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Local farmer starts library focused on regenerative agriculture

Michael Pilarski has been collecting books on agriculture and earth repair for 40 years. Now, with a library of information at his fingertips, he wants to share it with Jefferson County’s citizens.

“Most of my spare income over the years has gone to accumulate these books,” he said, sitting in his new public reference library that is covered wall-to-wall with books.

WSU Extension also has a selection of books on small-scale farming, says Kellie Henwood, the small farms coordinator, as well as quite a few editions of the Small Farmers Journal that people can reference.

“This is a classic journal from Lynn Miller that started out for horse-drawn farming practices, but has gained popularity in the small farms world,” Henwood said. “We had a generous donation from a local person of her collection.”
But when it comes to size, Pilarski likely has the largest collections of books on ecosystem restoration and regenerative agriculture in the entire county.”

He hopes it will become a space where young farmers, gardeners and anyone who is interested will come to learn and become more dedicated to regenerative agriculture and earth repair.

Read more here:,67218?

Microsoft Features: High Speed Internet in Rural America

Situated in the northeastern corner of Washington state, Ferry County is a mountainous, forested, ruggedly beautiful region. Bordered by Canada to the north and the Columbia River on the east, it’s the state’s fourth most sparsely populated county; the largest town, Republic, founded by gold prospectors in the late 19th century, has fewer than 1,000 residents.

The county’s gold mines and all but one sawmill are now closed, and the region has struggled in recent years to attract people and businesses. The lack of broadband is a major reason, says Trevor Lane, an assistant professor and the director of community and economic development for Washington State University’s extension office in Republic.

“If you’re not in town, you don’t have any kind of reliable broadband,” he says. “It’s impeding our ability to attract businesses. I know of three businesses that had to go elsewhere because we don’t have sufficient broadband.”

To read more of this Microsoft Feature, click here:


WSU Extension Publication: January 2019

Extension professionals are increasingly asked to convene communities facing conflict, including complex social, economic, environmental and technological situations. A collaborative process with facilitated problem solving can be an effective way to address such circumstances. Given their complex nature and the range of involved parties, convening and facilitating collaborative processes requires specific skills and methods. One important such method is a situation assessment, which involves interviewing a range of involved parties to understand interests, likely challenges, and opportunities. A situation assessment is a reliable first step to determine the feasibility and design of a collaborative process. This Framework for Conducting Situation Assessments is intended to provide guidance on conducting situation assessments for university Extension professionals. It offers a framework for conducting a situation assessment that allows for adaptation and tailoring to meet unique needs of Extension programs.

Read more on this publication here.


Dominican Republic visit could help elevate farmers above subsistence

Farmers around the city of Dajabón, Dominican Republic, are mostly subsistence farmers, only able to grow enough food for themselves and their families to eat. WSU researchers, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Everett, are working to help those farmers increase their harvest so they can sell their produce at market.

“This project aims to enhance family income through family greenhouse gardens,” said Anthony Gromko, WSU Extension assistant professor of economic and community development. “This is a poverty alleviation effort, where we can empower families to increase their economic resiliency.”

Last month, Gromko and WSU Everett Chancellor Paul Pitre visited Dajabón, a city of around 35,000 along the border with Haiti, to meet with local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and professors from Universidad ISA, an agricultural university about three hours away. Ed Peterson represented the Rotary Club of Everett on the trip as well.

For more information on this project, visit:



Conference targets high-speed internet access on Peninsula

Monica Babine of Washington State University’s Program for Digital Initiatives, WSU Stevens County Extension Director Debra Hansen, and Karen Perry of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration Broadband USA program provided an introduction on how to form broadband action teams and will facilitate breakout groups through the process.

For more information on this conference, click here:



SNAP-Ed Program Looks to Expand Reach in Lewis County

SNAP-Ed, the nutrition education program run through the Washington State University extension, is broadening its outreach in Lewis County, aiming to help more people learn how to eat healthy on a budget. 

“In Lewis County, 21 percent of individuals are on SNAP benefits, so fairly high,” said Elizabeth Stratton, the SNAP-Ed program manager for the region. “The places that we’re focusing SNAP-Ed work in Lewis County are in schools, farmers markets and food banks. … We’re helping to encourage them to eat healthy and stay physically active.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is federally funded, providing benefits to help low-income individuals purchase basic food needs. SNAP-Ed seeks to bolster that assistance with education. The SNAP-Ed program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington State University and local partners.

Read the article here:



Small farms, large aspirations

The small farm trend has not escaped state and university officials, who are working to put together programs to help more small farms to flourish and prosper.

