This will be my last blog post as an OSU Extension intern. This summer has flown by and I’m happy to have spent my time at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC).
I feel that my experiences from my internship have helped me to better understand the research process by seeing the amount of time and preparation that goes into getting results. This summer I assisted with a lot of sample collections and testing preparation for various research trials. It was really cool to learn about the trials being performed at HAREC and how it will benefit the producers in the Columbia Basin area. I worked mostly in collecting potato petiole, wheat, and alfalfa samples every week then getting them ready to be sent off for further testing.
One thing that I would like others to know about OSU Extension is that it serves a wide variety of people in the agricultural industry. I grew up in 4-H so I really only thought that extension was limited to 4-H and youth education. Extension plays a huge role in communities in a wide range of ways. I think people should get information about their local Extension service to see what programs they offer in the community and how they can get involved as community members. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Extension this summer, especially at HAREC.
During this summer I learned the value of relationships and staying in touch with those you work with. The value of human connection is one that cannot be matched through virtual communication and meetings alone. I know this will aid me in the future as I pursue a career in agricultural education. The experiences and relationships I’ve gained from this internship are ones that I’ll forever be thankful for.
Hello everyone, this is Alyson Yates with a final check-in from Lake County. My internship concluded last week after the end of the 2021 Lake County Fair. My experience this summer was very enjoyable and fulfilling, and I feel that it will be a strong foundation for a future career in agricultural Extension and 4-H program development.
Last week, I was able to travel to the OSU Extension office in Klamath County for a day to shadow horticultural specialist Nicole Sanchez. The office in my home county does not have this position, so I was glad to take advantage of this opportunity in our neighboring county. Throughout the day, I attended meetings with Nicole and took a short trip to a local farm in search of squash bees. She was a fantastic teacher, and I am grateful for her and the Klamath County office’s hospitality.
The capstone of my internship experience was working at our county fair. I was a member of the 4-H program here in Lake County for nine years, so I have long been looking forward to participating in this event from a new perspective. One of my primary goals this year was to capture new photographs for use at our county office, so I spent extensive time documenting youth at different livestock shows and events around the fair. I was also one of the organizers for our annual recognition ceremony and assisted in coordinating our youth presenters at the event. Much of my time was balanced between my role as an Extension intern and my role as a 4-H volunteer, as I was also the leader of a rabbit 4-H club, small livestock superintendent, and a judge in our all-species master showmanship event, but I feel that my position with Extension greatly enhanced my entire experience. It was truly the best week of my summer, and the experience emphasized my love of teaching youth about agriculture, raising livestock, leadership, and the arts.
Overall, I feel that my summer at the OSU Extension office in Lake County was an invaluable experience and will greatly shape my future in Extension programming. As I enter my sophomore year of college, I hope to continue working with the OSU Extension Internship program in the summers to come!
Hi! This is Abbey Berhorst from the Hermiston Agriculture Research and Extension Center (HAREC) in Umatilla County. I have been doing a lot of lab work for research preparation this summer and it has been a huge learning experience for me. I’ve gotten to work with a variety of different crops including potatoes, wheat, and alfalfa and have learned the impact they have in this area of Oregon and other regions.
This summer HAREC was able to hold an in-person Potato Field Day in June. It was interesting to be there because I got to listen to multiple speakers talk about their research projects and I was able to learn a lot of new information. It was also cool to see all the producers be invested in the workshops and ask questions. Through this event I was able to see the mission of extension being met by seeing Extension staff and researchers work first-hand with producers in the area. It seemed like everyone was relieved to finally have an opportunity to meet in person for the field day rather than staying at home for a virtual event. There were a few different speakers so, all the participants were split into groups then they had the opportunity to rotate through each workshop.
A big learning moment that I gained from the field day and throughout my internship was the importance of staying connected with work clients, whether that’s in person or virtually. Those who came to the field day seemed so excited and happy to be there in person for the day. It was like a lot of people were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. HAREC still did a great job of staying connected virtually when needed, but I was able to see the impact that human interaction had between both the Extension agents and the producers.
This is my second-to-last week interning for OSU Extension Service this summer. The summer has gone by so quickly and I am sad to see this experience come to an end. I came into this internship with some experience coordinating social media for SNAP-Ed’s Food Hero Program but ended up learning so much more than just scheduling and posting content.
