Progress report for EW18-015

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $73,199.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Rachel Werling
Oregon State University
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Project Information

Abstract:

Abstract:

The objectives of this project are to create tools and professional development trainings to
expand the locally successful Oregon State University Southern Oregon Research and Extension
Center Land Steward program to reach new audiences via Extension agents and educators,
NRCS staff, Soils and Water Conservation District personnel, and other agricultural professionals
who provide educational and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest owners
throughout Oregon, and into Idaho, Washington and California. The Land Steward program is
effective at increasing knowledge, motivation and changing behavior. Within six months of
completing the program more than 80% of participants have implemented at least one best
management practice, and over time participants have adopted hundreds of best management
practices ranging from irrigation improvements, to fire hazard abatement, to noxious weed
eradication, to riparian restoration, resulting in impacts on thousands of acres of land. The
Land Steward program serves as a launching pad for further education and technical assistance
from local agencies such as Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) and the Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with 97% reporting improved ability to access such
educational and technical resources. Equally important, the program develops a sense of
community among participants and Land Stewards serve as ambassadors to other land owners.
Specifically, this project will 1) refine and publish a curriculum for the eleven module LS
training; 2) publish a series of management guidelines for distribution among land owners; 3)
create a hybrid version of the LS training; 4) provide three, two-day professional development
workshops to train ~45 agricultural and natural resource professionals to use the curriculum,
hybrid program, and management documents; 5) present at three state and national
conferences to introduce these tools to an additional ~54 professionals.

Project Objectives:

The objectives of this project are to create tools and professional development
trainings to allow the locally successful Oregon State University (OSU) Southern Oregon
Research and Extension Center (SOREC) Land Steward (LS) program to reach expanded
audiences via Extension agents and educators, NRCS staff, Soils and Water Conservation District
personnel, and other agricultural professionals who provide educational and technical
assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest owners throughout Oregon, and into Idaho,
Washington and California. Specifically, the project will 1) refine and publish a curriculum for
the eleven module LS training; 2) publish a series of topic based management guidelines for
instructors to distribute to land owners 3) create a hybrid version of the LS training; 4) provide
three, two-day professional development workshops to train ~45 agricultural and natural
resource professionals to use the curriculum, hybrid program, and management documents; 5)
present at three state and national conferences to introduce these tools to an additional ~54
professionals.

Our Original Timetable has been modified.  We have kept the same activities (and added some) but reordered the timeline due to receiving other support to complete the online hybrid in the first year rather than the second..

Original Timetable from the proposal: Year 1:  Activity 1) Finalize and Publish LS Curriculum. Activity 2) Finalize and Publish LS Management Guidelines. Year 2: Activity 3) Create LS Hybrid program. Activity 4) In year 2 and 3, introduce the curriculum and hybrid at three state and national conferences reaching 54 professionals.  Year 3: Activity 5) Plan and implement three two-day Train the Trainer workshops to introduce the tools developed above,  to reach a total of ~45 professionals from Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California. Activity 6) Evaluate the workshops and tools presented. 

Modified Timeline

Year 1 Spring 2018-Spring 2019: Activity 3) Create LS Hybrid program. Activity 4) In year 1-3, introduce the curriculum and hybrid at three state and national conferences reaching 54 professionals.

Year 2 Spring 2019-Spring 2020: Activity 1)Finalize and Publish LS Curriculum. Activity 2) Finalize and Publish LS Management Guidelines. 

Year 3 Spring 2020-Spring 2021: Activity 5) Plan and implement three two-day Train the Trainer workshops to introduce the tools developed above,  to reach a total of ~45 professionals from Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California. Activity 6) Evaluate the workshops and tools presented. 

NCE 2020 -2021-We plan to submit for a NCE to complete our final publications and evaluation of the modified trainings we have presented.

