OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of agricultural sciences

OSU hotline offers answers to Thanksgiving food safety questions

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Did you know that turkey is done when an internal thermometer in the thigh registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit?

With Thanksgiving around the corner, receive answers to questions like these from the Oregon State University Extension Service's holiday food safety/preservation hotline at 1-800-354-7319. The free service is open for calls from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 18-22, and Nov. 25-26.

Typical questions range from how to make the perfect stuffing recipe to how long to thaw a frozen turkey to how to safely travel to the big family gathering with a cooked bird, said Nellie Oehler, a retired family community health educator with OSU Extension.

Master Food Preserver volunteers trained by OSU Extension staff the hotline and field an average of more than 200 questions every November, according to Oehler.

Additionally, OSU Extension has published two new fact sheets on turkey food safety at http://bit.ly/OSU_TurkeyFactSheet and http://bit.ly/OSU_TurkeyBasics. A fact sheet is also available in Spanish at http://bit.ly/OSU_PreparacióndelPavo.

For more information, see OSU Extension's website, Food Safety Resources, at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-safety. You can also submit food safety questions at any time to OSU Extension's Ask an Expert service at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/extension-ask-an-expert

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Nellie Oehler, 541-757-3937

OSU review details negative impact of pesticides and fertilizers on amphibians

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Common pesticides and fertilizers can damage both the development and survival of amphibians to varying degrees, according to a new analysis by Oregon State University.

The new meta-analysis marks the first attempt at a large-scale summary on the negative effects of specific chemical classes on amphibians, said Tiffany Garcia, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of wildlife science within OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Researchers reviewed more than 150 scientific studies detailing the impacts of pesticides and fertilizers on amphibians.

Around 30 percent of amphibian species are now extinct or endangered due to a range of factors, including habitat loss, disease, and exposure to contaminants, including pesticides and fertilizers, according to Garcia.

"Billions of tons of agrochemicals are used in farming every year," said Garcia, an expert in aquatic ecology. "Any disruption to frog, toad and salamander communities has clear negative impacts on biodiversity and can also set off a domino effect throughout the ecosystem by damaging the food base for amphibian predators, including birds, snakes and fish."

Amphibians are also valuable to the environment as grazers, herbivores and predators of pests, such as mosquitos, she added.

Four classes of common agrochemicals significantly reduce amphibian survival, the researchers say: chloropyridinyls; inorganic fertilizers; carbamates, which are common in insecticides; and triazines, used in herbicides. Two others both kill and inhibit animal growth: phosphonoglycines and organophosphates, standard ingredients in many pesticides.

Agrochemicals are most damaging to amphibians in the egg and larval stages, decreasing survivorship and making individuals more susceptible to predation and also hindering the production of offspring later in life. Amphibians are especially vulnerable to pesticides and fertilizers since they live on land and in water and can come into contact with agrochemicals by both direct exposure and runoff into aquatic systems.

To reduce the effects of pesticides and fertilizers on amphibians, timing is critical.

"Farmers can be, and often are, the best naturalists we have," Garcia said. "Mixing agricultural production with wildlife management is vital to the survival of amphibians, especially with agricultural intensity growing to feed our booming global human population."

"Spring, for example, is a time with heavy agricultural application, and it's also when amphibians lay eggs and develop as larvae and tadpoles,” she added. "By modifying application schedules, growers can limit contact between sensitive wildlife species and harmful chemicals."

Former OSU graduate student Nick Baker led the meta-analysis, with assistance from Garcia and Betsy Bancroft of Southern Utah University.

The study was published earlier this year in the journal Science of the Total Environment and was funded by the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU, as well as a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Conservation Effects Assessment Project.

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Tiffany Garcia, 541-737-2164

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Tiffany Garcia, OSU researcher

The timing of agrochemical applications can help reduce negative effects to amphibians, according to OSU's Tiffany Garcia. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

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Bullfrogs and other amphibians are especially vulnerable to agrochemicals because they live in both water and on land at different life stages. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

OSU creates new center to support food systems

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has launched a new center that aims to strengthen local food systems under the umbrella of the Extension Service.

