Hi everyone. Em Jones here again. I can barely believe it’s been two months since my last blog post. The summer is coming to an end with earlier sunsets as we approach the equinox, about a month away now. I’ve been so busy with my internship I’ve hardly noticed the passing days. I’ve been networking, meeting new people and making lots of friends through various workshops and activities. My main projects have revolved around Small Farm School and the Oregon Mushroom Producers Network.  

A black plastic tub filled with a wide variety of mushrooms
A bountiful mushroom harvest.

The OSU Extension Small Farms program has been busy as a bee planning and preparing for Small Farm School. Several classes are filling up quickly but it’s not too late to register. It will be held on Monday, Sept. 12 at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City. Classes include topics like poultry processing, funding your small farm “dream,” and farming with climate resiliency.  

We are abuzz right now with volunteer opportunities to support workshops and ensure the day flows smooth as honey. If you’re interested, please reach out to Kelly Streit. Just four hours of volunteering gets you into the Small Farm School for free! 

In addition to supporting Small Farm School, I’ve also had the pleasure of facilitating the first meeting of Oregon’s Mushroom Producer Network. This group of folks includes gourmet and medicinal mushroom cultivators from across Oregon. If you or someone you know is cultivating mushrooms, please reach out to me for more details. We have an upcoming mushroom farm tour and have just begun the conversation about the purchasing power opportunities we can embark upon.  

While I am sad that my internship and the summer are quickly coming to an end, I am so grateful to have participated in the OSU Extension internship program. My mentor, Heidi Noordijk, has given me a wealth of knowledge and opportunity. She is truly a resource librarian and shining example of what the Extension Service is all about. From my time at the Clackamas County Fair to participating in her IPM class, I can honestly say she truly cares about and authentically supports the farming community for the benefit of us all.  

As fall approaches mushroom growing will be at a peak and this small farmer looks forward to continuing their education with Oregon State University as well as continuing to learn from and partner with the Extension Service.  

Hi! My name is Anna Ehlers and I’m an OSU Extension summer intern at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC) in Jackson County. I am an Oregon State University student majoring in horticulture with a minor in biological data science. I am working with my supervisor Lena Hosking, 4-H program coordinator in Jackson County.  

A woman sits cross legged on the floor in front of a horticulture display
Anna Ehlers with her 4-H horticulture display and materials.

I am finishing up my last week at my internship and things have been less chaotic since we finished working at the fair.  

Lately I have been working on a horticulture curriculum for future 4-H camps or day projects. I have found many fun example curricula online and in our project books. Not only am I searching for projects, but I am also editing and revising them to better fit our desired curriculum. Our curriculum has a set of learning objectives that should be incorporated into each project, so revising the projects to improve teaching methods are needed.  

In addition to searching for projects, I have to test them out. By testing the projects, I can improve them to make instructions clearer for students or instructors reading through the curriculum. I can identify issues or miscommunication found in the instructions and modify them. This can clear up any confusion before the projects have begun. We also identify the learning outcomes, so the students have a takeaway after participating in a project. This helps us create a quality curriculum.  

I have found so many things that students of any age can enjoy. My focus is horticulture so I found many gardening, growing and observational horticulture projects that can be educational and fun. There are projects that work better for different ages, so I have some projects that can be easily adjusted. The projects I have modified include pressed flowers, paper making, and seed germination.  

Since many projects include crafts, I created multiple examples for a number of projects. My favorite project I worked on was pressing flowers. In the gardens surrounding the office there are many, many flowers that can be pressed. In front of the plants there are signs labeled with the scientific name and common name. After pressing the flowers for many days, I would write down the scientific name and common name then use Mod Podge to glue the flower onto a piece of cardstock. This would allow the flower to be preserved along with its name, and allows the students to learn that flowers and other plants can have more than one name so that identification can be easier.  

For my seed germination project, I grew different types of beans to see how they grew. The different beans allow for students to track different growth patterns between the different species. To develop scientific inquiry, there are many possible things to experiment with. Learning about a control group and an experimental group can show how you can compare and contrast regarding the different experiments. By using observational skills, students can learn how to identify and describe changes noticed in the real world.  

A woman looks across black and yellow flowers at a site to the right of the camera

I’m glad I had the opportunity to work behind the scenes to understand how much work goes into every project and event that takes place. It takes many people many hours to make our events go well. This is especially true for planning the county fair and a summer 4-H camp.  

