ALBANY, Ore. - The Oregon State University Extension Service in Linn County will hold an open house on Oct. 18 that will feature prizes, short workshops, a plant diagnostic booth and a composting demonstration using worms.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 104 Fourth Ave. S.W. in the Old Armory Building in downtown Albany.

Staff will be on hand to answer questions and describe how the office has been helping residents of Linn County for the past 97 years. Last year, more than 20,000 Linn County residents used the Extension Service, and one out of five households in the county participated in Extension programs, said staff chair Dan McGrath.

Extension trains more than 200 adult volunteers each year to work with thousands of Linn County youths in 4-H clubs and after-school programs and help them be successful in school and life, McGrath said. Extension also helps hundreds of farmers, ranchers and foresters in the county learn new techniques, become more profitable and manage resources wisely. Additionally, it teaches families how to eat nutritiously and trains people to become expert gardeners. These Master Gardener volunteers answer some of the more than 3,000 questions from homeowners and gardeners that Extension in Linn County receives each year, he said.

During the open house, the public can bring in diseased or otherwise sick plants for Master Gardeners to diagnose. Master Gardener Bonnie White will demonstrate how to use red wiggler worms to turn kitchen scraps into compost. Additionally, recipes for nutritional snacks will be available, and a volunteer will show the public how to download Extension publications from the Web in lieu of stopping by the office and picking up printed copies.

Staff will give away prizes, including rubber tubs for composting with worms and a two-hour consultation with McGrath, who is an expert on vegetable crops and will visit the winner's property to offer advice on topics ranging from soil to horticulture to pest management.

More information on Extension in Linn County is at

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Dan McGrath,