OSU's Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems is an outgrowth of the OSU Extension Service's Small Farms program. It expands the program's work with small farms production and marketing to provide a platform for collaboration across OSU and Oregon, which will help the center support farmers and build strong local and regional food systems.

A food system is a collaborative network that integrates sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste.

Director Garry Stephenson, a small farms specialist, and associate director Lauren Gwin, a food systems specialist, lead the center. Stephenson has coordinated OSU Extension's Small Farms Program for more than 15 years. During that time, the program has emerged as a leader recognized on a national level for innovative applied research and educational programs. Gwin brings her expertise as a researcher focusing on supply chain logistics and regulatory issues. She also co-coordinates the National Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network.

"The OSU Extension Small Farms Program has always been about more than just small farms," Stephenson said. "We've always understood that for small farms to be successful, there needs to be consumers who are both willing and able to buy local food, businesses that want to sell it, and policy that supports it. These are all part of a successful and sustainable local food economy. Establishing the center allows us to take this work to the next level."

OSU's endeavor intersects with a nationwide local food trend. A 2010 study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service showed that direct-to-consumer marketing amounted to $1.2 billion in sales in 2007 nationwide, compared with $551 million in 1997. Research shows that local food systems can increase employment and income in communities, according to the USDA.

The center will continue research and education on sustainable farming methods, alternative markets and public policy. Additionally, the center will collaborate with Family and Community Health, an Extension program administered by OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences. It will ramp up partnerships with community-based nonprofits and other organizations. The center aims to create an endowment to add new small farms Extension positions in underserved communities.

“Rural and urban communities in Oregon are engaging with their food systems around issues of human health, long-term community economic development and access to healthy food for all Oregonians. We need to understand all aspects of the food system and collaborate with others," Gwin said. "This effort puts OSU on the map as explicitly valuing a food systems approach."

That teamwork is important to Wendy Siporen, executive director of the Rogue Valley-based nonprofit The Rogue Initiative for a Vital Economy (THRIVE). She is working with the center on several projects, including one that aims to increase consumer access to locally grown food in places such as conventional supermarkets.

"Their academic perspective and technical support are really critical and help show us we're making an impact locally," Siporen said. "Small nonprofits in rural communities often work in isolation, so it's important to get access to the center's statewide network to collaborate on best practices and policies. The goals of the center are core to THRIVE's mission of helping to rebuild our local food economy."

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Garry Stephenson, 541-737-5833;

Lauren Gwin, 541-737-1569

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A student carries a box of produce as part of the Southern Oregon Farmer Incubator program, a collaborative of organizations working to train new and beginning farmers. The OSU Extension Small Farms Program, one of the organizations involved in the effort, has launched a new center to support local food systems. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

New 4-H program aims to prepare culturally diverse youth for college

CORVALLIS, Ore. – High school students will explore college and career opportunities in a new 4-H program coordinated by the Oregon State University Extension Service.

The 4-H Outreach Leadership Institute aims to prepare high school students from diverse cultural backgrounds to attend college and pursue a variety of career paths, according to organizer Mario Magaña, an outreach specialist for OSU Extension 4-H. Magaña hopes the leadership institute will reach Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders and African-Americans, as well as rural Caucasians who would be first-generation college students.

It's set for Nov. 15-17 at OSU in Corvallis, with additional multi-day sessions in March of 2014 at OSU and May of 2014 at the Oregon 4-H Conference and Education Center in Salem. The leadership institute is an expansion of the former 4-H Camp Counselor Trainings and the replacement of the high school International Summer Camp.

"I really believe that high school is the time to expose kids to college information and leadership activities," Magaña said. "The leadership institute will help them gain the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to apply for competitive scholarships and to apply for top universities. If kids start attending the leadership institute during their freshman year, we're going to mentor them three times a year for every year of their high school careers."

