Banner Image. One Hundred Years of Extension
Search Items
Back to Exhibits List

Early Coastal Outreach

In 1967, a visionary OSU Extension specialist, William Q. Wick, had an idea: Why not take the Extension model that had been so successful with agricultural interests and apply it to the similar-but-different challenges facing the people, communities, businesses, and natural resources of the Oregon Coast?  Four years later that simple idea would result in OSU’s designation as one of the first four national Sea Grant College programs in the United States.

Dan Panshin and Bob Jacobson talk to an albacore tuna fisherman
Dan Panshin and Bob Jacobson talk to an albacore tuna fisherman, 1965.

Extension had always served the coastal counties, just as it served the rest of Oregon. As early as the 1940s, Extension home economists were promoting greater consumption of seafood, and, as an agent in Tillamook during the early ‘60s, Wick himself had provided support and encouragement to the area’s developing oyster industry. But it wasn’t until his reassignment to the then-new Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport that Wick began to poke, prod and, ultimately, guide Extension’s coastal efforts in a more marine-intensive direction.

Wilbur Breese with oysters
Sea Grant researcher Wilbur Breese is checking the growth rate of cultured oyster spat. He set up a pilot oyster hatchery at Oregon State University's Marine Science Center in 1965. His investigations succeeded in unlocking mysteries of oyster reproduction and paved the way for establishment of commercial oyster seed hatcheries.