Seven kids in artist smocks work at a long table covered in paper.
Kids get messy with activities at 4-H STEAM summer camp.
Photo credit: Sofie Carlson

Hi again, it’s Sofie Carlson, welcome back to my blog! I am in the final week of my incredible experience as the natural resources intern at Lincoln County Extension. Let me give you an update on the projects I’ve been working on this summer:

  • I continued composing the monthly newsletters that my supervisor, Evie Smith, sends out: Small Farms TLC Newsletter, which provides relevant information for small farms and ranches in Tillamook, Lincoln and Clatsop counties; and LC Master Gardener’s Newsletter, which contains information and expertise to help our Master Gardeners (and any other readers) meet local challenges. In total, I helped put out six newsletters!
  • I finished redesigning an updated brochure for Lincoln County Local Foods that will deliver information on all of the producers in Lincoln County conducting farm direct sales at the four local farmers markets in our county: what they sell, how to contact them and when the markets are I am really proud of the final version and can’t wait to see the printed copies make their way into the community. I joined in on one more Cooking Matters Tour at the Newport Farmers Market, with our FCH/SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator, Beatriz Botello, and Nutrition Education Program Assistant Jennifer Pettit. I hope that the brochure I created can draw more attention to Lincoln County’s farmers markets and the valuable tour that Beatriz and Jennifer give.
  • I collected more blueberries and blackberries at Gibson Farms! I ended up completing seven collections at six different sites within the blueberry farm, contributing data for a larger ongoing research project that monitors a pest called spotted wing
  • I did my last round of maintenance on a project called Juntos en el Jardin, which is a community garden located at the Newport This has been rewarding work and I am glad to have been involved in making the garden a more accessible space. I also joined Sea Grant marine fisheries educator Angee Doerr for four Fridays, with her Shop at the Dock program. I greeted and organized the tour groups for the guides to then teach families about Newport’s commercial fisheries through a tour of the port.
  • Lastly, I attended the Kids’ Garden Fair at the Lincoln City Demonstration Garden and assisted 4-H Youth Development Program Leader Shelley Spangler with one of her summer camps. These two experiences helped solidify my love for working with
  • youth and being outside learning about the natural world.
Picture of a dock in Oregon, with a sign over a walkway that says Port of Newport, Dock 5.
Shop at the Dock gives tours of the fishing boats, gear, and fisheries associated with Port Dock 5.
Photo credit: Sofie Carlson

As my time in Oregon comes to a close, at least for the time being, and I reflect on my summer, I want to give a huge thanks to my supervisor, Evie Smith, for her support and guidance. I have absolutely loved working with her and I could not have asked for a better role model to mentor me in this position. I would also like to thank all of the people I worked with at the Lincoln County Extension office; it was an amazing work environment, and I will miss working there! Lastly, I want to thank my aunt, Emily Blume, for telling me about this opportunity and letting me live with her and her family for the past two months in this beautiful state.

I will soon be heading back home to Vermont, where I will be starting a new job as a Naturalist Educator at North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier. I am excited to begin the next chapter of my life, teaching environmental education to youth in my home state.

A woman kneels in the grass to feed a black and white baby goat with a bottle.
Sophia Nowers feeding a two-day old baby goat on a recent farm tour. Photo credit: Teagan Moran

Hello, again. I’m Sophia Nowers, the summer intern for Oregon State University Extension Service’s Small Farms Program and Community Horticulture in Benton, Linn and Lane counties. It is hard to believe that I’m already in the last week of my internship. The past month has sped by in a blur of events and activities. I have tabled at the Benton County Fair, helped on Small Farms farm tours, gone to OSU field days, and worked with Master Gardeners to publicize some of their events and talks. Between writing up summaries of events for sharing on social media and in Extension publications, I have also been working on an article about the OSU Dry Farm Project and its community involvement through the Dry Farming Collaborative.

It has been fantastic to explore Extension this summer, especially as an OSU student in the College of Agricultural Sciences. I have had the opportunity to make so many connections with professors, researchers, and members of the community and it has given me a strong sense of what I might want to do in the future.

There have been so many highlights, from getting to bottle feed a two-day old baby goat to attending the Organic Grains & Pulses Field Day and several Master Gardener events. My favorite part of my internship was learning how Extension bridges the gap between communities and the university, connecting researchers with farmers and business owners, community members with resources about gardening and homeownership and farmers with each other. I am grateful for the opportunity to help publicize Small Farms Program and Community Horticulture’s events and activities.