I’ve learned to appreciate the work that is involved in preparing curriculum and revising projects that will be used in the future. There is always more work to do, and more things to revise, but it all works out in the end. I was able to work on many projects independently, which allowed me to work on my creativity not only with my curricula projects but also with marketing.  

I had a wonderful time working with 4-H over the summer. I have learned so much during my 10-week internship and I would like to thank Lena for being a great mentor by teaching me so much about 4-H and about OSU extension in general. I would also like to thank my co-worker Steven McIntyre for assisting me with my various projects.

Pulling up to the school building after a fairly long drive I look around and see nothing really all that remarkable. My mom has been talking about sending me and my sister Nadine to this science day camp for about a week now. The car slows down and eventually comes to a stop. My mom turns to me and my sister who are in the back seat and says “Here you are! Enjoy your first day at Hydromania tell me all about it when you get home” She gives us both a kiss on the head and sends us off into the school. At the time I had no real idea about what Hydromania was, so I was very excited to start going every day. However, I was soon disappointed due to how un-engaging most the lessons were. Fast forwarding to today and I have to make a lesson myself, I know I can’t be that boring as well.

Hydromania as I came to learn was a science camp where kids like me would go and learn about different topics in science. My year that I was there I learned about all sorts of things. From lightbulbs to how the McNary Dam works. However, there was one crucial issue with Hydromania for me. It was boring. Really, really boring. Most of the way those topics were explained were in ways that just didn’t interest children. I say this only because it gives context to how I approached my lesson for Hydromania as an OSU Extension intern this summer in Umatilla County. I was determined to make it at least somewhat fun and engaging.

A young man gives an outdoor demonstration while kids watch.
Joeseph Ferguson engages students at Hydromania.

To start I had to find something that would work for a short presentation. Learning from my past experience I knew I had to do something that would be engaging and hopefully interesting to learn about. This was way more difficult than expected. I would spend hours and hours finding a lesson idea writing a plan just to bore myself to sleep with it. I was beginning to worry that I just wouldn’t be able to make any lesson I could teach here fun or interesting. My only real goal here is to teach a subject in an engaging way and at this point it felt like I was failing at that.

Eventually I settled on a presentation idea just to make it fun. I had to engage the kids. So began making the final outline of the plan. I would be teaching them how to separate and identify the three different layers of soil. I would have a jar, a cup of soil and a pitcher of water along with two others already separated jars of soil. I would take time to explain the different layers and what you should look for in healthy soil then the fun part would come. One kid would put soil in the jar while another pours the water and the third will shake the jar for a minute. It’s fun to do so the kids would be engaged.

After all that preparation the day finally came, Hydromania. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Before giving the lesson I was thinking things like, ‘What if I forget things or don’t know what to say?” “What if they ask questions and I don’t know the answers?” Anyway, I began the lesson, and it went well! The kids loved it! They were laughing and having a great time. I hope that helps them remember some of the cool information they learned.

Now that Hydromania has passed, and I won’t be likely to teach it again I had to stop and think about if I achieved my goal. I most definitely did. Getting kids to laugh and have fun with science is something that can be insanely difficult. I know I achieved it. That’s something I’ll always keep in mind – it’s not enough to just know information when it comes to teaching, you also must teach it and show it can be fun.

My name is Alyson Yates, and I am returning as an OSU Extension intern for my second year in Lake County.  This summer, I have been a part of both 4-H programming and agricultural research, with the intent of increasing my knowledge of Extension and its role in communities around Oregon.  As I enter week 8 of my internship, I would like to reflect on the goals I have accomplished so far, and what I have yet to complete as I wrap up my time in Lake County.  

One of the most fulfilling parts of my internship this year has been re-establishing the Lake County 4-H Ambassador program alongside OSU Education Program Assistant Melissa Maxwell.  Growing up as a 4-H member in this county, I was active in many leadership areas, but this particular opportunity was not available to me.  Taking the steps to develop this program throughout the summer has not only been rewarding, but it has given me valuable experience with youth program initiation and design.  I am eager to see this project to completion when I wrap up my internship at our county fair!

A woman demonstrates how to show a chicken to a group of young people.
4-H members and families learning about chicken showmanship. Photo by Alyson Yates.

