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 young man inspects a fruit tree in an orchard.
Kieran King at a peach-plum orchard, assessing the health of the fruit trees on the owner’s property.
Photo credit: Hayley White

The summer has gone by so fast, but I’ve learned so much throughout this season! I’m now in my last weeks of my Oregon State University Extension Service Small Farms Program internship, and what a great experience it has been. I’ve been able to help with a wide array of projects, ranging from public outreach via social media to data collection in agricultural trials.

The biggest project that I’ve worked on was my activity for the Polk County Fair. I had to figure out how to make an activity that was engaging for kids and related to agriculture. I settled on making my activity about beneficial arthropods (insects, spiders, etc.), since that was something that I would have been interested in when I was young. I designed trivia cards for kids to read and set up an area for them to draw. This turned out to be an effective outreach strategy as parents would have to wait for their kids to do the activity and ended up taking some of our outreach materials. While I definitely learned a lot about how to perform effective outreach from this project, I ended up learning a lot more about insect anatomy than I ever thought I would.

The hand of the photographer reaches out to a dog who sniffs it.
Greeted by a dog at a research donor’s property during a site visit. Photo credit: Kieran King

One of my favorite things that I’ve gotten to help with is the Olea project. I’ve had the opportunity to go to North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora and collect data on OSU’s 400-plus olive trees , assessing fruit set and collecting leaves for tissue samples. In the process, I’ve been able to meet many interesting people, including donors and active researchers. NWREC is also just a beautiful place to be on a sunny summer day!

Over the course of my internship, I’ve come to have a greater appreciation for everything that goes into public outreach. Everything from social media posts and email campaigns to manning and preparing a fair booth takes so much time and effort that isn’t usually seen from an outside perspective. Many of these things take hours to prepare and design, but people engaging with them may only see them for a few seconds at a time. Even so, the unseen work that goes into outreach is worth it, because we are able to bring OSU Extension’s amazing services to people in need of advice and assistance.

I’m very grateful for all that I’ve learned over the summer. I learned how to confidently communicate and bond with people in a professional environment, which are skills that I wanted to work on going into my internship. I’ve also learned a lot of practical information and skills, from noxious weed identification to the use of website building programs. I’ve learned things that I never expected to. Even though I might not use all of them in my future career, I feel like a much more well-rounded person because of these learning experiences with OSU Extension.

Finally, I’d like to thank my supervisor Hayley White for making my internship such a positive experience. Her guidance and compassion helped me stay on course throughout the internship, and she always affirmed the value of the work I did. I couldn’t have asked for a better boss at my first job!

– Kieran King

A woman kneels in the grass to feed a black and white baby goat with a bottle.
Sophia Nowers feeding a two-day old baby goat on a recent farm tour. Photo credit: Teagan Moran

Hello, again. I’m Sophia Nowers, the summer intern for Oregon State University Extension Service’s Small Farms Program and Community Horticulture in Benton, Linn and Lane counties. It is hard to believe that I’m already in the last week of my internship. The past month has sped by in a blur of events and activities. I have tabled at the Benton County Fair, helped on Small Farms farm tours, gone to OSU field days, and worked with Master Gardeners to publicize some of their events and talks. Between writing up summaries of events for sharing on social media and in Extension publications, I have also been working on an article about the OSU Dry Farm Project and its community involvement through the Dry Farming Collaborative.

It has been fantastic to explore Extension this summer, especially as an OSU student in the College of Agricultural Sciences. I have had the opportunity to make so many connections with professors, researchers, and members of the community and it has given me a strong sense of what I might want to do in the future.

There have been so many highlights, from getting to bottle feed a two-day old baby goat to attending the Organic Grains & Pulses Field Day and several Master Gardener events. My favorite part of my internship was learning how Extension bridges the gap between communities and the university, connecting researchers with farmers and business owners, community members with resources about gardening and homeownership and farmers with each other. I am grateful for the opportunity to help publicize Small Farms Program and Community Horticulture’s events and activities.

