Hi, my name is Nora Graham, and this is my last blog post for the summer. As my time interning at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center with OSU comes close to its conclusion, I thought I would share what a routine week looks like for me during my entomology internship.

I’m currently splitting my time between two researchers’ projects, and so on Mondays and Fridays I look for corn earworm larvae and eggs on hemp plants in Jackson County, as well as working towards my presentation and research paper I’ll be submitting for a separate OSU internship.

A person is standing in a field of tall hemp plants.
Nora Graham inspects hemp for corn earworm eggs.

On Tuesdays through Thursdays, I help with a wide variety of entomology tasks for pear and grape crops. Some of these weekly tasks include looking for treehoppers on grapevines that could potentially carry grapevine red blotch virus. We check coddling moth traps put up in pear orchards and count the number of male and female moths. We also collect and transfer earwigs from a peach orchard and put them in a pear orchard to see if they can act as a predator for pear psylla and two-spotted spider mites since they’re not able to do damage to pear crops.

It has been an incredible experience getting to work on so many diverse entomology projects. I had the opportunity to see how different orchards and vineyards operate, as well as getting to interact with a lot of knowledgeable people.


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.

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.

Anna Ehlers poses with her display at the Jackson County Fair.

I have been working with 4-H for the past few weeks and I am having a great time. We just finished working at the Jackson County Fair and I helped with a bunch of prep work in preparation for the fair. I started off my internship getting to know 4-H, learning about its values as an Extension program and how it contributes to the community. I have worked on many marketing projects, including making and designing flyers, creating trifold displays, and printing  necessary documents for the fair. It’s a lot of work making everything perfect. I needed to have a lot of attention to detail while also displaying our message and goals of 4-H in an easy-to-read document for the community.

I had the opportunity to work at the county fair as a judge and a craft coordinator. I judged horticulture, educational displays, and miscellaneous STEM projects. I learned how to judge fairly based on the criteria. Interviewing the younger kids was pretty fun! Many of them had passions in different projects, and I really enjoyed talking with them about their projects. I made sure to leave plenty of comments on all of their work, even when I already worked eight hours that day, because I wanted to make sure everyone could look back and see how they could improve their projects in the future. I did my best to be fair and in line with the guidelines set in place for the different age groups. As you may expect, the older kids did better than the younger kids, but I saw a lot of potential in many of the projects I judged that day.

My favorite part of the fair was working with the public as a craft coordinator. I had thought of three different projects, with advice from my supervisor, about what projects I could do. I needed to find project instructions online and modify them to work with the age groups I was expected to work with. I also needed to find all the supplies I needed in storage and create a list of the necessary materials needed to be ordered to make these projects possible. The projects I presented were dirt buddies, animal tracks/pinecone people, and bead crafts.

A youth pinecone craft.

The dirt buddies were a fun project where the kids put grass seed and dirt into a nylon sock, gluing googly eyes to the outside. When the kids get home, they watered their buddy and in a few days the grass seeds germinated and started to grow grass out of the top of their head – similar to a Chia Pet.

For my animal tracks and pinecone people craft I had plaster casts of four different animal footprints to show and ask the kids what they noticed about the tracks. I asked them about how many toes the tracks had then asked the kids how many fingers they had. Some of the younger kids thought it was pretty cool that opossums have the same number of toes that we do. I supplied coloring sheets with the same animals as the plaster casts so that they could make connections with the tracks to the animal. I also had a print-out of different animal tracks that the kids could look at. Their parents and grandparents were very intrigued by this page more than the kids were. On the other side of my table, I had the pinecone people crafts. The craft involves decorating a pinecone with googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and feathers to create a fun character. These two activities were designed to teach the kids about nature.

The final project I worked on was bead crafts. I provided images and instructions on how to make a bead doll, jellyfish, and a snake using various materials including pipe cleaners, egg cartons, string, pony beads, and googly eyes. This project was intended to work on motor skills as well as provide a chance to be creative using only a handful of materials. A number of kids deviated from my craft images and made their own designs, showing their creativity and ingenuity.

I have really enjoyed my time here so far. In the coming weeks I will be working with the different departments around SOREC as well as developing a horticulture curriculum for 4-H designed to be used next year.