Education

Educational approach:

Educational approach:

2018

None of the education for professionals (train the trainer workshops) outlined in the goals has been implemented yet (Year 3).  However, In Sept- Nov. 2018 a pilot of the hybrid called the Land Steward Short Course was delivered in Josephine county to 19 participant land owner/agriculturalists.  This hybrid short course is one of the tools being developed for professionals to use with their audiences. Delivery of the short course to agriculturalists is not one of the goals of this PDP but this is part of the development of the tools for professionals. Additionally, 3 SWCD employees and 2 Extension agents from other Oregon Counties shadowed the 2018 hybrid to try out the tool.  We did not anticipate having professionals shadow our delivery as part of the education approach but it has turned out to be a valuable method of promoting the program. Professionals who hear about our course through our presentations at conferences or other avenues, accept an invitation to shadow our delivery.

2019 Report

None of the education for professionals (train the trainer workshops) outlined in the goals has been implemented yet (Year 3).  However, In April – July 2019 a second version of the hybrid online training (with improvements from participant suggestions of the 2018 pilot) was delivered in Jackson county to 17 participant land owner/agriculturalists.  This hybrid short course is one of the tools being developed for professionals to use with their audiences. In 2019 an additional 2 SWCD employees and 2 Extension agents from other Oregon Counties shadowed the hybrid to try out the tool.  Tualatin SWCD will be delivering the hybrid course with OSU cooperation in Washington County, Or in spring 2020.

2020 Report

This is the third year of this PDP grant. This year we had intended to provide three 2-day, train the trainer events to share the curriculum tools of the online course options and publications developed with natural resource professionals for use with their audiences.  Due to the pandemic, delivery of all university education has gone on line.  The original design of the hybrid course created in year one (2018) combined nine online modules with three in-person events, two of which were field tours at local rural land (farms, ranches, etc) with local resource professionals. Due to the pandemic we modified the in-person elements of the course to be three live virtual sessions over zoom, which were also recorded for later viewing.  Using this method, we worked with natural resource (NR) professional partners in three regions to deliver the new full online course three times in 2020.  This both trained NR professionals, and reached landowner audiences in new regions. 

The first offering was in March – June 2020 with the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District (TSWCD) and an OSU professional.  We provided three training zooms for the four professional, involved with delivery of the program and assisted them in managing their online cohort of 32 landowners over the 9 weeks of the self paced course content. As their course was planned for the in-person format, they canceled their field trips but will be offering make-up zooms with this winter 2020 course. 

The second delivery was working with NR professionals in Hood and Wasco Counties.  This was a training partnership with six NR professionals from the area: 2 from OSU, 1 ODFW, 1 experienced farmer, 2 ODF.  The OSU personal lead the coordination, while we provided three training zoom sessions, and backed up the local experts for the three class zoom sessions.  We also assisted in managing their online cohort of 12 landowners over the 9 weeks of the self paced course content. 

The third online delivery of the course was based out of the home location of the Land Steward program in Jackson county Oregon. We did a training partnership with another NR OSU professional who serves central Oregon.  With the new fully online format, we were able to reach a much broader audience. We had 31 registrants from Jackson County, 8 from outside of Oregon: California, Washington, and Kentucky, and 8 from other parts of Oregon.  With 53 participants this was the largest class we have served, and the broadest reach among students.  We reached out to partners in other areas to be able to provide local agency contact resources for landowners outside our area.

In Feb- April of 2021 we will be offering another online delivery of the course.  This will be working with some of the previous partners who have already received training as well as many more who will be trained in the process.  With this offering, the training will be provided in 14 counties of Oregon.

The hands on training and shadowing opportunities previously provided we feel will have met our goal of 3 2-day trainings. We have provided some 60 hours of training to 19 professionals to date and we are seeing the course put into use across Oregon.  We intend to continue to provide training opportunities and believe that the course will be picked up in other western states as it becomes better known.

Publications:

Seven of nine planned Resource guidelines have been published with two more accepted and in review. The full curriculum is also in review.  Below are the published documents.  These have been uploaded

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Promotion of New Land Steward Program Delivery Tools at Conferences
Objective:

Creating interest in using tools to reach new audiences.

