Leveraging the Power of Extension in Community-Engaged Research

WSU Extension translates research into practice to address local needs. This is done by conducting and applying research and knowledge in a way that is culturally appropriate and tailored to the unique needs of individuals and communities. If approached thoughtfully, Extension can be a valuable partner in conducting community-engaged research. Extension faculty members discuss best practices and ways to leverage your work across Washington state.

Debra Hansen: Very happy to be here with some of my, great colleagues to talk about Extension. And I always like to tell people, a little bit of transparency about me. I am a lifetime 4-H-er. I’ve loved Extension for a long time, since I was nine.

Debra Hansen: I’ve either worked at or went to school at six different land grant universities, and if there was a, a club to join where I could be president of Extension, I would do that because I think it’s such an amazing organization. And today you’re going to hear from some colleagues that, work in Extension about how to work with us.

Debra Hansen: And I will tell you that if we repeat any of the comments in our presentation, it’s because we feel passionately about it. So, I hope you enjoy learning about us and learning about ways that we can work with you on issues that are important to you.

Debra Hansen: So, I’m going to start with a few grounding statements and information. So Extension is, the world class outreach and engagement enterprise of the university. So a land-grant university has research, teaching, and extension and our Extension service in the College of Ag. and Natural Resources, is the university serving the people of Washington and the society in which we live.

Debra Hansen: We have a lot of people that do things in, other parts of the world.

Debra Hansen: Our goal is to extend knowledge and change lives. We do this by engaging people, organization and communities to advance knowledge for the economic well-being and quality of life by fostering inquiry, learning, and the application of research. So those are the ways that we try to change lives. But here’s what I think is really important to me is our close relationship with communities.

Debra Hansen: No matter where you live in the state, allow us to deliver personalized education to those communities and to those stakeholders that challenges and inspires those individuals to achieve their highest goals. We are here to work with them in the communities that they live in.

Debra Hansen: this is the state of Washington, and this shows where we have Extension locations.

Debra Hansen: And Dan, in a few minutes is going to, talk a little bit more about what we do, and the different locations. But we have 39 county locations and one tribal locations in the state. Those, you see, those little maps all over. That’s in addition to the campus-based Extension people we have at our five campuses, and the people that are located at our Research and Extension centers.

Debra Hansen: So we have a presence all over the state to help solve problems that the communities identify and that people want to solve.

Debra Hansen: So let me tell you a little bit about what how this works. So we look to research and identify evidence-based programs. So that is what works. So we’re going to be using tools and techniques and education materials that is research-based with these communities. But we want to match that up with the community needs with those evidence-based programs.

Debra Hansen: So where are the gaps? What are they missing in their community for solving things? We build capacity with the local, for local evidence-based practices and implementation. And that’s who is ready for this. Not all communities or organizations are going to be ready for the kind of work that we want to do, but that’s why having people in these communities really helps us make that connection to the university.

Debra Hansen: And researchers. So we want to disseminate and evaluate and upscale these evidence-based practices. So what is our impact? What is the story that we can tell to, the university, to the funders and everybody else that we do an Extension using all of these techniques?

Debra Hansen: Want to explain a little bit about the funding. Extension is funded by these five components, right? We have state funding, which is Washington State University funding that comes to our different program areas. 8% of our funding comes from federal, from the Smith–Lever Act funding that comes directly to the University. The counties themselves pay funding. So, when we talk about the different program areas in our counties, every county is slightly different.

Debra Hansen: I have three employees that work for me as, faculty and staff, but they are all paid for by the county with benefits from the university. That mix is going to look different in every office that we have, whether they’re county based, county funded, WSU funded, grant funded. Right. So 38% of our money comes from grants and contracts.

Debra Hansen: That’s project based and program based. That is very focused on the issues that we want to solve. Then that other 8% might be money that comes in from a contract or money that comes in from a donation. So each one of our counties and regions and locations is going to be funded in something like this. But this is the state cycle of the funding.

Debra Hansen: The other thing I wanted to point out about Extension is every county is going to be slightly different, right? All of us have 4-H. some of us have agriculture, some of us have community and economic development. Some of us have youth and families. Some of us have, food and nutrition. And the research centers cover all different kinds of programs.

Debra Hansen: So when you think about statewide Extension, we do have a presence everywhere. But the presence looks different. It looks depending on capacity, depending on funding, depending on the program area needs. At this website you can find all of those locations and the contacts for those at that site and the individuals and the program. So as you start to think about how you might want to engage with Extension, you can look and see, is this part of the state that I want to go to, or is this kind of the program area that I want to be engaged in?

Debra Hansen: We’ve got people in all different areas, and so it’s difficult to outline everything at this moment in time. But there are all different ways to do this. So I’m going to let Dan Teuteberg talk about the three different components of Extension. And let me introduce myself first, which I forgot. And then I’m going to ask all of my colleagues to introduce themselves.

Debra Hansen: I am the county Extension director in Stevens County, which is the county north of Spokane up to the Canadian border. And like I said, I have three wonderful staff that work with me to do agriculture, 4-H, Master Gardeners, and I do broadband work. So there’s all different things that we do in our office. But I’m going to have Dan explain the differences, so you can get a better sense of how it all knits together.