Throughout the summer, I have also been able to assist with a series of educational clinics facilitated by Lake County Extension, where 4-H families and leaders can learn about various livestock species.  I chose to take on the final event in this series, a clinic on rabbits and poultry, as my internship project.  The preparation process involved many steps, from securing a clinician and venue to designing a registration method for participants.  I also assisted with facilitating the clinic, which was held last week.  4-H members and leaders from around the county attended to learn and get hands-on experience, so I can happily call the project a success!  

On the agricultural side of my internship, I have been helping with a forage research project organized by agent Tammy Barnes.  So far, my work has been to process alfalfa samples from multiple study areas and complete dry matter measurements to calculate forage yield.  These measurements are then analyzed to compare the yield of alfalfa that has been inoculated with BioEnsure with control groups that have been irrigated with LESA (low elevation sprinkler application) systems.  This experience has taught me a lot about agricultural research methods and how Extension interacts with producers, and I am excited to learn more.  While I have not yet been able to collect samples from our study area myself, I hope to do so in the coming weeks before my internship concludes.   

Three people stand next to a stream.
Attendees at the Stream Assessment and Management workshop completing an ecological state assessment at Thomas Creek. Photo by Alyson Yates.

Earlier in the summer, I was also able to attend a workshop on stream assessment and management taught by OSU Extension employees and partners in Eastern Oregon.  This opportunity allowed me to draw valuable connections between Extension, local producers, and public land management organizations, and helped me learn more about the importance of watershed management.

The rest of my summer will be focused on preparation for the 103rd Lake County Fair & Roundup, held over Labor Day weekend.  While helping facilitate activities and events at the fair, I also plan to continue building our media base for the future.  I am looking forward to this event as the culmination of my second year with the Extension internship program, and I hope to continue finding new opportunities to learn and grow!

My name is Caitie Smith I am a current senior at Oregon State University studying agriculture science and will be returning for my master’s in agriculture education this fall. During my internship at the Linn County Extension Office, I have learned so much and the time has just flown by. I am so grateful to everyone at the office that has welcomed me and made me feel at home throughout the summer.

A woman stands against a cloud-streaked sky, wearing a backpack with long flags.
Caitie Smith carrying flags and drone ground control points for a grass seed trial.

I have mostly been working with Christy Tanner, assistant professor of practice and Extension field crops specialist, on several ongoing research projects throughout the summer. I wouldn’t be getting the full Linn County experience without doing some work with grass seed. So of course, one of the projects that took up the majority of our time involved assessing several grass seed fields for vole damage. This project was made easier with the use of multispectral images from a drone that allowed us to view the field from above. The most rewarding part of this project for me was being able to have a hands-on experience with several steps of the research process, from collecting samples to processing drone images and data.

Purple flower stalks peeking above a large field of dense green mint leaves.
A flowering mint field while pest scouting.

Another project that I worked on with Christy was monitoring variegated cutworm and mint root borers in several mint fields throughout the mid-Willamette valley. Every Tuesday I drove to four different fields, collected data, and changed the pheromone traps that were used to attract mature moths. After this, I would make graphs with the data that would go into the weekly “Mint Pest Alert” newsletter.

I also worked with Elizabeth Records, a community horticulture and Master Gardener educator, and the Extension Master Gardener content team. Weekly I edited master gardener trainee’s blog posts before posting them alongside a few social media posts. Not only did I learn a lot about editing and posting blogs but I also learned a great deal from the blog posts themselves. The trainees did copious amounts of research on each of their subjects from weeding tools to maximizing your harvest’s nutrients.

Once again, I can’t thank the Linn County Extension staff enough for allowing me to make the most out of this opportunity. I am sure that this is not my last chapter working with extension and I am looking forward to ways that I can use the knowledge that I gained in my future endeavors.

Hello! I’m Sophia Hampton, and I’m back again to recap my summer as I head into my last week as the small farms outreach intern in Polk County. These past nine weeks have flown by, and I have learned so much. Since my last post, I’ve been continuing to manage social media pages, put together our email newsletter, and create marketing materials. I feel more confident in my graphic design abilities and have gained a new understanding of the importance of marketing and effective marketing strategies. I have really enjoyed this aspect of my internship, and I know these skills will be valuable in the future.  