Description:

2018 Report

The Land Steward program and upcoming delivery materials in development by this project were presented and promoted at two conferences in 2018 to build interest in trying the tools and participating in the workshops during the last phase of the project (goal 5).  This concept was delivered to 15 extension professionals from around the country at the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals in Biloxi, MI at the end of April 2018.  Contacts of professionals interested in potentially using the materials once developed were secured from extension faculty of Idaho, Oregon, Washington an Arizona and Utah.  These individuals will be kept informed as the tools are developed.  In December of 2018 the Land Steward Program and results of the pilot short course were delivered to 12 Oregon extension professionals. Four of these expressed interest in possibly delivering the short course to their audiences. Additional networking with partners has resulted in a potential plan for a partnership between Wasco county and Clackamas county extension professionals to deliver a short course in 2019.  Glenn Ahrens forester of Clackamas and Michelle Sager of master Gardener program in Wasco county will shadow the delivery of the Jackson county short course in Spring of 2019 as part of their training for delivery.  Additionally Amy Grotta forester is discussing delivery of a LS short course in partnership with staff from the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District are entertaining a similar plan. They will also shadow the spring short course.

2019 Report

In Nov. 2019 the new hybrid course and the management guidelines and curriculum drafts were presented at the western regional meeting of Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals to 9 extension professionals from Oregon, Arizona, Idaho and American Samoa. Several expressed interest in using the tools for their audiences. Some were more interested in the stand alone management guideline tools. These individuals will be invited to shadow the 2020 Tualatin SWCD edition of the hybrid course.

In Dec. 2019 a 90 min. workshop on the new Land Steward instructional tools was delivered at the OSU Annual Extension Conference to 16 Oregon extension professionals.  Six of these professionals were interested in using the hybrid soon for their audiences.  They will also be invited to shadow the 2020 Tualatin SWCD edition.

2020 Report

We were accepted to deliver workshops at two conferences in 2020.  The 2020 Connect conference for Soil and Water Conservation Services, and the 2020 Association of Natural Resource Extension professionals. If given the opportunity we will present when these conferences are rescheduled in 2021. This would have been in addition to the four conferences where we have already presented.  Our original goal was to present at three conferences.

We presented at the virtual annual planning meeting of the Forestry and Natural Resource faculty for Oregon State University Extension.  There we submitted a “statewide” offering of the new online land steward training

At the virtual 2020 annual planning meeting of the Forestry and Natural Resources Program, I presented a potential group project of a statewide offering of the Online Land Steward Course.  This was selected by the group and will be delivered with leadership from 14 Oregon counties provided regional partner instructors.  This will be delivered Feb. – April 2020.

Outcomes and impacts:

2018

Two unforeseen conference presentations promoting the still-in-development Land Steward delivery tools occurred in 2018, reaching 27 professionals creating interest in delivering the program. Already, three additional counties have planned to implement or implemented a land steward training, for a program which was previously only available in Jackson County.   

2019

The Tualatin SWCD staff are accepting registration for their spring 2020 delivery of the Land Steward Hybrid Course.  Shadowing our 2018 and 19 deliveries of the program was very beneficial for them in deciding to use the tool and designing their delivery.  This functioned as an unplanned professional development.  The Wasco partnership mentioned in 2018 are planning possible delivery for 2021.

By spring 2020 the hybrid will have been delivered in two new counties (in addition to Jackson) thanks to the WSARE funding, with several more enthusiastic for the future.

Twenty-five natural resource professionals were reached through conferences and meetings in 2019 and eight have shadowed the hybrids we have delivered. The synergy between conference presentations and shadowing is proving a useful method of promotion.