Debra Hansen: So, Dan, take it away.

Dan Teuteberg: Thank you very much. my name is Dan Teuteberg, and I’m the director of the Mason County office, as well as the Grays Harbor County office. I’m an associate professor of youth development, and my focus is 4-H youth development program in those areas. I too have a blend of, staffing models in my counties. When I first got here 12 years ago, there were five faculty in my two counties.

Dan Teuteberg: and through timing, budget cuts, various reasons, our staffing models have a bit shifted. Now it’s just the faculty member of myself in those counties, but we’ve backfilled positions with APs. And so our programing that we still offer our communities are 4-H Youth Development, Master Gardeners, Small Farms, Noxious Weed is a county based program in both of my offices.

Dan Teuteberg: Food safety preservation as well as SNAP education happens out of my offices, so we have quite a variety of opportunities. I also do a bit of broadband work as well. and we have a few grants through our, federal and state partners looking at expanding broadband opportunities called Digital Navigators in my area, too. So, quite a uniqueness there.

Dan Teuteberg: The three parts of Extension that I really want to talk about. so when you use the word Extension, it can mean different things to different people depending on who you’re, you’re talking about. There’s county-based Extension, which is near and dear to my heart. We are like like Deborah said, 39 counties and one tribal entity.

Dan Teuteberg: We’re funded, very diversely with county funds, WSU funds, tribal funds, grants and partnerships. There are 22, at this time, faculty and APs in Extension, county-based in our three program units. And our three program units are: Ag and Natural Resources, or A and R, Youth and Families, and Community and Economic Development. Those are the three program focus areas that we have, and each of the faculty and staff are in those program units.

Dan Teuteberg: So they work collectively, together in those areas. One of the uniquenesses of county-based Extension is we live and work with the people that we serve. So it’s really unique, because I see my clientele in my friends, in my community on a regular basis, and I get to work with them. I live the issues in my community that I’m trying to solve with my partners. And two words that I really want to make sure that I emphasize.

Dan Teuteberg: And I would be remiss if I didn’t say them are “With” and “For”. County-based Extension does things with our community. We don’t do things for our community. By doing it with them, they’re part of the solution. They’re part of the planning, the implementation and evaluation. They’re part of it. They own it with with us. If we just came in and did a program for, it would be easier to say, well, it’s great when it happened and then you left.

Dan Teuteberg: We don’t leave. We’ve been here, we are here, and we’re part of that, of that thread of our community. So that’s the county-based Extension program. The next one to talk about is the Research and Extension centers. There are 4 or 5 depending on on which one. I think we forgot the the ocean, one out of Long Beach.

Dan Teuteberg: but they’re the research and Extension centers. They’re a bit funded differently. They’re funded through WSU and grants. They don’t have the strong county partnerships that county based Extension have. There’re 35, faculty and APs in the mix there. And Wenatchee focuses on tree fruit sciences. Prosser is irrigated ag production. Puyallup is urban ag issues and needs in Mount Vernon focuses on ag in the Pacific Northwest.

Dan Teuteberg: that thank you Lisa very much. Long Beach is assigned with Puyallup, so thank you. Those are closely tied to the units as well and also tied to on-campus faculty. So that’s kind of the the bridge between them. The research stations are also located in counties. So if you’re fortunate to have a research station in your county and you’re a county based Extension, you probably have a partnership with, those folks as well.

Dan Teuteberg: If you’re not, you may have no people on them or you cross paths with them through Zooms or classes or whatever, but it’s not a natural tie often. So in my area, Mason County, Grays Harbor, I don’t have a research station in my area. I’ve been here for 12 years though, so I do have partnerships with many of the folks on the research centers.

Dan Teuteberg: But I’ve had to seek out those partnerships or find them through various other connections through through my work. It’s not a natural piece or component there, for that area. The last one that I want to talk briefly about is on-campus, Extension appointments. We have six campuses. The funding for these people is through WSU and grants often, and there’s 36 faculty on partial or full Extension appointments.

Dan Teuteberg: And their focuses vary on their research agendas. So these individuals have Extension appointments where their… part of their job or all of their job is to work in Extension, across the state or region, things like that. and they’re located on various campuses, not in county offices or research centers. So again, when we say Extension, we can mean these three different entities or these three different examples.

Dan Teuteberg: So you really have to be clear on who you’re talking with and how you’re using your word Extension, because they often don’t naturally flow together. So you have to be careful. One is one way, one is other way. It doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. They’re just different. And that community partnership is really key on all of them.

Dan Teuteberg: So it’s, it’s a really great opportunity to figure out where and how you want to work and which one to connect with.

Debra Hansen: Shawna. You’re up.

Shawna Beese: Thank you. My name’s Shawna Beese, and I’m the Whatcom County Extension director. I’m also assistant professor of rural health promotion here at WSU. Dan did a great job of reviewing those three legs, but I’m very much here to represent the county-based perspective for my presentation. And additionally, I’ve only been a member of the Extension faculty for less than two years.

