Oregon Small Woodlands Association Annual Meeting a Great Success

By Mike Barsotti and Jim James

2019 OSWA Annual Meeting Summary

Benton County Small Woodlands Association Chapter hosted the Oregon Small Woodlands Association’s Annual Meeting June 20th – 21st in conjunction with the 2018 Oregon Tree Farmers of the Year Woods Tour of the Oakes family tree farm on June 22nd


 MC – OFRI’s Mike Cloughesy

The first day of the event consisted of OTFS and OSWA Board meetings, and tours of the Hull Oakes Lumber Company, the last steam powered lumber mill in the US; Thompson log yard and chipping operation and the Georgia Pacific sawmill; and Oregon State University College of Forestry’s new research facility and Peavy Hall with their use of cross laminate timbers and mass laminated panels. There were 110 OSWA members who participated in the tours. 

The second day, held at the Benton County Fair Grounds, was attended by 160 members. It included a series of presentations addressing the theme “Research, Policies and Practices for Family Forestland Management”. The Annual Meeting ended with an awards banquet recognizing Chapter Outstanding Volunteers, OSWA’s 2019 Rigging Slinger Awards, and the presentation of special Tree Farm signs to members with 25 and 50 years in the Oregon Tree Farm program.

Carbon Panel explains how to measure Forest Carbon

First Session – Fire

Fire was the focus of the first session. Jane Kertis, a USDA-Forest Service ecologist, provided information on the history of wildfires in Oregon from the 1400s to the present and peoples’ involvement in suppressing fires. Dan Leavell, an Oregon State University Extension Agent in Klamath and Lake Counties, discussed the activities and accomplishments of three projects in Central and South Central Oregon that were very successful in reducing the risk of wildfires through partnerships. Doug Grafe, Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Protection Chief, provided information on the 2019 fire season emphasizing the importance of Leavell’s projects, mitigating the risk of wildfires. He included with the thought that mitigation can be a key in having a societal discussion on active management of our forests.

Second Session – Forest Carbon

A second session dealt with forest carbon. It included Peter Daugherty, Oregon State Forester, Glenn Christensen, a USDA-FS forest inventory analyst with the Pacific Northwest Experiment Station, and Andrew Yost, an ODF ecologist. The group discussed forest carbon policy and how the data has and will be collected over time to provide a clearer picture on the role forests play in sequestering CO2.

Third Session – Forestry Education

The third session, made up of Ann Mikkelson, Oregon Natural Resource Education Program Coordinator, Anna Yarbrough, a consulting forester, and Connie Best, CEO of The Pacific Forest Trust, focused on forestry education.  Mikkelson shared information of the Environmental Literacy Program. Yarbrough discussed how best to tell the family forest landowner story. Best provided background information on The Pacific Forest Trust and a role for conservation easements.

Final Session – Marbled Murrelet

The day’s final session included an update of OSU’s research on the Marbled Murrelet by Lindsay Adrean, lead Faculty Research Assistance, and a legislative update provided by OSWA Lobbyist, Roger Beyer. The Marbled Murrelet research is in its third year of what is planned to be a 10-year study has uncovered additional information on the bird’s movement, nesting, and predation.  Beyer reported that OSWA’s HB 2469 which allows for a second dwelling for family assistance in managing the tree farm passed and was signed by the Governor. There were many bills, that if passed, would have been harmful to family forest owners and forestland management. OSWA members came to the Capitol several times during the 2019 legislative session to testify against these bills. None of them ever passed out of committee. He warned, we can expect several of them to return in future sessions. He complemented the OSWA membership for stepping up when needed to help defeat bad bills.  


Glenn Ahrens joined with harmonica as members enjoyed a festive social with local entertainment

OSWA Silent Auction & Awards Banquet


   The Silent Auction earned $3000 to support OSWA’s legislative activities

Throughout the day, the Linn County Chapter sold a variety of OSWA Awesome Products. Product sales were good. The Silent Auction Social and Awards Banquet completed the day.

The Awards Banquet recognized County Volunteers of the Year, OSWA’s Riggin’ Slinger Awards, and presentations of 25 and 50 Year American Tree Farm System signs.

OSWA Chapter Volunteers of the Year

Benton County – Greg Peterson was Benton County’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year. He has been very active at the legislature in 2019 as an active member of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), testifying several times at hearings, reaching out to his legislators explaining OSWA’s positions, and encouraging others to do the same. He played a key role in OSWA’s successes in the 2019 Legislature.

Benton County President Karen Fleck-Harding,
Greg Peterson, and OSWA President Mike Barsotti

Clackamas County – Jessica Craven is Clackamas County’s Volunteer of the Year. She has been very active on chapter events, is the spell checker for many chapter publications, and helps organize and coordinate chapter events, like the chapter annual meeting.