The project that I am proudest of is my article about the OSU Dry Farm Project. For the article, I interviewed the lead researchers of the project, Lucas Nebert and Matt Davis, visited two of their dry farm sites, and in the process learned a lot about dry farming and its challenges in Oregon.

I am grateful to my supervisors, Teagan Moran and Brooke Edmunds, for their support and guidance this summer, and to everyone I met through this internship. I have greatly enjoyed exploring some of what Extension has to offer and realizing that there is so much more!

A smiling young woman in a gray shirt and khaki pants reaches over to touch plants.
Sophia Nowers on a recent farm tour.
Photo credit: Teagan Moran

Hello, my name is Sophia Nowers, and I am the summer intern for Oregon State University Extension Service’s Small Farms Program and Community Horticulture in Benton, Linn and Lane counties. I am a rising junior at OSU, where I am majoring in agricultural sciences. I hail from Alaska and love seeing all the different crops that can be grown in the Willamette Valley. In my internship, I work with OSU Extension faculty in the Small Farms Program and in Community Horticulture to publicize Extension activities, build small farm community networks and support Extension events in Linn, Lane and Benton counties. Most of my time is spent touring Master Gardener projects, interviewing farmers, researchers and volunteers and writing articles about OSU Extension events and programs.

I just started the fourth week of my internship and highlights so far include helping at the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture Open House, touring the Benton County Master Gardeners’ demonstration garden at the Benton County Fairgrounds, and getting to see Commonplace Farms’ operation near Corvallis. It has been eye opening to see the research being done by OSU Extension and how it translates into useful knowledge for farmers, gardeners and the community.

My big project has been writing an article about the Dry Farming Accelerator Program for publication by OSU Extension. It has been fascinating to learn about the dry farming research that is being done at the university and how it is being shared in the broader Oregon farming and gardening community. The program brings together small farmers and hobbyist gardeners from across the state to do dry farm trials of tomatoes, squash and corn and share their dry farming experiences. It is great to see how the program combines research and community building, and it has given me some great ideas for my agriculture thesis!

In the rest of my internship, I am looking forward to seeing some local small farms, learning more about the Dry Farming Collaborative, tabling at the Benton County Fair and interviewing more Master Gardeners about their projects and activities. OSU Extension does so much in so many areas that there is always more to learn. I love how its work intersects with public health, environmental issues, water management and so much more. I can’t wait to get out there and learn!

A young man with a beard stands in front of a snowy forest
Back home and ready to work
Photo credit: Kieran King

Hello, my name is Kieran King, and I’m an intern with the OSU Extension Service this summer. I just finished my first year of college at OSU as a physics major, so I’m finally back home in Dallas. I’ll be working primarily on outreach for the Mid-Valley Small Farms Program with my supervisor Hayley White, as well as helping with the Olea research project.

So far, I’ve been able to work on my program’s newsletter for the month of June, where I’ve written information for farmers in an accessible format. I’ve also been working on outreach materials for the upcoming Small Farm School, as well as data entry for the Olea project. It’s been an interesting first week, and certainly a great start to this learning experience.

I don’t know the first thing about agriculture, but I decided to take this internship as a way to learn more about my community and to help the people in it. I’ve benefited from the hard work of local Polk and Marion County farmers my whole life, so it only seems fair that I put in work that might make their lives a little easier. I’ve already gained a deeper appreciation of the community in my own county through site visits to local farms. Seeing the amazing places and people in Polk County has made me excited for the rest of my internship! While I ultimately won’t end up in a public service or outreach-oriented job, it will definitely be a meaningful experience

This summer I’ve had the pleasure of working for the OSU Extension Small Farms Program with Teagan Moran in Linn, Lane, and Benton counties. Most of my time was spent helping organize our Military Veteran Farm Tour Series and attending farm tours of the Willamette Women’s Farm Network (WWFN).

Two women in gray t-shirts and jeans stand next to each other, arm in arm, under a tree.
Crystal Kelso (right) with Teagan Moran, small farms coordinator in Benton, Lane and Linn counties.