Shawna Beese: So I also think that one of the things that my time can provide is kind of a insider, outsider peek of how you can engage the Extension to get work done and different things that I had learned in the last 18 months. I probably would have benefited from a presentation like this to navigate brokering Extension partnerships a little bit, better.

Shawna Beese: So next slide.

Shawna Beese: Oops. Back a couple of slides. Perfect rural health promotion. So one of the things that I find, surprises campus-based faculty as I engage in work with them is, regarding us, the county-based faculty is that they know that there were Extension directors. Many of us are Extension directors, but they don’t know or realize that we have our own research programs.

Shawna Beese: Each and every one of us, Extension faculty have our own research program that we’re developing and managing. I was personally hired, to research and develop program solutions around the increasing rural–urban mortality gap and looking at how can we leverage health promotion in rural areas to bring down, all cause mortality in those rural areas? My work was initially driven by the community needs assessment.

Shawna Beese: I conducted in Whatcom County, which did take a good… it’s an iterative process. So I mean, it’s never done. And I and of course, I started other projects simultaneous, but I, did the thank you Madeleine, because she’s one of my graduate students. My work is driven by those community needs assessments, just like everyone’s. It starts out at your county based off of the needs that are being experienced right there in your county.

Shawna Beese: But as you develop your program, often they start to have transferable applications into other counties at the state level and sometimes even national or international level. One case in point I would bring up is the Master Gardener story. We just celebrated their half century, celebration anniversary, and that actually started with ag agents in the county, King County, specifically, realizing “I spent a lot of time talking to home gardeners when really I should be spending more of my time according to my needs assessment around, commercial agricultural spaces.”

Shawna Beese: And so they looked and King County a half a century ago to develop a volunteer based, experts. How do we train up experts, volunteer based experts that can answer and field some of those questions and surface to us only the ones that are having like, county level, ramifications or even state level ramifications. And that’s how a lot of the programs that you hear about: 4-H, Master Gardener, Strengthening Families, all started somewhere, with a county agent who was responding to county needs.

Shawna Beese: Then, of course, you hope and as I hope with my rural health promotion program, that it will start to get legs and that will start to have that transferability into other counties, states, and then beyond. I partner as a county director, with campus based researchers all over the state, of course, within WSU, both in Extension and outside Extension.

Shawna Beese: I partner a lot with the health sciences, but also U-Dub and Western Washington University. Western Washington University, not only being based in my own county, is especially important because it’s actually a rural designated university for the entire state of Washington, a rural designated university. So I partner with them, and they often have the relationships that I just don’t have access to yet.

Shawna Beese: So, all that work is important. Go ahead and advance. So how do you engage? Well, I know that I have been leveraging those Extension partnerships for the last 18 months to do some of this community based work. really, you get no where you will make no progress unless you have those relationships and engagement that underpin it.

Shawna Beese: And when you show up day one, or if you’re from a campus-based or an outside institution, you just don’t have some of those, relationships yet. And so I have increased in my practice of this and would like to encourage outside researchers to, number one, think of funding, increasingly NIH, NIFA, all of our major funders are actually starting to allocate sizable and significant portions of our research grants to just the act of relationship and engagement.

Shawna Beese: So outreach and engagement building so it doesn’t even have to be tied to those productive aims that are going to yield some kind of, research result. That is really important for you to bring to your community partners early. The expectation isn’t that the… The expectation is that that outreach and engagement money is actually being experienced and being benefited to the communities of which you’re outreaching and engaging with.

Shawna Beese: And so it’s important that if you’re going to reach out to the Extension, you bring them in early, to the table. And you also think about the resource allocation. Funding’s just one resource allocation. As I transitioned from being more campus-based researcher out into the Extension, I am surprised how much time allocation you also need to budget for community, you know, community engaged research.

Shawna Beese: It is, something that you’re you’re dealing with a bunch of people, you’re dealing with a bunch of people that also are key shareholders in the the overall process. And so you can’t assume that just because you put a Gantt chart together and some office somewhere that everyone’s going to, acknowledge or, or that that is even the valuable work that needs to be done.

Shawna Beese: Case in point, I recently have been adapting, a, neighborhood development tool, rurally adapting it. So it’s required me to do interviews one on one with rural, people who are self-identify as rural, throughout the state. And we pretty much knew this was an I had already had an applica… I had already had a, manuscript that was in revision and submit resubmission, and they wanted me to do additional sampling and not just talk about my rural adaptation, but actually do that.

Shawna Beese: So there was a reasonable expectation this was going to culminate in publication. As I was interviewing people, many of the participants were very clear. They wanted to see my write up before I sent it to the editor. And so that was unbudgeted time originally that I had because, you know, I was on my timeline, but I talked to the editor and of course, community participatory research cannot exist unless you’re actually doing it with the participants.

Shawna Beese: And so they were able to give me a whole month-plus extension just for the process of allowing me to do the analysis, do the write up, and then return my manuscript to every single participant that, it applied to so that they could have their, their feedback and discourse with me before ultimate submission. And so those are some of those budgeted items that you may not think of when you’re moving into Extension spaces or even just community-based spaces.

