What's happening in the forest sector?

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

Forester Friday
08.01.2019

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.

What if you could turn your passion for the outdoors into a career? That’s what Kat Olson did.

For the past nine years, Olson has been the lead silviculturist at Greenwood Resources. According to the US Forest Service, silviculture is the “art and science of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of forests and woodlands to meet the diverse needs and values of landowners and society,” such as providing wildlife habitat and producing timber.

Olson describes her responsibilities at Greenwood Resources as managing “everything related to reforestation after timber harvest on 140,000 acres. This includes but is not limited to the planning and management involved with planting over 2 million seedlings every year.”

Olson grew up in a small community where the timber industry played an important role in the economy and the culture. “My father is a forester and while he never pushed me to pursue forestry, he encouraged me to fully embrace my natural love of the outdoors and interest in his profession,” she says.

Education also played a significant role in Olson’s journey to becoming a forester. During her sophomore year of high school, she took a forestry course at the local Oregon State University (OSU) extension office. She says that experience solidified her goal of becoming a forester. After high school, she obtained an associate of applied science degree in forest resources technology from Central Oregon Community College. She then transferred to OSU and earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management.

“After graduation I was able to land a summer job back home at a local forestry office [for Greenwood Resources],” Olson says. “When the fall came, I talked them into keeping me, as I like to say. I have been here ever since.”

Kat Olson standing next to a white truck.

For this profile, Olson 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? Being outside and always learning something new. Even after nine years, my job is never boring. Nature is dynamic and we are always encouraged to keep up with the latest science and technology and try new things to ensure that we are managing our forests in the most sustainable way possible.

Why did you decide to work in forestry? Initially it was the notion of being able to spend my days working in the woods, my favorite place to be. I have since discovered that I also love working with the people in this industry. People who work in the woods are salt-of-the-earth types. They care about the land, and it’s good to feel like we are working together as a collective whole to provide a much-needed resource, supply living-wage jobs, and ensure that healthy forests and watersheds are here for generations to come.

What is something you want people to know about your job and/or the impact of your job? Sustainably managed forests can and do provide for a wide range of needs and values. There is a whole lot that goes into managing forests, and Oregon has some of the most progressive forestry laws in the nation. Foresters live in the communities in which we work. We are passionate about what we do and we care about the environment.

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon? Hiking, camping and hunting with my family. I guess that’s three things.

Silvicululture is just one of the many forestry roles that are important to Oregon forestry, and to keeping our forests 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.

 

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