WSU Extension is Kitsap’s hidden gem

Washington State University’s Kitsap Extension is one of Kitsap’s best-kept secrets. Right here in Kitsap County there is a wealth of research-based and extremely useful information from both Washington State University and University of Washington just waiting to be tapped with residents of Kitsap County.

One way to access this abundant information on just about any topic is to check out our WSU Extension Kitsap Web site at You can also talk to us in person by visiting the Extension Office in the Norm Dicks Government Center in downtown Bremerton at 345 6th St., Suite 550 or by calling (360) 337-7157. Our office also includes the Kitsap County Noxious Weed Program and University of Washington Sea Grant.

Each staff member has his or her own specialty: Director Arno Bergstrom — forestry, sustainable agriculture, watershed stewardship, community and economic development; Rene Overath — human growth, learning and development and family support and education; Charlotte Garrido — baccalaureate programs; Kelly Fisk — 4H and youth development; Gayle Alleman — Food $ense Program, Barbara Gross — clothing and textile advisor program; Dana Coggon — Kitsap County Noxious Weed Program; Jeff Adams — University of Washington SeaGrant and water quality; and myself — horticulture, community and organic gardening and volunteers in these programs: Master Gardeners, shoreline stewards, native plant advisors, beach naturalists.

Last but not least, because most of us are often out in the field at events, meetings, consultations and teaching classes, we have two incredible admin assistants. Vicki Avery is in charge of just about everything and Rhiannon Fernandez is our Web site and marketing guru. She also helps us understand our office computers’ abilities.

Our office is often full of volunteers. Several days a week year in and year out you’ll find one or more Master Gardeners in the office staffing the MG Hotline at (360) 337-7158 and solving gardening problems brought in to the office. We have a microscope in the office that we can link up to an Internet system, Digital Distance Diagnostic Imaging, to send digital images all over the United States to receive a diagnosis on what the insect is or what the plant problem is. Usually, though, most of the insects and plant problems can be diagnosed in a few minutes right in our office. We’re also able to send specimens directly to Puyallup when we can’t diagnose the problem.

This month, one of Kitsap’s renowned marine scientists, Nancy Sefton, has begun writing a column about our area of Puget Sound. It’s called “Life on the Edge.” Each month she’ll cover a new shoreline or marine life topic. You’ll want to check it out right away. Go to and click on the icon on the right: “Life on the Edge.” You’ll be glad you did.

We have such a wealth of life amenities and opportunities here in Kitsap County. Nearly every day as we work and play we can see farmland, forests, shorelines and amazing beauty everywhere. WSU Extension and UW SeaGrant have been helping citizens find information on these and other topics for many decades. We want to be a resource for you. Check us out!

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