Dear Lewis County Extension followers,
As of November 1st, I have taken over for Gary Fredricks as the Director of WSU Extension in Lewis County. Since I’ve worked in Extension for some time now, some of you may know me already. For those that don’t, I wanted to introduce myself formally.
For the last three years I have worked as the WSU Extension Forester for southwest Washington counties. During that time I’ve worked to develop educational opportunities, both online and in the field, to help forest owners steward their properties and meet objectives like improving forest health, developing stewardship plans, harvesting timber, and creating wildlife habitat, among others. I’ve also focused on helping producers interested in diversifying their outputs with specialty forest products like mushrooms and maple syrup, and helping agriculture producers incorporate trees into their systems with practices like silvopasture (i.e. forest grazing). As the Director of the Lewis County Extension office, I will continue this outreach to forest and farm owners, but will also work diligently to support and strengthen other county programs like Master Gardeners, SNAP, and 4-H.
As many of you know, the Extension office is closed to the public during the COVID-19 crisis. While it will remain closed until it is safe to invite people indoors freely, please know that during this time the Extension staff has not stopped or slowed their work to support the community. If you’d like to get in touch with someone from the office, they are just a phone call or email way (find contact info at https://extension.wsu.edu/lewis/). In some circumstances, entry to the office can be available by appointment as well (for example, we are doing pressure canner testing by appointment). Opening the office is a priority for me, but the safety and health of the community members that engage with Extension is far more important.
I’m looking forward to taking on this role and meeting more Lewis County residents that depend on, or are just big fans of, WSU Extension. If you have any thoughts, concerns, or questions, please feel free to email me.
Lastly, I hope you’ll join me in thanking Gary Fredricks for the work he’s done for the last two years as director and wishing him well as he returns his focus to directing the Cowlitz County office.
Patrick Shults (he/him/his)
Director of Lewis County Extension (interim)
Washington State University
Office: (360) 740-1213
Cell: (360) 553-1116
At the request of Washington State University to encourage protection of the general public and office staff from infection of Coronavirus, the WSU Extension office in Lewis County will be closed immediately to the public until further notice. This does not mean closed for business. Faculty and staff will continue to meet clientele needs during the office closure. To protect clientele and office staff, the office closure will continue until confirmed by Public Health that the health emergency is determined to be over. Additional measures employed during the health crisis include:
- All face to face meetings will be cancelled until further notice. Meetings using remote communication options are still allowed and encouraged.
- Clientele will have the option of contacting the office administrative assistant to schedule a visit with staff or faculty. Meetings using remote communication is encouraged as a first option.
- Faculty will be responsive during business hours to e-mail and phone calls with-in 48 hours of being contacted.
- All educational meeting will be postponed until further notice. Future meeting dates will be set after the emergency is deemed over by Public Health.
- Questions to the WSU Master Gardeners and WSU Master compost Recyclers will be answered during business hours. Clientele will be encouraged to send digital pictures of their problem.
- Outside the county office, meetings of 10 or fewer people may still be held, ONLY if it is possible to maintain the CDC-recommended protocol:
- Encourage people who are sick or at risk to stay home and participate at a distance.
- Discourage physical contact and provide social distancing (6 Feet).
- Encourage hand-washing (30 seconds with soap & water) and provide hand sanitizer (60%+ Alcohol) for participants.
- Encourage participants not to touch their faces.
- Encourage coughing/sneezing into sleeves or tissues (& throw away).
- Sanitize frequently-touched surfaces before and after meetings and daily at a minimum
- Any questions concerning this plan should be directed to the WSU Extension office director.