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
Brad Withrow-Robinson, Forestry & Natural
Resources Extension agent, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties, and Amy
Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension agent, Columbia,
Washington and Yamhill Counties.
We are excited about
recently finishing a Master Woodland Manager (MWM) training and welcoming a new
group of MWM volunteers in the mid and north Willamette Valley. The 22 local
landowners hail from Benton, Polk, Washington and Yamhill Counties, and bring a
wide range of interests, experience and skills to the program. This advanced training included eight full days
of classes and field tours, over four months, providing participants with lots
of practical information and opportunities to share and learn from classmates.
By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington and Yamhill Counties
If you’ve ever been out on a field tour with a bunch of foresters, you probably heard one of them use the term “site productivity” in describing a particular forest, or comparing two different forests. But to the person without a lot of formal forestry background, site productivity may be a vague concept at best. However, it is an underlying attribute that turns out to explain a lot of what we observe in our forests: what types of trees thrive, which seem to have problems, what amount of competition our seedlings face, and more. So let’s take a closer look at site productivity. Continue reading →
By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties
Ah, November. The wet and the darkness set in and we feel like turning on the teapot and bundling up. For woodland owners, winter lends an opportunity to catch up on indoor projects: accounting, taxes, and maybe updating or writing a management plan.
Another indoor activity that I guarantee will be more interesting than any of the above is researching and putting together a history of your woodland. It may mean digging through old family files or recording the memories of an elder relative, if your property has been in the family for a while. For those with a newer relationship to their land, it may mean a lot of online research. Either way, it can be a revealing and rewarding process; and by documenting what you learn you will gain a richer connection to your woodland and ensure this history is not lost to future generations. Continue reading →
By Brandy Saffell, Education Program Assistant, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension
Part I: Gucci and the Joriad
OSU Master Woodland Manager Marilyn Richen and her family own forest land in Columbia County. Her story about Gucci, her yellow lab, and the Joriad Truffle Hunting Competition is a modern day retelling of The Ugly Duckling.
Gucci was born into a training program for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Sadly, she could not stay in the program because of scavenging behaviors (i.e. seeking out and nabbing food). The upside of this otherwise disappointing situation was that Marilyn and her partner, Tammy Jackson, could officially adopt Gucci. They decided, though, that they desperately needed to find some sort of activity or training to help focus Gucci’s excessive energy.
This is where truffles enter the tale. Truffles are fungi that develop underground in symbiotic association with the roots of trees; they are also a culinary delicacy. Marilyn has had an interest in truffles for many years and has attended several truffle classes including those offered at Tree School and through the Oregon Woodland Cooperative. She was also aware of truffle hunting with dogs but did not have a dog to train until Gucci came along. Could truffle hunting be a way to channel Gucci’s energy into something productive? Continue reading →
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
Last week I traveled to sunny Eastern Oregon for the OSU Extension Forestry team’s annual planning meeting. To kick things off, our group spent an afternoon with Tom and Cindy Beechinor, who are active forest landowners, Master Woodland Managers, and dedicated Extension supporters in the Blue Mountains above the town of Milton-Freewater. We toured the family’s 640-acre property and learned much about how they care for their land and some of the challenges they face. Some observations: Continue reading →
By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties, and Paul Wilson & Linda Farris, Columbia County Master Woodland Managers
When Paul Wilson and Linda Farris bought their small property about 10 years ago, it was a reforestation failure. But they have succeeded in beating back immense Scotch broom and other invasives and have planted a diverse mix of trees. Not stopping there, they continue adding diversity by releasing native shrubs that don’t get in the way of their planted trees, and by planting more native shrubs and herbaceous plants to occupy gaps where the invasives used to be.
Paul and Linda propagate most of their own plants from seed and cuttings, having learned over time what methods work for different species. They shared their experience on a recent Twilight Tour, and afterwards agreed to write up and share their propagation tips (in the rest of this article). Thank you Paul and Linda. If you want to try your hand at this, fall is a good time to start.
By Paul Wilson, Columbia County Master Woodland Manager
My cats get me up every morning by 7:30. They get fed. I check the rain gauge.
Then I record the amount and other observations on a website. After more than a year, I have a habit. It’s simple, useful, and fun.
We’re five years into reforesting a clearcut. The early spring after our first planting was unusually dry, but the effects varied a lot even on our small forest. Clatskanie averages almost five feet of rain a year. Even so, we lost a lot of site-adapted seedlings because they dried out – in February and March. Soil differences played a role. But where we were able to irrigate a bit the trees thrived.
Last fall we saw a blurb in the paper about the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network. When we checked out the CoCoRaHS website there was only one regularly reporting volunteer in Columbia County. There are official weather stations around – the City of Clatskanie, the Kelso airport, and others, but none seemed to describe what happens right here. Continue reading →