On the OSU campus in Corvallis, students will get hands-on practice from several Oregon universities on how to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, fill out a college application, write a college admissions essay and compose a personal biography. They will learn about careers from OSU student and faculty mentors in engineering, forestry, veterinary medicine, health and nutrition, fisheries and wildlife, solar energy, wave energy, science and robotics.

The session in May in Salem will train students to become camp counselors for 4-H International Summer Camps in 2014. It will offer students activities to develop leadership skills. Activities will include campfire skits, games, songs and role-plays. Workshops will teach students about a camp counselor's roles and responsibilities, as well as camp rules and regulations. Students will also learn about the physical and educational activities that will take place during summer camps, ranging from swimming to archery to building Lego robotics, as well as other workshops related to science, engineering and technology.  

Jessica Casas of Salem participated in 4-H International Summer Camps as a camper and counselor. She is a sophomore at OSU majoring in sociology and hopes to earn her master's degree in public policy.

"I did see myself in college, but I did not know how I was going to get there,” Casas said. “I got to know about the resources available when I attended 4-H International Summer Camps. After I got to meet Latino and Latina students attending college and getting financial aid, I talked to my mom and knew I was going to college."  

Now Casas is attending OSU on a Gates Millennium Scholarship. Her ultimate career goal is to represent Latinos in government-level legislature, with the hope of creating positive change in public policy for the Latino community. She is already on the path to pursuing that dream. At the leadership institute, Casas will coach students on applying for the competitive Gates Millennium Scholarship, which includes writing eight essays. 

Applications to the leadership institute are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. High school students in grades 9-12 from anywhere in Oregon are encouraged to apply. There is no cost to attend but an application is required. Students can apply at http://bit.ly/Outreach_Institute.

The Oregon Outreach project, which oversees the leadership institute, is an initiative of the OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program. Oregon Outreach aims to support and expand the quality and quantity of community-based, culturally relevant educational programs for underserved populations. For more information, go to http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu/oregonoutreach.

4-H is the largest out-of-school youth development program nationwide. The OSU Extension Service administrates Oregon's 4-H program within OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences. 4-H reached nearly 117,000 youth in kindergarten through 12th grade via a network of 8,534 volunteers in 2012. Activities focus on areas like healthy living, civic engagement, science and animal care. Learn more about 4-H at: http://oregon.4h.oregonstate.edu.

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Mario Magaña, 541-737-0925

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Students at a past 4-H International Summer Camp learn about engineering concepts in a hands-on activity. The Oregon State University Extension Service coordinates the camps. (Photo by Mario Magaña.)

It's time to enroll in OSU Extension's Master Gardener training

CORVALLIS, Ore. – If you call yourself a "gardening geek" or simply want to know more about the natural world, now's the time to sign up for the Oregon State University Extension Service's annual Master Gardener training.

But don't be intimidated by the "master" part of a title that describes a dedicated volunteer force, said Gail Langellotto, the statewide coordinator of the Master Gardener program.

"The class is meant to be accessible to people from across a variety of educational backgrounds who have a passion for learning more about horticulture," Langellotto said. "The 'Master' title is used to designate volunteers for Oregon State University Extension Service, such as Master Food Preservers. More than anything, Master Gardeners have a good understanding of how to use research-based information to help people plan, plant and maintain sustainable gardens."

Master Gardeners are trained by the OSU Extension Service and offer reliable, relevant and reachable information and educational opportunities. They answer questions at OSU Extension offices, farmers markets and community events. They create and manage demonstration gardens, school gardens and community gardens. They also coordinate gardens at correctional facilities, health care centers and libraries. In addition, they host garden tours, workshops and classes.

A total of 4,160 Master Gardeners donated 194,898 hours of their time across Oregon in 2012, according to Langellotto.

