What's happening in the forest sector?

Forester Friday: Fran Cafferata Coe

Forester Friday features an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique contribution to the forestry field. This series is meant to highlight and recognize these stories.

This week’s Forester Friday isn’t about a forester, but someone who is still important to the forest sector. Fran Cafferata Coe is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® who works with foresters. She is the owner of Cafferata Consulting, a firm that specializes in helping timber companies manage wildlife in working forests. So while Fran isn’t a forester, she still plays a vital role in forestry. 

Fran has been a wildlife biologist for 20 years now, and has owned her company for 10 years. Her daily responsibilities include writing and implementing wildlife management plans, conducting species surveys, and tracking wildlife policy in the state. In addition, she also helps foresters understand policies to ultimately protect wildlife and help keep forests healthy.

Along with her job experience, education has played an important role in Fran’s career. Fran attended Oregon State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife.

For this profile, Fran answered a series of questions about her forest story via email. Here are some of her responses. 

What is your favorite part of your job?

Besides working in the woods by myself? I love working with foresters to make a difference for wildlife while still growing trees and keeping working forests working. I also love seeing wildlife out in the woods. I’m out at night looking for owls, so I get to see all kinds of critters like bear, cougar and elk. I especially love the woods in the springtime when the red flowering currant starts to bloom. 

What drove you or why did you decide to work in your field?

I’ve always loved being in the woods. I grew up in a forestry family, which definitely influenced my decision to become a wildlife biologist. I feel strongly that working forests provide great habitat for wildlife. I’m passionate about helping foresters intentionally manage for wildlife, and I also work hard to help the public understand the value working forests provide for wildlife. 

What is something you want people to know about your job and/or the impact of your job?

All ages of forests provide homes for wildlife, and the way we manage our forests makes a difference for wildlife. All of us have a responsibility to manage for healthy forests, and that includes managing for wildlife. With fairly simple but intentional actions, we can all make a difference for wildlife. 

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon?

My heart belongs to the mountains. I love backpacking each summer with my best friends. We find a new place to go each summer.

Fran is just one of many people who help foresters protect wildlife and keep forests healthy and safe for all. 

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at [email protected] 

Forester Friday: Casey Clapp

Forester Friday features an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique contribution to the forestry field. This series is meant to highlight and recognize these stories. 

Forestry is predominantly thought of as being a profession set out in the woods, far from cities, but what about forestry in urban settings? This week’s Forester Friday highlights urban forester Casey Clapp, a development tree inspector for the city of Portland. 

Casey is responsible for reviewing and permitting street-tree work associated with housing or commercial development in Portland. Some of his daily responsibilities include assessing street trees for health and structural condition, and balancing whether they should be preserved or removed to make way for urban development. He works with public entities such as the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Bureau of Environmental Services, as well as private sector contractors and property owners, to manage removals, pruning and planting of street trees during their construction projects. He also does emergency response work when needed to help clear streets of downed limbs and trees during storms.

In addition to job experience, education has played an important role in Casey’s career. He attended Oregon State University for a bachelor’s in forest management, and continued on for a master’s in environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts. In addition, he became a certified arborist and qualified tree-risk assessor through the International Society of Arboriculture.

Close up of Casey in a forest.

For this profile, Casey answered a series of questions about his forestry story via email. Here are some of his responses.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my work is being a top resource for the city and citizens when it comes to our urban trees. Many folks in the city are concerned about the loss of urban canopy, and it’s my job to be on the front line fighting to retain and protect trees and their growing spaces within the city. It’s very satisfying to me to represent the people of the city and fight to protect a resource that is so important to everyone.   

What drove you or why did you decide to work in forestry?

My main drive was a love and passion for trees and forests. I could not learn enough about how trees functioned, both as individuals and as a forest. Ecology, biology, physiology and taxonomy – all these subjects fascinated me, and the question of how they interact drove me to continue to learn as much as I could. In traditional forestry, the objectives range from extracting forest resources to management for fuels reduction. In urban forestry, the main objective is managing urban trees for risk and for the ecosystem services they provide to the city and citizens. With my current position, I get to apply the science of trees to complex situations to make the best call for the good of the people and the tree, and this real-world problem-solving is very satisfying.

What is something you want people to know about your job and/or the impact of your job?

I want people to know that it is not simply filled with tree-huggers hoping to save every tree in the world. Trees are an extremely important component of whatever ecosystem they’re in, including the urban ecosystem. My job is to manage trees as a resource, both in an ecosystem sense and also in a cultural sense. Sometimes this means retaining a tree, and other times it means removing it and replanting a new one. The long-term impact of the work I do will hopefully be seen in 40 years when fully treed streets grace all parts of the city and help maintain it as a comfortable place to live in the face of climate uncertainty.   