Laura Lewis, director of the Food Systems Program at Washington State University, said she is troubled by the erosion of mid-size farms. The good news, however, is that more small farmers seem eager to become involved, which she attributes to the popularity of the farm-to-table movement.

“It’s wonderful to see that we’re adding new farms,” Lewis said. “Some of these smaller-scale farms are really starting to get a better foothold economically.”

Part of that has to do with resources provided by the Food Systems Program, run by a team of 100 WSU staff and community organizations. One program, called “Cultivating Success,” works specifically with new and beginning farmers and was developed in collaboration with the University of Idaho.

Land-grant universities and extension services in other states also have small-farm programs. They work with nonprofits to offer classes and teaching farms where new farmers can learn the trade, and some organizations offer internships for new farmers.

For more information, click here:


WSU Extension: A leader in wildfire response and recovery

With offices in every county statewide, WSU Extension brings expertise in disaster mitigation, response and recovery.

Its wildfire recovery website is packed with information, contacts and links to key agencies and services, including status updates on ongoing fires, preparedness and access to a wide variety of other resources related to the agriculture, economic and health impacts of wildfires.

WSU Extension is also an active member of the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN), which provides resources for extension professionals and the public on critical issues related to disasters including wildfires.

Michael J. Gaffney, acting director of WSU Extension, is also chief of the Washington State Law Enforcement Mountain Operations School. He is a FEMA-certified emergency management trainer and formerly served as the director of the WSU Office of Emergency Management for six years.

Find more information here:



Society and Natural Resources Journal: August 2019

Ruckelshaus Center Director, Michael Kern, is co-author of a recently published article, “How Collaborative Governance Practitioners Can Assess the Effectiveness of Collaborative Environmental Governance While Also Evaluating Their Own Services”, via Society and Natural Resources Journal. The article evaluates the methodology of collaborative governance as it pertains to environmental issues.


Credit classes offered on Whidbey Island

Washington State University Everett is teaming up with the Island County extension office to broaden educational opportunities in the area.

Beginning this fall semester, WSU Everett students will be able to take courses at the WSU Extension Island County office in Coupeville, which is an hour and half drive away from the Everett campus on Whidbey Island.

More information can be found here:



William D. Ruckelshaus Center hosts 9th annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon

The William D. Ruckelshaus Center hosted its 9th annual Chairman’s Circle Luncheon on Sept. 13 at the Washington State Convention Center. The event featured Robert Siegel, former host of NPR’s All Things Considered, and honored the Center’s Founder and Chairman Bill Ruckelshaus.

Check out the article from WSU Insider here:



Giving Compass: Creating Collaborative Solutions

Ruckelshaus Center Director, Michael Kern, recently penned an article for the Giving Compass. The article focused on the Center’s commitment to finding collaborative solutions and what steps organizations can take in order to create collaborative solutions of their own. To read the article, click here.



WSU Colville Reservation Extension team honored with national teamwork award

WSU Colville Reservation Extension educators and tribal program partners were honored by a national organization this fall for their efforts in helping tribal communities thrive through food garden education.

Kayla Wells, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for WSU Colville Reservation Extension and director of WSU Okanogan County Extension, and team members Linda McLean, Director and 4-H Educator with WSU Colville Reservation Extension; Tabitha Parr, Office Assistant with WSU Colville Reservation Extension; and Dorothy Palmer, Program Manager for the Colville Confederated Tribes Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program, were recognized at the 85th annual session of the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences (NAEFCS), in Hershey, Penn.

This team received the association’s second-place National Award, first place Western Region Award, and first-place State Award for Excellence in Teamwork.

For more information, click here.


Remembering Bill Ruckelshaus, William D. Ruckelshaus Center Founder

On November 27, 2019, Bill Ruckelshaus, founder of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center, passed away in his Seattle home. The Ruckelshaus Center announced his passing and expressed the Center’s profound sadness in a letter from the Ruckelshaus Center’s Director and its Advisory Board Chair. Read the letter here.

For more information on Bill, watch the video that highlights Bill’s legendary career here.


Governors discuss leadership, balance at Ruckleshaus Center joint luncheonRuckelshaus Center Chariman Circle Luncheon

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, the William D. Ruckelshaus Center and the Slade Gorton International Policy Center featured former Washington State Governors Daniel Evans, Christine Gregoire, and Gary Locke, at their fifth annual joint luncheon.

The luncheon was titled “Statespersonship from the Governor’s Mansion: A New Role for the States,” featured a discussion moderated by Renee Radcliff Sinclair of TVW.

The former governors reflected on their views and personal experiences in governing the state, and how the balance of power and leadership between state governments and the federal government may be changing.