The OSU Extension Service offers its Master Gardener training in 30 of Oregon's 36 counties. For a list of trainings and local coordinators, go to http://bit.ly/OSU_MGLocations. Registration deadlines vary by county.

Master Gardener training typically kicks off in January, though starting dates vary by county. Trainees take a series of classes from local and OSU experts on subjects ranging from botany basics to pest identification.

Master Gardeners volunteer their time so that they can teach others in their community about sustainable gardening. Master Gardener training fees vary by county and reflect local costs. OSU Extension requires a basic application. Those who want to work with children as part of their volunteer service must also undergo a background history check. Candidates must explain in a statement their reasons for volunteering and describe their volunteer history.

For those who work during the day, Extension offices in Lane County, central Oregon and Hood River offer night and Saturday classes. OSU's Professional and Noncredit Education unit offers an online version of the training at https://pne.oregonstate.edu/catalog/master-gardener-online.

Sign up to receive more information by e-mail about Master Gardener training at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/signup. OSU Extension also offers the following publications on the topic: "An Introduction to Being a Master Gardener Volunteer" at http://bit.ly/Intro_MG and a brochure at http://bit.ly/MG_Brochure.

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Gail Langellotto, 541-737-5175

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Master Gardeners trained by the Oregon State University Extension Service place plants in the soil in a demonstration garden at the entrance to the Benton County Fairgrounds. (Photo by Ryan Creason.)

Learning takes root at OSU-supported school gardens

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Students across the state are getting their hands dirty in school gardens and learning where their food comes from with the help of the Oregon State University Extension Service.

A 22-page report, "Oregon State University School and Youth Gardens," describes the OSU Extension Service's role in supporting 132 gardens in 27 counties from Seaside to Portland to Ontario with 154 staffers and volunteers. The report lists each garden, school and town served by OSU Extension.

"This report shows that school gardens are important not just in teaching kids about nutrition and health, but also in learning valuable skills in agriculture, biology, leadership development and making a difference in their communities," said Maureen Hosty, 4-H youth development faculty with OSU Extension and lead author of the report.

Hotsy developed the report as part of her work representing OSU on the steering committee for the Oregon Farm to School and School Garden Network. OSU Extension staffers and volunteers with all program areas, including 4-H, Master Gardeners and Family and Community Health, are involved. They help plan, implement and organize projects, provide on-site consultations, train teachers and students, develop curriculum and support after-school clubs.

School gardens such as the one run by Walt Morey Middle School in Troutdale have benefited. The school built a 9,000-square-foot rain garden in 2008 to manage stormwater runoff. An Extension-trained Master Gardener helped organize the project, and students selected and planted the landscape in 2008. The school also works with 4-H Wildlife Stewards, an OSU Extension 4-H program of trained volunteers who help students and teachers create wildlife habitats for schools.

Sixth-grade science teacher Michele O'Brien said children collect weather data, observe the garden's natural environment, identify wildlife, study wetlands, write about their experiences in journals and make charts and graphs of their observations. Master Gardeners help maintain the rain garden in the summer and work alongside students during the school year.

"That first class of students who helped build it in 2008 has now graduated from high school," O'Brien said. "When I periodically run into them, they ask about the rain garden. Some of them have gone onto career paths in environmental science in college, and I think the rain garden got them thinking about that. The impact has been tremendous. Without Master Gardeners working with us between their volunteer hours and expertise, it would have been extremely difficult to do this project." 

Lea Bates, a coach with Lookingglass Elementary School in Roseburg, coordinated the school's garden for more than 20 years with the support of OSU Extension and other community partners. The large garden includes vegetables, fruit trees, grapes, ornamental plants and even a butterfly garden. Children learn about horticulture, nutrition, math, science and language arts as they weed, plant, water and participate in an after-school 4-H club.  

"It's been a wonderful project for the kids and an opportunity for them to supplement what they're learning in the classroom," Bates said. "It's real world experience and an educational opportunity that gets kids out of doors. Everyone says it's fun even though it's also work." 

