WSU V&E Research Featured in Weekly Radio Broadcast

You can now hear weekly updates on WSU grape and wine research with the WAVE Minute. WAVE (Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology) is a informative seminar series from the Washington Wine Commission that brings industry funded research updates directly to end users.

The WAVE Minute radio series further extends this information to broader audience through weekly updates directly from WSU researchers and contributors. “WAVE Minute has been so well received that we now plan to continue the series for another year, said Melissa Hansen, research program coordinator for the Washington Wine Commission.

Sponsored by the Washington State Wine Commission and produced by the Washington Ag Network, the three minute segments air Thursdays at 5:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. on 610 KONA and 560 KPQ. Weekly segments can also be accessed online.

V&E Student and Newman Civic Fellow Attends National Conference

WSU V&E senior, Connor Eck on his first trip to Boston for the Newman Civic Fellows National Conference.

WSU V&E senior, Connor Eck traveled to Boston Nov. 17-18 for the Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows National Conference.

Originally from Del Mar, Calif., Eck was named a national Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact last spring.  Campus Compact is a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purpose of higher education.  The fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions to challenges facing communities throughout the country.

As a student winemaker in WSU’s Blended Learning program, Eck developed leadership skills and gained hands-on experience working with local growers and winemakers to create a series of student-made wines.  He has used his education and these connections to further his interest and experience in environmentally friendly winemaking practices.

The one-year fellowship provides students with virtual learning, networking and leadership opportunities to teach students leadership and how to bring communities together for positive change.

At the National Conference, Eck participated in a small group activities, workshops and a networking session, attended a TEDx event and participated in the Edward M. Kennedy’s senate Immersion Module, a full-scale reproduction of the U.S. Senate Chamber that gives students first-hand experience learning about the legislative process.

A total of 273 students from across the nation were chosen for the 2017 cohort. “Meeting the other Fellow’s and learning about the work they are doing to better their communities was on of the best parts of this experience,” said Eck. “I was the only one there from an ag-related field, so that was pretty cool!”



V&E sees increase in fall enrollment

The WSU Viticulture & Enology Program increased enrollment this fall with record numbers for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Currently, 28 Master’s and PhD students are pursuing relevent research projects in viticulture and enology related fields – up 16% since Fall 2016.

V&E undergraduate enrollment is up 19% with 135 students.  Undergraduate V&E students are evenly distributed between the Pullman and the WSU Tri-Cities campuses.

Family dedicates Wine Science Center’s Chas Nagel Lab

Family members of the late Washington wine pioneer Chas Nagel helped dedicate his namesake Charles “Chas” Nagel Microbiology Lab at the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center.

The Nagel family poses in front of the Chas Nagel Microbiology Lab

The dedication, which welcomed Nagel’s wife Bea, son Rob Nagel, daughter Trish Niehl, and son-in-law Bob Niehl, was held Friday, Aug. 11, at the Richland-based center. CAHNRS Dean Ron Mittelhammer, Viticulture & Enology Director Thomas Henick-Kling and Academic Vice Chancellor Martin Klotz attended. A lunch celebrating Bea’s 89th birthday followed at Anthony’s Restaurant at Columbia Point.

Nagel, who died in 2007 at age 80, was a WSU scientist and a giant in the Washington wine industry, helping to prove that fine wine could be produced and marketed in our state.

“The science, winemaking practice, and wine tasting expertise that Chas brought to Washington helped lay the foundation for our modern wine industry,” said Henick-Kling.

Researchers and students will study the microbes that affect vines and wines in this lab, ultimately improving the Washington industry for years to come.


New V&E website launched

The WSU Viticulture & Enology Program, with the help of WSU CAHNRS Communications, launched a fully redesigned website on Aug. 19.  The former website was built around 2009 before some of the V&E Programs’ major milestones were achieved, including the establishment of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center, Blended Learning student-made wines and educational wine tours, just to name a few.

“Since 2009, our program has grown and evolved. It is exciting to be able to demonstrate the complexity of Viticulture & Enology Program and provide educational resources on this new platform,” said V&E Director Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling.

A fully redesigned V&E website launched in early Aug.

