Two young girls in helmets, sitting on brown horses, show off their blue ribbons behind a sign saying Clackamas County Fair 2023.
Blue ribbon winners at the Clackamas County Horse Fair.
Photo credit: Brekkan Richardson

Hello everyone! My name is Brekkan Richardson and I have the amazing opportunity of working with Clackamas County 4-H as an intern this summer! Though this position brings many new connections and responsibilities, it also brings an air of familiarity. As a former 4-H member in Clackamas County myself, I entered this internship with a slight sense of confidence. My reasoning was that even if I had to watch some YouTube videos to help me unlock the secrets of a copy machine – at the end of the day, I knew what to expect when fair time rolled around. That is until the time finally came for me to provide on-site support. This support wasn’t during swine weigh-in, beef showmanship, or even small-animal health checks but a couple weeks before these events at the Clackamas County Horse Fair. Due to the size and scheduling demands of the Clackamas County Horse Program, the horse fair happens on a separate week from the remainder of the county fair. As a 4-H member, I happily explored the other project areas at the fair. Due to the nature of scheduling, Horse 4-H had not crossed my path often. The opportunity to learn more had come around even less.

Despite my lack of equine experience, I remained confident I could navigate this unfamiliar fair with only mild confusion. This expectation proved unreasonable. Although the county and horse fair exhibitors shared their passion for their projects, the projects themselves held many differences. Having quickly discovered this, I decided to use my time at the horse fair to learn as much as possible.

Fortunately, the 4-H members seemed just as happy to answer questions as I was to ask them. On the first day on site, I was informed of the most prominent difference between most animal projects and the horse program. While most animal projects are centered around the production premise, the horse program instead follows an animal whose purpose is to perform. The differences don’t stop there, as some young 4-H members inform me later in the week. Where sheep showpeople show with a required level of physical contact, horse showmanship requires members to orchestrate their horse’s movements by halter alone. Where typically each animal enters the show ring a couple times during the fair, the horse fair has many more opportunities for members to engage in various unique competitions.

Through each class, show and barn walk-through, the 4-H members of Clackamas County happily and confidently showed off their hard work and talent. I look forward to learning more from 4-H members across Clackamas County. I hope to continue encouraging members to ask questions from our youth.


Two women standing and smiling at the camera.
Daisy O’Hearn (left) and M’Kenzie Kirchner assisting in the small animal weigh-in at the Lincoln County fair.
Photo credit: Amarion Akinsanya


My name is Daisy O’Hearn, and this summer, I had the opportunity to serve as an intern for the Oregon State University Extension Service. I worked specifically with the youth development program called 4-H. This experience gave me a deep understanding of the nonprofit sector, exposing me to various aspects of event planning and execution. This internship  allowed me to witness firsthand the profound impact of the 4-H program on youth in Newport, Oregon.

A woman places her hands around a rabbit on a table.
Daisy O’Hearn provides guidance to young individuals on the proper techniques for caring for their animals.
Photo credit: Traci O’Hearn

Throughout my internship, I had the opportunity to engage in many tasks and contribute to various areas. I had the privilege of crafting and organizing engaging and tailored workshops to nurture the diverse talents and interests of young participants. The process of designing these workshops taught me the importance of adaptability, clear communication and empathy in fostering an inclusive learning environment. Within the array of clinics I developed, several were dedicated to illuminating the core of 4-H and exploring the diverse opportunities within the organization.

A woman shears a sheep.
Daisy O’Hearn hosting a clinic teaching Lincoln County 4-H youth about fair readiness and shearing techniques.
Photo credit: Amarion Akinsanya

One of the most exhilarating parts of my internship was contributing to coordinating the fair. From working with youth to ensuring the smooth execution of the fairground logistics, I better understood the planning that goes into making an event a success. The experience honed my organizational skills, taught me the significance of teamwork and revealed the immense joy of seeing the community come together to celebrate the achievements of its youth.

I also had the opportunity to attend meetings. This exposure to the inner workings of a nonprofit was incredible, giving me a realistic glimpse into the challenges and rewards of this sector. This opportunity will guide me as I continue my education and lead me to a career.

My journey with the 4-H program and the Extension Services office is far from over. Beyond the scope of my internship, I look forward to continuing my involvement and contributing to the program’s growth. As I move forward, I carry the lessons this internship taught me and the experiences I gained.

A woman in sunglasses sits on a stool and smiles at the camera.
Announcing and clerking the horse show at the Union County Fair.
Photo credit: Katie Hauser

Hi, my name is Heidi Moran, and I am an Oregon State University intern in Union County.  I am attending Eastern Oregon University and majoring in elementary education.  This summer has gone by extremely fast working for the Extension office and helping with many 4-H events.