And at Springwater Trail High School in Gresham, English teacher and garden coordinator Paul Kramer receives logistical advice from Extension's 4-H faculty as well as support in curriculum development at the school's one-year-old vegetable garden. Kramer volunteers to coordinate an after-school garden club in which high school students are finishing harvesting lettuce and radishes and learning about cooking and nutrition. They made their own homemade salad dressing, roast beets and pickle cucumbers.

In the process of learning about horticulture, Kramer sees his students gaining aptitude in problem solving and critical thinking. They're also building patience and discipline.                                                                                                                                            

"The most interesting thing they got from the garden was camaraderie and the companionship," Kramer said. "I wasn’t expecting that. Students who would never have hung out together the past were now spending time outside, interacting with another and helping each other."

To download a copy of the report, go to http://bit.ly/OSU_SchoolGardenReport13.

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Maureen Hosty, 541-916-6075

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A student at Concord Elementary School in Milwaukie shows off produce from the school garden to Maggie Thornton Farrington, a Master Naturalist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. OSU Extension supports 132 school and youth gardens throughout Oregon. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

OSU Extension publishes new field guide to shrubs of Northwest forests

CORVALLIS, Ore. – On your next hike, instead of puzzling over the name of that large upright shrub with tiny white flowers and small red fruits, reach for the new field guide "Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests" to quickly identify it as the native red elderberry.

Ed Jensen, a professor in Oregon State University's College of Forestry, authored the full-color, easy-to-use field guide for the OSU Extension Service.

The soft-cover, glossy book, available at http://bit.ly/OSU_ShrubstoKnow, describes nearly 100 different shrubs native to Pacific Northwest forests. It is useful to hikers and plant enthusiasts in Oregon, Washington, northern California, southern British Columbia, the panhandle of Idaho and adjoining parts of western Montana. It features 500 color photographs, an illustrated glossary of shrub terms, individual range maps and complete descriptions for each shrub species. It took Jensen about five years to research, write and photograph all the shrubs for the guide, which was published and designed by OSU's Extension and Experiment Station Communications department. 

The new guide is a companion to his popular "Trees to Know in Oregon" book, originally authored in 1950 by former OSU Extension forester Charles R. Ross. Under Jensen's authorship, "Trees to Know" has undergone several major enhancements and revisions, including the addition of color photos in 2005 and the publication of a 60th anniversary edition in 2010. It has always been one of the most requested publications in the OSU Extension catalog.

"I meet people from all around the state who tell me that 'Trees to Know' helped launch their interest in Oregon's trees and forests," Jensen said. "I think it helps people develop a relationship with the forest when they get to know individual trees. I hope 'Shrubs to Know' will have that same impact."

Jensen teaches courses on tree and shrub identification and runs natural resource education programs at OSU. For about 10 years he served as director of two large continuing education programs for field-based natural resource specialists – the Silviculture Institute and the Natural Resources Institute. 

You can meet Jensen at two upcoming public book signings set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Holiday Craft Fair at the West Linn Lutheran Church and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Authors and Artists Fair at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene. 

The book costs $12, plus shipping and handling, and may be ordered from the OSU Extension catalog at http://bit.ly/OSU_ShrubstoKnow or by calling 1-800-561-6719.

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Ed Jensen, 541-737-2519

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"Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests" is a new field guide published by the Oregon State University Extension Service and authored by Ed Jensen, a professor in Oregon State University's College of Forestry. (Photo by OSU's EESC.)

OSU updates resources for protecting bees from pesticides

CORVALLIS, Ore. – As the worldwide population of honey bees continues to decline, the Oregon State University Extension Service and partners have updated a tool for Pacific Northwest growers and beekeepers to reduce the impacts of pesticides on bees.

