My name is Thomas Jacquot (he/him), and I’m an intern in the OSU Extension office in Coos County OSU. I live in North Bend, so I’m back for the summer from college. I just finished my first year at Cornell University, where I’m studying plant sciences. When I graduate, I want to pursue a public-facing career where I can help communities become more resilient and sustainable. An internship with the OSU Extension Service seemed like an incredible opportunity to become more knowledgeable about issues facing my community and the various stakeholders involved in shaping our environment.
A lot of the work I have been doing has been with Cassie Bouska, our office’s agriculture agent who works closely with cranberry farmers in southern Coos County. I am responsible for managing the pheromone traps for two of our region’s major cranberry pests: blackheaded fireworm and cranberry girdlers. My job is essentially to drive to participating farms and count the number of bugs that have become trapped in the glue trap. Using this data, we will be able to make population curves for the pests, so we can be more informed about effective timing for pesticide applications. This will limit the devastating effects of the pests on crops, as well as limit the amount of pesticides farmers need to use.
I am also dissecting cranberry shoot tips for a pesticide trial. We are trying to determine the effectiveness of three insecticides against tipworm, which is a fly that, at its larval stages, eat the tip of the cranberry plant. This limits the plant’s growth greatly and can lower fruit loads considerably. I am looking for eggs, larvae, cocoons, and dead or live pupae to measure the effectiveness of the pesticides. Having a variety of pesticides to use against pests is incredibly important for combatting pesticide resistance, which can become problematic if farmers overuse just one pesticide type.
On other days I sometimes work with livestock management, where I help weigh sheep for some farmers, and where I help take samples from a regenerative pasture, meaning the feed helps the soil improve over time. Using a mixture of clover and leafy greens, the farmer is improving the soil, increasing farm biomass, and making heavier sheep for market. Incorporating sustainable systems in livestock is a win-win-win!
While my major lends itself to agriculture, I sometimes work with Norma Kline, our office’s forestry management specialist, on landowner visits. With Norma, I have gained experience in disease identification, and have learned some best practices about managing forested land. I was also introduced to Extension’s citizen scientist program. Among other things, the program enlists landowners to do some testing on their land to spot and treat sudden oak death before it spreads. Sudden oak death is incredibly dangerous, to the point it could quarantine all lumber from being sold out of an area. Coos County is heavily dependent on the lumber industry, so this program is incredibly important!