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon?

My favorite outdoor activity in Oregon has got to be backpacking and camping. I love to strap everything I need onto my back and walk into the wilderness for days at a time. Oregon wildernesses are some of the most outstanding places in the nation, and hold such unique, beautiful landscapes that it’s impossible to not be stunned by them. As a fan of our forests and the plants in them, getting as far into the wilderness as possible affords me the chance to see plants and environments that one just can’t find anywhere else. My favorite place in Oregon is the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon. If you haven’t been, this area is one of most unique ecosystems in the state, and the beauty just can’t be beat.

Casey was also featured in the podcast Ologies with Alie Ward, where he talks about his passion for all things trees. Listen here

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at [email protected] 


Thankful for Oregon’s Forests

Oregon’s abundant forests provide us with many reasons to be thankful. Oregon contains nearly 30 million acres of forestland, which is almost half the state. We depend on our vast forests in many ways. Here are some of the top reasons that I am thankful for Oregon’s forests:

Oregon’s forests provide clean water

Forest soils provide natural filtration to keep streams clean and water quality high. Some 35 municipal water systems in Oregon source their drinking water from forested watersheds.   

Oregon’s forests clean our air 

Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air. In the U.S., carbon stores in forests and forest products are estimated to offset 10 to 20 percent of total fossil fuel emissions.

Oregon’s forests provide habitat to fish and wildlife

All of Oregon’s forests – whether they’re mostly new growth, old-growth or somewhere in between – provide habitat for an array of wildlife. Some species, like migrating songbirds, are dependent on young forests, while older forests are vital to species like the northern spotted owl. We also depend on our cool forest streams to provide habitat for native salmon.

Oregon’s forests provide family wage jobs 

Over 61,000 Oregonians work in the forest sector. There are a wide variety of jobs – from forestry, logging, millwork and cabinet-making to engineering, hydrology, business management and academic research. The average annual wage for forest sector jobs is $54,200, which is roughly 6% higher than the average annual wage for all Oregon employment.

Oregon’s forests provide recreation opportunities

There is an endless list of recreation opportunities in Oregon’s forests. Hiking, fishing, camping, picnicking and bird-watching are among the top recreational pursuits that Oregonians enjoy. Recreation takes place on Oregon’s 11 National Forests and six State Forests, and many private forest landowners provide access to the public for recreation.   

Oregon’s forests provide sustainable wood products

The wood that is sustainably harvested from Oregon’s forests goes into many products that we interact with every day. The home you live in, the cabinets in your kitchen, the wood in your flooring, and the table that you’ll gather around with family and friends for Thanksgiving are likely constructed with wood.  

As I reflect on Oregon’s forests, I am grateful for all the social, environmental and economic benefits that they provide.

Erin Isselmann
Executive Director


Getting students outside

Much has been written about the positive benefits of learning outside the classroom. Research has linked outdoor, experiential learning to children’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. A recent study in Frontiers in Psychology adds to the evidence. The study found that students who participated in an outdoor education program as part of their science curriculum reported significantly more intrinsic motivation to learn, and felt more competent. 

Unfortunately for many students, these outdoor experiences aren’t accessible – due simply to the high cost of bus transportation. When budgets get tight in a school district, field trip funding is often the first thing to be cut.

This inability for schools to afford busing is often all that stands in the way of more Oregon students getting outside to experience Oregon’s forests. In response, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) has long been a leader in committing funding to help schools overcome the financial hurdle of offering field trips. In a simple process, teachers apply online through our website for K-12 educators, LearnForests.org, and are approved by email for field trip funding. The district is responsible for billing OFRI after the trip has taken place. 

I’m proud to say OFRI’s bus funding program helped make it possible for 25,000 students and their 5,000 teachers and parent chaperones to take part in forestry education programs outside the classroom, in just the past year. Multiply that number by the years OFRI has provided funding, and it’s more than half a million students who have had the opportunity to get outside to learn! 

One program that leverages OFRI resources is our partnership with Oregon State ParksTicket2Ride program. When a school requests funding for a trip to a forest in an Oregon state park, the Ticket2Ride program is often available to fund it.

We’re fortunate in Oregon to have many quality outdoor forestry programs, including OFRI’s Oregon Garden Natural Resources Education Program, Forests Today and Forever in Lane County and Port Blakely’s program in Molalla, to name a few. I’m happy OFRI is able to help students participate in these and other programs – they help build a lifelong appreciation for Oregon’s forests and natural resources.

Norie Dimeo-Ediger

Director of K-12 Education 

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