Hello, this is Kanar Shaiban. During my internship for the OSU Extension office in Jackson County, I learned how to be self-sufficient and obtain information and awareness by seeking answers independently. My experience also strengthened my ability to think by encouraging me to look for evidence and generate effective solutions. Furthermore, it taught me how to address the community’s challenges through my projects.  

I also learned how to perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis as a skill in my report about unmet housing needs in Jackson County. This internship was also helpful because it seemed like an environmental scan that covered every aspect of the community. Most significantly, my internship experience and projects taught me how to connect my public health major to the general well-being of the population and community. 

I want others to realize how valuable OSU Extension is to the community and how it seeks to provide information, resources, and expertise to solve local issues and help everyone thrive. 

Extension also promotes positive change through initiatives that make everyone feels secure and welcome. For example, when working with Jackson County during my internship, I realized that Extension is dedicated to serving all those in need. 

In my job, I assisted undocumented survivors who were primarily impacted by last September’s wildfires but were ineligible for federal housing assistance. While doing so, I realized what my career is all about and how it strives to engage with the community to address unmet needs and challenges, resolve them, and develop innovative solutions. I realized how OSU Extension could be linked to my public health major. It helped me comprehend what my degree is all about, it served me put what I learned into practice, and it allowed me to appreciate what my career entails even more. 

In general, the OSU Extension experience taught me the value of serving the vulnerable and those in need, and I realized how vital my profession is to society. This internship is something I would strongly suggest to other OSU students. It’s hard to determine a favorite aspect of my internship experience because I liked every aspect of it. However, the most satisfying element was exploring solutions to assist those in need and identifying methods to address their challenges. 

Hello, this is Kanar Shaiban. During my internship for the OSU Extension office in Jackson County, I’ve prepared a report, gathered data and statistics, and explored the unmet housing needs in the Jackson County area. In addition, I engaged with various community partners to get the essential data and learn more about the community’s most vulnerable people. While creating my report, I learned how to use a “SWOT” analysis method – strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities – to emphasize the importance of assisting the community in developing a strategy that addresses the unmet housing needs by analyzing the county’s strengths and weaknesses and existing and implemented resources. 

The Almeda fire burns homes in Talent, Oregon, on Sept. 8, 2020.
The Almeda fire burns homes in Talent, Oregon, on Sept. 8, 2020. Photo by Gordon Jones.

The report assisted in the development of strategic housing assistance recommendations for undocumented survivors of the September 2020 wildfires in the area. After submitting the report, I started working on an executive summary, followed by a PowerPoint presentation that I will present to the community partners by the end of my internship. 

Before this internship, I was unfamiliar with OSU Extension Services. Soon after I began, I realized that Extension focuses on and strives to foster inclusivity and innovation. I also understood how critical it is to the community to recognize unmet needs, respond to issues, and implement appropriate methods and solutions.  

I’m appreciative that I had the opportunity to work with OSU Extension as it taught me how to be self-sufficient in my profession, collect data, and be creative by exploring practical solutions for those in need. 

Hello everyone!

My name is Kanar Shaiban. My home country is Yemen, and my family and I moved to the United States a few years ago. While they settled in Virginia, I live in Oregon. My favorite hobbies are hiking and fishing.

I am currently a senior at OSU majoring in public health with a focus on health promotion. In addition, I intend to pursue a minor in global health. I am proud to be an OSU Extension intern this summer, where I will be working under Caryn Wheeler’s supervision at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center in Jackson County. Caryn is an assistant professor of practice in the Family and Community Health Program in OSU’s College of Public health and Human Sciences.

My internship will be dedicated to disaster relief and community needs, and I’ll be working with those who were displaced by the Almeda fire last September. I’ll be collecting data on the unmet needs of the survivors. I’ll also create a development plan for those individuals by implementing some proposals and opportunities into practice.

Before the internship began, I had many doubts that I would be able to succeed, mainly because everything seemed hazy at first. However, I gained confidence within a week as I better grasped the Extension’s aim and objectives. Caryn, in particular, was beneficial and supportive. She provided me with direct support and coaching to assist me in achieving my goal. In the first two weeks, she organized a series of community meetings to help me gain a better understanding of the work, the community, and the organization’s partners. She helped me observe and think creatively. Without her, things would not have been the same. To me, she is a vital component of the internship’s outstanding success.