Impact Reports

WSU Wildfire Response

2016

During the summer of 2015 more than 1,541 fires burned in excess of 1.1 million acres across the state of Washington. Tribal and county leaders were scrambling to meet the needs of their community members during this crisis and many looked first to our WSU Extension Tribal Office and County Directors for advice and assistance in responding to the many challenges created by the wildfires.

During the summer of 2015 more than 1,541 fires burned in excess of 1.1 million acres across Washington. Tribal and county leaders were scrambling to meet the needs of their community members during this crisis and many looked first to our WSU Extension Tribal Office and County Directors for advice and assistance in responding to the many challenges created by the wildfires.

In August 2015, WSU Extension leadership created an Extension Wildfire Response and Recovery Team. Efforts of the team focused first on supporting Extension County and Tribal Office Directors and their efforts in northeast and north central Washington, as they were in the midst of helping their communities respond to fire-related issues. County and Tribal Extension personnel were called to help their county leaders deal with a myriad of situations from assisting in managing a shelter in a local school, to helping get ahold of the best information available for dealing with fire- and smoke-exposed livestock.

Based on the success of the WSU team developed in 2014 to assist with recovery after the mudslide, Extension leadership relied on Division of Government Studies and Services’ Office of Emergency Management to help coordinate WSU expertise in support of response, incident recovery, and long-term recovery. That team not only provided coordination and access to resources, but also set out to enhance WSU Extension’s future readiness across Washington once they were able to successfully assist in managing immediate issues caused by the wildfires.

The original team has now been converted to two teams. One team is looking specifically at continued participation in long-term recovery, while the other team is focused on positioning Extension more strategically to support future disaster engagement. The teams continue to work toward enhanced capacity for emergency response and continuity of local Extension operations, and will continue working to bring university resources to bear on what promises to be a recurring problem for the foreseeable future.

  • The 2015 wild fire season was a record for Washington and for WSU. At least five county directors and our Colville Tribal Office personnel were actively engaged.
  • The fires provided critical learning opportunities at the county level and for Extension at the central level.
  • A Wildfire Recovery website was created through the work of the teams. The website provided up-to-date information on the fires and provides a wealth of resources to WSU’s Tribal Office and County Extension Offices.
  • 1,541 fires burned across 1.1 million acres in Washington.
  • 25 fires required state fire mobilization.
  • The Washington Emergency Operations Center was activated for 43 days.
  • 12 fire management assistance grants were approved.
  • Washington fires resulted in a Presidential Emergency Declaration and a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
  • Extension leadership provided the initial funding to support development of 2 support teams.

“In 2015, the Carpenter Road fire destroyed 63,972 acres in Stevens County and on the Spokane Indian Tribe Reservation. As the confusion grew, Extension relied on our faculty and research colleagues across the WSU system to find answers and solutions as they were coming in the door. For example, as they were dropping retardant on blazing fires, we were scrambling to determine the impact on livestock and drinking water. Working together after the fire has created an additional team spirit to prepare better as we plan for future disasters.” – Debra Hansen, director, Stevens County Extension

“During the 2015 wildfire season in Ferry County, WSU’s Office of Emergency Management at DGSS provided support in several needed areas including: advice on donation support, communication liaison support with state and federal agencies, advice and support regarding local schools and Red Cross sheltering, and provision of resource materials on Emergency Support Function and through the Extension Disaster Education Network.” – Trevor Lane, Director, Ferry County Extension

For more information, please contact Michael Gaffney, 411E Hulbert Hall, P.O. Box 646233, Pullman, WA, 99164-6233, 509-335-3329, mjgaffney@wsu.edu, or Christina Sanders, 311E Hulbert Hall, P.O. Box 646233, Pullman, WA 99164-6233, 360-480-5978, cmsanders@wsu.edu.

