Tuesday morning and we’re off early to meet up with Fitz and head out south of the Sunriver area to a couple of sites. First stop is a regeneration stand, actually two of them that are part of a study on small gap reforestation in the Ponderosa pine area.

A whole new ballgame and things to consider. Students got to examine different site prep strategies and differences in how natural regeneration interacts with planted seedlings from a management perspective. The concept of “free to grow” took on a whole new meaning with typical student stocking surveys showing a fairly consistent 100-120 trees per acre but with the addition of naturals the stands moved beyond 250


IMG_0245        Students had new critters to deal with that just love to chew on little seedlings. At one point a cute lil’ bunny ran through the unit spawning a whole round of Monty Python jokes. Found the remnants of a couple seedlings later that had been sheared off by those cute lil’ teeth!

IMG_0246  It may not look like much, but there’s about 15 seedlings hiding in there

IMG_0247   All types of new shrub competition to learn. A lot of bitterbrush and manzanita in this area. We had about a good couple hours of rain before and during and while we were soaked, our soil pits in the regeneration area showed that all that precipitation had barely reached the upper few millimeters of the soil. It was a great segue to all the earlier talk on precipitation as a limiting factor on the East Side

On to the next area just down the road and into a thinning study that is part of a long term effort to build old-growth structure in the pine forests. Steve started off the discussion explaining concepts of  canopy structure and demonstrating characteristics of dominant, co-dominant, intermediates, and suppressed trees in the stand. Students examined different crown types and compared them with cores to see the changes in growth rates within the various crown classes



Students then did a thinning cruise and characterized crown classes for all trees in their plots as Steve and I visted with the groups asking them about their calls

A long day and a lot of information to dwell on. And a pretty hungry group. Tonight’s menu is spaghetti, sausages, salad, and garlic bread.



After dinner a quick trip to the main lodge where my senses tell me that the staff has put out a fresh batch of cookies


Tomorrow we’re off to the Gilchrist area for a trip to a mature stand being managed for the end result of the thinning stand we looked at today

Monday morning and time to get ready. Breakfast for 16 is on the stove and our first of several visitors has arrived and headed straight for the coffee pot. Steve Fitzgerald (Fitz) has joined us for the week. Steve is on the Faculty and is also the extension forester for the East Side. We are pretty lucky to have him with us this week and he has some great things in store for us. About 30 minutes behind Steve, Jeff Hatten and his Grad student Adian have arrived for a day visit and talk on forest soils on the East Side. Steve gave a everyone a fireside briefing and introduction to the East Side and it’s time to load up and head down the road.

First stop is Steve and field introduction to forest and understory vegetation on the East Side. Lot of new conifer and understory vegetation to learn. For most of the students, this is the first time away from the West Side forests


Jeff and Adrian and soils work. After a brief safety meeting, we are off to dig soil pits. Jeff gives us all a brief overview on soils for those who forgot their basic soils verbiage and then a discussion on the volcanic influence to the soils on the East Side. Time to pick up shovels and dig

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Students are trying to get down deep enough to find the layers of ash from the Mazama eruption. Hmmmm it seems we have several other layers of ash from some more recent eruptions of just a few thousand years back. Very interesting to see a basic history map unfold in the soil layers


Great day of soils work and a big thanks to Jeff and Adrian as we bid them goodbye in the late afternoon and head down the road to a quick visit and discussion with Fitz on fire history in the area and the influence of fire as a management tool on the East Side.

Since we are close by we head over over for a quick visit to the head of the Metolius River, gorgeous setting and we have a brief talk on the origin of the river and it’s sudden appearance from underground at the headwaters.  Wow, we haven’t done a group shot yet. Good looking group!


Almost forgot, we have to get back because one group still has work to do. The students have been divided into 4 groups and each group will be making dinner one night for the whole team. Jessie and his group are up first and the menu is barbecue steak and grilled asparagus with mushrooms!

Sunday morning and we are all packed and ready to head over to the East Side for the second week. We met up with Arne for one more time to drive over to the Sno-Tel site located at the top of the pass at the ODOT transportation rock yard. Got to the site and waited for Arne. And waited. Meanwhile, Arne is at the “Other” Sno-Tel site waiting for us…and waiting. Who would eer think to put two similar facilities within a few miles of each other. OK, no big deal, we finally all got together and Arne went through a discussion of the Sno-Tel monitoring site and the changes in precipitation as we moved from the wet west side to the dry east side. All of this as the rain moved in and winter let us in for a brief look at what was to come later.

We bid goodbye to Arne and continued east for a little bit more until we got to our home for the next week, Suttle Lake. Although I was in the pickup in the lead with Colin, we could both hear the oohs and awes from the back vans as we made the turn into the Suttle Lake Lodge area. First glimpse was the main lodge and the Lake. I know, it’s gonna be a tough week ..

IMG_0225     Then we got our cabins and the main cabin where we will have our morning meetings and evening get togethers…

IMG_0227  and inside, our meeting room  IMG_0228  Not sure how much of this “roughing it” we can all stand!

Well a bit of time off until dinner tonite so several folks went off on the 3 1/2 mile hike around the lake, others went on hikes on the Forest Service trails, and the Main Lodge had Sunday NFL on the Big Screen in the upstairs conference room. SAeveral of the students had to have their arms twisted to take part in that one!

6 PM and it was time for our briefing and work schedule for the week…. at our dinner spot… Pizza in Sisters. Poor guy was about an hour from closing up his pizza shop when 16 of us walk in. Great time had by all including the owner. Just about to leave and head back when someone mentions that nexr door is ice cream. OK, time for another meeting.

