This summer I’ve had the pleasure of working for the OSU Extension Small Farms Program with Teagan Moran in Linn, Lane, and Benton counties. Most of my time was spent helping organize our Military Veteran Farm Tour Series and attending farm tours of the Willamette Women’s Farm Network (WWFN).

Two women in gray t-shirts and jeans stand next to each other, arm in arm, under a tree.
Crystal Kelso (right) with Teagan Moran, small farms coordinator in Benton, Lane and Linn counties.

I got to experience what it looks like to start out with a sheep farm using movable electrical fencing powered by solar panels, a dry farm that grows flowers and veggies alongside raising goats and poultry (and sampling some of the best goat cheese ever!) and wandering around a medicinal herb farm that has a roadside veggie stand and sells herbs to local businesses.  

I’ve met some amazing people and forged some long-term connections that I hope will carry over into both my personal and professional life. The farmers on these tours are thoughtful and caring about the land and their crops and animals. One thing they all had in common was the desire to connect with each other and give back to the community in a way that is sustainable and fulfilling. I think the overall theme was that these farmers are not doing this to get rich, but to feel good about what they are doing.                                                                                    

I have two more veteran farm tours to go to and will finish updating the agritourism farms list before I complete my internship. After that, I will stay on as a part-time student employee in the Small Farms Program while I finish my last year at OSU and receive my bachelor’s degree in horticulture/ horticulture therapy.  Wherever this path leads me, I am thankful for the time, experience and connections I’ve made with this internship. Having such a great mentor in Teagan to intern with has been super helpful, and she has been great about getting me connected to as many people as possible to help further my experience and career. Thanks again for the opportunity! 

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.

Hi! My name is Nora Graham and I’m working with OSU Extension at the Southern Oregon Research and extension Center in Jackson County on some very cool entomology projects. I’m a senior horticulture student at OSU, and I hope someday to use my degree to help create and maintain beautiful landscapes for everyone to enjoy. Even though I’m only a month into my internship, I’ve been having a blast learning about insects and their relation to plants.

Nora Graham setting up a colony for aphids.

My time here has been divided between various research projects involving biocontrol for hemp, vineyards and pear orchards. With hemp, we are trying to see if we can use a wasp to control cannabis aphid populations, since this wasp lays its eggs inside living aphids which eventually kills the aphids. So far, we’re starting the experiment from scratch, so I’ve been helping develop a procedure as well as trying to start a colony of cannabis aphids. We need to see if we can keep a steady population of aphids alive so we can actually conduct the experiment. If all goes well, we’ll be starting trials by next month.

With vineyards, I get to help collect data to determine if treehoppers are a vector for a virus that damages grape vines called red blotch disease. To collect these insects, we go to various places we think they’d be living with a net and swing the net back and forth across the plants. The treehoppers are usually stunned and stay at the bottom of the net long enough to collect. After we collect them, we give them a sucrose solution to feed on and then we test the treehopper and the solution for the virus to see if the treehopper was infected and if it was able to spread its disease.

In pear orchards, one of the most destructive pests is so small you might mistake it as a gnat. It is called pear psyllaand it can do everything from ruin the color of pears, to inhibiting the leaves of the tree from growing, to spread a disease that kills the pear trees. They can develop resistances to chemical sprays, which is why growers are turning to more unconventional treatments of this pest. While researchers work to find a significant way to control pear psylla populations, growers have had to get creative with how they ward off the pest.

Norah Graham uses a net to catch treehoppers.

A promising biocontrol for the pear psylla is the hardy European earwig, Forficula aurcularia. Researchers at OSU have been participating in an experiment to see if earwigs could be intentionally placed into pear orchards to control the pear psylla populations. For the past few weeks, a large part of my work here at SOREC has been trapping hundreds of earwigs from peach orchards and moving them to pear orchards to see if they can help create a dent in the pear psylla population.

Alyssa Tollefson

Hello, my name is Alyssa Tollefson and I am an intern in the OSU Extension office in Klamath County. I just graduated from Henley High school in Klamath Falls. In high school, my interests and classes I took varied greatly. I started my freshman year wanting to be a lawyer or an interior designer. As the year progressed, I took my deep love of learning and applied for an internship with Nicole Sanchez, horticulture Extension faculty in Klamath County. At that time, I didn’t know much about OSU Extension, so my goal was to learn more. My job focused mainly on horticulture as well as some entomology aspects. Throughout my time working with Nicole, I gravitated more towards entomology as I just wanted to learn as much as possible.

I have decided to get my associate degree in agricultural science and continue down my line of work with breeding goats but also use my entomology knowledge in everyday farming life and as a hobby. As for how I will be using my internship to research the different types of pollinators and putting together a visual display of the non-bee pollinators. Concluding the summer and my internship, I plan to host an event for the youths in the Klamath Basin to come and see pollinators up close under microscopes and learn more about them.