In phase one of this complex project, the existing site was redesigned and reorganized.  The new website focuses on the the V&E Programs’ three pillars: education, research and extension.  For the first time, extension and research pages have been separated to give each of these programs their own identity and space to expand as the programs grow.

In phases two, individual pages will be refined and new features will be added, including a virtual tour of the Wine Science Center and an e-commerce portal to purchase Blended Learning wines and other V&E merchandise.

The website also contains a streamlined navigation system, which will help readers quickly and easily find news, events and resources.

As web traffic continues to increases, so does the need for a responsive website that is compatible with handheld devices.  The new, mobile-friendly website makes it easy to access information on the go and adjusts to fit your mobile screen.

Visit the new site here

Field day helps preserve Washington’s ‘wood basket’

WSU Extension Forester Andy Perleberg leads the “Measuring Your Trees” class, one of a two-part session on forest inventory.
WSU Extension Forester Andy Perleberg leads the “Measuring Your Trees” class, one of a two-part session on forest inventory.


Landowners in the “wood basket” of the state learned how to protect their forests and preserve local watershed and salmon health at the recent Steve Stinson Legacy Forest Owners Field Day, held August 19 near Oakville.

Southwest Washington is the timber center of Washington state, with over one million acres of non-industrial, private forests controlled by 40,000 families. This region is also rich with all stocks and species of salmon, and is vital to Pacific Northwest salmon recovery efforts. The project is helping landowners protect and improve watershed health and productivity of both aquatic and terrestrial systems so that thriving salmon populations continue to coexist with a healthy wood products industry.

Here, the Chehalis Basin Landscape-Scale Restoration (LSR) project is being executed by WSU and partner agencies, with the purpose of significantly increasing the amount of “family forest” land being managed sustainably under written Forest Stewardship Plans.

WSU provides overall leadership in educational programs and supports technical assistance outreach provided by the Forest Stewardship Program of the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Grays Harbor Conservation District.

The Steve Stinson Legacy Field Day was held to help landowners protect and enhance soils, productivity of timber and non-timber products, fish and wildlife habitat, forest health, cultural resources, and more. Landowners had the chance to attend up to six one-hr sessions, seeking answers to questions like “Is my forest healthy? How would I know? During a timber sale, what’s my fair share? Can I log without trashing my woods? Where do I go for help?”

Two-hundred landowners seeking forest stewardship advice were able to select their learning path from the two dozen different classes being taught.

This field day is one of several offered throughout the summer in both eastern and western Washington. Each field day helps to convey both locally relevant and emerging issue information, along with more fundamental and technical “here’s how to” instructions. The field days serve to unite landowners with products and services that help them achieve their forest management needs.

Field days and other WSU Extension Forestry endeavors are funded by a variety of sources, including county support, state and federal partners, and the Renewable Resources Extension Act, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

• Read more about the Stinson field day in the Centralia Chronicle.

• WSU Extension Forestry events are posted at Upcoming events include invasive weed and red alder workshops in Arlington, a coached planning class series in Sedro Wooley, and a succession planning workshop in Ilwaco.

SDC students explore sustainable development on Jordan trip

Interior Design students explore the ancient site of Petra during a July 2017 study trip.
Interior Design students explore the ancient site of Petra during a July 2017 study trip.

Interior Design faculty member Genell Ebbini visited Jordan this summer with six students from the School of Design and Construction.

The trip was part of Ebbini’s summer course, offering her students a hands-on, immersive look at Jordan’s green infrastructure development and environmental policies.

SDC students are building local partnerships with the design industry, non-government community groups and government agencies at the cutting-edge of sustainable development. Experts from leading institutions such as the Ministries of Environment, Public Health and Housing, and Water and Irrigation are engaging with students in the study of regional issues that impact natural resources, availability, ecology, and socio-economic inequality in the built environment.

Students toured projects that demonstrated collaborative strategies in sustainable development while working with the Jordan Green Building Council in the development of green infrastructure guidelines and governing policies.


CAHNRS Cougs get career-ready at AFA Crop Science Institute

By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Washington State University is nestled in the rolling hills of the Palouse, an agricultural hub for the Pacific Northwest. It is the only land-grant institution in the state. Since its inception in 1890, WSU has been at the forefront of agricultural research and advances. Upon opening its doors to young, eager agriculturalists, WSU has provided unparalleled opportunities for them. In its pivotal role of fulfilling the land-grant mission of the University, CAHNRS takes pride in its agricultural programs and the students whose passions connect with the land.