Shawna Beese: The, planning, like I say, you want to get people on early. We’re always surprised sometimes when we hear about research that’s going on in our county, and the expectation is that the Extension is going to help out with that. Often the Extension will do my data collection for me, and nobody has engaged the Extension in any of those conversations ahead of time.

Shawna Beese: That’s not a winning strategy. These these are partnerships, as Dan so eloquently put, you are doing this with the community, with the county. You’re not doing it for the county. And so if, you really have to come with that space in mind. And then last, I just want to spotlight that. We’re really experts in applied research. and that’s an opportunity to maximize your your research program impacts.

Shawna Beese: One of the things that I work with a lot is the biological response of stress, those chronic stressors that lead to all of our chronic diseases down the road. And I work with a lot of collaborative teams that measure allostatic load, which is the biological response or an early indicator, but where at the value I really bring is I can help tailor what is going to be feasible, what is accessible, not even just with my own anecdotal commentary, but actually designing little implementation studies, science studies that are rolled out alongside the bigger measurement, studies.

Shawna Beese: So keep in mind that we’re really expert applied researchers. And then the last slide is I’ll just leave you with this. Remember when you are partnering with us, you are borrowing the credibility. I know this all too well as I joined my own office as the Extension director, but there were two faculty already here, one for 15 years, Chris Benedict, who is our statewide soil health, faculty, and then also a youth development specialist, Michael Wallace, who has been here for 20 years.

Shawna Beese: And I am hyper aware that every time they introduce me to their inner circle or every time they open a door for me in my county, I am borrowing their credibility and their relationships. And I need to treat that with all the, the treasure that it deserves because they’re really doing us a favor and you would only have to burn somebody once before they probably start closing their network to you.

Shawna Beese: So thank you, and I look forward to collaborating with any and all people who are interested.

Elizabeth Weybright: Hello. Well, I’m Elizabeth Weybright, I am a campus-based faculty member, like Dan mentioned. I’m an associate professor in the Department of Human Development, but also have an Extension specialist role as an adolescent specialist for the Youth and Families Program unit. I do want to clarify that you do not need to have an Extension appointment to partner with Extension.

Elizabeth Weybright: And so that’s part of this whole conversation today. And there are opportunities for partnering in both research as well as in instruction and teaching. And I’m happy to share examples of the latter, later in the conversation if folks are interested. So my research broadly centers around substance use, mental health promotion and injury prevention in rural communities. And this includes things like not only direct program delivery, but also doing research on those programs and supporting rural providers in delivering evidence-based programs.

Elizabeth Weybright: And so for me, being a community engaged researcher is important. As much of my work probably really aims to address health disparities, particularly in rural communities. And I know this is work that will not go well. Like Shauna was saying, if I plan and conduct it from here on in Pullman, in my office. I think engaging community in the research leads to outcomes that are more sustainable and obviously engages those most, those most informed of and affected by local issues and long term kind of has that bigger impact.

Elizabeth Weybright: I do want to point out that not all community engaged research has to look the same. And so we can click to the next slide. I’ll give you an example of this. This type of research exists on a continuum. These words and labels are from the “Principles of Community Engagement”, which is the document put out by NIH. And it shows the different degrees of community engagement from outreach to shared leadership.

Elizabeth Weybright: And if you click one more time, the role community plays in each of these. So it goes from kind of one directional, we’re just providing, community information to the community to on the far right. And it’s really the shared decision and the actually some of that decision making is really occurring at the community level. And the researcher is there is a resource and a facilitator of that.

Elizabeth Weybright: There’s no wrong answer here. Sometimes people have an ideal of what they want to do, but the type of engagement you choose really depends on a number of factors. Things like the capacity and readiness of you as a researcher and your partner community partner, as well as what the situation or context allows. And so Shawna mentioned that community engaged research just it’s time consuming.

Elizabeth Weybright: It takes a long time for a variety of reasons. And you may be on a different timeline for a, for example, for that of a funder, which just doesn’t allow the extent of engagement that you would like. And so maybe you have to kind of be thoughtful about which level in which type you’re aiming for. From my role as a department based faculty member, this has looked different from those of my fellow presenters.

Elizabeth Weybright: And so I often lead projects at a statewide level. I do things like network to identify partners and collaborators, work to obtain and pursue funding to support research and programmatic efforts. And sometimes I think I view my role as that of a convener and supporter facilitator. And then on the back end, we can support to get the research back into scholarly products, journal articles, as well as into the community and back to the public.

Elizabeth Weybright: Over time, I learned some key things that I want to share, and these are just aren’t things for me. When I look in the literature, they’re also voiced by other researchers and community partners. So if you click on the next slide, the first thing I want to share that’s already been mentioned is that building relationships is important.

Elizabeth Weybright: When I first came to WSU ten years ago, I went to Central Washington. I maybe kind of invited myself. I did ask permission, but I went to an Extension office and I said, can I just follow you around? I have no agenda. I just want to learn, listen, observe, see what your day is like and what you’re doing.

