The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) had a busy 2019. Through programs focused on public, K-12 and landowner education, we were able to advance public understanding of forests and forest management, and encourage sound forestry.
In our Public Education program, we started the year with a bang with the release of Oregon Forest Facts 2019-2020 Edition. This is OFRI’s most popular publication, containing the latest facts on Oregon’s forests and their social, environmental and economic impact. Later in the year we followed up with a deep dive into the role of forestry in Oregon’s economy, with the 2019 Forest Report.
One of the highlights from our K-12 Education program was the publication of Life in the Forest. Developed for grades 6-8, this publication helps students understand how forests provide habitat for different wildlife species. It highlights current wildlife research and presents data for students to analyze. In May we worked with high schools from across the state as 180 students competed in the Oregon Envirothon natural resources knowledge and skills competition. Another big success was our high school teacher tour in June that focused on mass timber.
In our Landowner Education program, we published an updated Understanding Eastside Forests, which contains detailed information on managing forests in central and eastern Oregon. We also engaged directly with landowners through education sessions delivered by OFRI at Oregon State University Extension Service’s Tree School, as well as through the Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA) and Oregon Tree Farm System annual meetings, and Neighbor to Neighbor woods tours hosted by OSWA and OSU Extension.
By far, the highlight of 2019 was an OFRI board-hosted forest tour, which took place in Bend in October. Approximately 50 people attended the tour, which highlighted collaborative efforts to restore the fire resiliency and health of fire-dependent federal forests in central and eastern Oregon. Tour attendees, including Sen. Jeff Merkley, state legislators and county commissioners, visited various sites in the Deschutes National Forest to examine forest restoration work led by the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project, a forest collaborative group representing a diverse range of views and values for federal forests.
These are just a few highlights from the year. As we say farewell to 2019 and head into 2020, we look forward to continuing to educate the public, students, teachers and landowners about Oregon’s greatest resource: its forests.
For the forest,