What's happening in the forest sector?

Forester Friday: Whitney Schimke
08.27.2019

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.

For Whitney Schimke, being in the outdoors and keeping Oregon’s forests healthy are two of her favorite parts of being a forester.

Whitney is a forester for a small family-owned timber company, Silver Butte Timber Company, which is based out of Riddle, Ore. Whitney manages 45,000 acres of timberland in Coos, Douglas and Jackson counties. Silver Butte is the timber company associated with C&D Lumber.

Whitney has many responsibilities. “Working for a small company, you get to do it all! I get to participate in all aspects of timberland management, from start to finish. I design roads and administer road construction, I participate in inventory, design harvest units and prescriptions, administer logging contracts, and I am in charge of all aspects of reforestation: from seed collection to planting, herbicide application, to thinning!”

Whitney in the forest with her dog.

Whitney has been in this position for just under five years. In addition to her experience, education played an important role in her becoming a forester. She studied forestry at Humboldt State University.

“Prior to moving to Oregon for this position, I was a reforestation forester for Roseburg Forest Products and an inventory forester for SPI in northern California. When I was in college, a mentor told me ‘To become a great forester, everyone needs to spend time cruising and in regeneration,’ and boy, was he right!”

Whitney holding a tree seedling.

For this profile, Whitney answered a series of questions through email about her forestry story. Here are some of her responses:

What is your favorite part about your job? My favorite part of the job changes with each season! In the spring, I love the satisfaction of a planting program coming to fruition; all these seedlings you have had such big hopes for are finally in the ground, and then you get the excitement of preparing a perfect herbicide prescription tailored to each unit. In the summer, I love to administer harvest and road building operations. Interacting with loggers and learning from the contractors on the ground is such a great experience. Fall brings fun challenges, finishing jobs before the rain comes, and site prep spraying transitions into PCT (pre-commercial thinning) season, which is instant satisfaction. And of course, winter means burning, and coming home smelling like smoke is a treat for anyone.

What drove you or why did you decide to work in forestry? I come from a family of foresters! I’m actually a third-generation forester, so naturally, I swore I would never become a forester. I originally went to school with dreams of becoming a landscape architect, but karma won and here I am. My mom was a forester, my dad a geologist; and they tell me that I could identify trees before I could tie my shoes. I really do believe that foresters have “pitch in their veins,” and that enthusiasm for intentional, thoughtful management of forests is important.

What is something you want people to know about your job, and or the impact of your job? I think the most important thing I try to tell people about forestry is that “foresters are the original environmentalists.” I care deeply about the land I manage and make very intentional decisions that I know make long-term impacts. Foresters are thoughtful and consider all resources in the forest.

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon? Does drinking wine count? Honestly, I love to spend time outside. I spend many weekends backpacking with friends, floating the rivers, kayaking, snowshoeing and hunting. My favorite places to hunt are on the lands I also manage, that full circle-of- life awareness is something pretty special.

Whitney is just one of many Oregon foresters who enjoy the outdoors and the way their jobs allow them to help forests in Oregon remain healthy.

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at barber@ofri.org.

Forester Friday: Katie Nichols
08.15.2019

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.

The field of forestry offers a variety of career options and opportunities, and a multitude of ways to help forests. For Katie Nichols, working in forestry allows her to meet and work with a variety of people who make the day-to-day tasks that much more enjoyable.

Katie is a forest engineering operations assistant and sustainability coordinator for Lone Rock Timber Management in Roseburg, Ore. She’s been with Lone Rock since summer 2015.

Katie’s daily responsibilities include property line surveying and mapping, road layout and fish pipe design, and managing BLM road use and right-of-ways. In addition, she also manages Lone Rock’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program and road-winterization operations. Lone Rock has been SFI-certified since 2015, and Katie has managed the program since 2018.

In addition to experience, education has played an important role in Katie’s journey in forestry. She graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in forest engineering.

Katie leaning up against a big tree.

For this profile, she answered a series of questions about her forestry story via email. Here are some of her responses (some edited for clarity/brevity).

What is your favorite part of your job? The variety and the people. I get to do something different every day, from road appraisals to running a total station for a survey. I also get to work with a lot of great people who have a variety of skills and backgrounds that make the day-to-day work even more enjoyable.

What drove your decision to work in forestry? After high school I started college studying social work, but after about a year I decided I wanted to pursue a career in engineering – and while looking at the engineering options at Oregon State, I came across forest engineering. I grew up doing outdoor activities and working with my hands, so I thought I would give forest engineering a go. And after a few intro classes, I knew it was what I wanted to do.