Residential Low Impact Development Program

2016

Collaborative Program between WSU and Washington Sea Grant

Acknowledgements

Preventing pollution from stormwater runoff is one of the top three priorities for Puget Sound. Stormwater runoff comes from many sources including traditional residential landscaping practices, which can contribute excess runoff containing nutrients, pesticides, and sediment to fresh and marine water bodies. Many local, regional, and state plans encourage and require alternative low-impact residential practices designed to reduce these water quality and quantity impacts.

Many studies and feedback through focus groups, assessments, and surveys indicate that helping people understand what changes are needed and overcoming barriers to making those changes require a variety of actions. The purpose of this program is to increase homeowner knowledge, commitment, and implementation of behavior changes in order to reduce impacts associated with residential landscaping practices in Whatcom County.

Washington State University Whatcom County Extension is uniquely supported in implementing this and other water resource programs through an ongoing partnership with Washington Sea Grant.

Preventing pollution from stormwater runoff is one of the top three priorities for Puget Sound. Stormwater runoff comes from many sources including traditional residential landscaping practices, which can contribute excess runoff containing nutrients, pesticides, and sediment to fresh and marine water bodies. Many local, regional, and state plans encourage and require alternative low-impact residential practices designed to reduce these water quality and quantity impacts.

Many studies and feedback through focus groups, assessments, and surveys indicate that helping people understand what changes are needed and overcoming barriers to making those changes require a variety of actions. The purpose of this program is to increase homeowner knowledge, commitment, and implementation of behavior changes in order to reduce impacts associated with residential landscaping practices in Whatcom County.

Washington State University Whatcom County Extension is uniquely supported in implementing this and other water resource programs through an ongoing partnership with Washington Sea Grant.

The Residential Low Impact Development (LID) program began in 2008 with public workshops and a Master Gardener training. Initial and ongoing assessment work over subsequent years guided the expansion of the program to include:

  • Bi-annual 6-session classes engaging participants through presentations, hands-on demonstrations, tours, site assessments, pledges, and incentives.
  • Stormwater management strategies for landscaping in annual Master Gardener trainings and participation in local and regional advanced trainings.
  • Workshops for multiple community groups.
  • Development of a sustainable landscaping manual and a series of media presentations.
  • Creation of multiple interactive dioramas for local and regional use.
  • Development of outreach materials including posters, brochures, and displays.

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Riparian Grazing and Water Quality Protection

2015

Partners

Solving the social dilemma and improving water quality through improved livestock management both require addressing the drivers of water quality from a watershed scale and application of an education/outreach method that is palatable to landowners.

Acute social and legal conflict over regulation of non-point source pollution related to livestock in Washington State strains proactive efforts to improve water quality. Stream impairment from poorly managed livestock grazing activities often is related more to impaired stream function, changes which occur over a long period of time, than to direct contributions of pollutants.

The environmental and legal concerns involved in water quality regulation threaten all three classic aspects of agricultural sustainability for livestock farmers: economic, environmental, and social. Solving the social dilemma and improving water quality through improved livestock management require addressing the drivers of water quality from a watershed scale and application of an education/outreach method that is palatable to landowners.

Tipton Hudson, Kittitas County Extension director, acquired a grant from the Western Center for Risk Management Education in 2011, which funded a series of workshops conducted in partnership with the National Riparian Service Team to provide in-depth, in-field training on the relationships among livestock grazing practices, riparian condition, and water quality. Relationships established through these workshops spun off numerous local landowner meetings on specific management practices to improve upland and riparian condition and thereby improve water quality. The project also produced a short film series on riparian grazing and water quality. Topics include: Water Quality Risks, Tools and Techniques, Ecosystem Interactions: Water Quality and the Plant/Soil Interface, Bacteria Ecology, Risks of Livestock Direct Access and Solutions, Risks of Complete Exclusion, Grazing Effects Evaluation, and Bacteria Research and Water Standards.