2020 Report  

Before the development of the online options of the Land Steward Course, we could only serve 30 land owners a year.  In 2020, 96 landowners registered for the training provided in three regions of the state with leadership from 6 new natural resource professionals.  The 52 land owner participants in the fall program represented 1,300 acres.  Participants in the program learn best practices for natural resource management and create stewardship plans for their property.  By the end of the course they many report already beginning management improvements such as fire risk reduction in their forest by fuels thinning, pasture improvements such as implementing invasive species removal, and wildlife habitat improvement along with many others.

The new hybrid is successful in inspiring improved practices among land owners.  We used an online survey to evaluate the results of the course. For the fall 2020 Online course, 100% participants responding to our survey said the program had provided them with new knowledge and improved their awareness of the topics covered.  100% said they had gained new knowledge or the program had modified their opinions. 80% said they were more connected to professional and technical resources.  100% said they would implement something they learned in the program in the next year.  60% reported the new format of the training made it possible for them to attend, fulfilling one of the goals of the new design to reach new audiences. 80% of those surveys said that creating the management plan during the course was very effective or effective in helping them develop and meet their land stewardship goals. The program educates, connects them with technical assistance, and gets them on the road to good management. 

Following is some feedback from participants in the 2020 program.

I liked completing the modules and worksheets then listening to the live discussions. I really appreciated the taped version for the one I could not attend.

I liked completing the modules and worksheets then listening to the live discussions. I really appreciated the taped version for the one I could not attend.

This was wonderful. Online teaching is tough and this was a great balance of online and a real person to talk to.

As a new land owner coming from an urban environment this class was really a game changer for me. I had done a lot of research and learning on my own but this class taught me things I did not even think of.

In the new statewide offering of the course for winter 2021 twelve OSU partners representing 14 counties will be participating as regional instructors

 

Hybrid Course Shadow option for Professionals
Objective:

Creating interest and confidence among professionals for using the hybrid Land Steward Course to reach new audiences.

Description:

In 2018 and 2019 we received funding to help with development and piloting of the hybrid version of the Land Steward training.  A pilot has been held in Josephine County in 2018, and in Jackson County in 2019.  Eight natural resource professionals, five from SWCDs, and three from OSU Extension have shadowed the hybrids we have delivered.

The goal of the hybrid is to make the rural land management education more accessible both for participation and delivery.  The hybrid format allows participation by working and remote land owners.  We experienced this in our pilots with some participants coming from outside of the local area.  All participants said that the design of the hybrid (with more self-paced online material and less face time) made the program possible for them to attend.  Additionally, the hybrid takes less time to coordinate, making it a more accessible tool for busy staff.

Both the land owner participation and the professionals interest we are experiencing illustrates that these new tools are making the Land Steward program into a useful tool. 

The synergy between conference presentations and shadowing our delivery of the hybrid is proving a useful method of promotion.

Outcomes and impacts:

Four staff from the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District are partnering with an OSU Agent Amy Grotta, to deliver a hybrid in the Washington County area in spring of 2020.  Amy attended the 2018 Extension Annual Conference workshop delivery on the program and the SWCD staff shadowed the 2018 or 2019 hybrid deliveries.

Six extension professionals who attended our 2019 Extension annual conference workshop expressed interest in using the hybrid and a desire to shadow the 2020 Tualatin delivery to familiarize themselves with the program.

Additionally, the content of the program was delivered to new audiences of 36 land owner/producers. 

This synergy between conference presentation and shadowing of the hybrid has been an un-foreseen beneficial mode of promotion for the program.

Publications
Objective:

Publish nine land steward rural resource guideline documents that align with the online modules developed for the course. Publish the overall curriculum which contains these guidelines.

Description:

Publications:

Seven of nine planned Resource guidelines have been published with two more accepted and in review. The full curriculum is also in review.  Below are the published documents. FireHIZem9247 FORESTem9245 PasturesGuidelingEM9303 Riparianem9244 SoilGuidelineEM9304 WaterSystemsem9243 Wildlifeem9250

  • Forests and Woodlands: Protecting an Ecosystem EM9245
  • The Home Ignition Zone: Protecting your Property from Wildfire EM9247
  • Wildlife Habitat: Nurturing a Diverse Mix of Flora and Fauna EM9250
  • Stream and Riparian Areas: Clean Water Diverse Habitat EM9244
  • Soil: The Dirty Secrets of a Living Landscape EM9304
  • Pastures: Stewarding a Working Landscape EM9303
  • Water Systems: Taking Care of a Precious Resource EM9243
Outcomes and impacts:

These publications are downloaded and used by participants.  They learn best practices and evaluate their resources.  Their findings are put into their stewardship plan.  These are also useful as stand alone documents.