The revision of OSU Extension's publication appears after an estimated 50,000 bumble bees died in a Wilsonville parking lot in June. The Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed in a June 21 statement that the bee deaths were directly related to a pesticide application on linden trees conducted to control aphids. The episode prompted the ODA to issue a six-month restriction on 18 insecticides containing the active ingredient dinotefuran.

OSU researchers are investigating the effects of broad-spectrum neonicotinoids, such as dinotefuran, on native bees. The work is in progress, according to Ramesh Sagili, an OSU honeybee specialist.

The newly revised publication "How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides" includes the latest research and regulations. Lead authors include Sagili and OSU toxicologist Louisa Hooven. Download the updated version for free online at http://bit.ly/OSU_ReduceBeePoisoning.

"More than 60,000 honey bee colonies pollinate about 50 different crops in Oregon, including blueberries, cherries, pear, apple, clover, meadowfoam and carrot seed," Sagili said. "Without honey bees, you lose an industry worth nearly $500 million from sales of the crops they commercially pollinate."

Nationally, honey bees pollinated about $11.68 billion worth of crops in 2009, according to a 2010 study on the economic value of insect pollinators by Cornell University.

Growers, commercial beekeepers and pesticide applicators in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California will find the publication useful, Sagili said. An expanded color-coded chart details active ingredients and trade names of more than 100 conventional and organic pesticides, including toxicity levels to bees and precautions for use.

The publication also describes residual toxicity periods for several pesticides that remain effective for extended periods after they are applied. Additionally, the guide explains how to investigate and report suspected bee poisonings.

Nationwide, honey bee colonies have been declining in recent years due to several factors, including mites, viruses transmitted by mites, malnutrition and improper use of pesticides, Sagili said. In Oregon, about 22 percent of commercial honey bee colonies were lost during the winter of 2012-13, Sagili said. There has been a gradual, sustained decline of managed honey bees since the peak of 5.9 million colonies in 1947, according to the Cornell study. The number of managed colonies reached a low of 2.3 million in 2008, although there were increases in 2009 and 2010, the study said.  

"Growers and beekeepers can work together with this practical document in hand," Sagili said of OSU Extension's publication. "It gives them informative choices."

For example, when commercial beekeeper Harry Vanderpool needed to advise a pear grower on whether an insecticide was acceptable to use around bees, he turned to OSU Extension's publication.  

"That manual has been a blessing," said Vanderpool, who keeps 400 hives in South Salem to pollinate dozens of crops for growers from California to central Oregon. "It's a tool that helps beekeepers and farmers work together in the right way with the right chemical rather than us telling farmers how to farm or farmers telling beekeepers how to keep bees."

You can also find OSU's publication by searching for PNW 591-E in OSU Extension's catalog at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog. The publication was produced in cooperation with OSU, Washington State University and the University of Idaho.

Media Contact: 
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Ramesh Sagili, 541-737-5460; Louisa Hooven

Bumblebee GPS: Oregon State to track native bees with tiny attachable sensors

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will design miniature wireless sensors to attach to bumblebees that will provide real-time data on their intriguing behavior.

Many aspects of bumblebees' daily conduct are unknown because of their small size, rapid flight speeds, and hidden underground nests. OSU plans to build sensors that will reveal how these native pollinators search for pollen, nectar and nesting sites – information that will help researchers better understand how these insects assist in the production of crops that depend on pollination to produce fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, tomatoes and dozens of other staples of the Pacific Northwest agricultural economy.

Given recent losses of European honeybees to diseases, mites and colony collapse disorder, bumblebees are becoming increasingly important as agricultural pollinators, said Sujaya Rao, an entomologist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Lack of pollination is a risk to human food production,” said Rao, an expert on native bees. “With our sensors, we are searching for answers to basic questions, such as: Do all members of one colony go to pollinate the same field together? Do bumblebees communicate in the colony where food is located? Are bumblebees loyal as a group?"