A regular meeting with a few conservation districts and key regulatory personnel about the social and environmental problems resulted in WSU Extension’s creation of a water quality risk assessment for grazing areas, which characterized positive and negative conditions and practices and relied on risk management language that accurately reflected scientific reality with respect to non-point source pollution. The reality is that there is rarely a distinct per pollutant threshold that can be established for stream impairment, individual landowner practices couldn’t be accurately correlated with instream pollutant levels even if a threshold were clear, and the only effective strategy to combat degraded water quality is to combat degraded stream condition through evaluating grazing management practices and riparian condition holistically. The solution, according to Dr. Sherman Swanson of University of Nevada-Reno, is to ensure one’s management includes “more good than bad.”

Hudson has served as technical advisor to a producer-led stewardship organization in the Palouse, the 5-Star Watershed Stewardship group, which was created to develop a non-regulatory, non-conflict approach to improving soil and water quality in the Pacific Northwest. Hudson has provided approximately 12 hours of instructional time to this group, and 25 producers have gained new knowledge in grazing planning and management, riparian grazing, and water quality risk assessment. At least 10 producers representing more than 25,000 acres have adopted new management practices to improve water quality and rangeland condition, including planned grazing, ecosystem monitoring, water quality monitoring, and riparian pastures.

Through outreach efforts, ranchers, regulators, and natural resource professionals in Washington State understand:

  • Grazing management affects water quality directly based on abiotic site factors, vegetation conditions, and grazing variables.
  • Riparian health drives water quality; water quality often lags improvement in riparian condition by 10-20 years. Grazing management affects riparian health and water quality, long-term.
  • Certain conditions make stream fencing a desirable and effective option to improve water quality.
  • Changed attitudes toward management-based solutions (non-infrastructure-dependent) shifted to allow for results-oriented grazing solutions.

The tenor of dialogue has become more cooperative. The content of dialogue and newly drafted regulatory guidance allow that well-managed livestock grazing in stream zones may be sustainable if done well. Solutions include:

  • Helping farmers understand economic consequences of riparian degradation or improvement;
  • Encouraging all parties to think in terms of risk assessment rather than violation or no violation, which applies to both site conditions and livestock management practices;
  • Encouraging riparian function as the target of management and voluntary incentive programs; and
  • Advocating withholding regulatory action except in the case of egregious pollution where significant quantities of pollution are visibly contaminating surface water.
  • 2011-12 Western Center for Risk Management Education grant: $62,977.
  • 2015 Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education mini-grant, professional development: $2,500.
  • Registration fees for workshops: $3,100.
  • 1 peer-reviewed journal article (Hudson, T.D., 2015).
  • 9 educational videos.
  • Over the last 5 years, Tip Hudson conducted more than 30 educational events with more than 1,000 individuals communicating water quality risk management principles and practices.

“The Washington Cattlemen’s Association appreciates the technical assistance and expertise that Tip Hudson brings to the table. WSU Extension is playing an important role of both a scientific and technical nature, as well as a set of boots on the ground to help landowners and livestock producers address site-specific water quality issues of all sizes. The WCA is proud of the partnership we have with our Land Grant University” – Jack Field, Executive Vice President, Washington Cattlemen’s Association

Washington State Conservation Commission, Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Washington Farm Bureau, and Washington Association of District Employees

PIs on RME grant: L. Hardesty, D. Nelson, F. Hendrix, J. Ullman, S. VanVleet (all WSU)

Non-WSU expertise to credit: National Riparian Service Team; Dr. John Buckhouse, Oregon State University prof. emeritus

For more information, please contact Tipton Hudson, Kittitas County Extension Director, 901 E 7th Avenue, Suite, Ellensburg, WA 98926, call: 509-962-7507 or email: hudsont@wsu.edu.

Low Impact Development and Stormwater Management

2014

Funding

The need for strong and consistent stormwater management is evident in our waterways. Stormwater runoff in urban and rural areas is the primary transporter of toxic, nutrient, and pathogen pollutants to surface and groundwater resources.