The project that I am proudest of is my article about the OSU Dry Farm Project. For the article, I interviewed the lead researchers of the project, Lucas Nebert and Matt Davis, visited two of their dry farm sites, and in the process learned a lot about dry farming and its challenges in Oregon.

I am grateful to my supervisors, Teagan Moran and Brooke Edmunds, for their support and guidance this summer, and to everyone I met through this internship. I have greatly enjoyed exploring some of what Extension has to offer and realizing that there is so much more!

A woman shows children a drawing.
A lesson on soil and soil types at Hydromania science camp.
Photo credit: Amanda Woodlee

Hello! My name is Cadence Cooley, and I am interning at the OSU Extension office in Umatilla County throughout the summer. I was born and raised in Hermiston, Oregon, and graduated from Hermiston High School this June. I plan on attending Eastern Oregon University this fall and majoring in elementary education.

A woman teaches children in a classroom using visual aids on a screen.
Introduction and ice breaker at Camp Cloverbud.
Photo credit: Shauna Newman

I have been involved in the livestock and 4-H industry, showing swine for as long as I can remember, and I participated in FFA throughout my high school years. These programs have really shaped the person I have become today. Seeing how I am going to be helping in the 4-H and Master Gardener programs, I think this will be right up my alley.

So far, I have helped mainly in setting up our Cloverbud Camp, Hydromania Camp, as well as preparing for our Umatilla County 4-H Dog Show, which will take place in a little under a week. These experiences have been so fun and very informative. I love getting the chance to make new connections with people and see how the inside of the 4-H world takes place. Not only have I learned a deeper understanding of how the 4-H and the Master Gardener programs work, but I have also learned how the people at the Extension office complete all of their tasks. There is all sorts of communication, organizing, as well as networking. I know I will learn so much more this summer and I am looking forward to all that is to come!

Hi, my name is Sofie Carlson, and welcome to my first blog post! I grew up in Vermont and went to school at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. I graduated this past May with a degree in environmental studies and economics and now I am spending the summer as the natural resources intern for the Lincoln County Extension office. This is just the second time I have ever been out West and I am really enjoying my time here.

A woman stands in a grassy area, holding a bag and a box.
At Gibson Farms in Siletz, collecting blueberries and blackberries to be sent to the lab in Corvallis for testing.
Photo credit: Sofie Carlson

It is now Week 5 of my internship, so I am about halfway through –  time is flying. As the natural resources intern, I have mainly been working with my supervisor, Evie Smith, the Small Farms and Master Gardener coordinator in Lincoln County. However, I am working in several other branches of Extension, including Sea Grant, SNAP-Ed, Agriculture and 4-H.

Here are some of the projects I am in the midst of:

– I am assisting in the composition of the monthly newsletters that Evie sends out: Small Farms TLC Newsletter, which provides relevant information for small farms and ranches in Tillamook, Lincoln and Clatsop counties, and LC Master Gardener’s Newsletter, which contains information and expertise to help our Master Gardeners (and any other readers) meet local challenges. I have never put together a newsletter before, so it has definitely been a learning process, but luckily, I have a great mentor to show me the ropes.

– I am in the process of redesigning and distributing an updated brochure for Lincoln County Local Foods that will deliver information on all of the producers in Lincoln County that are doing farm direct sales. Farm direct sales are when the farmers sell directly to you, without a middleman, by methods such as farm stands, CSAs, and dock sales. The brochure lists which farms sell at the four local farmers markets in our county, what they sell, how to contact them and when the markets are held. Last weekend I joined our FCH/SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator, Beatriz Botello, in her Cooking Matters Tour at the Newport Farmers Market, which inform people how they can use their SNAP benefits at the farmers market. It was an educational opportunity for families to learn how to budget, compare prices and shop locally.

A woman in overalls rakes through a compost pile.
Juntos en el Jardín: Moving compost at the community garden.
Photo credit: Michael Christy

– I am collecting blueberries and blackberries at Gibson Farms as part of a larger ongoing research project that monitors a pest called spotted wing drosophila. This is a weekly task that I look forward to because I get to be outside, chat with Farmer Alan, and eat a ton of freshly picked blueberries.

– I am also assisting in the maintenance of a project called Juntos en el Jardin, which is a community garden located at the Newport Fairgrounds and this week I will be joining Angee Doerr, Sea Grant marine fisheries educator, to run her annual Shop at the Dock program, teaching families about Newport’s commercial fisheries through a tour of the port. This program is a unique opportunity to meet the fishermen and boats that we buy our seafood from. It will be running for five weeks on Fridays.

