Extension often does its best work through collaborations. Coast to Forest: Mental health promotion in rural Oregon is one such collaboration. Dusti Linnell, Family and Community Health in Tillamook and Lincoln Counties, and Robin Maille, Family and Community Health/SNAP-Ed in Union and Baker counties, are outreach coordinators for the project. They joined interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko to talk about the effort.

Learn how Extension and the College of Public Health and Human Sciences joined together to provide mental health support across Oregon. Adult Mental Health First Aid Training is the first step in the initiative funded by USDA NIFA and SAMHSA and Extension employees and partners are the initial target audience. If you see an opportunity for training in your community, post a comment.

Forty percent of Oregon’s family forests are managed, or co-managed, by women. The Women Owning Woodlands Network (WOWNet) provides participatory, hands-on peer learning to build technical skills and knowledge for its members. Tiffany Hopkins, WOWNet coordinator, shared details about the program with Anita Azarenko, interim vice provost of Extension and Engagement. WOWNet-style programs across the nation – and in some cases other countries – emulate what has been created in Oregon. For farms-forest lands, there is an opportunity for agriculture and forestry agents and the WOWNet program to cooperate. Other outreach efforts may benefit from the learning about the WOWNet approach.

To learn more about WOWNet and its engagement strategies, contact Tiffany Hopkins.

Cassie Bouska and Julie Leep, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension, joined Interim Vice Provost Anita Azarenko in a discussion about a topic near and dear to her heart: helping the farming and ranching community through the stressors of their livelihood.

With grant funding, Cassie and Julie, who are located in Coos County, are leading a statewide project called the Farmers and Ranchers Stress Assistance Network. The network provides resources and training for all of us to recognize when community members in agriculture are facing mental health crises and family stressors.

Learn more by:

  • Watching the First Monday Update video
  • Visiting the Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network website
  • Attending an upcoming free workshop (the first one is February 4)
  • Reviewing and sharing these important resources from the network website
  • Connecting with Cassie and Julie

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.