The need for strong and consistent stormwater management is evident in our waterways. Stormwater runoff is the primary transporter of toxic, nutrient, and pathogen pollutants to surface and groundwater resources. In many cases, state-mandated stormwater permits require those in the regulated community to meet permit limits designed to better protect our water resources. Municipalities, as well as industrial and business sectors, often turn to consultants for technical know-how to meet permit requirements. The federally mandated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater permits are complex and broad reaching, and can be challenging to implement. Also, each time the permits are reissued, there are additional requirements that can create new challenges.

The Washington Stormwater Center formed in 2010 with the mission to protect Washington’s waters through improvements in stormwater management, serving as the central resource in Washington for education, permit technical assistance, stormwater management, and new technology development. The Center strives to provide assistance, information resources, and training on stormwater management, while also serving as a gateway to research, information, and innovative technologies. The expertise of project partners and the full-scale demonstration and research areas at the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center provide a place for training and comprehensive testing of technical solutions.

In addition to providing assistance to municipalities, business, and industry, the Center serves a coordinating role to house the Technology Assessment Protocol – Ecology program, and provides new tools and resources to better understand and control stormwater runoff. The Center played an integral part in developing a statewide Low Impact Development (LID) training plan that is now being used as a guide for Ecology and the state legislature in ensuring that all pertinent audiences in the state receive the training needed to meet new stormwater regulations and codes. This plan was used by the Washington State Department of Ecology, along with a consulting group, to host 64 trainings across the state for stormwater professionals.

Work completed at the Center includes:

  • Partnering with jurisdictions to develop 6 stormwater products ranging from an online decant facilities map to an LID comparative cost analyses report;
  • The successful design, development and implementation of the first Washington State Municipal Stormwater Conference attended by more than 400 Washington stormwater professionals;

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Forest Stewardship and Health

Empowering family forest landowners to become experts of their properties

2014

Forestry landowners face a lack of technical expertise to understand and implement best practices to improve land stewardship. Education, and technical assistance are effective tools to empower landowners to implement best practices for accomplishing their management objectives.

There are approximately 215,000 family forest landowners that control 5.8 million acres in Washington, making them the largest private land user group in the state. These forests contribute significantly to environmental, economic, and social well-being, but are at risk due to land-use conversion, shifting and diminishing commodity markets, landscape fragmentation, poor health, degraded habitat, and invasive species. This results in increased water pollution, stormwater management problems, elevated wildfire risk, species and biodiversity loss, destabilized hillsides and stream banks, economic losses to property owners, and degraded aesthetics and quality of life for property owners as well as the broader community.

Landowners face a lack of technical expertise to understand and implement best practices to improve land stewardship. Education and technical assistance are effective tools to empower landowners to implement best practices for accomplishing their management objectives. Education and assistance further help landowners to develop written stewardship plans to qualify for property tax reductions and other forms of financial assistance, helping landowners keep forests in use, and implement best management activities.

WSU Extension Forestry aims to empower forest owners to become experts of their land. Our overall goal is for landowners and managers to understand their forest ecosystems and manage them in a positive way that avoids risks, so that forestlands will remain permanently productive sources of goods and benefits to the landowner and to society.

“Forest Stewardship Coached Planning” short courses are offered to landowners throughout the year in Washington State. These comprehensive, multi-week training programs teach landowners about best management practices and how to write their own management plans for decision-making, documentation, communicating with contractors and family, and to qualify for economic incentives. Three “Forest Owner Field Days” are offered in the summer. These all-day, out-in-the-woods events feature educational presentations on different aspects of planning and implementation of best practices for achieving personal objectives. Presenters utilize real examples to provide hands-on learning. Coached Planning classes and field days are augmented throughout the year with topical workshops, field tours, newsletters, websites, online modules, and other resources.

Through the nine-week Forest Stewardship Coached Planning course and summer field days, we provided leadership and training to more than 12,000 families representing 540,000 acres in Washington.

