Jim Johnson, familiar long-time leader of the Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR) Extension Program retired last winter. Jim served 15 years with OSU, primarily as Associate Dean and Forestry Extension Program Leader but also led international programs and was interim Department Head for two departments in the College. Jim did a lot to strengthen the FNR program in his time with us. We wish him well in Virginia where he has moved to be close to a small flock of grandchildren.
Dr. Holly Ober has followed Jim as FNR Extension Program Leader. She started here at OSU on June 1, taking the position of Associate Dean for Science Outreach and Program Leader for Forestry and Natural Resources Extension in the College of Forestry.
Dr. Ober previously served as Associate Program Leader for the Natural Resources Extension Program in Florida. She was also a Professor and Extension Specialist. Her research there looked at the mechanisms that influence wildlife habitat selection and wildlife productivity in forests to better inform management strategies to balance multiple uses. She is a recognized expert in bat ecology. As an Extension Specialist, she taught landowners and land managers about sustainable management practices to provide habitat for wildlife while also meeting their other objectives. A familiar topic here in Oregon.
Holly is actually returning to Oregon, having received her PhD from OSU in Forest Science and Wildlife Biology in 2007. Please welcome her when you get a chance.
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.
Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension agent for Benton, Linn and Polk Counties.
The Master Woodland Manager Program is an OSU Extension learning and volunteer training program with roots in the mid-Willamette Valley. Master Woodland Managers (MWMs) are experienced woodland owners who take an advanced training to improve their own skills and knowledge of woodland management. In return for the training, each MWM commits to volunteer service to their community. Their service covers a wide range of activities, including landowner education, supporting Extension program activities and Community Science projects.
Over 35 years old and going strong, the MWM program has trained over 500 volunteers across the state. MWMs collectively contribute thousands of hours of volunteer service each year (5,276 hours reported in 2019, before COVID).
The mid-Valley has one of the stronger MWM programs in the state. The several dozen Linn, Benton and Polk County Master Woodland Managers (MWMs) have been a great asset to the local woodland community over the years. Their many contributions include hosting tours and demonstrations on their properties, making site visits to new landowners, writing news articles, supporting classes and other Extension educational programs, and providing core leadership for landowner organizations such as local chapters of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association. MWM also contribute to other natural resource organizations such as watershed councils and SWCDs as part of their volunteer service.
“Our favorite MWM volunteer activity has been one-on-one (visits) with other forest landowners. Our knowledge from the MWM training has helped us help our family, neighbors, friends and strangers with questions they have about their forests. If we don’t have an answer, we know others who can answer” say Hal & Elin, MWMs in Yamhill County.
Master Woodland Manager, like so many other Extension programs was significantly affected by COVID. We cancelled or delayed several scheduled trainings around the state. While many volunteers have remained active in leadership service, it halted many valuable and enjoyable services such as leading tours and making site visits. We hope that changes soon.
Spring 2022 MWM trainingscheduled!
After complications and delays, we have now scheduled an MWM training for this area in Spring 2022. It will be shared by Extension agents Brad Withrow-Robinson and Glenn Ahrens, so it will serve their combined 5 county area of the Willamette Valley. We are unlikely to have another training in this area for another 5 years or more.
The training will be eight Saturday sessions from April 2 to June 25, 2022. The field-oriented sessions will rotate around several counties, from Clackamas to Benton.
If you are an experienced landowner, and the MWM program sounds like something you would like to be part of, please contact me and ask for more information about the schedule, expectations and prerequisites, and application process. Brad.firstname.lastname@example.org
By Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Benton, Linn & Polk Counties
Please help welcome a new class of Master Woodland Managers. The Master Woodland Manager Class of 2014, which has 17 members from communities throughout Benton, Linn and Polk Counties, graduated in November, joining several dozen volunteers from earlier trainings, ready to put their forestland management expertise to work as volunteers in their communities along with the OSU Extension Service.
Master Woodland Managers are qualified local family woodland owners who receive specialized training from OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension to improve their abilities as land managers and as community leaders. The purpose of the Master Woodland Manager program is to provide a core of trained volunteers that help OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension serve local communities and be a resource to help inform other woodland owners on ways to take care of their land.
By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties
Typically, northwest Oregon forests are considered in terms of their high productivity, their ecological characteristics, or their contribution to the state’s economy. But how do our forests shape the rural communities they surround? And how do these communities influence the forests?
These questions have been on my mind over the past couple years, as I’ve been working with community members in Vernonia on a study of “community vitality”*. Ninety-five percent of the land surrounding Vernonia is forest, and most is privately owned. So, it would seem natural that forests and forestry are important to the local economy and culture. We wanted to dig deeper into these assumptions, so we examined existing data plus information from surveys that we conducted last summer. Continue reading →
Do you struggle with ways to engage your child, grandchild, or a young scientist friend with our local forest lands? I would like to suggest a new book, Ellie’s Log, to nurture your young scientist, and to help you both explore the mysteries in our collective backyard of Oregon’s forests. Ellie’s Log is part fictional story, part forest ecology lesson, and part field journal all set in a mature Douglas-fir forest in Oregon. Continue reading →
The annual OSU Extension/Columbia County Small Woodlands Association summer tour is coming up. This year’s tour happens on Saturday, July 28th at Rod Nastrom’s place in Warren and the program for the day is “Woodland Roads: Best Management Practices”. Two of my Forestry Extension colleagues, Paul Adams and Steve Bowers, will be joining us as instructors for the program. Paul Adams is our Extension Watershed Management Specialist and he has had a long history of working on issues related to forest roads and streams. Steve Bowers, better known to many as the “Treeman”, is our Extension Agent in Douglas County and he brings to this topic his own practical experience as a logger and woodland owner. The two of them will no doubt have plenty of valuable insight to share.
(And, here’s a link to a newly revised Extension publication on the subject of road design for small woodland properties.)
On the tour, we will look at a variety of road designs, surface types, stream crossings, and slopes, and talk about the pros and cons of each. Following the tour will be a picnic lunch graciously provided by CCSWA, and then a firewood processor demonstration in the afternoon. I hope to see many of you there. Click here for a flyer with all the details.
interactive walking tour featuring forest management, wood marketing and connecting to the consumer, monitoring forest and ecosystem changes, and more;
“Goods From the Woods” display of products that originate from family owned forests;
“Iron Builder” competition!
Thanks to support from the abovementioned sponsors and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, there’s no charge for this event (although a cash donation to cover the food is suggested). However, you mustRSVP for the cooks’ and volunteers’ sake. Since parking will be tight, you can catch a bus shuttle to the event from Forest Grove with the OSWA Annual Meeting contingent. Details on that when you RSVP (did I mention you must RSVP?).
I have been working with the Hayes family, Washington County Small Woodlands Association leaders, and folks from the Build Local Alliance to plan this event and I am really excited about it. I think it is going to be an outstanding day filled with learning for forest owners, users of wood, or those who are simply interested in learning about their local forests. Download a flyer here.