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WSU Extension Celebrates 102 Years

Extending Knowledge. Changing Lives.



Community and Economic Development

SR-530 Landslide Comissions

In July 2014, Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Snohomish County Executive John Lovick appointed a joint commission to assess the response to the March 2014 SR-530 Landslide that took the lives of 43 people in the Stillaguamish Valley. The WSU/UW William D. Ruckelshaus Center (Ruckelshaus Center) and WSU Division of Governmental Studies and Services (DGSS) facilitated the commission. Based on the report, Governor Inslee included $36 million for hazard mapping and landslide mitigation measures in his budget. The governor also has set aside money for a Hazard Identification Institute, which would be a repository for geological hazard information in the state of Washington.

Agriculture and Natural Resources


Since 2012, the WSU Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Team and the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance have reached thousands of stakeholders in the western U.S. to increase knowledge and awareness of hybrid poplar production, biofuels, and bio-products. Alaska Airlines made history by flying the first commercial jet using a blend containing bio-jet fuel made from wood. The demonstration flight departed Sea-Tac Airport and landed in Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. The flight, the first commercial passenger flight of its kind, continues to advance viable alternatives to conventional fossil fuels for aviation.

Stormwater Management and Green Infrastructure

The Washington Stormwater Center at WSU Puyallup is one of the largest research and outreach installations in the nation that focuses on green infrastructure. It offers the unique capability to conduct long-term research on full-scale, replicated bioretention, rain gardens, fish tank studies, and permeable pavement facilities. Research has led to new stormwater standards that lead to safer drinking water, a cleaner Puget Sound and improved salmon habitat, and the installation of permeable surfaces to reduce runoff. The Center’s extensive outreach program provides LID certification for engineers, planners and agency personnel and online LID training modules.

Beginner Farmer Programs

Declining farm numbers and an aging farmer population highlight the urgent need to support new entry farmers in Washington State. During the three-year period from 2013 to 2015, a total of 3,120 participants attended 128 English language and multilingual beginning farmer programs at WSU. Evaluations show that 95% of the participants reported an increase in knowledge, and 23% of beginning farmers said they planned to start a farm while a significant number of established farmers plan to adopt new, sustainable farming practices due to the educational programs.

Master Gardeners Help Reduce Food Costs at A Washington Corrections Center For Women

In 2010, WSU Master Gardeners in Pierce County established vegetable gardens with incarcerated women at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. In 2015 the women inmates grew over 16,000 pounds of produce. A total of more than 72,500 pounds of produce have been used by the cafeteria since the program began, increasing the amount of fresh vegetables the women eat and reducing food costs for the center. Two former project participants started work in the horticulture industry after their release. Recent studies have shown a direct correlation between prison gardening programs and improved self-esteem, decreased effects of mental illness, among other benefits.

By The Numbers

WSU Extension is a unique educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the nation’s land-grant universities, and county governments. WSU Extension engages people, organizations and communities through programs that advance knowledge, economic well-being and quality of life. In Washington, the Smith-Lever Act has stimulated innovative research and vital educational programs for youth and adults on a wide range of topics, including agriculture, gardening, economic development, parenting, nutrition, sustainable development, sustainable energy and more. WSU Extension focuses on applied research and outreach to solve high priority problems in the region. As the front door to the University, WSU Extension provides non-credit education and degree opportunities to individuals throughout the state, empowering residents to pursue their interests, develop their talents, support their families, and improve their communities. WSU Extension has over 9,500 trained and certified volunteer educators who, in 2016, spent a total of 425,000 hours delivering research based information and programs that increase the wellbeing of Washington State residents.


Youth and Families

EFNEP Expanded Food And Nutrition Education Program

Obesity, poor nutrition, and limited physical activity are significant health concerns. Poor health disproportionately affects minority and low-income populations. Using a research-based curriculum, EFNEP para- professional nutrition educators provide nine 90-minute nutrition lessons to small groups of adults. Cost-benefit studies of EFNEP report that for every $1 spent on nutrition education, over $10 is saved in healthcare costs due to potential prevention of diet-related chronic diseases and conditions. 96% made positive changes related to nutrition behaviors, such as planning meals, choosing healthy foods, preparing food without adding salt, reading nutrition labels, and serving children breakfast; and they saved an average $55 per month on their food bill.

4-H Positive Youth Development And Mentoring

Civics in America is in decline and it’s an alarming trend among American youth. Each year since 1978, approximately 250 high school students (Grades 9-12) and 40 adult mentors participate in the Know Your Government program to introduce youth to the democratic process through a four-year program which culminates in the annual Know Your Government Conference in Olympia, Washington. Over the past five years, 89% of participating youth reported significant gains from pre- to post-program in life-skill areas and in civics such as leadership, communication, critical thinking and other important life-skills.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-ED)

Limited access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity lead to poor health outcomes among low-income individuals. The WSU SNAP-Ed program reaches seniors, families, youth, and single adults with nutrition education aimed at improving knowledge and skills as well as supporting changes to make the healthy choice the easier choice in communities. In FY2016, 446 community partners across Washington State collaborated with WSU SNAP-Ed to provide nutrition education to 104,000 individuals in 28 counties. As a result 69% of parents reported purchasing healthier snacks for their children and 72% of the parents reported eating more fruits and vegetables as a family.

Issued by Washington State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in further-ance of the Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. WSU Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, and national or ethnic origin; physical, mental, or sensory disability; marital status or sexual orientation; and status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office.