Students hold up a WSU flag in in a conference room.
WSU students at the AFA Crop Science Institute this summer.

Agriculture Future of America

This July, nine CAHNRS students, graduate Brennan Hyden, graduate Tyler Baker, senior Eliana Bolt, senior Holly Lane, senior Jacklyn Bennett, junior Macy Hagler, junior Colm Allen, junior Maya Wahl, and sophomore Emma Winker, traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to attend the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Crop Science Institute. In order to expand their agricultural knowledge and network with fellow agriculture students from across the country, all nine students had to apply and be accepted. For the last several years, CAHNRS has shown tremendous support for those who have become involved in AFA by providing funding to students who wish to attend AFA events.

This year’s institute focused on the crop science industry, from plant breeding research to farming practices to marketing the products to consumers. Students not only gained insight into the ins and outs of the industry but also heard directly from companies such as Bayer Cropscience, Cotton Incorporated, and Syngenta about what they look for in employees. These conferences go beyond professional development. After each institute, students leave inspired and motivated to dive into the agricultural industry.

Wide-ranging applications

Not all of the Cougs who attended are studying Field Crop Management, specifically. In fact, most are working towards other agriculture majors. Ranging from Agriculture Food Security to Agricultural Education, all agriculture-related majors are welcome to learn and contribute to the diverse discussions that take place at AFA conferences and institutes. A senior studying Agriculture Food System Economics, Eliana Bolt, said, “Even though my degree is not specifically in crop science, I found what I learned at the crops institute to be very beneficial to my career goals. As an agriculture and food business economics major, it is important for us to know what kind of market cycles are coming for the industry and how to relate that info to producers.” The experience also translated to Colm Allen, a junior studying Agriculture Technology and Production Management. He says, “As a student of Agriculture Technology, it seemed that every aspect of the institute related to my major and professional career goals in one way or another; seeing how the pursuit of technology is the driving force behind the industry really resonated.”

Four WSU students posing together in a field
Four of the WSU students on a crop tour at the AFA Crop Science Institute in North Carolina.

Every aspect of the programs that AFA provide are excellent opportunities for students to practice real life skills and take the things that they have learned in the classroom and utilize them in pertinent conversations with agricultural professionals. Now a CAHNRS alumnus, Tyler Baker, shared his thoughts on the institute: “I was able to talk to some of the tobacco and sweet potato growers and translate labor and storage practices they were using to my career in the apple industry. It was also nice to expand on the knowledge I learned through my degree program at WSU.”

In my own words

I was one of the lucky students who attended the Crop Science Institute. Prior to arriving, I knew only a few of my fellow Cougs. But by the time the final day came, our entire group became close. This Institute was particularly unique because I learned about agriculture practices in the southern part of the United States all while getting to know my peers, classmates, and future colleagues. In addition to an invaluable learning experience, it was a bonding experience. One that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It further solidified the “family” aspect of CAHNRS, even as we were thousands of miles from the Pullman campus.

Each year CAHNRS supports dozens of students in their pursuit to be job ready, day one. Agriculture Future of America is just one example of the transformative experiences at WSU. When asked, each AFA Crop Institute delegate said they would encourage all Cougs interested in pursuing a career in agriculture to apply for an AFA conference or institute. The benefits are unparalleled, and the experience unique.

For more information about AFA, visit to see all of the institute and conference opportunities through AFA. On campus, Colette Cassavant, AFA Advisor and Academic Coordinator, can be reached at as well as Max Mielke, AFA Student Advisory Team member, at with any questions you may have regarding Agriculture Future of America.

CAHNRS Student Promotes Agriculture and Supports Her Passions

By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs

This summer there were countless CAHNRS Cougs working as interns across the state and country learning about their industry and building invaluable skills along the way to be job ready after college. Eliana Bolt, a senior studying Agriculture and Food Systems Economics, spent her summer working for Northwest Farm Credit Services as a Crop Insurance and Farm Loan Intern. Eliana has been keenly interested in the crop insurance system within the United States for some time and pursued her internship at NWFCS to learn more.