What a tough day this has been for us. Thank goodness we get back to work in the morning!

Here is one more from the brush, setting chokers with the OSU logging crew.



Hopefully I will have more pics from this week, with all the activity I haven’t been online much. We are enjoying Central Oregon and learning a lot at the same time!!!

Saturday morning breakfast in the lodge and we are joined by the Student Logging Crew and Jeff Wimer. Jeff has a unit laid out for us and is ready to show their current logging operation up the 400 road. Safety briefing and last minute prep work and we’re off.

First stop is the Triad Shovel and Koller tower site


Jeff took the wheel of the shovel and had his crew handle the on-the-ground dialog. Half the students went down to the rigging to watch and take part in choker setting and learning the talkie tooter whistle language as they readied logs to come to the landing. After the carriage came up, they were unhooked at the landing and Jeff decked the logs from the shovel. Students were invited to watch from the wheelhouse of the shovel while Jeff moved logs around.

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Afterwards, I led a brief discussion on grading and merchandising and then students switched sides and we repeated the operation again

After the logging demo, we moved on to a falling demo and high climbing demo. Time for a quick lunch and we have a second date with Arne on the other side of the forest to look at precipitation and infiltration

We met with Arne and Amy at the interface of a reforested stand and older stand. Arne explained base concepts behind infiltration and the tools used to measure infiltration rates.

Students split up in twos and went off to put in infiltration plots. Amy, Arne, and I traverses between the groups checking on progress and answering questions. Afterwards we all met to discuss findings and what the measurements meant. Arne gave a last talk on how infiltration rates affected runoff and how western forests infiltration rates exceeded precipitation rates

Back to the cabin after a week packed full and a second week to follow. First steps, prep for the drive over to the East Side Sunday Morning. More importantly, get more food to hold over the group.


So anyways, on to Marys River after our day at Honeygrove Creek. Met up with Arne, Amy, and Alex and a short hike down to the river area. Arne gave a short talk on discharge and then the group split up to measure and calculate discharge in two sections of the river under the tutelage of Amy and Alex.

Discharge measurements began with a cross-sectional tape across the river


Next Alex and Amy explained the instrumentation and the proper way to take measurements



Students then took charge and took turns taking cross-sectional discharge measurements and converting to total river discharge


After discharge measurements were recorded, Arne led a short discussion on what the numbers meant and how measurement error could influence discharge volume estimates

On now to Saturday and our final day on the West Side

Full day of water and bugs on Honeygrove creek and the Mary’s river with Arne and his crew. Students met for a morning briefing with Doug Bateman on salmonid biology and habitat and then off to the field.


Words of Water Wisdom from Arne and Doug. Final instructions before being sent off to map salmonid habitat. Each group had their own section to map after learning about different habitat mapping units; Pools, riffles and glides.

IMG_0206_1  Colin is about to discover that pool is deeper than he thought

IMG_0207_1    IMG_0208_1 Our classroom for the water day. I know, right, but someone has to do it!

About noon, we had a visit from Bill Gerth, the forest entomologist and after a brief intro on aquatic invertabrates he set the students off on a collection/identification mission. Like kids at Christmas, Bugs and toys to play with

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Up next…. Marys River to study water discharge…… I believe water is starting to discharge from the sky!

Hi all! Last week was jam packed with activities! We went to a young stand to measure board feet/acre. and made a new friend.  We did some measurements in a mature stand as well, we spent the day learning about hydrology. We took measurements of habitat types in a creek, caught invertebrates, and measured volume of water in Mary’s River. We also got to watch some logging operations. Its been busy so there hasn’t been much time to post but I will try to get some more pics on later!!20130920_140815




This day was packed full starting with sessions on volume and timber estimates for mature stands. A fair bit of classroom work on tree form/shape, understanding the volume tables, and the importance of understanding diameter measurements vs height measurements for volume. Students learned to use the Relaskop and Biltmore stick and we had a practice session outside the cabin. We took turns evaluating the trees outside for height and form, using the tarif tables to calculate estimated volumes. The big trick was learning to sight the 50% top. From there we moved rght away into a fairly nice stand of 65 year-old timber and students were tasked with computing tarif number for the stand, computing basal area with the relaskop and using their calibrated thumbs, and then back to the class for volume calculations and a quick barbecue lunch.

From there it was off to the College for an afternoon of lab work with Camille Freitag in the wood decay lab, Sara Robinson in the wood anatomy lab, and Gabriella Ritakova in the forest pathology lab. Camille introduced the groups to wood decay principles and had them perform isolation tests by sterilizing and plating wood cores. Sara had discussions with the students on aspects of wood anatomy and on her work with development of pigment dyes from fungal extracts in wood. Gabriella had her groups go through examples of wood and needle disease from insect and fungal pathogens, including sudden oak death and Swiss needle casts, two of the more pressing issues in Oregon now. A really good day and thanks to Camille and Sara and Gabriella for all their help in the afternoon labs


Hello all, my name is Autumn and I am a Forest Management student. I am a single mom of a 14 year old girl who is just starting high school. I have worked in forestry since 2002 when I started my career as a wildland firefighter for a private company that does other forestry related contracting as well. For the last 2 summers I worked as a YCC crew leader with the USFS working with teens in the woods doing all kinds of things like wildlife habitat enhancement projects, invasive plant removal, and trail maintenance.

So far every day has been packed with so much information, I have returned home tired from processing everything. It is great that we have such a small group, we all are getting to know each other while learning in a positive group setting. I really need to brush up on my statistics calculations, but each day I am excited to see what Jim has planned for us to learn.


See you all tomorrow,