Throughout my internship, I have been able to meet with different social media coordinators from other Extension programs and was taught many new skills and strategies for reaching Extension’s audience. I enjoyed the process of brainstorming content to share across our social media platforms and learning more about which types of graphics and posts receive more engagement. Looking at our platform’s analytics to track engagement and audience reach, I found it very helpful when determining what and when to post our content. While my work for Extension Communications largely focused on content development, I thoroughly enjoyed learning and seeing how Extension is impacting the community through other Extension counties’ social media and hearing about programs from summer interns. One of the projects I was excited to see finished was launching OSU Extension’s Instagram account. This was a longer process than I originally thought but I was very pleased with how much support and help I received with the start of the account. Although I am finishing my internship in a week, I am eager to see the growth of the account in months to come. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!
Before my internship, I did not know a lot about what resources and Extension has for the community. But, through researching and brainstorming content for our platforms, I was quickly introduced to an abundance of resources and programs Extension has to offer. My favorite thing I learned is how Extension has something for everyone. Whether you are a home gardener, commercial farmer, youth in 4-H, a fisherman, etc … there is helpful information for anyone. OSU Extension is seriously a go-to resource for Oregonians and is significantly impacting the community through research-based information. Our community would not be the same without the work Extension provides for our counties. If you have not gotten to be involved with Extension, I encourage you to join a program or visit our website to learn how Extension can serve your needs.
While I am hoping to pursue a career in the medical field I hope to stay involved with Extension, whether it be volunteering or maybe working with Extension’s nutrition education programs I am confident that this internship will not be my last experience with Extension’s work. This experience taught me so much and I cannot be more grateful for the opportunity I had with the Extension Communications office.
Hello again everyone! Joseph O’Brien checking in for the last time from Umatilla County.
WOW! I can’t believe it’s been 10 weeks already. I feel like our internship orientation was just yesterday and we were creating individual objectives for the summer in our specific program areas. My time in the 4-H and Open Campus programs have been filled with endless fun, opportunities, experiences, and growth – personal and professional. From working at Science Fridays at the SAGE Center in Boardman to judging the goat portion of master showmanship at the Umatilla County Fair at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center in Hermiston, I would say my experiences were very diverse this summer.
Each intern this summer was tasked with creating or partaking in a project in their program area and sharing their progress with their fellow interns during the weekly internship check-ins. My project this summer was to work with the grant provided by Corteva to the Extension Service here in Umatilla County. This grant focused on monarch butterflies and how they are dwindling in numbers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Therefore, it was my project to go around to summer schools and camps to teach students about what these pollinators provide for us. One game I played was the “Ice Cream Sundae Challenge.” In short, each team created an amazing ice cream sundae combination with the toppings and flavors they were given. Once they were done, we talked about all the ingredients, it was determined that without pollinators, we would not be able to eat any of the food items. Not only did the kids learn about the butterflies, but I learned more about the overall grant process, how to engage a larger group of youth, and how to create lesson plans out of the curriculum provided.
Throughout the two summers I have been interning with the Extension Service, I always get the same question, “Why are you interning for the Extension Service when you are a nursing major?” Now there is a question that might stump you. It made me really think about why I came back for a second time and why I will continue to volunteer with the extension service programs in the future. “Community,” is the first word that comes to mind. As a nursing student who is heavily involved on campus, I have learned what it means to create community and the importance of getting others involved in those opportunities – even if it may not perk your interest at first. Although I don’t personally see myself working for the Extension Service in the future, that doesn’t mean I can’t engage, grow, and collaborate with those in my community and use those experiences and growth opportunities in my nursing career.
With that said, I am so grateful and will cherish every place, person, program, and partnership that made my internship possible for a second time. In a few weeks, I will be starting my junior year of nursing school. I would be kidding myself if I said I was ready for what lies ahead but, I know that I have multiple communities behind me with an abundance of support to give if I find myself lost. And who knows, I may come back to the Extension Service here in Umatilla County again for my final internship opportunity. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned …
This is my last blog post for my internship. I am appreciative of this internship for the experiences that I have had. It has been super exciting to see the projects I have been working on wrap up. For example, some of the projects included presenting to the Tillamook County Extension staff, finishing a water resources guide, and tabling at the county fair.