So far, this position has been valuable, rewarding and fun. It has been a great way for me to explore several future career paths while gaining new knowledge and experience. I have enjoyed working for Extension and feel very lucky to be living with family in Oregon. I am looking forward to continuing working on the projects I’ve started, making new connections, and taking advantage of my time here until I head back East. I am very thankful for this opportunity. Catch you on the next blog post!

A woman at a table outdoors helps two children fill bowls with plants to make fairy gardens.
Making fairy gardens.
Photo Credit: Rachel Brandon

Hello! My name is Amber Stewart and I am an OSU Extension intern in Polk County. I am attending Chemeketa Community College pursuing my career goal of becoming a nurse.

I have grown up being a part of this 4-H program in Polk County and have been very much involved throughout the years with various camps, clubs and fairs. When I heard about this internship opportunity for the summer it seemed to be a great fit that would allow me to still engage with the 4-H program, even after I had aged out as a 4-H’er. It has been amazing to be able to become more connected to the program and take on more responsibility with planning and creating different events.

I have been working at the Extension office for about a month and I have already had so much to experience. For my main project, I had the chance to plan from the ground up a Jr. Master Gardener Camp. I used my time to coordinate activities, gather material  and finally lead the camp that drew 30 youths from kindergarten through the fifth grade.

A woman teaches children how to arrange flowers in an outdoor class.
Leading a flower arranging activity.
Photo Credit: Rachel Brandon

Taking on the challenge of organizing this camp as well as teaching the youth was exhausting but so rewarding! Many of the campers got to experience new activities and learn more about horticulture. Quite a bit of the families that attended are interested in 4-H and are wanting to get more involved with the clubs that 4-H program in Polk County has to offer!

Next month I will be at Polk County’s fair and get to be fully involved with the behind the scenes of how the fair works, so it runs as smoothly as possible. I am excited for what I am going to experience and what skills I am going to gain from it.

A smiling young woman in a gray shirt and khaki pants reaches over to touch plants.
Sophia Nowers on a recent farm tour.
Photo credit: Teagan Moran

Hello, my name is Sophia Nowers, and I am the summer intern for Oregon State University Extension Service’s Small Farms Program and Community Horticulture in Benton, Linn and Lane counties. I am a rising junior at OSU, where I am majoring in agricultural sciences. I hail from Alaska and love seeing all the different crops that can be grown in the Willamette Valley. In my internship, I work with OSU Extension faculty in the Small Farms Program and in Community Horticulture to publicize Extension activities, build small farm community networks and support Extension events in Linn, Lane and Benton counties. Most of my time is spent touring Master Gardener projects, interviewing farmers, researchers and volunteers and writing articles about OSU Extension events and programs.

I just started the fourth week of my internship and highlights so far include helping at the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture Open House, touring the Benton County Master Gardeners’ demonstration garden at the Benton County Fairgrounds, and getting to see Commonplace Farms’ operation near Corvallis. It has been eye opening to see the research being done by OSU Extension and how it translates into useful knowledge for farmers, gardeners and the community.

My big project has been writing an article about the Dry Farming Accelerator Program for publication by OSU Extension. It has been fascinating to learn about the dry farming research that is being done at the university and how it is being shared in the broader Oregon farming and gardening community. The program brings together small farmers and hobbyist gardeners from across the state to do dry farm trials of tomatoes, squash and corn and share their dry farming experiences. It is great to see how the program combines research and community building, and it has given me some great ideas for my agriculture thesis!

In the rest of my internship, I am looking forward to seeing some local small farms, learning more about the Dry Farming Collaborative, tabling at the Benton County Fair and interviewing more Master Gardeners about their projects and activities. OSU Extension does so much in so many areas that there is always more to learn. I love how its work intersects with public health, environmental issues, water management and so much more. I can’t wait to get out there and learn!

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.

I am driving up to a building in an area of town I have never been to and going on a road I did not think had much on it. I had no idea what exactly I was looking for because I have never worked at any type of “Extension/experiment center” before. In my head I am thinking of some people in lab coats walking around in a big, dull building, but when I do find the place, to my surprise it looked nothing of the sort! It has big fields of crops and beautiful trees and plants. I find a place to park after some trouble and make my way into the main Extension office building, a little nervous for my interview. Completing the interview with little trouble – and in my mind at least doing well at making a good first impression of myself –I await the confirmation that I have been hired and then boom! I find out that I would be working for that Extension office. Though I certainly have no idea what to expect, only time will tell. 

