A Master Gardener, educator and so much more! 
A team of OSU Extension Master Gardeners -- from two to 25 on any given day -- maintain the gardens at Portland's Pittock Mansion. 

CiCi Polson is a science nerd. 
At least, that's how she describes herself.
So when she put her career as a midwife nurse on hold to raise her children, Polson turned to the OSU Extension's Master Gardener program in search of an intellectual outlet that would help her nurture her passions for science, gardening and community service. 
Her mother was a Master Gardener through Washington State University. While Polson didn't cultivate her interest in the outdoors and gardening until she was in her 30s, the Master Gardener program always sat in the back of her mind.
When both of her children went off to school and Polson could swing the once-a-week, full-day classes offered each year in the spring 
to newbies, she jumped at the chance.
Polson particularly enjoyed the training classes on entomology, soil science and botany. But not everyone who enjoys the program is a science nerd like Polson. Master Gardeners learn about everything from growing fruit to attracting pollinators, so even those who barely made it through their biology and chemistry classes are able to learn through and enjoy the program. 
Now Polson volunteers with other Master Gardeners from Washington and Multnomah counties maintaining the gardens at Portland's Pittock Mansion, bringing gardening to Doernbecher Children's Hospital patients and educating children in school gardens.
Master Gardeners are responsible for mulching, weeding, pruning and planting up at the Pittock Mansion, one of the area's most scenic landmarks. Polson has even enlisted her two teenage children to help her on their days off. 
Polson's true passions lie in working with children at Doernbecher and Sunstone Montessori school in Northwest Portland, helping them explore and observe the natural world.
The Master Gardener classes for Doernbecher patients have long been established, but Polson took over the coordinator role a few years ago. Because many of Doernbecher's young patients stay long-term at the hospital, a variety of educational opportunities are offered.
"Our classes are a respite," Polson said. "They can take a break from their treatments and other classes to have fun."
Polson and fellow Master Gardener Bridget Shaw alternate teaching the every-other-week classes which focus on everything from the ever-popular bug unit to crafting terrariums to planting bulbs in pots children keep on their windowsills. She adapts the classes for ages five through 18 and to fit individual interests.
The Washington County Master Gardener Association also donated funds to Sunstone Montessori to build a learning garden. Polson uses the garden and surrounding area to teach children about plants, trees, nature and the environment.
"I love being outside and making kids aware of the natural world around them," Polson said.
One of the best things about the Master Gardener program, Polson finds, is the flexibility and variety of topics, volunteer opportunities, and scheduling. Some years, Polson volunteers less than others with the ebb and flow of life and kids. In addition, when she needs a break from one project, she can plunge into another.
"I'm really enjoying being a Master Gardener," Polson said. "I plan to stick with it."
Those interested in the trainings to become a Master Gardener offered February through March in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties can visit http://extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/metro/2017-MG-Program. Those interested in collaborating with Master Gardeners on projects in schools, communities, work places and more can visit http://extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/metro/questions.
Popeye Power Smoothie Packs Nutritional Punch
Get off on the right foot in your daily goal of consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. Blend up a cup of morning goodness with this smoothie recipe featuring spinach, yogurt, pineapple, banana and orange juice. 
Click here for the smoothie recipe and more healthy Food Hero treats and meals featuring seasonal produce and wholesome ingredients.
New gray whale license available 
A new license plate featuring gray whales will likely be available to Oregon drivers by summer 2017. Oregon State University's Marine Mammal Institute sponsored the project. The money will go toward whale research, graduate student education and public outreach.  Read more about the license plates here
Now is the time to prune grapes
Once grape vines lose their leaves, the plants fade into the background of the winter landscape. That's the time to take action and get out the clippers. 
There are two types of grape pruning -- cane pruning and spur pruning.
Learn more about pruning your backyard grapes. 
Have Questions, Comments or Suggestions?
We would love to hear what you want to see in the next issue.  Please send your thoughts to us at   vicki.campbell@oregonstate.edu.
Quick Links  

Check out Food Hero website, your go-to for quick, tasty, healthy recipes and helpful tips. Discover more about Food Hero and sign up for the Food Hero Monthly magazine.  

The Washington County OSU Extension is now a member of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce ! We're excited to begin to align and support the missions of our two organizations for mutual benefit.  This offers fantastic community visibility to thousands that would otherwise be unaware of our presence in Washington County as well as many networking, promotion and new partnership opportunities.
Scientists at Oregon State University and Oregon Health Sciences University recently published research linking aspirin consumption to a decreased cancer risk.
Please join us in welcoming a new guest faculty member, Jean Garcia-Chitwood, who will begin joining the OSU Extension Education Center some Mondays or Fridays. Jean will be integrating OSU Extension's existing programs into her Precollege Programs.  
Contact her at  541-737-6422.
Bees and other pollinators out and about during the dark days of winter look to gardeners for the nourishment that keeps them going until the more abundant seasons of the year arrive. Read more about how to feed bees in all seasons.

Logs to Lumber to Living
Thinking of building a cabin on your woodland? Whether it's a primary residence or second home, building on your woodlands consists of a number of things you need to consider. Among those are permits, material costs, design features, amenities, and access/liability. See a start-to-finish cabin project that was recently completed. Thursday, March 2, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. St. Helens.  Cost is $15/family. Register online at: http://tinyurl.co/Logs2LumberSH or call Vicki at 503-397-3462.