Elizabeth Weybright: And I think over time, showing up, respectfully engaging, acknowledging when you misstep because it will happen and you just have to acknowledge it and do your best to navigate it. And being accountable really serves to foster mutual respect and trust. And to me, these pieces are critical. They also facilitate situations. For example, when I’m in a pinch and on a very tight timeline, I can reach out to Deborah and say, hey, this is a bit more rushed and this isn’t how I usually would proceed.

Elizabeth Weybright: But here’s the bigger picture that I have for a project. We’re on a particular timeline. I’d love for you to be involved. Here’s how we both can benefit, and here’s what I think this can look like. But maybe once we get the money, we can navigate that a bit more and have other thoughtful conversations. And I think because Deborah and I already have that relationship, she’s willing to say, okay, I trust you to get started and we’ll work along the way.

Elizabeth Weybright: If we get the money. The second piece that I’ve learned is being flexible, and you kind of learn this the tough way because you are forced to be flexible at times. But I really quickly learned when working with communities that things do not go as planned for a whole host of reasons. And I think we all learned this when Covid happened.

Elizabeth Weybright: so what’s happened over time, as I’ve learned not only how to be flexible myself and in the work that I’m doing, but also how to advocate for my community partners and the situations that are happening at the local level. For example, educating and advocating to funders. Well, maybe we need more time to spend the money or do the programing because of X, Y, and Z that came up at the community level.

Elizabeth Weybright: I have found out of all the partners I’ve worked with before coming to WSU, that my Extension partners and colleagues seem to be unflappable and probably have about ten backup plans. So if something doesn’t go the way you anticipate, they can be flexible and pivot. Finally, I found it to be really helpful to be very clear about what we’re doing and what it’s going to look like, at least as a starting point for conversation.

Elizabeth Weybright: And we can negotiate this and reevaluate along the way. When I work on shared projects, this means we’ve talked at the beginning about things like scholarship requirements. We’ve been clear about what everybody’s roles are, how things like funds are distributed what percentage is going to who or who’s getting travel money, etc. and what constitutes authorship. You know, a lot of this occurs and things like meetings, and email and, and communications, but it also occurs through some of the resources that are brought in, are shared, among these groups.

Elizabeth Weybright: So I want to give you a concrete example. We we’re trying to determine what constitutes authorship at the beginning of a project to make it clear to everyone if we’re participating and we’re going to have a journal article or something else that comes out, who’s going to be involved and in what capacity, and how will we determine about things like authorship order in a thoughtful and respectful way?

Elizabeth Weybright: So as a starting point, we took WSU’s recommendation for determining authorship which comes from another reputable source. And we added to it to clarify what this looks like for Extension engaged projects. And so if you click one more time, it’ll bring up a piece of that table that we have. And so here’s for example one of those factors in constituting authorship and how our team has added examples of what this can look like.

Elizabeth Weybright: And those are on the right hand side. We added an extra column role of Project PI for example, as a substantial contribution; leading local data collection. So that constitutes at least this one piece of authorship. So with that, I’ll turn it over. But I want to happy to answer questions as we get more toward the Q&A pieces.

Stephen Bramwell: Great, thanks, Elizabeth. And everybody. Hey, everybody, my name is Stephen Bramwell. I am a bit like Shawna. I’m kind of representing the county director role. And I also run kind of have my own program area within within Extension. So, associate professor in agriculture and natural resources and then the county director for Thurston County.

Stephen Bramwell: And I’m going to just take a few minutes to talk a little bit about why it is important to be embedded in communities. and I think you could rephrase that title another way, like, you know, why is it helpful when you’re conducting community engaged research to be embedded in communities, but also to show the value of that local connection?

Stephen Bramwell: I’ll mostly speak kind of from examples in a local, in a local sense, in Thurston County and surrounding counties. So next slide.

Stephen Bramwell: Great. So, first topic I was going to just say a couple words on is, you know, you can work from the grassroots up. So, at the beginning, Deborah, you know, mentioned that we yeah, you can find ways to work on projects that are of interest to you by partnering with Extension. And and that’s true because that works that way sometimes.

Stephen Bramwell: And then just but I’d encourage you to think about it the other way also, which is think about ways that you can work on projects that are of interest, not necessarily even just to Extension, but to local communities themselves. So, with the kind of that two way street and different kind of levels of involvement that Elizabeth was showing in that continuum slide.

Stephen Bramwell: So, and from this perspective, you know, communities, of course, are very familiar with what their, you know, problems are, what their needs are and what their interests are. So there’s a big opportunity if you are working, you know, in any number of fields, because if you see there’s a lot of different areas, there’s, Youth and Family, Ag Natural Resources, Master Gardeners, Natural Resource Management, Community and Family Science.

Stephen Bramwell: There’s a lot of different types of projects that are underway, that we’re involved in, out in our counties. So I just happen to work in agriculture and natural resources. This is a photograph of a community meeting for a grazing association. You know, this group has got very much their own ideas about what they think the key research needs are in pasture management, livestock management,

Stephen Bramwell: regulatory issues that face the community in regards to agriculture and natural resources. So, certainly just know that those are out there. You know, we’re conducting needs assessments. We’re having meetings all the time with our communities. And so we can really help to sort of I don’t think maybe run interference is the right way to put it.

