Program Area: Forestry and Natural Resources

Project County: Multnomah/Columbia

Project Leads: Amy Grotta (FNR Agent for Columbia, Washington, and Yamhill counties); Brandy Saffell (FNR Education Program Assistant, Coordinator for Oregon Forest Pest Detector program)

Brief Description: The goal of this project is to organize a series of citizen science events in Portland aimed at surveying street and park trees for the presence of the Asian gypsy moth (AGM), an unwanted invasive insect that could potentially cause great ecological and economic harm to the region’s forests. This project is housed under the Oregon Forest Pest Detector (OFPD) program (http://pestdetector.forestry.oregonstate.edu), which trains green industry professionals and volunteers (e.g. arborists, parks and recreation employees, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, etc.) how to identify and report high‐priority, invasive, forest pests. The Asian gypsy moth (AGM) is a voracious, exotic pest that has the potential to devastate urban and natural forests in Oregon. During the summer of 2015, three AGM adults were trapped in the Portland Metro area, likely introduced from ships that arrived in the Port of Portland from Eastern Asia. State and federal agencies are planning treatments to eradicate AGM from the area, and OSU Extension is working with them on outreach to help the public understand the problem and potential consequences.

The purpose of this student position is to provide assistance in developing, coordinating, and delivering four AGM egg mass survey workshops in February and March of 2016. The goal of the AGM egg mass survey is to provide a continuing education opportunity to OFPD graduates and other community stakeholders to learn how to identify and report AGM egg masses; to engage volunteers in the protection of Oregon forests by finding and eradicating AGM in its various life stages; and to foster solidarity between the affected communities, and federal and state agencies.

The workshops will be held in St Johns Park in Portland, likely on two back‐to‐back Fridays and Saturdays (e.g. February 26th & 27th, March 4th & 5th) for approximately three hours each.

The student tasks/activities will include (hours are approximate):

  • Meet with Extension faculty/staff to get oriented to the project (2 hrs + travel time)
  • Work with Extension faculty/staff to design the workshop survey protocol (5‐10 hrs)
  • Create a map of the survey area with a grid, such that each cell will be surveyed by designated workshop participant(s) (5‐10 hrs)
  • Create an online reporting form for participants to record the results of their respective surveys (5‐10 hrs)
  • Put together materials for workshops, such as field sheets, survey instructions, and maps (8 hrs)
  • Assist with workshops (10 hrs + travel/overnight‐stay)
  • Develop a final map of the areas surveyed by workshop participants (12 hrs)

Total Hours: 50‐60 hours + travel time

The student would have a chance to learn about invasive species survey, management, and education; gain experience with mapping, developing online surveys, and event organization; and work with various state, federal, local, and non‐profit agency partners (e.g. USDA‐APHIS, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Department of Agriculture, US Forest Service, Oregon Invasive Species Council, and Portland Parks and Recreation).

This position will require one day trip and two overnight trips to Portland. The rest of the tasks can be accomplished from campus (or wherever the student resides) with frequent check‐ins with the project mentor. We would prefer for the student to arrive on the Thursday before each workshop weekend to help with setup (i.e. two overnights per weekend of workshops, on Thursday and Friday nights), but we are flexible depending on the limitations of the student’s schedule.