Public Outreach at NWREC
By Surendra Dara
The North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) focuses on various existing and emerging issues of high importance to the producers of a large variety of crops in this region.
Our faculty work on water, nutrient, pest, and disease management, evaluating new crops and varieties, supporting pesticide registration for specialty crops, developing climate-resilient cropping systems, and exploring new technologies in machine harvesting and pesticide application among many areas as they provide practical solutions to farmers in our region and beyond.
As we are located close to the Portland Metro area and serve seven counties where most Oregonians live, public outreach is also a top priority for NWREC. We engage with our local communities in multiple ways through our participation at the Clackamas County Fair and various events or tours at our center.
Such opportunities in 2023 included tours for the Marion County Farm Bureau in May, Canby School District 3rd graders, West Linn-Wilsonville District middle schoolers, Wilsonville Garden Club members, the Farm to Fork program, exclusive tours of the agrivoltaics program, and food bloggers from around the US. Trainings and classes at NWREC included youth and adult tractor training, and a program in August for STEM teachers from Oregon and Washington organized by the Oregon dairy and Nutrition Council and the American farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The NWREC Community Open House is in July, and a soil judging contest happens in October with the Future Farmers of America.
Nearly 1500 people visited NWREC through these tours and trainings in 2023 in addition to more than 400 who attended our workshops and field days. We are incredibly grateful for these opportunities that showcase our programs to the public, promote STEM education through field tours and internships for youth, and enhance the understanding of food production, sustainability, and other topics that are important to everyone. We also appreciate our collaboration with Clackamas Extension and their support of our programs.