Spring blooms

Three stand in a group, talking. A sign with information about WSU Extension Master Gardeners is in the background.
A number of former and current faculty were present at Saturday’s master gardener 50th birthday celebration, in addition to dozens of volunteers and a few elected officials.

Success is blooming this April. As of last week, we have 337 CAHNRS students who have applied for graduation. Of those students, 146 have a cumulative GPA of ≥ 3.5! I want to send a huge “thank you” to the advisors, instructors, and faculty who helped these students achieve this success. We also just learned that Washington State University has been ranked No. 4 for the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Economics by University HQ. Congratulations to the School of Economic Sciences!

Our programs share in the April successes. The Forest Stewardship Coached Planning Course, which represents a long-standing and highly productive partnership between WSU Extension and the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), had record attendance this year. Congratulations to Kevin Zobrist and Grace Garrison for a successful event and partnership with Washington DNR!

In addition to the CAHNRS faculty and staff recognized this week at the awards ceremony, congratulations are in order for Paul Kuber, who was recently appointed to the USDA National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection! These committee seats are competitive. I am so pleased that Washington is well represented on this important committee!

I met with a team of faculty this week who are thinking forward about the future needs of the dairy industry from the lens of research, Extension, and training programs. The team’s focus is on a sustainable vision with components that could be adopted in whole or in part by any given dairy farm. What excited me about the concept is that many of the components have application beyond the dairy industry. Assembling the concept was a multidisciplinary effort that offers research, teaching, and Extension opportunities across many departments that benefit numerous stakeholder groups. While the concept is far from reality now, imagine if we could build the dream and implement the innovative programs that served as the driver behind the vision!

Saturday’s master gardener 50th birthday celebration at the Puyallup Research and Extension Center was standing room only to recognize an educational program that helps reduce food insecurity, minimizes gardening inputs like water and pesticides, promotes healthy bee habitats, gets people outdoors and active, and supports commercial agriculture of all sizes. A number of former and current faculty were present, in addition to dozens of volunteers and a few elected officials.

After a few years of not seeing each other in the hallways or at events, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to connect in person again. We have new students and employees who may still know us just through Zoom. I encourage everyone to participate in meetings and events in person, masked or unmasked, based on your comfort level. Much is missed when we only connect by screen.

Please remember CougsGive on Wednesday, April 12!