Evaluations demonstrate that Coached Planning participants show a significant increase in knowledge across 15 key topic areas. Within one year, 65% of participants completed a written forest stewardship plan, and 90% used course knowledge to implement stewardship practices such as wildlife habitat enhancement, invasive weed control, fire-risk reduction, forest health improvement, tree planting, and brush control.

Within three years:

  • 57% of participants reported greater wildlife use of their land;
  • 66% reported reduced invasive species cover on their land; and
  •  45% generated income from timber and non-timber products (collectively totaling tens of millions of dollars).

100% of participants reported increased confidence in executing sound practices, and 97% reported greater quality of life due to knowledge gained and practices implemented because of the course. Participants shared course knowledge with an average of 11 other people per year.

Coached Planning has helped more than 500 families qualify for reduced property taxes, an annual financial savings of several thousand dollars per family.  Over the course of one generation, this will save families hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • 1,200 feet of the Dungeness River have been improved by in-stream habitat construction and stream-side vegetation plantings.
  • More than 10,000 landowners have executed fire hazard risk-reduction practices. This equates to $97 million in firefighting costs if the land were to burn.

“WSU Extension Forestry has engaged forest landowners and resource professionals to learn and apply the best cultural practices that protect public resources, enhance their management objectives, improve economic status, and reduce forest health, wildfire, and financial risk.”

“I thought the stewardship course was outstanding. It is the kind of program that makes a citizen proud of government and pleased to pay taxes to support it. Thank you!”

“I’ve taken quite a few different classes in my life, but this class was the best one by far. From the teachers, to the specialists that came in every week, they were informative, and kept my interest. It’s made such a difference by having a plan, I’m focused and on schedule! Thanks again!”

WSU Extension Forestry Programs are conducted in collaboration with the Washington Department of Natural Resources Forest Stewardship Program and the USDA Forest Service, Cooperative Programs, State and Private Forestry.

WSU Extension Forestry programs are funded by local, state, and federal USDA government entities. Grants, registration fee-for-service, and other private funds contribute to program operations.

For more information, contact Andy Perleberg, WSU Chelan County Extension
400 Washington St., Wenatchee WA 98801 | 509-667-6540 or andyp@wsu.edu.

For more information on WSU Extension Forestry, visit http://forestry.wsu.edu/.

Voluntary Stewardship Program

2016

In 2007, Washington’s Governor and Legislature — along with agricultural, tribal, environmental, and local government representatives — asked the William D. Ruckelshaus Center to assist in resolving long-standing conflict over the protection and enhancement of environmentally “critical areas” on agricultural lands under Washington’s Growth Management Act.

In 2007, Washington’s governor and legislature — along with agricultural, tribal, environmental, and local government representatives — asked the William D. Ruckelshaus Center to assist in resolving long-standing conflict over the protection and enhancement of environmentally “critical areas” on agricultural lands under Washington’s Growth Management Act. This conflict, more than a decade old, had spawned lawsuits, appeals, legislative battles, and a voter initiative. The parties involved reached a compromise for a moratorium on counties adopting amendments to critical areas ordinances with respect to agricultural activities while participating stakeholders developed recommendations. The legislature directed the center to convene the chief participants in the long-standing conflict to work on solutions that ensure protection of environmentally sensitive areas in ways that support the preservation of farmlands and a strong farm economy.

The center established the Agriculture and Critical Areas Committee, comprised of four caucuses (tribal and county governments, and agricultural and environmental interests), to meet this mandate. Recognizing that communication is key to building solutions, the center held a total of 61 meetings of the combined caucuses, not including individual caucus meetings, meetings with agency staff, and individual discussions. There were 29 full meetings of the committee, three committee retreats, and 32 workgroup meetings. Faculty from UW and WSU and staff of the center initiated fact finding on topics specified by the legislature.

After university fact finding and three years of discussion/negotiation, the committee reached agreement on a framework for a voluntary-based stewardship program. The parties turned the agreement into legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire in May 2011, creating the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP). Twenty-eight of Washington’s 39 counties elected to participate.