When I first arrived at the Hermiston Agricultural research and Extension Center (HAREC) all those months ago, my first impression was remarkably positive. It was beautiful and seemed like a fun place to work. Leaving that first interview I was overcome with excitement for what the first day and the summer that was in store for me. In the few weeks since I have started my internship, HAREC has not only become more beautiful, but I have also learned to value its convenience. There are trees everywhere around the Extension office so if you are working outside there is always a place for some shade as well as nicely made paths that make it easy to get around. Overall, the campus is one of the best I have seen and has made working for Extension here in Hermiston a whole lot of fun.

My first day was quite a special day. I showed up in a hurry to get to work on time, and I managed to do that successfully. I got lucky because I ended up being there during the potato field day and I got to meet tons of unique people, but the first person I met was the person I was going to be working with, Amanda Woodlee, Umatilla County Master Gardener Program coordinator. Amanda was genuinely nice and good at communicating where everything is and helping me get to know the people around the campus. As someone who struggles talking to new people, that was amazing. It helped me get my bearings and people get to know me. The others I met were unique, from people studying nitrate in the soil to those studying plant diseases. I learned tons of new information and left that day feeling excited to properly begin my internship.

By far the biggest thing I have done in my brief time since starting at Extension is work with worms, specifically worm castings. Amanda had a huge aquarium full of worms with digested worm food – freshly sourced from kitchen waste from HAREC – which if separated from the worms and the non-composted waste can be used for fertilizer. Though you do have to separate it and that was going to be my job. That was by far the most daunting thing I have done so far. The worms were hard to catch but getting them all out and into a separate container proved to be a fun methodical challenge. It also taught me an important lesson: If you keep working at something, you will also eventually get it done. It may take months or years – and for me only a few hours – but it’s worth it because then you’ll no longer have to worry about it, and you feel accomplished!

From stumbling into my first day not knowing what to expect, to having to take on a daunting challenge, my first few days have been quite the ride. I have never had this much fun at a job while also feeling remarkably productive and being able to finish tasks as fast as I could get them done. HAREC is beautiful, and so are its people. Though it may not just be enough for me to say this, let me ask: If you got the chance, would you take it and become an intern for OSU Extension in Umatilla County?

Hi there, my name is Caitie Smith. I am a senior at Oregon State University studying agricultural sciences and this fall I will be returning to get my master’s in agriculture education with hopes of becoming a high school ag teacher. This summer I am interning at the OSU Extension office in Linn County with Christy Tanner and Elizabeth Records as my supervisors.

I live in Corvallis at the moment but will be moving to Salem in August. Outside of school I like to hang out with my dog, Filbert, ride horses, garden and play guitar. I am also a first generation U.S. citizen as my parents immigrated to Lake Oswego, Oregon, from South Africa in 1998. I do not come from a background in agriculture but found a passion for it when I came to OSU originally intending to study animal science. Through meeting people, taking classes and joining clubs in the college of agriculture I was able to find my interest in crop science and education.

Caitie Smith holding a pea pod.

It is because of my background that I want to become an agriculture teacher and share what I love about the industry with my students that may not be able to find it elsewhere.

Before starting my internship with Extension, I worked for the OSU Wheat Research program for two years. Through this experience I was able to learn what goes into crop breeding and research and how it can be used to increase the food supply. My current internship position with Extension allows me to combine my love of research with my future in education.

I am working with Christy, assistant professor of practice and Extension field crops specialist, on a few different research projects, one of which is assessing damage in grass seed fields from voles. We use a drone to view the field from above and look for weak spots. Another project I am doing some work on this summer involves the effect of different pests on mint. This is done by setting traps in several mint fields throughout the mid-Willamette Valley and then checking them weekly for signs of mint root borers and variegated cutworms.

In addition to my work with Christy, I am working with Elizabeth, community horticulture and Master Gardener educator, and the Extension Master Gardener program. With the help of the Master Gardeners seasonal content team, I am publishing blogs and social media posts about gardening issues and topics throughout the summer. These topics so far include container gardening, native plants, beginner gardening, trendy houseplants and so much more.

I am beyond excited to learn as much as I can this summer about extension and apply it to my future as a teacher!

Hello everyone!

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.

Eradicating powdery mildew Instagram graphic I made using information from an Extension Ask an Expert question.

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!

Eradicating powdery mildew Instagram graphic I made using information from an Extension Ask an Expert question.

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.