What's happening in the forest sector?

Teachers on tour

In the next two weeks or so, most Oregon schools will release students for the summer. For many kids, the summer provides a much needed break from the classroom. There really is nothing like Oregon in the summer. Having lived in New England, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, I can tell you that I would take a beautiful summer day in Oregon over any of the best that these three places have to offer.  


Just because the kids are out of school, that doesn’t mean that teachers are off for the summer as well. Many teachers use the summer months for professional development, including continuing education, workshops and conferences.


As a leading natural resources education organization, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute takes advantage of teacher availability in the summer to organize an annual high school teacher tour. At the end of June, OFRI will host thirty high school teachers from across the state on a two-day tour with the goal of increasing teacher knowledge of mass timber construction.  


The teachers will tour mass timber buildings in the Portland area, visit the World Forestry Center, and learn about mass timber manufacturing, design and construction during educational sessions at Mt. Hood Community College. This tour is part of OFRI’s broader effort around the development and support of career technical education (CTE) programs and ensuring strong linkages between these programs and Oregon’s network of community colleges.  


These teachers don’t have to devote two days of their summer to learning, but they do so because they care about the students in their programs and want to be able to set them on a path for success. At OFRI, we look forward to this opportunity every year, and this year is no different. We are eager to spend time with these high school teachers and learn as much from them as they learn from us.


For the forest,


Erin Isselmann

Executive Director

Join us for the Oregon Small Woodlands Association annual meeting

Once again it's time to celebrate family forests at the Oregon Small Woodlands Association annual meeting. This year, OSWA, a member-based association that represents small woodland owners in Oregon, will hold its annual meeting June 20-22 in Corvallis. The theme for the three-day meeting, hosted by the Benton County OSWA chapter, is “Research, Policy and Practices for Family Forest Management.”

On Thursday, June 20 you can choose to tour Oregon State University’s new Oregon Forest Science Complex, the Hull-Oakes Lumber Co. mill in Monroe, or Georgia Pacific’s sawmill or Thompson Timber Co.’s sort yard and shipping operation, both in Philomath.

OSWA’s annual meeting program and awards banquet will take place on June 21 at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis. The full-day program includes speakers discussing fire, forest carbon, communications and the latest research on the marbled murrelet. Other activities include a silent auction and awards banquet for the OSWA Chapter Volunteers of the Year and the 2019 County Tree Farmers of the Year, among other honors.

The annual meeting will conclude with the 2018 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year Woods Tour on June 22. Participants will visit Oakes Investment, LLC’s forestland near Monroe, which is managed by Don, Darrell and Dena Oakes and has been in the Oakes family since 1883. 

Please join us for an informative and fun meeting. Learn more about the event here.

For the forest,

Mike Cloughesy

Director of Forestry

It’s Wildfire Awareness Month

Although the spring rain has returned, the unusually high temperatures we saw in the first half of May gave us a potential taste of what’s to come for the summer wildfire season. Unseasonably warm and dry conditions earlier this month have already led to more than 70 fires across Oregon, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry, prompting county-wide burn bans in several parts of the state.

In anticipation of the start of fire season, May is dedicated to wildfire prevention and preparedness. During Wildfire Awareness Month, homeowners – particularly those who live near forests in the wildland urban interface – are encouraged to take action now to get ready before fire strikes. 

There are four key things homeowners can do to help defend their home against wildfire and keep their family safe:

-Roofs: Keep roofs, gutters and eaves clear of all leaves, pine needles and other flammable debris.

-Vegetation: Remove all dead vegetation for a minimum of 30 feet around the house and other structures. Prune trees and keep your grass short to keep fire on the ground. Maintain a five-foot fire-free area closest to the house using nonflammable landscaping material and fire-resistant plants.

-Access: For the safety of your home and firefighters who respond in an emergency, consider access for large fire trucks. 

-Planning: Put together a “Go Kit,” register for emergency notification systems, and make a plan for where your family will go and how you will stay in contact in the event of an evacuation.    

For more information about how to make your home, property and forestland fire-safe, check out these short, informational videos OFRI has produced:

How to make your home and property fire-safe

Making your forestland fire-safe

There are also many additional resources to help Oregonians prepare for wildfire season, including: 

Keep Oregon Green

Oregon Department of Forestry

Oregon Fire Marshal

With all signs indicating that we’re in for another intense fire season this year, it’s important for all Oregonians to do their part to help prevent wildfires.

Erin Isselmann

Executive Director

Meet our new social media intern

My name is Autumn Barber, and I recently joined the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) team as a social media intern. Soon, I’ll take over as the social media manager for the summer. 

What sparked my interest in this position was the ability to have creative freedom, as well as the opportunity to gain new skills in social media and public outreach-related projects. What brought me to OFRI specifically was my interest and appreciation for how green Oregon is. I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from last June until January of this year. Living in the Southwest for six months really made me appreciate how green and lush Oregon is. By working with OFRI, I feel like I am able to work with content that I enjoy, while educating others on how to keep Oregon green. 

Autumn on a hike with her sister.

While I am working, I am also a third-year college student majoring in communications and attending the University of New Mexico (UNM) online. I attended Portland State University (PSU) for two years, spent the last year at UNM and am now transferring back to PSU in the fall to finish my bachelor’s degree. I will be the first in my family to graduate from college.

I am an Oregon native and grew up in Molalla. I graduated from Molalla High School and moved to Beaverton the day of graduation. 

Some of my favorite things include movies directed by Wes Anderson, interior design, Anthropologie candles, and coffee (especially caramel lattes). Oh, and Jeff Goldblum. In my free time you can find me hiking, going to rock concerts and planning my next weekend trip on Airbnb.

Please feel free to reach out to me and share any upcoming events, reports, blog posts or campaigns you would like OFRI to share on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can reach me by email at barber@ofri.org. 

Autumn Barber
Social Media Intern


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