What is something you want people to know about your job, or the impact of your job? A major part of my job is managing Lone Rock’s SFI program. SFI is a third-party certification that verifies our operations are being managed sustainability. This means we’re considering wildlife, water and soil quality, cultural and visual resources, and the needs of the future while still producing enough timber to meet the needs of today. This is an important impact of my job, because it’s helping ensure that all future generations have the same options for forestry and outdoor recreation that I’ve had the privilege of enjoying.

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon? My favorite outdoor activity outside what I do for work is spending time down at the river with my friends. In Douglas County we’re blessed to be able to enjoy the beauty of the Umpqua River, and during the summer I take advantage of that every chance I get!

Katie Nichols is just one of many Oregon foresters who enjoy the outdoors and the way their jobs allow them to help forests in Oregon remain healthy.

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI social media intern Autumn Barber at barber@ofri.org.

 

 

Forester Friday: Anna Yarbrough
08.08.2019

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

With so many options of fields to work in, what drives someone to work in forestry? For Anna Yarbrough, a love for the outdoors drove her to work in forestry.

Yarbrough is a consultant and the owner of Free Range Forestry LLC. Yarbrough works with landowners of all sizes of forests. “I provide consulting services for all aspects of forestry projects (harvesting, planting, spraying, legal compliance and tree farm certifications). I also provide natural resource social media consulting/managing services.”

Yarbrough has worked in the forest industry for six years as a forester for two large timber companies. She opened her own forestry consulting business in March of this year, and had held several positions in the private timber industry before opening up her own business. In addition to her work experience, Yarbrough earned a degree in Forest Management from Oregon State University.

Anna on one knee tying her shoe.

For this profile, Yarbrough answered a series of questions through email about her forestry story. Here are some of her responses:

What is your favorite part about your job? My favorite part about being a forester is knowing that our management activities improve forest health, protect water resources, provide valuable wildlife habitat, bring jobs to rural communities and produce sustainable forest products! And the gorgeous office that comes along with the job!

What drove you or why did you decide to work in forestry? I grew up playing in the woods and always knew I wanted a job that allowed me to work outdoors. The more I learned about the forest industry, the more I fell in love with it.

What is something you want people to know about your job, and/or the impact of your job? I wish that I could convey to the general public that those of us that work in the forest sector are in it for the long haul and that we primarily see ourselves as stewards of the land. We care deeply about the forests we work and we want them to be here for this generation and our kids and grandkids.

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon? Our family is constantly outside! If we aren’t working in the woods, we’re likely “playing” in the woods. Our favorite outdoor activity is hunting and our favorite place to do it is anywhere we can hike in and get away from roads and people!

Yarbrough is just one of many foresters in Oregon who work to keep our forests healthy and safe for everyone to enjoy.

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at barber@ofri.org.

Oregon’s forest sector economic analysis
08.05.2019

OFRI periodically takes on the task of evaluating the economic strength of Oregon’s forest sector. We recently completed our third major evaluation during my tenure with OFRI. These evaluations are aimed at providing background to policymakers at the state and local level.

The 2019 Forest Report documents this evaluation, and updates similar efforts in 2012 and 2004. The 2019 evaluation was conducted by faculty from Oregon State University and the University of Idaho. Their efforts culminated in a 100-plus-page report that documents Oregon’s forest resources and markets, examining trends and economic impacts.

Knowing that most people prefer a shorter version of the analysis with lots of pictures and graphs but fewer words, OFRI has also created a summary report titled Oregon’s Forest Economy: 2019 Forest Report – an economic snapshot of Oregon’s forest sector. This 12-page report is quite accessible and easy to understand.

This year’s evaluation is also documented on our updated website: TheForestReport.org. This site provides a place to download the summary report as well as the full forest sector economic report. The website shares the information included in the summary report, with pages titled:

·         Introduction

·         Economic Contributions

·         Manufacturing

·         Jobs

·         Product Demand

·         About

One of the exciting features of the ForestReport.org website is that all the individual pages, charts and tables can be shared by email or social media from the site. So if you want to share with your co-workers the number of jobs in Oregon’s forest sector in a particular subsector of eastern or western Oregon, or statewide, you can go the Jobs page and share the table titled “Forest Sector Jobs in Oregon.”

In addition to the economists at OSU and UI, we’re very grateful to reviewers and data providers at the Oregon Employment Department, USDA Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry. OFRI’s name is on the report and the website, but this really represents a report for the entire Oregon forest sector.

In future blogs, I plan to go into depth on some of the data and trends, and help interpret what I think they mean. For the present, I just want to share some excellent summer reading.

For the forest,

Mike Cloughesy

Director of Forestry

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