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Land Steward Online Course

This expert-led course is well-suited for busy adults who enjoy online learning but also want to see stewardship in action and includes self-paced online lessons, and live Zoom sessions where you can interact directly with local experts.

Land Steward Course Overview

The Oregon State University Extension Land Steward course is designed for owners of woodlands, small farms, pasture or other rural land who want to manage their property's natural resources more effectively.

This research-based, professionally developed course will cover topics on:

  • wildfire risk reduction
  • forest & woodland management
  • encouraging and controlling wildlife
  • stream ecology
  • pasture management
  • growing healthy soils
  • rural water system infrastructure
  • rural economics and enterprise
  • stewardship planning & more!

The course includes a series of nine self-paced online lessons, plus three virtual classes where you will meet at the same time, utilizing video conferencing.

Throughout the course, you can expect to spend up to two hours per week on each self-paced online lesson and related activities. You will also complete a series of resource assessments to get to know your property better and develop a management plan for your property using our landowner-friendly template.

Spring 2024 Hybrid Schedule

The course begins the third week of April with an introductory class.

  • Columbia Gorge Participants: April 24 at Hood River Extension Office
  • Jackson County Participants: April 25 at Jackson Extension Office
  • Remote Participants: April 26 online via Zoom

Week 1 April 25 – May 1 | Management Planning
Week 2 May 2 – 8 | Woodlands & Forests 
Week 3 May 9 – May 15 | Wildfire Preparedness
Week 4 May 16 – 22 | Wildlife Habitat
Week 5 May 23 – 29 | Streams & Riparian Areas
Week 6 May 30 – June 5 | Soils
Week 7 June 6 – 12 | Pasture Management
Week 8 June 13 – 19 | Rural Water Systems
Week 9 June 20 – 26 | Economic & Enterprise
Management Plans Due – June 27
Course Ends – June 30 

Optional Field Days in Jackson County (online course price + $25)

  • Wildland Natural Resources – June 1 from 9 – 4 p.m.
  • Agricultural Resources – June 22 from 9 – 4 p.m.

Optional Field Days in Columbia Gorge  (online course price + $25)

  • Wildland Natural Resources – June 8 from 9 – 4 p.m.
  • Agricultural Resources – June 22 from 9 – 4 p.m.

Field Day spaces are limited. To reserve your spot, please select the online course plus the field day option during registration. You cannot add the field day option after course registration

Land Steward Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be able to:
  • Describe basic stewardship practices for woodlands, wildlife, soils, pastures, water resources, streams and riparian areas.

  • Conduct an assessment for each of these resources to identify potential resource concerns, desirable healthy conditions and potential follow-up actions.

  • Create a management plan for your property to help you meet your goals and improve resource stewardship
Third week of April – June 30, 2024

Online with options for onsite learning in Jackson County and Columbia Gorge
Online and Onsite
price (2)

Second person stewarding the same land may use code LSPARTNER25 for $25 discount.
Additional Information:
View Course Syllabus

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Glenn Ahrens

Glenn Ahrens is Extension Forester, Oregon State University Extension Service, Clackamas, Marion, and Hood River Counties. Since 2001, his mission for OSU Extension is to improve our knowledge of forest resources and options for sustaining and expanding benefits from forests. He provides educational assistance for landowners, professionals, youth, and the general public. Glenn has a B.S. in Forestry from Humboldt State University (1982) and an M.S. in Forest Science from Oregon State University (1990). In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, hiking, woodworking, gardening, and playing the harmonica. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/people/glenn-ahrens 

Rachel Werling

Rachel Werling is the faculty coordinator for the OSU Land Steward Progam and has been with OSU Extension since 2011. She oversees the Land Steward field training, volunteers and mentors, community education classes, and Living on Your Land conference.  Rachel developed this course with the assistance of a Land Steward advisory committee of volunteers and partners.  The Land Steward Program works with a diverse set of community partners working to support land stewards to achieve their management goals.

Rachel grew up in Minnesota on a family dairy farm. After studying environmental biology and botany at Humboldt State University, in California, she served as a forestry volunteer in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. She lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for twelve years where she stewarded three acres of land, ran a family business, and raised two daughters. Through Arizona State University, Rachel completed her Master’s degree in botany while in Oaxaca. Her thesis is an illustrated flora of native trees and shrubs. Prior to the Land Stewards, Rachel worked for OSU Extension coordinating a watershed education program. She has been teaching natural resource education in Oregon since 2008. Since moving to Oregon, Rachel has walked many wild miles of land as a professional field biologist performing inventories and assessments for plants, birds and mammals in the Pacific Northwest. She is chair of the Native Plant Society of Oregon’s Siskiyou Chapter.  In her free time, you'll find her outdoors when possible, hiking, camping, canoeing, x-c skiing, and always keeping an eye on what the plants, birds, land stewards and other creatures are up to.


Ann Harris

OSU Open Campus Education Coordinator

- https://extension.oregonstate.edu/people/ann-harris

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith is the Program Assistant for the OSU Land Steward Program. She just joined the team this winter and is starting out assisting with mentor visit communication for the in-person Land Steward Course and coordinating the Land Steward Hybrid Online Course launching Spring 2024.

 Nicole completed her Bachelors in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity and minor in Education at University of California, Davis before diving head first into the world out Outdoor Education for the next 10+ years. She completed her Master’s of Science in Environmental Education with a certificate in Nonprofit Management at Southern Oregon University where she fell in love with the Rogue Valley. After graduation Nicole was honored to receive her dream job as an Educational Park Ranger in Yosemite National Park where she spent the summer living under granite rock faces and fire adapted ecosystems. She moved on to teach alongside 60+ educational volunteers whom she managed at a Farm and Wilderness Preserve in California for the next 4 years. Nicole and her colleagues produced a series of 30 educational videos and accompanying learning guides, free to teachers, bringing the wilderness and farm into the classroom when her role as an outdoor educator turned virtual during the pandemic.

 Returning to the Rogue Valley to lay down roots she focused on the smallest learners post-pandemic, starting an fully licensed outdoor preschool she successfully ran out of her home with a generous grant award. After closing the program, Nicole has focused on connecting with her community through volunteer commitments, such as mentoring with the Jackson County Master Gardeners program and joining the Board of Directors of a newly formed nonprofit in Rogue River, The Wards Creek Restoration Project. In her free time, she manages her own little homestead in Rogue River with 19 chickens and 6 ducks, a garden and orchard, and arriving early July her and her husband are expecting the first addition to their family, a daughter.

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.