Eliana standing next to a sign for Northwest Farm Credit Services
Eliana Bolt

While primarily stationed at the Yakima branch, Eliana traveled to other state branches and visits Yakima Valley branches. She corresponded regularly with growers, reviewing their insurance policies and discussing changes as harvest approaches. Eliana learned how to prepare a line of credit for a grower and what information is required to start the lending process.

While her daily tasks took up much of her time, interns at NWFCS are also required to complete a project during their summer internship. Her project  focussed on analyzing the effects of the USDA budget propositions for the 2018 fiscal year on Yakima Valley and other Washington resident growers.

“This project is very timely, and the insurance perspective allows me to see which specific customers these budget cuts would affect,” she said.

Eliana worked in the crop insurance field before this internship as an intern with Great American Crop Insurance. That experience gifted her with a good base knowledge for what she has been doing this summer.

Internships are valuable experiences for students, allowing them to broaden their horizons, work towards their goals, and become more comfortable in their field. Eliana’s time with NWFCS gave her the opportunity to combine her hard-earned skill set in economics and analytical thinking with what she is passionate about: agriculture.

“Finding such a great fit in an internship is not something I take for granted,” she said. “I am extremely thankful to have had an internship that not only prepares me for a future career but also instills confidence in my upcoming job search.”

Career fairs are an excellent way to make connections and find internships. That’s how Eliana was able to find a job that suited her well. She attended the CAHNRS Career and Internship Networking Night last fall where she met with the NWFCS representative, interviewed, and received an internship within a week. CAHNRS provides endless opportunities to make these connections and find the perfect internship, just like Eliana was able to find a place with NWFCS.

Eliana’s favorite part of her internship was how much NWFCS values their interns.

“I’ve been told over and over again, by each person I’ve worked with in this company, that my job as an intern is simply to learn,” she said. “This culture has allowed me to use my skill set of simply being a student to take notes in every project, observe and listen, and then complete tasks myself with the guidance I’ve received.”

She is confident that the skills and knowledge she gained this summer will be applicable not only in a classroom setting, but also in her professional career.

August enrichment photos and video

At the WSU Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center, we have an enrichment program aimed at keeping our bears physically healthy and mentally stimulated. Every month, we’ll showcase the new or different activities and physical challenges our bears can tackle.

Center manager Brandon Evans Hutzenbiler prepares a large barrel with one long opening, covered by pieces of fire hose. He stuffs 15 apples into each barrel. It’s a nice snack for John and Frank, once they figure out how to get to it.

Brandon Evans Hutzenbiler stuff apples into the holes in a barrel.


Once they figure out how to get to the apples, it’s time to eat!

Brandon also prepared another enrichment item, filling a oddly shaped barrel with small treats. Here, Luna figures out that she has to tip the barrel upside down and shake out the snack.

That steady noise comes from Luna’s neighbors, Kio and Peeka, who were waiting impatiently for their enrichment items.





Another helping, please

Our WSU research grizzly bears at the WSU Research, Conservation, and Education Center know fall is rapidly approaching because they are hungry. Very, very hungry.

Hutzenbiler pours raisins into a bow, standing next to 2 buckets full of apples and another bucket full of cut up fruit.
Bear Center manager Brandon Evans Hutzenbiler prepares a few snacks for the WSU bears.

Beginning in early August, the bears go through hormonal changes triggered by fewer hours of daylight each day. Those changes tell them to start storing fat for the coming winter’s hibernation.

Staff at the center understand this cycle, so they increase the bears’ amount of food by between 30 and 50 percent. The menu of items the bears are eating will remain the same—they just get a whole lot more of it.

“Our adult males, John and Frank, will eat up to 20 apples every day this time of year,” said Brandon Evans Hutzenbiler, manager at the center. “We normally give them six to eight each day earlier in the season.”

The center staff also gives them more fish oil, which is high in lipids that store energy for the bears to burn during hibernation.

“They can drink half a liter of fish oil in 30 seconds,” Hutzenbiler said. “That’s about 4,000 calories right there.”

Frank gained 30 pounds in the first two weeks of August with the more robust diet, Hutzenbiler said.

A bear stands in a pile of tree branches and leaves looking for food.
One of the WSU bears searches through a few branches to find the hidden snacks placed by center staff.