The Washington State Conservation Commission and parties to the agreement asked the center to continue its involvement, believing the center’s neutrality, experience with these issues/parties, and expertise in collaborative processes would continue to be helpful as the agencies and parties began early implementation. With support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Conservation Commission, the center remained involved, providing facilitation, consultation, strategic planning, and program and evaluation design, to help ensure a successful program launch and build capacity among those implementing the program.

The Conservation Commission has successfully taken over VSP project tasks and coordination responsibilities, and there are two counties now moving forward to implement VSP. Involved state agency directors and staff, and federal agency directors are showing commitment to implementing the VSP and have defined roles and responsibilities. The Technical Panel, comprised of the Commission, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Department of Ecology, was established, as was the Statewide Advisory Committee, which is comprised of agricultural, environmental, county, and tribal representatives. Both are working actively to implement the program. Washington’s 2013-15 state budget included funding for Thurston and Chelan Counties to implement VSP. The recently-passed federal Farm Bill includes $100 million specifically designed to provide funding to support programs like VSP in a handful of states. The NFWF grant also provided funding to support the American Farmland Trust’s (AFT) Pioneers in Conservation Program, which includes on-the-ground projects in three watersheds (the Snoqualmie River in King County, the Wenatchee River in Chelan County, and the Skokomish River in Mason County) that serve as pilots for the type of work that will occur on farmland across Washington under the VSP.

The Voluntary Stewardship Program is a new approach for Washington counties to participate in a watershed-based, collaborative planning process that uses incentives to promote agricultural and environmental stewardship. The collaborative work of the parties has been an important demonstration of the positive impact that the center can have in bringing groups together to reach consensus. The long-term impact of this process could include significant changes in how environmentally critical areas are managed on agricultural land, and will be applicable to many similar challenges, where top-down regulation is less likely to be effective than a locally driven, incentive-focused approach. Through VSP, Washington has an opportunity to demonstrate a cooperative solution to a national problem. Conflict between agriculture and the environment is not unique to Washington. Federal agencies and elected officials are looking for solutions across the country. VSP’s ability to make progress has a wide audience.

  • On May 16, 2011, Governor Gregoire signed ESHB 1886, creating the Voluntary Stewardship Program.
  • 28 of 39 Washington counties participate.
  • Washington’s 2013-15 state budget included $246,000 to implement VSP in Thurston and Chelan Counties. $1 million was set aside to be used statewide if federal funds were received for the program.
  • The federal Farm Bill designated $100 million specifically for programs like VSP.
  • Chelan and Thurston Counties have begun implementation of the VSP.
  • In 2015, the Washington Legislature provided full funding for VSP at $7.6 million, allowing all counties that opted in to move forward with implementation of the program.

“The process took a long time, he said, but “the time spent was well worth it. . . . After a while people really began to listen to one another. – Ron Shultz, WSCC

“I want to thank the Ruckelshaus Center staff and board for allowing us to have three and a half years of very tough, determined negotiations to get to this point.” – Jay Gordon, Washington Dairy Federation

“I think it represents a good piece of middle ground (that) . . . will help keep agriculture viable, keep the counties out of court and provide some solid, incentive-based environmental practices that should benefit everybody.” – Jack, Washington Cattlemen’s Association

For more information, please contact Amanda Murphy, William D. Richelshaus Center
901 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2900, Seattle WA 98164 | 206-219-2409 or amanda.g.murphy@wsu.edu.

If you would like any additional information on this project please visit the Center’s website at http://ruckelshauscenter.wsu.edu/
or visit the WA State Conservation Commission’s website at http://scc.wa.gov/voluntary-stewardship/.

Forest Youth Success

2014

Despite living in a county that is about 90% forested, many Skamania County youth have little connection with, or knowledge of, the surrounding forest.