I got to experience what it looks like to start out with a sheep farm using movable electrical fencing powered by solar panels, a dry farm that grows flowers and veggies alongside raising goats and poultry (and sampling some of the best goat cheese ever!) and wandering around a medicinal herb farm that has a roadside veggie stand and sells herbs to local businesses.  

I’ve met some amazing people and forged some long-term connections that I hope will carry over into both my personal and professional life. The farmers on these tours are thoughtful and caring about the land and their crops and animals. One thing they all had in common was the desire to connect with each other and give back to the community in a way that is sustainable and fulfilling. I think the overall theme was that these farmers are not doing this to get rich, but to feel good about what they are doing.                                                                                    

I have two more veteran farm tours to go to and will finish updating the agritourism farms list before I complete my internship. After that, I will stay on as a part-time student employee in the Small Farms Program while I finish my last year at OSU and receive my bachelor’s degree in horticulture/ horticulture therapy.  Wherever this path leads me, I am thankful for the time, experience and connections I’ve made with this internship. Having such a great mentor in Teagan to intern with has been super helpful, and she has been great about getting me connected to as many people as possible to help further my experience and career. Thanks again for the opportunity! 

Hi guys, I’m Briauna and I interned with the OSU Extension Groundwater Protection and Education Program in Benton County. As I wrap up my summer internship I looked back and realized how fast it all went. It seems like I just started this internship and as I write this blog post it is my last full week. Over the summer I was able to learn so many new things through the Well Water Program and other programs within Extension. In June we prepared for all the nitrate screenings we had planned for the summer. It consisted of a lot of cutting and stamping postcards, sending out press releases, and advertising through social media.

A woman crouches down to pick blueberries to collect in a white bucket.
Briauna Herrick picking blueberries on a farm visit.

Throughout the summer I worked on a handful of different projects, one of them being research on county websites for well and septic information and another was working on the newsletter archives in the Extension Small Farms Program website. I also got to help with the Be Well project based in Jackson County. We sent out a lot of letters that we stuffed, sealed and stamped. I am really surprised I made it through the summer without getting a paper cut! Once the clinics started it just kept getting busier from there. In between the busyness of nitrate screenings, I had the opportunity to go to Blueberry Field Day at the OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora to learn more about the research being done there. I also helped at county fairs, and I even got to go on a farm visit with Lane County’s small farms Extension agent, Mellissa Fery.

I enjoyed getting to visit many different towns in the Willamette Valley where we held our screenings–I don’t think I have driven up and down I-5 so much in a span of three months. It was fun getting to spend a few hours in towns I hadn’t been to before and getting to know some of the people in the communities. Later this week I am holding a nitrate screening at my family’s farm in Springfield. I have been looking forward to testing water in the area I grew up in and getting to share what I have learned with my family, friends and close neighbors.

Over the course of my internship, I got to meet a lot of people and enjoyed learning from their experiences. Everyone I met involved with Extension was kind and always welcoming. I enjoyed working with Chrissy, Kelci, and Ahad over the summer and was able to learn from all of them. I am thankful for this opportunity to work with Extension and for everything I have learned over the past few months. Thank you to the people I met along the way and for this opportunity to grow.

Hi everyone. Em Jones here again. I can barely believe it’s been two months since my last blog post. The summer is coming to an end with earlier sunsets as we approach the equinox, about a month away now. I’ve been so busy with my internship I’ve hardly noticed the passing days. I’ve been networking, meeting new people and making lots of friends through various workshops and activities. My main projects have revolved around Small Farm School and the Oregon Mushroom Producers Network.  

A black plastic tub filled with a wide variety of mushrooms
A bountiful mushroom harvest.

The OSU Extension Small Farms program has been busy as a bee planning and preparing for Small Farm School. Several classes are filling up quickly but it’s not too late to register. It will be held on Monday, Sept. 12 at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City. Classes include topics like poultry processing, funding your small farm “dream,” and farming with climate resiliency.  

