Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension agent for Benton, Linn & Polk Counties.
The Oregon Master Woodland Manager (MWM) Program is one of the first and strongest forestry “peer to peer” learning and volunteer programs in the country. The MWM program had its start right here in Linn and Benton Counties in the early 1980s.
Don Carr, Mike Barsotti and Rick Fletcher were three new, young Foresters working for different agencies (The Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry and OSU Extension, respectively). They were meeting regularly to find ways to cooperate and better serve landowners in the area. Even working together, they recognized their limited capacity and reach as public foresters. Seeing the effectiveness of the Master Gardener program, they imagined a similar “neighbor to neighbor” program with landowners helping other landowners find information and motivation. This remains the heart of the MWM program to this day.
They launched a pilot training in 1984, with 10 participants. The power of the program was immediately clear, and they went on to develop the statewide program which today has trained over 500 men and women all across Oregon.