Two women sit at a sign in table for an event.
Sophia (left) and heather Stiven greet attendees at the Small Farm Social. Photo by Audrey Comerford.

I’ve also gotten experience in event planning, and one of the main events that I helped put on was Small Farm Social. This was an evening for farmers in the mid-Willamette Valley to connect with each other and meet service providers. It was rewarding to go through the process of planning and preparation and have a successful event by the end of it. It was a reminder that any event takes a lot of work and energy to come to fruition. I created many of the printed and virtual marketing materials, managed our RSVP list, sent email reminders, and helped with the check-in table on the evening of the social. 

A woman draws petals on a simple line drawing of a flower.
Sophia teaches about pollination at the Polk County Fair. Photo by Hayley White.

My independent project for this internship was to come up with an activity for the Cultivating tent at the Polk County Fair, and I led an activity aimed at youth to teach about pollination. I used chalk to represent pollen and cotton balls to represent bees to show the process of pollination, and I think the kids enjoyed the interactive demonstration. I appreciated being able to connect with the community, and it was great to see the interest the public has in Extension programming and services.  

Ultimately, I’m so grateful for this summer and this internship experience. I have great respect for all those who work in Extension; they care about the people they serve, were always willing to talk to me about their journey to their current position, and are making a real and important difference in communities. I would like to especially thank Hayley White, my supervisor, for her support and guidance as they are major reasons for my wonderful experience! 

Children seated on the carpet listen while a woman tells a story from a picture book.
Jill Rudolf reads to kids at Camp Cloverbud.

Hey, everyone, my name is Jill Rudolf, and this is my final blog post of the summer. Over these 10 weeks, I have done many new things and had a lot of fun. I was able to get a feel for many different facets of Extension in Umatilla and Morrow counties and the essential services that it provides. Every day has been different, from answering phones, networking with producers, or even testing a pressure canner.  

I have been involved in many different areas over my internship. I had the opportunity to volunteer at Camp Cloverbud and do an Ag in the Classroom activity with them. Seeing kids engaged in the activities was very fun to see. I have also been able to be involved in the fair prep process. I have participated in county fairs, so seeing the “behind-the-scenes” made me appreciate the hard work that goes into the fair and the contests. In Morrow County, I was able to clerk the presentation contests during the pre-fair event. I am so impressed by the young 4-H’ers that I met. 

My main focus for my internship was water issues in eastern Oregon and how they affect Umatilla and Morrow counties. My chosen project was creating and developing a Water Needs Assessment for Umatilla and Morrow counties. This project aimed to gather information about local agricultural water use while giving producers a space to ask questions and request information. Developing this survey included much research and evaluation, and I am excited to receive responses from the producers.  

As I close my internship, I look forward to the Umatilla and Morrow county fairs. This internship was a very valuable experience, and I learned a lot about Extension as a whole and another facet of agriculture. I want to thank everyone for working with me and providing me with these memorable experiences. 


Hi, everyone my name is Celilo Brun and I am wrapping up the last week of my internship with OSU Extension in Wallowa County. This summer was unlike the rest. Usually, I spend the majority of my summer at the lake, but instead I got to spend it giving back to the future generations in agriculture through 4-H members. When I was in 4-H I got to experience everything that 4-H offered, from showing cattle to taking a photography class. I did it all. Even though I had these amazing experiences my mission wasn’t over. I wanted to make sure other youths got to have these amazing experiences in 4-H, like I did. As I sit here and reflect on the past few months, I realized that I accomplished my mission of giving back. 

Four young people
Celilo Brun (far right) and attendees of her cattle fitting clinic.

Throughout my internship I was fortunate enough to meet many amazing individuals that aided in my growth. They showed me their most authentic, giving and caring selves. They all have roles in 4-H. Leaders, volunteers, Extension agents and staff, parents and the community all have an open hand and heart when it comes to 4-H. They are willing to do anything for these members because they know that they will give back to the community in many ways. Observing these individuals’ passion for 4-H and the youth was a beautiful sight to see, even if these individuals didn’t know it. Once I saw the passion flow, I knew it was time to start giving back.  

While most of my internship was spent behind the scenes creating flyers, posters and fun interactive content for youths. I was able to go out and interact with the youth in various ways, including: 

  • Free Summer Lunch Program 
  • Eastern Oregon Livestock Show 
  • Tri-County 4-H Camp
  • Leaders’ meetings 
  • Putting on a cattle fitting clinic 
  • Wallowa County Fair 
4-H’ers participated in the kids parade at Chief Joseph Days.