The event can be viewed on the Ruckelshaus Center site or the TVW website.

The Ruckleshaus Center is a joint effort of WSU Extension and the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.


Journal of Extension: February 2018: Volume 56, Number 1

Michael kern HeadshotChris Page headshotCenter Director Michael Kern authored an article in the Journal of Extension entitled Developing and Managing an Advisory Board to Support Extension-Based Centers and Other Programs. Additionally, Project and Development Lead, Chris Page, authored an article published in the Journal of Extension entitled Creating and Implementing Diverse Development Strategies to Support Extension Centers and Programs.


Metro Center StaffThe Metro Center Awarded: Innovative and Creativity – Team for 2018

The Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension was recently announced as a national award winner by the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP).

The award, ‘Innovative and Creativity: Team for 2018’ recognizes the Metro Center for their community development work, program accomplishments, research effectiveness, and their collaboration with others to help meet community development needs.

All awards will be presented during the NACDEP Conference, June 10-13 in Cleveland, Ohio. The national awards will be presented at the banquet on Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. Regional awards will be presented during the regional meetings on Monday, June 11 at 4:15 p.m.


Food-Energy-Water Nexus; Urban Systems Analysis

Metro Center Director, Brad Gaolach, describes how our food, energy, and water systems are inextricably linked. Changes in one system result in changes in the other systems. Management decisions in one system also change the other two. With an increases in population and the impacts of climate change, the world needs to address this grand challenge by finding both global and local solutions. Brad describes how this Food-Energy-Water Nexus plays out in the Puget Sound region.

Watch full video here.



Ripple Effects Mapping Flyer

NACDEP Innovation and Creativity Team Award Winning: National Level Award and Western Regional Award

Ripple Effects Mapping: Engaging participants in capturing results and untold stories of success

Measuring condition change is challenging for all Extension programs, and very challenging for documenting change in economic and community development. Ripple Effects Mapping (REM) is a group participatory evaluation strategy for developmental and impact evaluation. The method engages program participants and stakeholders to retrospectively and visually map the chain of effects resulting from a program or complex collaboration. It is a highly participatory method, treating program stakeholders as integral, active participants in the evaluation process, rather than as passive recipients of program evaluation results. REM is engaging and interactive, iterative and conclusive, and is adaptable to unique contexts.

Project Lead by: Debra Hansen, Lorie Higgins and Rebecca Sero

Learn more about Ripple Effects Mapping


NACDEP Educational Technology Team Award Winning: National Level Award and Western Regional Award

Washington Rural Pathways to Prosperity Conference “Small Business is Everybody’s Business” achieves wide-ranging success using a new model of delivery.

Washington State University’s Rural Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) is a statewide economic development leadership conference that uses a unique hybrid delivery model to reach rural communities, revive the economy, and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem. P2P uses technology to connect multiple sites simultaneously to provide an interactive webinar featuring a national expert. Well-designed and adaptable activities facilitated by local community leaders address issues and opportunities introduced by the speaker and regional participants. Small business owners and entrepreneurs also participate at local sites, allowing them to leverage the knowledge gained and apply it as well to their business goals and aspirations.

Project lead by: Monica Babine, Debra Hansen, Margaret Viebrock, Carrie Backman, Gary Fredricks, Sheila Gray, Mark Heitstuman, Krisan Lehew, Laura Lewis, AnaMaria, Martinez, Rob McDaniel, Clea Rome, and Jordan Tampien

Learn more about NACDEP


Washington State Magazine Winter 2016 cover page

WSU Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension’s post-landslide Economic Prosperity Efforts

February 2017

The massive Oso landslide killed 43 people, caused extensive flooding, and destroyed a key highway north of Everett in 2014, pushing the communities of Arlington and Darrington to their breaking point. Working in partnership with the two municipalities, the Economic Alliance Snohomish County, and numerous local partners, the Metro Center has steadily guided the communities in their quest for sustainable economic prosperity.

Project Lead by: Martha Aitken, Brad Gaolach and Anthony Gromko

Visit the Metro Center’s website to read the full article: Call it the Urban Extension

Learn more about the Metro Center and the services that they offer.


Food wasteWSU Clallam County Extension’s Waste Reduction & Food Recovery Program- Featured in Washington State Magazine’s Spring 2017 Issue

April 2017

Clallam County Extension agents work within their communities to reduce food waste through gleaning and other food recovery programs to redirect vegetables and fruits to food banks and people without enough food. Clea Rome, director of Clallam County Extension, says “Extension is a unique spot to connect different aspects of the food system and make it more equitable through food recovery”. Gleaning has also had substantial effects on the county. Karlena Brailey, a nutrition coordinator for Clallam County Extension, recently gave away 2,500 pounds of locally gleaned apples and pears to families in the Port Angeles School District. She is also working on a project to turn some of those gleaned apples into apple sauce, which will be distributed to clients at meal sites and food banks.

