Tag Archives: Oregon State Extension Service

Vernonia Indicator Project Finishes Report

The Vital Vernonia Indicator Project (VVIP) has completed their initial report and will be presenting their findings to numerous civic and community groups over the next several months.

The Vital Vernonia Indicator Project is a collaboration between Oregon State University Extension Service and the community of Vernonia and was designed to quantify and measure the well being of the Vernonia community.  By examining, recording and tracking indicators of vitality  over time the community can now measure progress towards goals to improve well being and identify areas for targeted community action or investment.

Many community indicator projects have been implemented across the U.S. and other countries, at scales ranging from the municipality, county, or state levels. Community indicator projects are typically implemented by a government entity or non-profit organization, often in conjunction with a university. Indicators draw on data obtained from reliable outside sources (such as the U.S. Census and other regional data collection efforts) as well as primary data collection in the form of community surveys.

In Vernonia, community goals were created and indicators were chosen and measured in the following five categories: Livability and Community Engagement, Youth and Education, Economy, Health and Well Being, and Environment and Natural Resources. By tracking community indicators over time, a community can gain insight into progress being made towards community goals, and can identify areas for targeted community action or investment.

Working with OSU staff and meeting monthly over the last two years, numerous local volunteers helped to develop the goals and indicators of vitality to be measured.   Data was collected through a series of household, business and student surveys as well as other sources, and then assessed to determine indicator targets.  A final report has been completed which will be available throughout the community for community members to read.  Volunteers will also be available to present the findings to any groups who may be interested.

A community forum is being planned in April to discuss the VVIP findings and the potential for community action.

The VVIP is seen as a useful tool for evaluating the long-term impacts of flood recovery, public and private investment in the new school campus, and other community initiatives. This project will also contribute to a better understanding of rural community vitality across Oregon, build local leadership capacity and knowledge, and further develop a framework for university-community partnerships centered on community indicators.

The Vital Vernonia Indicator Project was made possible through financial and in-kind support from OSU Extension Service/Columbia County, Vernonia Prevention Coalition, and The Ford Family Foundation.

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Those Pesky Box Elder Bugs

2014 OSU/Columbia Master Gardener™ Class Will Be Held in Vernonia (again)

After twenty-one years of having the Master Gardener classes in St. Helens, Vernonia hosted the class in 2010. It was a wonderful class. After discussion with a number of people, we have decided to come back to Vernonia for the 2014 class.   The classes will be held at the Vernonia Learning Center each Thursday from about 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM starting March 6th. 2014; there will be about 10 class days on successive weeks. Classes will start in March to avoid the worst weather and will go through early May. Cost of the class series will still be $75. Gardeners from all parts of the county are welcome. The classes will cover vegetable and fruit gardening, soils and fertilizers, insect and disease identification and management, weed identification and management, and lots of other topics of interest to gardeners.

Payback projects (an obligation for all Master Gardeners™) will be focused in the Vernonia area and nearby communities. If you are interested in the Vernonia OSU Master Gardener program, please call Chip Bubl at the OSU Extension office 503 397-3462 to get more information and to get on the mailing/email list. Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Western Tent Caterpillar

Western Tent Caterpillar

As this is being written, parts of Columbia County are inundated with one of the largest Western tent caterpillar populations in the last 20 years. The Rainier/Apiary/ Alston Mayger areas are especially hard hit. These very hungry caterpillars have consumed almost all the leaves from many alder, willow, poplar, and apple family trees and are now looking for other less favorite food. In affected areas, they are dropping by the millions onto lawns, houses, and cars in search of leftover leaves. One caller described her lawn as a wriggling mass of these caterpillars. She was not amused. Some early June weddings had to be moved inside. Soon the caterpillars will stop eating, spin a cocoon, and in about three weeks, emerge as the adult moths. These moth fly around (watch your evening lights), mate, lay eggs on twigs, and then die. It’s a rather short adulthood but that’s the way it is with the Western tent caterpillar. The eggs stay glued to twigs until next spring when they hatch and the caterpillars emerge, determined to feed. Read More