Stir Fry Mackerel—will be available through Food Hero, added because of the Cooking Matters class.

Now, Lahaina and Elena are expanding their partnership to form a Food Hero Cultural Toolkit Workgroup for Pacific Islanders to highlight traditional ingredients and promote healthy cultural recipes. They are looking at how to continue to involve the Pacific Islander community at a distance during the pandemic through remote OSU Extension programming. And Lahaina is eager to learn more about and connect her community with other OSU Extension programming, including youth development and gardening topics.

Share what inspires you about this collaboration in the comment section. And reach out to Elena if you are interested in learning more.
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Además, si usted está trabajando con familias hispanohablantes eligibles para beneficios alimentarios quienes están interesados en recibir la clase de Cooking Matters en Español con recetas culturalmente relevantes, nutritivas, sabrosas y económicas no duden en contactarnos.

Also, if you are working with Spanish-speaking families eligible for food benefits who are interested in receiving the Cooking Matters class in Spanish with culturally relevant, nutritious, delicious, and affordable recipes, don’t hesitate to contact us.

This upcoming year (2020-21) will host a special Leadership Develop Program (LDPE) cohort, which will be virtual, lower-cost, and with an intentional social justice and equity lens. The cohort will also be open to all levels of employees. Learn more about the professional development opportunity from Jeff Sherman, OSU Open Campus program leader, and Amanda Bielenberg, conference and events manager, as they talk with Anita Azarenko, interim vice provost for the Division of Extension and Engagement. 

Talk with your supervisor, program leader or regional director about your participation. Anita, Jeff and Amanda would like to see all programs and regions represented in the cohort. LDPE applications are due by September 20.

A virtual Summer Small Business Boot Camp was launched in Clatsop County after COVID-19 shuttered businesses, kept tourists away from a county heavily reliant on tourism, and drove the unemployment rate to almost 25%.

Lindsay Davis, OSU Extension in Clatsop County, and Jessica Newhall, Associate Director of the Clatsop Small Business Development Center, joined Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko to share how they collaborated to build core business skills and economic resiliency in Clatsop County. It is a model that can be replicated in other counties across Oregon.

Tell us what you inspires you about this collaboration in the comment section on the blog post and reach out to Lindsay and Jessica to learn more.

Shana Withee, state 4-H program coordinator for the 4-H international program, joined Anita Azarenko, interim vice provost for Extension and Engagement,for this month’s First Monday Update. The 4-H international program began to take shape in Oregon in 1973 to help youth gain a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them.

There are in-bound and out-bound opportunities to experience world cultures, including hosting students and adults from other countries and living inother countries. Youth do not have to be 4-H members to participate and 4-H Foundation endowments make participation affordable.

The 2020 program is postponed, but planning is underway for 2021. Consider opening your home for two weeks to a visitor from Japan, or encourage the youth you work with and know to engage with the world in a life-changing way.

Want to learn more or become a host family? Contact Shana and visit the 4-H international program website.

As another fire season approaches, Anita Azarenko, interim vice provost for the Division of Extension and Engagement, asked Carrie Berger, Forestry and Natural Resources Extension associate program leader and Fire Program manager, to join her for the June First Monday Update.

The Fire Program, a statewide initiative funded by the state legislature, is a cross-disciplinary effort involving Extension programs, colleges and agency and community partners. Find out how the program will be staffed and community priorities will be established.

To learn more about the Extension Fire Program, visit the Extension website or reach out to Carrie Berger.

With the Stay Home, Save Lives executive order on everyone’s minds, Anita Azarenko, Interim Vice Provost for the Division of Extension and Engagement, answers its impact on Extension with four questions:

1. What do we know for sure?
2. What don’t we know?
3. What are the next steps?
4. When will we next meet to discuss where we are?

Embracing virtual Extension has unleashed amazing creativity. So that we continue to learn from each other, Anita asks us to continue to share successes in the comment section of this blog, as Bright Spots in the weekly ConnEXTion newsletter and in the Celebrations and Shoutouts channel in Teams.

For the most up to date information about COVID-19 at OSU, please visit OSU’s COVID-19 Resources and Information website.

As we shift to virtually providing programming and staying connected, Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko invited four Extension colleagues to share the creative ways they are using technology to continue their Extension activities.

Brooke Edmunds, assistant professor (practice), community horticulturalist and Master Gardener™ program coordinator for Linn and Benton counties, created Fun Friday Zoom Happy Hours to continue building a sense of community among Master Gardener volunteers, important to program participants. Introducing Zoom conferencing in a fun way has an added benefit as well, which she explains. Look for the Informal Virtual Gathering success story on the Virtual Extension website for more details. 

Lu Seapy, 4-H Youth Development STEM educator in Wasco County, sought to identify programming that would lend itself to online learning. Three courses quickly were introduced. She shares how she approached the online programming and offers these resources and more on the Virtual Extension website. She also offers this advice: Anticipate that online preparation takes more time than prepping for traditional programming.

Kristen Moore and Alice Phillips, 4-H educators in the North Willamette Region, want to keep kids and parents engaged by using a familiar platform: Facebook. Using Facebook Premier allows a combination of recorded video and a live component. They call it “4-H Together on Thursday” focusing on “5 Things You Can Do…” using things around the house. You can tune in, too, to see how they do it. Videos are available for sharing after the premier. Look for the video and multimedia link on Virtual Extension for more details.

Reminder: The Virtual Extension website offers resources for virtual programming, success stories so we all learn from each other and more. Use the “Let’s Talk” button on the site to share ideas, success stories, questions, and resources you’ve found to be helpful.