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.

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 again. I hope everyone’s summer has been going great. I am here to give you an update on what I have been doing in the OSU Extension office in Umatilla County. These past few weeks have been full of activities and fun. I had my Camp Cloverbud and it went great! We had 20 kids show up and seven volunteers. All the kids enjoyed the five activities I planned out and the snacks. They painted on canvas, made bird houses, planted some herbs, tie-dyed socks, read the book “Right This Very Minute” and played a game. I loved being involved in this camp and planning the activities for the kids to do. It was great with no hiccups and everyone went home with a smile on their face. 

A woman stands behind children involved in an outdoor project
Bobbie Ann Sharp at Camp Cloverbud.

For the upcoming Umatilla County Fair we are setting up the 4-H building to display each member’s project to the public. I have been helping plan out what we will do for our kids’ corner.  This has been difficult trying to get responses from volunteers and have them plan the days to be at the corner to do an activity with kids who pass by. I have come up with a scavenger hunt that can be done by the kids as they are walking around looking at 4-H members’ projects.  

We had the dog show that I helped with. I took photos and helped the judges set up the ring. It was great to see how much joy the judges got from watching the kids show and then the kids smile when they have completed their time in the ring. I am in the last two weeks of my internship but these two weeks are going to be crazy! We are doing the Fashion Revue this week and then next week is the county fair so there will be no shortage of something that needs to be done. Thank you for reading and wish me good luck for the weeks to come. 

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?

Bobbie Ann Sharp

Hello, I am Bobbie Ann Sharp and I am excited to be spending the summer serving the OSU Extension 4-H Program at the Umatilla County office in Pendleton. I just completed my third year at the University of Idaho, where I am studying agriculture communications, science and leadership. I am from Hermiston and was involved in 4-H in Umatilla County for almost 10 years. I’m super excited to see a different side to the 4-H program I grew up in and what molded me into who I am today.

Within the 4-H program, I found my passion for helping others, animals, and agriculture. I was also involved in FFA throughout my high school career. I understand how each program differs from the other and what all you can gain from both.

This summer, I’m ready to see the behind-the-scenes work that makes 4-H in Umatilla County so great. This internship is a huge learning opportunity for me and will help me in deciding the best career path. I am also excited for all the new experiences I will get to learn and witness firsthand. I can’t wait to be a part of the effect this program has on the members.

This summer my big project is creating activities for Camp Cloverbud. I am in charge of contacting volunteers, the location, choosing activities and arranging all the materials needed for the event. I am excited to see how the event goes and how the kids react to the activities I have picked for them. Thanks for welcoming me as an intern and let’s have a great summer.

Hello, my name is Cydney Stables. I am the intern for the OSU Extension Communications office, located in the Kerr Administration Building on the main Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.

Two girls are posing with a dairy cow.
Cydney Stables (right) shows a dairy cow in 4-H.

I’m from Gaston, Oregon, and I just completed my first year of college at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. I am majoring in agribusiness, communications, business administration and economics with a minor in plant and animal sciences.

I plan to pursue a master’s in agricultural communications upon completing my undergraduate work. After that, I hope to obtain a job in agricultural public relations, working as a spokesperson for the agriculture industry or as an educator for Extension.

So far, this internship has given me insight into the vast future career opportunities I may have in Extension and communications. One of the greatest experiences I have had thus far was the opportunity to tour county Extension offices across the state.

Statue from the Pendleton rodeo grounds

In late May, I traveled with the communications’ news and public issues team to Pendleton, where we began our tour of offices from there.

We visited with faculty and staff in the Extension offices in Umatilla, Sherman, Wasco, Hood River and Clackamas counties.

Then at the beginning of June, I went with colleagues in Extension Communications to the Extension office in Tillamook County, where we met the staff and discussed communications resources on the Extension employee intranet and media outreach. On our way back to Corvallis, we stopped at the Extension office in Yamhill County, which is one that is very familiar to me. My mom works there and I’ve helped around the office in previous summers as a volunteer.

These trips opened my eyes to the breadth and depth of what Extension truly does. Growing up a part of Extension through the Oregon 4-H program, I had no idea how many opportunities OSU Extension offers for communities. In addition, I learned first-hand from faculty and staff about their successes, challenges and failures.

Hood River Extension office research orchard

The trip was an immersive experience. Not only did I get to see Extension employees in action, but I also had the opportunity to experience the diversity in agriculture across the state.

I learned about programs of SNAP-Ed, Strong People, Master Gardeners, Open Campus, Juntos and more. All of which are great community outreach opportunities that benefit individuals in countless ways.

I want to thank all of the employees from the county offices we visited for being so welcoming and kind.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of this internship learning opportunity has in store.

Hello! My name is Jillian Rudolf, and I am a rangeland sciences major with an animal sciences minor at Oregon State University. I just finished my sophomore year, and I am amazed by how fast college is going! I am a fifth-generation farmer from Fort Rock, Oregon, where we grow alfalfa hay and cattle.

Jillian Rudolf posing for a picture standing in a pasture.
Jillian Rudolf

I have been involved with agriculture my whole life. In elementary school, I was in OSU Extension 4-H, where I participated in cooking and sewing. In middle school, I showed 4-H market steers. In high school, I was heavily involved in our Future Farmers of America chapter. In FFA, I participated in competitions, showed a market steer, and served as the secretary and the president of the chapter. In college, I am involved with the Steer-A-Year club and my sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi.

Because of my background, attending OSU and being in the College of Agricultural Sciences made the most sense. After earning my degree, I plan on attending law school. I want to be an agricultural lawyer, focusing mainly on contentious issues and advocating for the agricultural community.

I will work in the Extension office in Umatilla County this summer with Chris Schachtschneider, an assistant professor and livestock and natural resource Extension specialist. So far, I have been networking with local producers at events like the OSU Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center Field Day and the Umatilla Cattlemen and Cattlewomen’s Father’s Day Barbeque. I also have been brushing up on computer skills by learning some video editing. I have also started a research project that looks into water and water rights in the county and state. The rest of my summer will be filled with more producer visits and an expansion of my computer and communication skills.

I am excited to be branching out this summer and getting involved with Extension. I have already learned so much through this internship and am excited to see what the rest of the summer offers!

Ray Qin's agronomy research team.
Ray Qin’s agronomy research team.

Hi everyone!

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.

 

Potato Field Day was held at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in June.
Potato Field Day was held at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in June.

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.

Ray Qin, Extension crop agronomist, speaks at Potato Field Day.
Ray Qin, Extension crop agronomist, speaks at Potato Field Day.

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.

Goat master showmanship judging at the Umatilla County Fair.
Goat master showmanship judging at the Umatilla County Fair.

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.  

Port of Morrow Tour with Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs: Manufacturing Camp
Port of Morrow Tour with Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs: Manufacturing Camp

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 … 

Stay safe and well!