Project Lead by: Clea Rome, Meggan Uecker and Karlena Brailey

Visit Washington State Magazine’s website for full article: Waste Not

Learn more about Clallam County’s Waste Reduction Program


An Announcement From Rob McDaniel, CED Program Director, Regarsding Recent CED Promotions

April 2017

“Since the CED Unit was formed in 2011 it has been my pleasure to see Extension colleagues promote through the faculty ranks. Promotion is a statement of a faculty’s accomplishments and the recognition by WashCarrie Backman Headshotington Michael kern HeadshotState University of their contribution to the State and the constituencies they serve. I am proud to announce that Caroline (Carrie) Backman and Michael Kern (both pictured left) will be promoted to Associate Professor on July 1, 2017.”

-Rob McDaniel, CED program director


Urban Extension: Aligning with the Needs of Urban Audiences Through Subject-Matter Centers

May 2017

The educational program model is the principle approach Extension uses to deliver on its mission of “taking knowledge to the people.” However, with county-based faculty fully engaged in long-term program delivery, they may have little or no capacity to address emerging issues faced by urban communities. Urban governments often seek the research capacity of a university in addition to, or instead of, the traditional Extension programming model but sometimes turn first to other urban-serving universities. Washington State University Extension has addressed these challenges by establishing subject-matter centers. This article examines how subject-matter centers can add capacity to traditional Extension offices in order to be responsive to emerging local needs, suggesting models that other university Extension programs may use or adapt to their local communities. These models also foster more community engagement and articulate greater public value for the institution as a whole.

Read the full article: Urban Extension: Aligning with the Needs of Urban Audiences Through Subject-Matter Centers.

Written by: Brad Gaolach, Michael Kern and Christina Sanders


SR530 long-term recovery cover pageSR 530 Mudslide: Long Term Recovery Report

May 2017

On March 22, 2014, a catastrophic landslide affected several communities in northwest Washington when an unstable hillside gave way. A wall of mud buried an entire neighborhood, taking 43 lives, and closing State Highway 530, the physical and economic lifeline for the region. In response to the disaster, Washington State University (WSU) assembled a multi-disciplinary team to support the long-term recovery of the impacted communities.

Visit the following link to read more about WSU’s long-term recovery report.

For additional resources on SR 520 Mudslide recovery efforts, visit the Metro Center’s project page.


Landslide MemorialRevised Community Revitalization Plan

June 2017

A follow-up report that describes the communities progress over the past 11 months of implementation and future goals centered around infrastructure, industries and employment, community and workforce development, resilience and sustainability, place-making, and rural innovation.

Read the full article: Revised Community Revitalization Plan – Arlington and Darrington


NACDEP project team with award in handNational award for Extension’s positive ripple map program

July 2017

WSU Extension faculty and colleagues have won the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) – Community Development Society (CDS) Team Award for their innovative Ripple Effects Mapping (REM) tool.

The WSU-created REM tool collects the untold stories and behind-the-scene activities that ripple out from community programs and activities.

Debra Hansen, director of WSU Stevens County Extension; Rebecca Sero, evaluation specialist and assistant professor at WSU Spokane; Lorie Higgins, WSU Extension adjunct and extension specialist; associate professor at the University of Idaho; along with colleagues from the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State University, were presented with the 2017 Joint NACDEP–CDS Team Award at the national conference on June 14. The award exemplifies the society’s principles of good practice as well as the vision of NACDEP, and recognizes the team’s creation, refinement, and work using REM across five states. The team was recognized for their generosity in sharing the technique, and for the benefits it provides for communities.

Learn more about Ripple Effects Mapping

Originally published in WSU CAHNRS News


Jose Garcia HeadshotDiversity award, new article on Latino business for García-Pabón

July 2017

José García-Pabón, an associate professor in Extension Community and Economic Development and Latino Community Studies and Outreach specialist, has earned National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) honors in diversity for 2017. He placed second nationally and won top honors in the Western region. The awards were presented at the NACDEP-CDS Joint Conference, June 11-14 in Big Sky, Mont.

Through his Extension program, García-Pabón delivers educational resources to Latino families to help them engage with their communities and improve their families’ well-being in areas including entrepreneurship, youth leadership, sustainable farming, empowerment of women, and training.