There are many more ways that I have interacted with youth not listed above. These experiences allowed me to reflect on all of the great memories, lessons and new skills that I had developed from similar experiences. When attending these events, I wanted to make sure I emphasized those skills and experiences that they gain from these opportunities. This is very valuable for them to recognize because usually it takes many years before they see the importance. Some of these skills include public speaking, communication, adaptability, and relationship building.  

From being a 4-H’er to being a helping hand for 4-H’ers this has been a very meaningful experience and one that I will never forget. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support and guidance of many individuals. Thank you to all those individuals who made it possible. Everyone has shined their light into my life with their experience, passion, and love. Those lights have shined bright in my life and will continue to positively impact my life for many years to come.

I would also like to shout out all of the Extension staff in Wallowa County and all Extension programs across the state. Without Extension staff nothing we do would be possible. They are the secret superheroes that make 4-H and Extension programs so successful, and they aren’t always appreciated. My appreciation for all these individuals, parents, community members, and leaders have significantly grown thanks to this experience. I want to continue advocating for these individuals and the youth in agriculture. I can’t wait to watch the program flourish from the sidelines. Thank you!



Hi, I’m Molly Taylor, and I’m finishing up my last two weeks as an Extension intern in Hood River and Wasco counties, working in the Family and Community Health Program. Over the course of my internship, I’ve had many opportunities that have helped me develop skills for my future career, no matter what path I decide to take.  

A woman in a black Food Hero apron stands at a table filled with trail mix ingredients.
Molly Taylor providing DIY trail mix at a day camp in Hood River.

Some of my favorite experiences have been assisting and carrying out a 4-H cooking camp – where I got to do food demonstrations and teach kitchen skills and safety – providing snacks for local day camps and putting together recipe books for the SNAP-Ed program using Food Hero recipes. Throughout all of these experiences I’ve been able to build communication and teaching skills, planning strategies, and problem-solving methods that will benefit me in my future endeavors. 

Over the summer, I’ve enjoyed working with different programs like Family and Community Health, 4-H and Open Campus/Juntos. I’ve been able to see all that Extension does in the community and how it truly makes a difference by getting people involved and excited about learning how to better themselves and the area they live in. Throughout all of these programs, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot with kids and it’s been especially fun to see their excitement to learn and to then take their new knowledge home to their families. This showed that not only do Extension teaching programs support adults who are trying to make a difference, but also has that impact on younger generations which makes a lasting difference.  

With my internship coming to a close, for the last two weeks I will be finishing up the recipe books that will be handed out at local schools in the fall by the SNAP-Ed program in Wasco County and potentially doing something at the Wasco County Fair. I look forward to taking all the things I’ve learned from Extension and applying them to the rest of my schooling and future jobs and leave having an extra appreciation for the work and impact that Extension has on communities like mine.  

What a summer. With my internship at Lane County 4-H beginning to wrap, reflecting upon my experience these past eight weeks has been insightful. If last year you had told me I would be spending my summer serving as a small animal judge at the Lane County Fair and setting off two dozen Alka-Seltzer volcanos I would have thought you were crazy.  

Maya Casper (from left) with Lane County 4-H faculty Melinda Garcia and Elizabeth Gangwer.

This summer I made Tofu smoothies with second-graders, learned to run a fair management software, and became an expert on the Danish scoring system, which we use to judge livestock and static projects at the fair. While it might not sound like it, all of these unique experiences have contributed to a further understanding of what it takes to serve the needs and wants of the Eugene and surrounding Lane County communities. 

This experience has provided clarification for my professional goals post-graduation, and has provided insight into the work environment in which I hope to pursue. Pushing myself outside of  my comfort zone and working in this position, which I might not have previously considered, served as highly insightful for my professional development. If I would have stayed within my comfort zone I would have not had the experience to meet families and kids where they are, understanding their needs and intentions in a way that’s impossible solely from a classroom. It has taught me a lot about flexibility, and adaptability and reiterated my respect for the sacrifices parents make for their children. 

I want to thank everyone at OSU Extension for creating this opportunity and Lane County for hosting me this summer.