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!

Hey all! 

Chloe Hull here, updating you from Tillamook County. I am halfway through the internship, and I have learned and done a lot. Most of my time so far has been structured around getting to know community partners and building those relationships for the future. This last week I was able to sit in on a workgroup with Master Gardeners on how to increase inclusivity into the program and the work that they are doing. It was interesting being able to hear folks getting involved on the planning level and discussing the things that they have personally learned over the past several months and their ideas on moving forward into the future.  

Sun-scalded tomato plants from recent Oregon heatwave.
Sun-scalded tomato plants from recent Oregon heatwave.

As you may remember from my last post, I have been working on researching different listserv services and gathering contact information for food producers all across the north coast. With all of this research, last week we were finally able to send out our first couple of emails! I have already gotten several positive responses from folks on the listserv, and I am excited to continue being involved with sending out resources for these producers. One of the emails that we sent out last week had resources and information about fire preparedness and heat stress on plants, livestock, and workers. It is important to get these resources out to folks and work to develop a community of collaboration to become more resilient as more extreme heat events occur.  

Lastly, I am excited as the Tillamook County Fair (Aug. 10-14) gets closer because I will be hosting a 4-H exhibit. I have never gotten to host a county fair booth, so it has been a learning experience for me as I gather information and develop content and activities. I have some experience with youth engagement and development, but this will be new in that it will be a larger audience than I am accustomed to. I look forward to it though and I hope you will come say hi if you are in the area! 

Hello everyone! My name is Brady Monteith, and I’m a sophomore at the University of Arizona, studying nutrition and food systems. Although I go to school Arizona, I grew up in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I’m back home for the summer, so I’m interning with the OSU Extension office in Klamath County. Klamath is a very ag-centric community, so I’ve grown up surrounded by agriculture. My family owns and operates a commercial farm, and my first job was to drive tractor and rake hay, so I’ve always felt quite connected to that side of the food system. 

During my internship I will be working under the supervision of Patty Case. My goal through this internship will be to better understand the Klamath food systems and the many people who play many diverse roles in it. I will be doing this through a few different projects. The main project I will be working on will be Extension’s role at the local farmers market. We will be working with the market director to provide nutrition education and help people to use their SNAP-Ed benefits to purchase local produce. I will also be assisting Extension Master Gardeners in their role at the farmers market. In addition to these projects, I will be assisting with the Cooking Matters program, to further expand on the nutrition education side of things. 

Before starting this internship, I really didn’t know much about OSU Extension. I had heard of Master Gardeners, but only knew that some people used them to test their soil. I came into the internship with pretty much no knowledge of what I would end up doing. However, the wonder people at Extension were quick to help get me oriented and have given me every tool I need to be successful.  

Hello! My name is Anita McNally. Currently, I’m enjoying my final years at Oregon State University majoring in environmental science and minoring in German. I was born and raised in the East Bay in Concord, California.

Anita McNally

Other than constantly playing competitive soccer, I found my passion for the environment in my family’s camping and fly-fishing trips as well as my active lifestyle as I grew up.

Although I’ve always been in awe of nature, especially on kayaking trips or while hiking, learning how to fly fish taught me the importance of diversity in an ecosystem.

Anita McNally shows a recently caught trout.

There are many different types of organisms that trout eat, and every ecosystem is unique in its own way through the different types of hatches that occur or its habitat. Due to my passion in nature and fly fishing, I became more aware as well as intrigued of how humans can cause a negative effect these ecosystems and solutions to prevent that.

In my internship at OSU Extension, I’m working in Lincoln County’s Extension office with the Master Gardener and small farms programs, and Sea Grant Extension’s commercial fishing, crabbing, and clamming specialists. Through these programs I am connecting consumers with local and sustainable producers through publicity and social media. I will be working professionally with others to promote local and sustainable foods, which not only helps our local economy, but our environment as well. Although COVID brought some unforeseen changes to my internship, such as leading Shop the Dock and working on site, I will still get the most out of my internship at home, virtually.

Before I joined Extension, I didn’t know much about the program. When I was younger, I was in 4-H for two years in the rabbit project and veterinary science program. Other than 4-H I was unaware of how big OSU Extension was and how much more it is involved in the community beyond 4-H. I’m excited to learn more about OSU Extension and how it connects to its community in general as well as in an environmental way.

Anita McNally holds a crab.