"The more we can learn about bumblebees' customs of foraging, pollination and communication,” she added, “the better we can promote horticultural habitats that are friendly to bees in agricultural settings."

Landscaping tactics, such as planting flowers and hedgerows near crops, are believed to promote the presence and population of bumblebees, as well as increase yields.

This multidisciplinary design project will unite Rao with researchers in OSU's School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The three-year collaboration begins Oct. 1 and will be supported by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

OSU engineers will test small, lightweight electronic sensors that avoid affecting the bees' natural flight movements. At the same time, researchers will test how to best mount the sensors on the pollinators – likely on the thorax or abdomen.

Each sensor will consist of integrated circuits that broadcast wireless signals about the bee's location and movement. The sensors will be powered by wireless energy transfer instead of batteries, further reducing weight and size.

"New technologies allow us to build sensors with extremely small dimensions," said Arun Natarajan, principal investigator in OSU's High-Speed Integrated Circuits Lab and an assistant professor in EECS. "The concept of placing wireless sensors on insects is a relatively unexplored area, and we're hopeful that our research can have vast applications in the future.”

Once designed and built, OSU researchers first plan to use the sensors to study the six bumblebee species of the Willamette Valley, which vary in size, flight patterns and seasonal activity. These native bees also differ from bumblebees found in eastern Oregon, the East Coast and Europe.

Researchers also hope their sensor designs could be used for tracking other small organisms, such as invasive pests.

Patrick Chiang, an OSU engineering professor and an expert in low-power circuits, will assist in designing the sensors.

"This collaboration is truly unique - engineers and entomologists talk different languages and rarely cross paths," said Rao. "To be working with engineers for an agricultural research project is part of what makes this effort so exciting and distinct."

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Sujaya Rao, 541-737-9038;

Arun Natarajan, 541-737-0606

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OSU entomologist Sujaya Rao

OSU entomologist Sujaya Rao will attach small sensors to bumblebees to study the pollinators' habits in agricultural areas. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)


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Sensor data will eventually inform the design of horticultural landscapes that attract bumblebees to crops that depend on pollination to produce fruits and vegetables. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

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OSU researchers will first use the sensors to study the six species of bumblebees native to the Willamette Valley. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

Art About Agriculture travels to Pendleton, Moro

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Art celebrating the Columbia Basin's heritage of dryland wheat farming will make special appearances in Pendleton and Moro over the next two months.

Oregon State University's College of Agricultural Sciences is displaying 10 works of art from its Art About Agriculture permanent collection through Sept. 24 at the Sherman Junior/Senior High School Library in Moro. Ten additional works of art will join the traveling show when it moves to the Blue Mountain Community College's Betty Feves Memorial Gallery located in Pendleton. That show will be on display Sept. 25-Oct. 30.

"People going to the art show will be able to see how their work in agriculture is perceived by people who live in other parts of the state," said Shelley Curtis, curator for OSU's Art About Agriculture permanent collection. "It's very interesting to see that exchange between people who are agricultural producers and people who admire their work for aesthetic and creative reasons."

Many of the Eastern Oregon scenes embodied in the works of art are reflected in the nationally important research conducted by OSU's experiment stations in Pendleton and Moro.

The art show represents drawings, paintings, prints and photographs of grain storage, orchards, irrigation, livestock, shipping and transportation from OSU's permanent collection of fine art, which is supported by grants and donations.

The art exhibit’s visit to Moro will include a free reception from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at 65912 High School Loop in Moro.

For more information about the Art About Agriculture permanent collection through OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, visit http://agsci.oregonstate.edu/art.

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Shelley Curtis, 541-737-5534

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Robert Schlegel's "Grain Elevator" is painted with acrylic on board. The Art About Agriculture permanent collection acquired his work in 2005. (Photo by Peter Krupp.)

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Sally Finch's "Dryland Farming 3: Moro" depicts weather data inside abstract squares, done with graphite and acrylic ink on paper. (Photo by Sally Finch)