This summer I helped with our Iron Chef cooking class through our SNAP-Ed and 4-H programs.  Every Thursday morning, I would help Jamie Cox with the classes and making sure that the kids were being responsible in the kitchen.  I really enjoyed working with the kids and building a connection with them.

Five women stand and smile at the camera.
Carole Smith, Heidi Moran, McKenzie Sheldon, Jordyn Stonbrink and Reese Roys at Tri County 4-H Camp.
Photo credit: Katie Hauser

I also helped at the Union County Fair the first week of August.  Before fair started, I announced and clerked the horse show for both Union and Baker counties and prepared packets and other things needed for fair. At the beginning of fair week, I helped clerk the art and photography section of our home economics building.   During the fair I helped clerk most of the livestock shows, helped prepare awards for the awards ceremony and helped with what was needed throughout the week.  I had participated in the Union County Fair for over nine years as a 4-H member and helped with many of the events at fair.  I never realized how much work went into preparing and working at the fair.

A boy stands at a table and chops vegetables.
Helping with the Iron Chef cooking class.
Photo credit: Jamie Cox

One of the highlights of my summer was helping with our Tri-County 4-H camp.  I helped prepare for the camp, teach an ice cream class, and help the new counselors learn some of the camp traditions.  4-H camp was something I always participated in as a 4-H member and something I always looked forward to every summer.

From this internship I have learned many new things from helping at all of these events and I will continue to use those skills in the future.  It also helped me grow my passion for 4-H and want to stay involved with it in the future.  This is something that I will continue doing throughout the rest of my college career!

At the fair.
Photo credit: Fernanda Juarez

Hi everyone, Fernanda Juarez here. I recently finished my internship and attended our county fair, and I enjoyed every bit of it! Being able to see all the 4-H kids in person and seeing them work with their animals really made me thankful to experience this internship.

From toddlers to full-grown teenagers, 4-H members were all helping each other in any way they could. It was adorable seeing the little Cloverbuds (kids from ages 5-8 in 4-H) working with their animals, which were also babies! Competitions involved kids of all different ages. In one of the biggest competitions, called “Round Robin,” kids were asked to show different species of animals and show that they are able to work with all the animals. While they did that, my team and I walked all around the arena, picking up score sheets from judges while checking and adding scores.

In 4-H, you always have a helping hand around you, because everyone is so kind to one another . This is always such a big achievement for kids in 4-H because it shows leadership in the older teens and influences the younger kids, inspiring leadership and responsibility in them as well. Introducing these qualities to kids at an early age helps them develop and learn life skills. This will help them all as they grow older and gain more responsibility.

Malheur County is small compared to other counties, so OSU Extension’s office here and the opportunities provided make a big difference to local kids. Extension’s many other local programs help our communities succeed. It’s the small things that make everything worthwhile.

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 sit at an outdoor table covered with a black Extension Service tablecloth and gives the thumbs up sign.
Ava Cordle at the OSU Extension booth.
Photo credit: Olivia Jacobs

Hello everyone! I am already in my last week of my summer internship with OSU Extension’s groundwater protection program. I have really enjoyed getting to learn more about well water and getting to go out in the community to test water for nitrate. I have had the opportunity to grow by planning and attending events throughout the summer. It has been exciting to attend events, since I had been working on planning some of them back in May and June!

A rack of test tubes filled with water.
Testing well water for nitrate.
Photo credit: Ava Cordle

Some of the different events I went to this summer were Harrisburg Sounds of Summer, Silverton Farmers Market, the Corvallis farmers market and more! At these events we set up a booth where we offer free nitrate testing for people in the community to bring in their well water. To run a test, we take a bit of their well water and we use reagents that change the color of the water depending on how much nitrate is present. At a clinic I did at the Lacomb Grange I did 59 tests in just three hours! We also offer publications and information on well water and septic systems, and a lot of people stop by just to ask questions. Attending these events was my favorite part of the internship. I found it rewarding after spending a lot of time planning them.

Overall, some of my favorite parts about this internship was meeting and working with the other groundwater interns, talking with community members and getting to attend events all over Benton, Linn, Lane, Marion and Lincoln counties. I have learned so much about well water over the past few months. Coming into this internship I had never had well water and did not know much about the care of well water. I also gained skills in community outreach, creating flyers and postcards, and got to learn about the 4-H program by volunteering to help at Extension booths at fairs.

– Ava Cordle

A woman holding a microphone gestures at a wheelbarrow carrying tools.
Ashley Armstrong presenting the Champion Herdsmanship award.
Photo credit: Kayla Sheets

Hello again from Josephine County 4-H! This is Ashley Armstrong, finishing up my final week here as an intern. This summer has been amazing, and I have learned so very much, through talking with my supervisor, Lisa Parlette, 4-H outreach program coordinator; talking to our youth members and adult volunteers and getting to plan and put on events during the Josephine County Fair.