Stephen Bramwell: But like, connect you with our work and with work that communities would love to see done because there’s tons of opportunity for working on local problems that are that exist now that aren’t being addressed. Right? There’s always need out there. That’s been one of the things I’ve discovered about working in Extension is just there’s such an enormous amount of need.

Stephen Bramwell: So, you know, you can tap into that. I put the second bullet point groups grow when they identify and define the project. And that’s kind of grow in size or grow in knowledge and experience. But when they’re really engaged in identifying and defining the project, you know, there’s going to be interest there. Whereas if somebody comes in from the outside and the project doesn’t quite fit, you know, that group could dwindle and diminish and disappear.

Stephen Bramwell: You know, if it’s just not connecting with where people are at and what they what they’re interested in. and then, as Shawna mentioned, every faculty and Extension has their own, sort of typically applied research program or, you know, to some extent, some of them are more pure research, some applied research, some more Extension education, but they usually typically involve some rigorous amount of of tracking impact over time and implementing specific programs.

Stephen Bramwell: So just know that, yeah, we’re all we’re all out here engaged in these different fields. And you can, you know, scroll through that website that Deborah showed that has the people in Extension and just like learn about their interest. We’ve got a new tool now because we’ve all been filling out a poll about what our research projects are.

Stephen Bramwell: Next slide, Deborah, thanks so much. Another benefit is tying in through connections with local organizations. So these are organizations that not even all of them, but just a few too and then a group of farmers that I work with. But we’re all connected with local community organizations. Right? And so those connections bring a lot of opportunity.

Stephen Bramwell: For one, we know what assumptions and knowledge gaps there are because, you know, you might not find that picture of a county meeting to be looking very exciting. And and it might not be, but in fact, a lot of action happens there in terms of land use decisions, natural resource management decisions, decisions regarding community development. And and, you know, we’re present at these meetings.

Stephen Bramwell: We know county commissioners in many cases on a personal level and a lot of different staff in county offices. And so we’re well positioned to understand what the important knowledge gaps and where the opportunities are for research and programing. And as has been mentioned we’re trusted, right, because we have those those personal relationships. And it takes it takes time even for science-based information to be accepted.

Stephen Bramwell: Right? Just because it’s science-based doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to be accepted. Like people accept Dan’s programing because it’s Dan, right? They know who he is and they know he’s in the community. And so they’re more willing to be open. So just even receiving programing and and participation ideas and being able to contribute data to key sort of public policy issues can be really facilitated by partnering with Extension. Sustained engagement.

Stephen Bramwell: You know, and Dan really drove this point home where we’re sort of here, you know, right. For better or worse, like, if everything goes well, we’re here. And if something goes not so well, you know, we’re also here, but I think there’s a benefit there because of the long term impact that we can support by being in the community on a sustained basis.

Stephen Bramwell: These are, you know, oftentimes local problems and most intractable problems that we deal with in society are not solved quickly, right? So it really takes that sustained effort over a long time to truly have to truly have impact. And next slide.

Stephen Bramwell: And potential to collaborate on funding. So the extent to which, different Extension programs are securing small or large amounts of funding, it really varies. But, you know, we’re all very active. Extension’s, I think has been I think, Dr. Powers called it punching above our weight. I think we do. And so I know that within my county and surrounding counties and people I know that we have a lot of ongoing projects that are pretty attractive to funders.

Stephen Bramwell: And so in some instances, you can tie in to that. You know, you don’t always have to tie Extension into your funding. If there’s projects out there that you’re interested in, you know, I for one, know that I’m always looking for to fill gaps in capacity to execute a project, whether it’s an evaluation specialist or some, some, some field of study that I don’t have access to or have a person for, there’s opportunity there to tie in.

Stephen Bramwell: So, this is a photograph just of a Department of Defense funding line. there’s interesting collaborations out in communities where I am. Joint Base Lewis-McChord is directly to the north of us, and they are very active and funding projects that I work on and other people I know work on. So, you know, deep pockets, important projects, a lot of relevancy and maybe, maybe one of you or somebody else wants to get involved in that kind of work.

Stephen Bramwell: So that particular work has to do with habitat enhancement on farm ground to ensure long term, you know, continuation of base operations, just like really interesting different things you might not have thought of. And I know this is just one example of a lot that other of my colleagues are involved in, but I just put a list there, everything from county RFPs, to NIFA grants, and WSDA.

Stephen Bramwell: You know, we’re involved in, in funding acquisitions and may have, you know, space to work with you in the program and need to work with you on something if you’re available. And I just put this kind of tagline, “Locally-connected: more persuasive.” When you are tying into local need, we can all write proposals that are really persuasive.

Stephen Bramwell: So, you know, please take advantage of that if you can. And last slide for me, I put this picture up just one, because I love this project of working with elementary school children on ag related projects. but there’s just a lot of opportunity for creative, multidisciplinary work. So, this happens to be a project that I’m actually working with folks in the crop and social sciences department on.