Educational & Outreach Activities

20 Consultations
7 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
12 On-farm demonstrations
18 Online trainings
5 Published press articles, newsletters
4 Tours
7 Webinars / talks / presentations
6 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

54 Extension
2 NRCS
4 Nonprofit
17 Agency
132 Farmers/ranchers

Learning Outcomes

132 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
32 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

2 Grants received that built upon this project
5 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

There are no learning outcomes among professionals to report yet according to the original plan of train the trainer workshops in year 3. However, 8 professionals participated in delivery of the two pilot short course thus reaching their audiences.  The two hybrid short course pilots delivered to 36 land owner agriculturalists was well received.  In post program surveys distributed among participants, 100% responding said the program was excellent to very good.  All reported that the course is improving their management practices. These and other data were used to promote the short course at the four conferences, which has resulted in 2 new counties delivering the training and 2-3 more planning to implement Land Steward short course trainings in the future.  Our project learning outcomes will occur later in the project.

8 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
36 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Additional Outcomes:

The WSARE funded OSU Land Steward PDP grant has 5 objectives over 3 years: 1) refine and publish a curriculum for the eleven module LS training; 2) publish a series of topic based management guidelines for instructors to distribute to land owners 3) create a hybrid version of the LS training; 4) provide workshops to train professionals to use the above tools 5) present at three state and national conferences to introduce these tools to an additional ~54 professionals.

Additional support was secured in Jan. 2018 (before funding was awarded by WSARE) to advance work on the hybrid LS program, so that goal moved up in the timeline. In 2018, the hybrid was developed and a pilot was delivered in fall 2018 to 19 land owner agriculturalists with the help of 5 land owner mentors and 3 agricultural professional partners. 

Four conferences and meetings were attended presenting on the Land Steward program tools of this project, reaching 52 professionals.  Already, two additional new counties have implemented Land Steward hybrid trainings and 2-3 more are very interested in the possibility.

Work is underway with year 2 publishing goals. The management guideline series and all are in review.  Several are due to publish any moment.   They and the curriculum are expected to be published by spring 2020. 

Success stories:

Rural Land Owner/Producer feedback from the Hybrid Land Steward Trainings in 2018 an 2019

“I’ve been so busy clearing blackberry bushes on my property as a result of our field trip, I have been neglecting my Land Management Plan.  I discovered a horrendous infestation of newly developed blackberry near my stream, and I’ve been attempting to remove them before they take over.”

“[I liked most} The ability to learn at a personal pace, being able to meet other students and discuss their projects, being able to  visit with accomplished Land Stewards on their properties, being able to seek further information about land…”

” I liked that it was self-paced, that I could catch up with the lessons whenever I wanted. I also really enjoyed the field trips; seeing properties that I otherwise would not have been able to. ” 

Recommendations:

2019

Now into our second year of developing and promoting these tools with the support of WSARE, we see the tremendous value of a three year grant process.  It allows us to modify our plan as take advantage of additional outreach methods.  It also allows the time for professionals to experience the program in multiple ways beyond just a one time workshop or presentation.  We think this is enhancing professionals engagement with the program.

2018

We very much appreciate WSARE support in spreading this great program!  I have a recommendation for the reporting.  It would be helpful if there were a pdf expanded summary of all of these categories in the reporting section of the website.  It is unweildy to open and close them to see what will be asked and would be easier to be able to know what is requested, be able to compile it and then enter it all at once.   Thank you again!

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.