Though this year’s fair looked different for 4-H, it didn’t stop us from having a great time. In the weeks leading up to fair there was a lot of work put into updating our static displays, and it certainly paid off in the end. So much time was put into creating new banners, new display boards and other décor so that all of our youth were given opportunity to see their project shine. We even broke out our Clover mascot costume to invite people into our static display room.

A four leaf clover mascot poses in front of a fair exhibit.
Clover at the Josephine County Fair 4-H Static Exhibit.
Photo credit: Kayla Sheets

During my time in 4-H I showed both dairy goats and poultry, and one of my goals was to one day make it to master showmanship. Our round-robin competition looked different this year than it had in the past, but I think some of the changes that had to be made were for the better. Normally in a round-robin competition we would have different animals – cavies, dairy goats, dogs, horses, meat goats, poultry, sheep, steer and swine – shown by the grand champion showman for each animal.

A woman with a microphone reads from a paper while another stands nearby holding green ribbons.
Ashley Armstrong and Lisa Parlette presenting Master Showmanship awards.
Photo Credit: Brooke Armstrong

This year we had no steer or horse projects, so instead of shortening our round-robin, we chose a random reserve grand champion from large and small animal to be our wild card contestants. This meant that as we rotated through, there would be a period where the participants would be showing the same animal twice, so instead we turned those spots into water breaks. Having planned this show and executed it with the help of our animal superintendents, I was so happy when things went smoothly.

I think the best part was at the end while scores were being tallied, the 10 kids we had waiting in the ring for the announcement were happy, joking with each other and hugging. The joy they showed when their fellow 4-H’er was placed was indescribable, and I think my ears are still recovering from the happy yelling when I announced our master showman.

This internship has taught me so much and has only solidified my plans to work in Extension and 4-H when I graduate in June. Though there are times where I am incredibly tired from the work done through the day, I wouldn’t trade the work I have done this summer for anything.

A woman stands near flowers in vases and writes on a clipboard.
Amber Stewart helping clerk in the flower category at the Polk County Fair.
Photo credit: Rachel Brandon

Hello! My name is Amber Stewart and I am an Oregon State University Extension Service intern in Polk County. I am currently attending Chemeketa Community College to pursue my career goal of becoming a nurse. This is my second blog post.

I got to help at Polk County’s Fair in early August. It was a busy but successful week filled with lots of good experiences with many opportunities to grow. Starting off fair week, I assisted with clerking in the 4-H art category. It was fun to see all the exhibits youth in Polk County entered. The following days I was at the front desk of the 4-H building to fulfill any responsibilities needed, some of which included directing our teen staff, setting up for 4-H events during fair and answering any questions that the public had about our 4-H fair or the 4-H program.

A woman arranges a large display of plants on tables.
Amber Stewart setting up the horticulture exhibit at the Oregon State Fair.
Photo credit: Rachel Brandon

At the Oregon State Fair I assisted with horticulture. I helped the judge and clerk specifically in the flower category. I also got to help set up the horticulture exhibit section. I enjoyed the information I learned about horticulture from the judge while I was a part of this section of the state fair. This was such a good experience to expand my knowledge about horticulture. It was great to be able to be more involved with the process of the state fair.

As the end of my internship program draws near, I have been able to be a part of so much with planning learning day camps, 4-H Polk County Fair and Oregon State Fair.  I am so thankful for all the opportunities I have gotten to experience and the skills I got to expand, including the new ones I have learned.

Two women poke their heads through a cutout of a flower and a pig.
Leah Lowe (upper left), Wasco County 4-H Program Coordinator, and Brandi Vance.
Photo credit: Susan Coleman

Hello, this is Brandi Vance, OSU Extension intern in Wasco County. The second half of my internship was filled with preparations for fair time. What does this mean you might ask? Lots of caffeine and long days. This happened to be my favorite time, organizing all the awards, making sure our barn superintendents had what they needed as well as making sure the kids were entered correctly for their fair classes. This may sound like a lot, but I had the best team that I was assisting. My supervisor, Leah Lowe, Wasco County’s 4-H program coordinator, made sure I knew exactly where to go and what to do all while handling all her duties.