Stephen Bramwell: we’re looking at developing markets for small scale grain production in Western Washington. And there’s nutritional elements to this. We’re collaborating with Snap-Ed. We could easily work with somebody, faculty based within nutrition or food science on projects like this. we’re working with county based, agricultural faculty on this project. and so there’s just a lot of opportunity.

Stephen Bramwell: This one crosses boundaries from youth nutrition, equitable food access. This is taking place at a racially diverse, low income elementary school, working on organic agricultural systems and local grain farming. So just put this up to illustrate the types of projects that we do work on. Oftentimes have these opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration. And there may be a branch within a project that that could be built out further based on the expertise of a county based faculty that wants to get involved in a in a project that catches your eye, so to speak.

Stephen Bramwell: and I think I’ll leave it at that. So I might have gone a minute or two over. Sorry about that.

Debra Hansen: Nope. You’re just fine, Steven, we are all right, spot on the money on time. I wanted to include this slide that has all of our contact information. If something that we said, sounded interesting to you, or you had a question about it that you wanted to follow up with us. These are all of our emails, plus another listing of this Extension website.

Debra Hansen: But wait, there’s more. I forgot to even mention that there are so many other places that Extension faculty and staff work and do their, good work at, we’ve got a Metropolitan Center for Applied Research. If you’re in the urban areas, we have a Ruckleshaus Policy… Public Policy Center. We have the Center for Sustainable Agriculture. I can’t even list and name all of the centers.

Debra Hansen: I was going to put it up on a slide and it was just too many. So make sure you also look at, the Extension website for centers that might have very focused areas that you want to engage with. There’s… I say that there’s a parlor game you could play that if you named an issue,

Debra Hansen: I could find an Extension program that’s going to help solve that. So think of us in terms of being creative. If we’re not working on it now, we might be able to help you, craft a, an idea about it. Or we could also say, yeah, that’s going to work in my county, but but not now, or it’s going to not work in my county,

Debra Hansen: But I know another county neighbor to me that might be working on it. So encourage you to be creative. one of my and pieces of advice that I give people is the second you think about working in Stevens County or working on broadband, it crosses your head. Give me a call and I’ll say, yep, that’s going to work.

Debra Hansen: Or yes, I’d love to engage or yes, we can work together. we are here to to co-work together to solve some of these problems. You’ll have a different set of resources and capacity than me, and I would love to engage with you. So now we have time for questions and answers. Your questions, maybe our answers. So, anybody have anything that they thought of or wanted to, ask or a comment from other Extension colleagues?

Debra Hansen: These are just five people who work in Extension. We have 263, did you say Dan. Oh, and that doesn’t even count the other centers! So hit us with your questions.

Lisa Friend: Hey Deb, this is Lisa at Mt. Vernon. I’ve heard you guys talk a lot about collaboration, and I’d love to hear more about how you’re collaborating with the Native American tribes outside of the Colville Reservation.

Debra Hansen: Oh, okay. Well, I, live in Steve… I’ll answer quickly, Dan. And then, Dan has something. I live in Stevens County, and the Spokane Tribe is in our neighbors in our county, and I work with them on broadband.

Debra Hansen: We have a broadband action team that they’ve been a part of since we established it in 2016. And, they have learned from us on how to tap into resources. And I’ve heard them say out loud that they are the going to be one of the most wired tribes in the state because of engaging with our broadband action team.

Debra Hansen: So I didn’t do the work for them. I helped them meet other people and and think about how to solve problems and engage. So, out of that has come, some digital equity kind of work on how to work with their businesses for doing websites. We’re doing a project with them on that. So thinking about what matters to them and what kind of resources I have to help them with our or how I engage with them. Dan, you had a thought?

Dan Teuteberg: Yep. In Grays Harbor, we partner with our two tribes very well. The Chehalis Tribe as well as the the Quinault Nation. We are on a grant together. The three of us got a Digital Navigator grant to bring in a full time staff member for three years teaching digital literacy to adults. That also provides technology of $60,000 per year, per entity.

Dan Teuteberg: So we’re able to give out technology tools as well. And we also provide basic Extension education programs like Walk with Ease, nutrition classes, things like that to our partners with their own members. So, it’s a very strong partnership that we have. And then in in Mason County, we partner with our Squaxin Island Tribe quite a bit with robotics for 4-H programing efforts.

Dan Teuteberg: So, it really depends on who is around at the time and what that partnership looks like. But it is it is truly that a partnership of what the needs are.

Lisa Friend: Thanks. Thank you very much.

Debra Hansen: And Linda McClean is on the call. She could talk to about the Colville Reservation Program and federally recognized Tribal Extension.

Linda McLean: Thanks, Debra. Yes. Colville Reservation–WSU Extension is the only MOU funded unit within the WSU Land-Grant University system. You saw Debra mentioned on the map earlier that there are, 39 County Extension programs and one Tribal Extension program, which means we are actually on par with our county counterparts. So whereas County Extension has an agreement with their county commissioners and county government, WSU has an agreement with the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Business Council here to provide funding and agreements for this office. So we do things like 4-H Positive Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and usually Family and Consumer Science Education.