Despite living in a county that is about 90% forested, many Skamania County youth have little connection with, or knowledge of, the surrounding forest. And, in a county where poverty and unemployment are high, youth have almost no employment opportunities and few chances to gain job experience. At the same time, local forest managers and communities need help completing projects to benefit the health of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Washington State University Extension 4-H, along with Stevenson-Carson School District, Skamania County, the Mt. Adams Institute, and the USDA Forest Service have partnered to create the Forest Youth Success (FYS) program for youth development and employment. Goals of the FYS program are:

  • Teach the fundamentals of forest ecology and forest health management through work in a real-world setting;
  • Develop and enhance life skills to increase employability;
  • Help participants develop a sense of responsibility for themselves, the forest, and their communities;
  • Provide participating youth with basic job skills in a paid-work setting that emphasizes environmental stewardship; and
  • Employ local adults as program crew leaders to further community engagement and emphasize positive youth–adult relationships, at a ratio of approximately 5 youth to 1 adult.

Since 2009, FYS received competitive awards from the USDA Forest Service Resource Advisory Committee of more than $670,000 and county contributions of $80,000 as a result of the Secure Rural Schools Title II funding. Each year, the program employs ten adults and 48 youth to complete forest health projects.

The WSU Extension 4-H FYS program was accepted as a National 4-H Program of Distinction, and the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) awarded the program a Specialty Team Award in Excellence for Natural Resource and Environmental Stewardship in 2013.

Since 2002, the FYS program has been the largest summertime employer of youth in Skamania County. On average, $165,000 in direct work value is completed on the forest each year, with a total estimated value of more than a million dollars for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest since the program’s inception. In 2012, all 48 students who participated in FYS received elective high school credits for summer work through the credit recovery pilot project.

Using the 4-H life skills development tool, positive life-skill impacts are measured annually. In 2012, FYS participants indicated increases in all life skills and employability indicators that were measured. FYS participants also showed an increase in understanding forest management practices (79%) and awareness of the types of natural resource careers (71%).

From 2009 through 2011, 95% to 98% of student participants confirmed slight to significant changes in life skills, including:

  • Decision making;
  • Financial resource management;
  • Listening;
  • Effective communication;
  • Organization;
  • Problem-solving; and
  • Job responsibility.

In 2010, past participants from the previous five years were surveyed for lasting impacts. More than 65% responded that FYS helped them acquire another job. Ninety-five percent credit the program for forming their work ethic and increasing their basic job skills. More than 70% of past participants credit FYS for shaping their career interests. More than 50% chose their college major and shaped their degree because of FYS, and more than 90% found FYS effective for helping manage personal finances.

  • Since 2002, more than $1 million in work value provided in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

In 2012:

  • $113,812 in work value.
  • 1 mile of new boundary marked and cleared.
  • 14 miles of trail work completed.
  • 1 mile of new trail built.
  • 14 acres of white pine pruning.
  • 2 acres of invasive species removal; 2 acres surveyed.
  • 19 miles of roadside brushing.
  • Habitat enhancement, with 8 western pond turtles released.
  • 4 acres of fuel treatment for prevention of forest fire.
  • 9,500 trout released.
  • 75 campsites maintained.
  • 360 cubic yards of oyster shells placed in fish filter beds.

“Working so closely with FYS has truly been a rewarding project as I am very passionate about this program, especially since it helped me gain responsibility and leadership as an adolescent.”

“FYS has allowed me to get the work experience I need to get a job in the real world. It has instilled in me the work ethic and morals of any good citizen and allowed me to grow as a person.”

“FYS has helped me become a leader, step out of my comfort zone, and learn so much about this beautiful place we live in, how to help maintain it and the amazing people that already love and appreciate it.”

For more information, contact Scott VanderWey, Director of Adventure Education | WSU Puyallup R & E
Center, 2606 W Pioneer, Puyallup WA 98371 | 253-445-4581 or vanderwey@wsu.edu.

For more information about the WSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, visit http://4h.wsu.edu/.