Finally, we got to fair week. The best and maybe most crazy time of year. We moved all our office supplies we would need for the week to the fairgrounds (which is actually 45 minutes away from our normal office) and proceeded to organize. Next, we had horse fair which is actually held a few days before the main fair takes place. We had a great judge who taught the kids so much during their shows. We managed to do everything from showmanship to western games all in one day. Then we ended the night with a skill-a-thon I designed and awards as well as a Mongolian barbeque one of the leaders made. After a small break, we checked in all our static exhibits. We had kids coming in all day with artwork, photography, even some sewing and cooking. We had a great turn out this year!

A long row of 4-H champion belt buckles.
Wasco County 2023 Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion Belt Buckles.
Photo credit: Brandi Vance

The next day it was time to get everyone settled into the fairgrounds – as settled as you can get in 106-degree weather – and have an exhibitor meeting. Every 4-H’er and leader/volunteer got a shirt, and the kids even got a bucket for the fair thanks to many great sponsors. We played minute-to-win-it games that featured one kid with a bag covered in shaving cream on their head while the other partner threw peanuts to try and get them to stick. The team with the most peanuts stuck wins. We played games at each of our night meetings to give the kids and volunteers a chance to relax after a long day of fair festivities. Not to mention the swag that the kids with good sportsmanship got each evening. The following days were filled with early mornings, market classes and even showmanship classes. The kids did absolutely phenomenal and won lots of awards and made so many improvements.

Then it happened, my last day. I ended up getting a thank you card from a member of one of our local clubs. I had so much fun and learned more than I imagined I would during the duration of my internship in Wasco County. The kids, the Extension staff, the parents/volunteers/leaders made it the best experience and I am missing it already. I already have plans to go help at fair next year!

A man stands near a bucket in a field, holding a tube for collecting soil samples.
Extension Intern Keon Kiser collects soil samples at the OSU Extension Moro Station.
Photo credit: Jacob Powell

Hello readers of my second and final blog post of the summer of 2023! My name is Keon Kiser and I am a third-year OSU student studying environmental engineering. During my academic endeavors I have had the great privilege of working for the Wasco County OSU Extension office the past two summers. This blog post is a good opportunity to share my experiences with OSU Extension.

This past summer I’ve worked heavily with my supervisor, Lu Seapy, coworkers Bob M. and Susan M., and a fellow OSU intern, Theo Sandoz, on 4-H STEM summer camps. We worked together on organizing a variety of camps for youth that include hiking camps along the Columbia River, VEX robotics camps, Protobots, Drones and a Makey-Makey camp. In these camps we taught basic coding languages, physics of simple circuits, local biology, notebooking, and soldering skills. The variety of technical skills taught at these camps were a good application of skills I have learned in the past. But it was also a good learning experience, because I had to reach a certain level of mastery in order to teach each skill. For example, I have previous experience programming robots and creating engineering notebooks, but I had to practice my soldering skills as I had not soldered too much in the past. I had to constantly read up on local biology in order to teach the subject during the hiking camps. Also, I was given the task to independently lead a series of VEX Robotics and hiking camps. At the VEX camps I introduced the upcoming competition and focused on having the youth practice strategy, documentation, robot design and robot building. Then, at the series of 4-H hikes, I managed a group of youth and an assistant from The Dalles Parks and Recreation office. I contacted families and instructed campers in local biology.

Seven young people stand on a plateau with a river below and behind them.
Blejan, Evan, Christopher, Keon Kiser, Caleb, Nolan and Porter on a 4-H hike along the Rowena Plateau overlooking the Columbia River.
Photo credit: Stacey Ihrig

Aside from the 4-H STEM summer camps, I was able to work with Jacob Powell, a Sherman and Wasco County extension agent, on his wheat-crop research projects. The overall idea of the project was to study grain sizes and soil micronutrients like nitrogen and phosphate across various combinations of nitrogen levels and fertilizers to see if there were any significant differences in yield. During this time, I witnessed the importance of accounting for any possible variable that could affect the results. For example, Jacob and I did not see any real obvious differences in grain sizes across most of the treatments, which could imply that none of the treatments would be any better than another tested treatment. However, we had to take into account the weather, as it did not rain a lot over the summer. The crops probably did not have enough moisture to carry the nutrients up the wheat stocks. This was a great lesson for me as I intend to participate in a bioremediation research project back at OSU. Additionally, I was happy to see the information and results gathered and presented from the fire break trials I helped Jacob with the previous summer.

Overall, OSU Extension has provided me ample opportunity to hone technical skills (like soldering), to become a better team leader and teacher, and to experience contributing, in one way or another, in scientific research. I have had so much fun working with the youth and watching them learn and grow many new skills throughout the summer, and from year to year. Additionally, the staff at Wasco County are great people who truly live the OSU Extension mission of serving the community. Their friendliness made working fun and their focus challenged me to put forth my best effort. I would rate this experience as two thumbs up and a smiley ball 🙂. Thank you!