The bears’ higher feeding rate will continue until they reach a healthy hibernation weight, which is normally accomplished by mid-to-late October. That’s when the bears’ natural cycle winds down to reduce their food intake for hibernation.

When bears eat low-energy foods like berries, they can consume a third of their body weight every day. For a 500-pound bear, that’s over 165 pounds of berries each day.

For higher-energy foods like salmon, bears max out at 15 percent of their body weight, or 70 pounds for a 500-pound bear.

Large male bears can gain 10 to 15 pounds a day as they prepare for winter. The WSU bears are on a steady diet, which will increase their weight by roughly 20 percent in preparation for hibernation.

CAHNRS Coug Interns at Private Connecticut Golf Course, Reassures His Career Choice

By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Summertime brings with it warm weather, farmers markets, harvest season, weekends spent at the lake, and relaxation. Many students at WSU take their last final of the semester and jet away for study abroad trips, family vacations, and jobs so they can make extra money for the upcoming school year. It’s a season that we eagerly await. CAHNRS students indulge in summer festivities and take time to recharge after a long school year, but they also work to better themselves through internships and job shadowing experiences.

Devin Harke sprays water from a big hose on a golf course
Devan Harke waters a tee box during his internship this summer in Connecticut.

A senior studying Turfgrass Management, Devan Harke, dedicated his summer to working as an intern at the Round Hill Club, a private golf course, in Greenwich, Connecticut. There are over 15,000 golf courses in the United States and each one needs trained professionals like Devan to maintain their grounds. Golf course management is much more intensive than one might assume, and this summer Devan works to ensure that the course is always looking its best. His responsibilities include course setup, leading small crews in tasks around the course, spraying fertilizers/pesticides on greens, and hand watering tees and fairways as needed.

Devan says that this internship is challenging him in two ways: testing his practical skills in turfgrass management and enhancing his group work skills. The beauty of internships is that you not only get to practice the things you learn from your classes but you also build valuable people skills in the process. “I have been told by supervisors here that maintaining the course is the easiest part of the job and that managing the crew, budgeting, and scheduling is the tough part.”

This is Devan’s first internship and says that the experience has been invaluable to him. “I have gained so much work experience in the short time I have been here. From managing people to preventative pest practices to managing the stress on the turf.” After spending time on this internship Devan is confident that he has made the right career choice. He hopes that the connections he is making now will lead to more opportunities down the road.

Devin Harke standing on a golf course
Devan Harke

Academic advisors are excellent resources on campus, especially when it comes to finding internships. Devan was forwarded the application to Round Hill Club via his advisor, which ultimately led to an interview and a job as an intern with the golf course. While students’ inboxes are filled with emails, it’s important to remember that opportunities may be overlooked if you don’t take care in investing the time to read them and apply to the internships announced through your email.

Devan’s favorite part of his summer job is that he gets to work outside every day and be surrounded by a sport that he loves. “Those are the two reason I decided to follow this career path, and it has proved to be a positive decision.”

Succession planning workshop for family landowners in southwest Washington

An Extension forester helps a workshop participant learn to take a reading.
An Extension Forester helps a workshop participant learn to take a field reading.

Ilwaco, Wash. – Washington State University Extension will offer the award-winning “Ties to the Land” succession planning workshop this October in Ilwaco.

Succession planning helps families maintain their ties to the land across multiple generations, builds awareness of the key challenges facing family businesses, and motivates families to address these challenges. Extension’s interactive workshop shares effective tools families can use to decide the future of their land.

Workshop participants learn about the legal and economic aspects of transferring a farm, forest or ranch from one generation to the next. Participants receive a “Ties to the Land” workbook and companion DVD, tools designed to help families to continue to improve and direct communication and planning at home.

The workshop will be offered 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m Saturday, October 21, at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, 115 Lake St, Ilwaco, WA. Registration for the workshop is $50 per family or ownership, and includes one workbook, a DVD, and refreshments. A catered lunch may be purchased at least one week in advance for $10 per person. Any attendee who may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact WSU to discuss specific needs at (509) 667-6540.

Enrollment is limited to 30 families. For more information, contact Andy Perleberg, (509) 667-6540, To view all upcoming events, visit