We are abuzz right now with volunteer opportunities to support workshops and ensure the day flows smooth as honey. If you’re interested, please reach out to Kelly Streit. Just four hours of volunteering gets you into the Small Farm School for free! 

In addition to supporting Small Farm School, I’ve also had the pleasure of facilitating the first meeting of Oregon’s Mushroom Producer Network. This group of folks includes gourmet and medicinal mushroom cultivators from across Oregon. If you or someone you know is cultivating mushrooms, please reach out to me for more details. We have an upcoming mushroom farm tour and have just begun the conversation about the purchasing power opportunities we can embark upon.  

While I am sad that my internship and the summer are quickly coming to an end, I am so grateful to have participated in the OSU Extension internship program. My mentor, Heidi Noordijk, has given me a wealth of knowledge and opportunity. She is truly a resource librarian and shining example of what the Extension Service is all about. From my time at the Clackamas County Fair to participating in her IPM class, I can honestly say she truly cares about and authentically supports the farming community for the benefit of us all.  

As fall approaches mushroom growing will be at a peak and this small farmer looks forward to continuing their education with Oregon State University as well as continuing to learn from and partner with the Extension Service.  

Hi there! My name is Crystal Kelso, and I’m working this summer with Teagan Moran, small farms outreach coordinator in Linn, Lane, and Benton counties. One of my projects is researching and putting together resources for military veteran famers for our region and statewide. My big project is organizing the Military Veteran Farm Tour Series. I’m really excited about this because working with veterans in the field and on farms is something that means a lot to me, and something that I really enjoy. The veterans I’ve talked with are also really excited to be part of the tour and getting connected with fellow veteran farmers in Oregon.

Crystal Kelso

Other than organizing the Veteran Farm Tour Series, I’ve been working on updating the links and resources for some of the pages on the OSU Small Farms website, such as the drought, fire, flood, disaster relief and resilience programs page and the and wildfires page. I’ve attended a Willamette Women’s Farm Network Medicinal Herb Farm Tour as well and met some amazing ladies who are growing herbs and flowers. I’m going to be putting together a booklet with recipes using herbs and flowers from the group too! Last week, I worked the Extension booths at both the Linn and Lane County fairs.

I look forward to meeting the veteran farmers in person on the tours and making some lasting connections both with them and the herb group. This has been a great opportunity for me so far, and I’m enjoying being part of the team!

Sophia Hampton

Hello! My name is Sophia Hampton (she/her/hers), and I’m excited to be working for OSU Extension in Polk and Marion counties with the Mid-Willamette Valley Small Farms Program. I was born and raised in McMinnville and am back in Oregon for the summer after completing my first year at Seattle University. 


Although I don’t have a lot of experience with farming and agriculture, as an environmental studies and public affairs double major, I’m finding my time here quite valuable. I’m learning new things every day. I’m working with my incredible supervisor, Hayley White, Extension agriculture program coordinator in Marion and Polk counties. Hayley works with the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District and on the Olea Project, an olive research project.


So far, I’ve been formatting the Mid-Willamette Valley Small Farms newsletter, producing content for and posting to our social media pages, creating marketing materials for various events like the upcoming Small Farm Social at the end of July, and planning an activity for the Polk County Fair in August. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit and plant strawberries at the Marion Polk Food Share Youth Farm and participate in data collection for the Olea Project at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center, as well as work at the Extension table at the West Salem Farmers Market and the Marion County Fair. These experiences have been fun and informative, and I love meeting people, both those who work with Extension and those who don’t. They are so passionate, knowledgeable and generous with their time and conversations. 

Planting strawberries at the Marion Polk Food Share Youth Farm. Photo by Hayley White.


I don’t have a clear idea of what I would like my career to look like, but I know I want it to be related to outreach, education and environmental justice, so with this internship, I hope to gain perspective about where I might fit into those fields. Even as I’m just starting, I can feel that happening. I’m grateful to be part of the Extension team this summer, and I can’t wait to continue learning and contributing.