Although most of my internship was done remotely, I drove to Tillamook a couple times to work and meet some folks in person. It was refreshing to spend time there and actually get to work in person. I helped with a couple of summer camps and went on a few industry tours, learning more about the community. I at a table at the Tillamook County Fair, talking about soil horizons and showing off the soil samples that I collected from around Tillamook. Not too many people showed up, but those that did were interested in talking to me to learn more about what I was doing. At the fair, I also got to hang out in the Extension Master Gardener demonstration garden, which looks gorgeous despite them not being able to spend a ton of time working there due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The North Coast food producer listserv that I helped create and manage has been up and running for over a month. This listserv shares resources with small food producers of the North Coast and will generally be a network that folks will hopefully utilize more in the future. Overall, this project helped me to grow my confidence in email communications with a broad audience. The few responses that I received from the listserv have been overwhelmingly positive as folks respond to ask me questions or make comments. We have also had partner organizations contact us to send out resources, which is exciting because it means that we are beginning to be recognized in some parts of the community. I am looking forward to watching the listserv grow and change now that it has gotten started and since my internship will be ending.
My big project for this summer was writing a water resources guide for landowners. I spent a lot of time researching and reaching out to organizations on the North Coast to try and get the most up-to-date, accurate information available. You can read it here. In addition to learning how to professionally reach out for information and feedback, I also strengthened my time-management skills throughout the summer. I am excited to share this resource out that I have been working on all summer.
Overall, I am grateful to have had this opportunity to be a Tillamook Extension intern. Getting to know the staff in the office and the community has been a great learning experience. I look forward to taking the skills that I learned and applying them to my career and education moving forward.
Alli Studnick here, writing from the OSU Extension office in Benton County. Since my last blog I have been doing more than just testing water at local farmers markets. Weeks back, the Yamhill 4-H Agent contacted me and asked if I was interested in doing herdsmanship judging for their county fair at the beginning of August. I agreed and spent three days at the fair judging herdsmanship and then also judging the swine master showmanship rounds, too. It was a lot of fun going to a fair I have never been to before. I learned a lot about how much 4-H agents do, all the coordination, and how they deal with all the things that might not go as planned during a county fair. I also realized I might not be cut out to be a 4-H coordinator like I thought … they definitely don’t have the easiest job!
During that same week I also did nitrate testing at the Stayton Farmers Market. I did 45 tests, drove close to 200 miles, and worked almost 13 hours. I have never been so tired in my life, but now that I look back on it, I am glad I experienced a day like that because the life of an Extension agent isn’t just an 8-to-5 day.
Three weeks ago we went to Polk County to help with their Cultivating tent at the Polk County Fair. This was the week of the extreme heat so it was hot, but it was really fun to see the kids making bracelets and painting rocks, and the adults grabbing flyers and brochures about all the important things like taking care of streams and rivers, where to test your soil and water, and much more! Again, it was awesome to attend another county fair and learn more about how the different counties in Oregon do things when it comes to the fair.
One thing I seem to forget often is that not all the people who come to Extension with questions are landowners, farmers, ranchers, and small farm owners. But they also teach the people who don’t have acreage or livestock. The people who want to learn about how they can provide habitat for native pollinators or learning about what to do if there was to be a wildfire, or if someone wants to learn how to can fruits and vegetables. OSU Extension provides classes for almost everything you can think of, and they are available to more than just rural residents. Which is the one thing I want people to know about OSU Extension. These people are here to help and to bring a smile to your face. To answer your calls and emails, or any questions you might have. Whether you live on thousands of acres or just a small lot in town, use your local Extension offices to your advantage, they are always there to lend a helping hand.
This job revolves around service, and you can tell that the employees just want to help people and many of them jump head-first to do so. I have learned that to be an Extension agent you have to have stamina but good pacing because it’s not a race, it’s a marathon! It is so easy to go all in, and really tire yourself out quickly. I can now see why Extension faculty have a hard time with work-life balance. I also understand why people stay in this career for so long, because they enjoy their communities, the people in them, and making a difference. Which is why Extension is so special to me.
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to continue with the groundwater quality education program long after my summer internship. Chrissy Lucas-Woodruff, my supervisor, has allowed me to continue my time with her by letting me shadow her during my year-long agriculture education master’s degree program which begins in late September. So, if you need questions answered about your well or septic or want your well water tested, I’ll be here at the Benton County Extension office in Corvallis for the next six months!