Linda McLean: Basically everything else that all Extension programs do and we work. I really liked what I think it was, Dan said, or, Steven, you work with your community, and that’s something to really keep in mind, especially when you’re working with underserved audiences or any diverse audience is: work with them. Don’t be like another government entity that comes in and tells people, “oh, we’re here to do this, and we’re going to do this for you.” Because a lot of times they might not even want the services or need them.

Linda McLean: So like here on Colville Reservation, they have a very outstanding, well educated group of people that work for our Fish and Wildlife Department. And so they can teach classes on fish management and wildlife management. But the one thing I would suggest when wanting to work with Tribes is reach out to your first of all, reach out to your local Extension program that might be near that Tribe.

Linda McLean: There are 29 federally-recognized Tribes within Washington state alone, and so there we are all over the, Washington state. So an Extension program does serve the Reservation or Tribe nearest them. Reach out to them first and let them know that you’re wanting to work with them. And if they’re not in an actual collaborative workshop or relationship with them, then reach out to Zoe Higheagle Strong there at the Provost office, because there is a policy that she developed about when university folks want to reach out to tribes, they need to really make some attempts to talk to Zoe and find out if there’s somebody already doing that work in the Tribal Reservation, and then she can also help guide you to where you need to go.

Linda McLean: But don’t be afraid. And don’t be discouraged because it does… People are a little bit off-standish when it comes to people coming on to reservations and working with Tribes, because just a past history of people dropping the ball, coming in, doing one program just to check a box and then leaving and not continuing on or sustaining it in any way.

Linda McLean: So don’t get discouraged. Just keep reaching out to your Extension personnel. Thanks.

Lisa Friend: That was very helpful. Thank you.

Debra Hansen: Thank you very much, Linda. Yeah, thanks for mentioning the Executive Policy 41. I know that Zoe Higheagle Strong did two workshops on it. It’s very, very good to, tap into her right away so that you can again, if it flits across your brain, start reaching out to the people that can help you navigate this and and build these collaborations and deep partnerships.

Debra Hansen: And, Margaret, you have your hand up. We have a question or a comment, either one,

Margaret Viebrook: A comment. You asked a little bit about working with reservations and, I’ve worked mostly with the Colville, but down in Dan’s area and a couple other areas where they have casinos and food workers. And because reservations are a sovereign nation, the health department cannot go on to the reservation to do inspections.

Margaret Viebrook: And they need food safety training. And so I do teach, the ServSafe Training that gives them the certified Food Protection Manager requirement that that the state has for all food establishments. And, I’ve, I’ve developed a good rapport with the casinos in our area. I’ve taught that that class for a long, long time. And so but the one thing I want to mention is it’s just some protocol that I’ve tried to follow, is, is letting Linda and, any of the other Reservations or, or Kayla know when I’m going on to the reservation and teaching something.

Margaret Viebrook: I let them know the dates and when I’m going to be there. So that if somebody calls and they’re saying, “oh, I didn’t know a thing about that.” You know, I just think that it’s a professional courtesy to let somebody know when you’re coming into your, their area or you’ve been invited into their area so they know exactly what you’re doing doing there, and either they collaborate or they just mark it down that you’re doing something for them. So that was my two-cent’s worth.

Debra Hansen: Yeah. Thanks, Margaret. I appreciate that thought about contacting the county directors. And there’s a couple of reasons. Because county work in these hard, difficult subjects don’t don’t end on a dime and they don’t start on a dime. Right. And there’s going to be problems, I think, Elizabeth said. There’s going to be times that you have to, you know, pivot and readjust.

Debra Hansen: If we know about it. I might not be involved in your program, but I’ve I’ve told my county commissioners that you’re there. If there is a sticky problem, then we can help solve it together, right? Because I know about it. He knows about it. then there’s a kind of a. Yeah, we’re we’re going to make mistakes, own up to it if it happens.

Debra Hansen: But it it kind of it creates this teamwork approach. Even though I am never going to I’ll just say it. I’ll never do anything with agriculture because I’m not an ag person. But if you’re going to come and do something in Stevens County, I’d love to help you bridge that with my other faculty and staff and partners.

Margaret Viebrook: And a lot of times I just hate to be the last to know that you’ve been there. Yeah, somebody has been there and they say, “oh, there’s a great something I went to.” “Oh, geez. You know, I never even heard they were coming, you know?” So sometimes people forget about professional courtesies,

Debra Hansen: Well I’ve dished out that advice and still made that mistake. So we all it all happens. Okay. How about somebody else with a comment or a question or an idea for collaboration that we can talk to?

Debra Hansen: Well, this is a lot to consume, mostly because you’re probably sitting in your office at your desk thinking about your work and your programs. Reach out to any of us that were presented today or go to the website. If I’m not involved in it, I’ll probably know who… someone who is. So even if you just email us and say, “boy, I’m doing this project in this area, who would I talk to first or best,” we’re here to help you get, connected to our colleagues and do good work for the state of Washington.