García-Pabón also recently published “Latino small businesses in northwest Washington: Perceptions, challenges, and needs” in the latest issue of the Journal of Community Development. He surveyed Latino small business owners to learn about the factors that influence their success or failure. Most want business advising and training, and find satisfaction in owning their own businesses.

Read the article: Latino small businesses in northwest Washington: Perceptions, challenges, and needs

Originally published in WSU CAHNRS News


Individuals standing in front of a whiteboardA Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping: Available Free Online

October 2017

We are excited to share a just published, free online resource: A Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping (pdf.) co-edited by WSU faculty Debra Hansen, Rebecca Sero, and adjunct Lorie Higgins from the University of Idaho; along with Scott Chazdon, University of Minnesota and Mary Emery, South Dakota State.

This Ripple Effects Mapping (REM) team has won three national awards for their work through the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, American Evaluation Association, and the Community Development Society.

Discover more about REM by visiting the WSU Extension Project & Program Evaluation page.

Read Publication: A Field Guide to Ripple Effects Mapping (pdf.)


Journal of Extension – October 2017 – Volume 55, Number 5

October 2017

Congratulations to the Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension’s director, Brad Gaolach, for his co-authored article on A National Framework for Urban Extension.

The Journal of Extension (JOE) creates opportunities for professionals and students to publish intellectual, creative work; nurtures emerging scholars and new authors for success; encourages professional development; and advances the theory and practice of Extension.

JOE is a rigorous, peer-reviewed journal that brings the scholarship of university outreach and engagement to educators and practitioners around the world. The acceptance rate for manuscripts submitted to JOE is currently 24.5%.

Read publication: A National Framework for Urban Extension


Extension, Metro Center Unite Communities to Solve Health Challenges

Extending science to serve communities is what Extension is all about. And when it comes to health, entire communities—from youth to elders, rural and urban—must band together to find solutions.

The Culture of Health partnership unites thousands of communities in a 10-year effort to tackle the challenges they face when it comes to health. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest health philanthropy organization, and led by the National 4-H Council, with assistance from the Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension at WSU, the new Metro Center partnership aims to solve health challenges like chronic disease and rising healthcare costs.

Article originally published in CAHNRS News

Learn more about the Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension


Rural Resiliance cover page with young girl laying on grass holding rainbow umbrellaRural Resilience: Addressing Community Health Outcomes with N.E.A.R Sciences

November 2017

Congratulations to Laura Ryser for her co-authored article Rural Resilience: Addressing Community Health Outcomes with N.E.A.R Sciences in the Fall 2017 Rural Connections Issue. The article discusses the importance of developing a resilient and thriving community ecosystem in order to address the lifelong effects of adversity for those who have experienced high levels of toxic stress in childhood and adulthood.

The instructive magazine, Rural Connections, informs the nation on timely research and activities by the West’s land-grant institutions and regional/national agencies as it relates to rural development issues in the region.

Read full article: Addressing Community Health Outcomes with N.E.A.R Sciences (pdf.)

View the full issue: Fall 2017 Rural Connections (pdf.)


The Ruckelshaus Center on TVW

TVW’s weekly show, The Impact focused on the work of the Ruckelshaus Center in a ten-minute interview with Michael Kern, Director of the Ruckelshaus Center. Watch the interview.




Dan Fagerlie HeadshotDan Fagerlie Receives National Award

Dan Fagerlie has won the 2015 NACDEP Diversity Award for his efforts in partnership with the Colville Confederated Tribes and his work as the WSU Extension Tribal Liaison.


Landslide recoveryExtension’s SR 530 Mudslide Recovery Team Receive National Award

WSU Extension’s SR 530 Mudslide Recovery Team, lead by Curt Moulton and Mike Gaffney, have received the NACDEP 2015 National award for Excellence in Teamwork.

Learn more about the SR 530 Landslide Commission


Debora Hansen HeadshotDebra Hansen and Monica Babine Receive National Award

Debra Hansen and Monica Babine have received the 2015 Leadership and Collaboration Award of Excellence from the University Economic Development Association for their development of the Rural Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) Conference.

“We are proud of this national recognition for the Rural Pathways to Prosperity conference,” said Rich Koenig, associate dean and director of WSU Extension. “It is a great example of how WSU brings the resources of federal, state and regional partners together to strengthen the vitality of Washington towns.”Monica Babine Headshot

Debra Hansen and Monica Babine developed P2P as a more easily accessible resource for rural small businesses to continue thriving, growing, and creating jobs. Even though small businesses comprise more of Washington’s rural economies than their urban counterparts, conferences and other learning opportunities are almost always located in urban centers, creating time and money barriers for rural community leaders and business owners.