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.
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:
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.
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.
Thomas Stokely is the Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Professor in Central Oregon, serving Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. His area of expertise includes forest ecology and management, forest health, wildlife habitat and biodiversity conservation.
Thomas was raised on a horse ranch in the Missouri Ozarks where he began his natural resources path, being involved in grazing management and prescribed burns, and spending much time in the woods. He went to the University of Missouri to study Environmental Science with a land management focus, where he became interested in a career in extension to help promote conservation on working lands. Thomas came to Oregon State University for a Master’s to study the relationships between forest management practices and wildlife habitat with the Betts Forest Landscape Ecology lab and in collaboration with forest industry, state and non-governmental partners. Building upon his Master’s research, he completed a PhD in the department of Forest Ecosystems and Society and recently finished a Postdoctoral Scholar position in the department. His major career goal is to work with landowners to incorporate science into collaborative forest management for promoting the resiliency of forests and the biodiversity they contain.
John Punches has been with OSU Extension Service since 1994, serving as an Extension Forester and in a variety of leadership roles. He has degrees in forestry, wood science, and forest ecosystems/tree physiology.
Jake Putney joined the OSU Extension Forestry and Natural Resources team in 2019, after completing his master’s degree in forest management. His expertise is in forest health, inventory, modeling, and silviculture.