Columbia County – Ray Biggs -Treasurer, Lynn Baker – ornamental tree sale chair person, and Bill Hanson – seedling sale chair person, were all Columbia County Outstanding Volunteers of the Year. All three are active on the chapter board and participate regularly on chapter activities.

    Bill Hanson and Lynn Baker receive awards from
        Jim James at Columbia County Woods Tour

Douglas County – Douglas County has two Outstanding Volunteers of the Year. They areMargaret Fabrezius and Tami Jo Braz.  Margaret is with Northwest Farm Credit Service’s which has been a great OSWA partner. She volunteers at OSWA events and supplies participants with coffee & goodies. Chapter events would not be the same without her.  Tami Braz was Douglas County’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year in 2018 and has not slowed down. Her role as membership chairperson continues to increase our membership with 45 new members so far in 2019. Tami talks membership everywhere. People listen to her and join.  She also assists on the chapter newsletter. Margaret and Tami are very important members of the Douglas County Chapter.

Coos/Curry County – Jay Messerle is Coos/Curry County Chapter’s Volunteer of the Year. He currently serves as the chapter’s vice-president, and has served on the board for several years, including the past presidency. He’s been active in seeking out and recruiting new members, and linked us up with our annual keynote speaker. Jay has hosted woodland tours in our county, and is helping arrange a 2019 forestry tour. He fosters positive relationships with key partners, especially Southwestern Oregon Community College, with whom he has volunteered both his time and family ground to help educate local forestry students. Jay is a leader in the community and his expertise in forestry and logging are well known and respected by those who have had the pleasure of working with him

Lane County – Lauren Grand is the Lane County Volunteer of the Year.  She is the new OSU Extension Forester for Lane County beginning 2016.  Since that time, she has worked very closely with the Lane County Small Woodlands Association in providing tours and educational opportunities for Lane County forest land owners. She has been that shining star in the sky, providing forest land owners a new venue for forestry education and field experiences.  Lauren brought back the Master Woodland Training Session as well as Tree School for forest land owners in Lane County. Regularly attending chapter board meetings, she has interfaced with board members as well as Lane County forest land owners, inquiring as to what they would like in education and field experiences.  This has resulted in a growing number of presentations and field tours the likes of reforestation on your tree farm, timber taxes, a local Log buyers forum, silvicultural treatments for your forest and more.  Her smile is that shining star over Lane County and the chapter thanks her for her commitment and service. 

     Mike Barsotti and Lauren Grand 

Lincoln County – Jan Steenkolk is Lincoln County’s Volunteer of the Year. She serves a chapter treasure and is very active on the chapter board. Board meetings are held at her and husband Joe’s home. She and Joe participate in chapter events and take on responsibilities for chapter success.

  Mike Barsotti and Jan Steenkolk

Jackson/Josephine County – Maxine Cass is the Jackson/Josephine County Chapter’s Volunteer of the Year. She has taken care of meeting planning and refreshments over the last year, and has ably served on the program planning committee. She has successfully helped recruit guest speakers. 

Mike Barsotti and Bill Bowling

Linn County – Bill Bowling is the Linn County Volunteer of the Year. Bill is the past chapter President and remains active in all chapter events. He volunteered in 2018 to coordinate Linn County’s venture into being responsible for the sale of OSWA products. Through his leadership, the OSWA product sales are on a path for new products and effective sales programs. Product sales were very good at Tree School in March and again at this year’s annual meeting. 

Marion/Polk County – Terry Lamers is the Marion/Polk County Volunteer of the Year. He is very active in the chapter while serving on the board.  He volunteers his experience in forest management and knowledge with new members and others with the management of their properties. 

Yamhill County – Bill Spurling is the Yamhill chapter’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.  He has been a steady, reliable member of the chapter board and does a great job keeping the OSWA web page up to date on Yamhill County events and he troubleshoots problems there.  Bill has volunteered to be the chapter membership chairman and helps out in countless other ways for various chapter events. He is someone the chapter can count on. 

Susan Schmidlin and Jim James at 
   Washington County woods tour

Washington County – Washington County Volunteer of the Year is Susan Schmidlin.  She is on the Washington County our Board of Directors, volunteers to take minutes, and updates the chapter website bi-monthly with the current chapter Forest Forum newsletter.  She also has a daily blog, “Schmidlin Angus Farms,” that shares in an educational and humorous way life on their farm – cattle, forest, gardening and wildlife.  She is a “citizen scientist” for weather and seasonal changes.  Susan volunteers to write for the Forest Forum whenever asked.  Her ever-smiling, cheerful attitude is an asset in any situation.

Riggin’ Slingers

OSWA Recognized three Riggin’ Slingers in 2019. Greg Peterson received his second Riggni’ Slinger Award. He was very active at the 2019 legislature as a member of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). He testifying several times at hearings, contacted legislators explaining OSWA’s positions, and set an example for others to follow. He played a key role in OSWA’s successes in the 2019 Legislature. Greg has also represented OSWA on the Mid Coast Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) review being done by the Department of Environmental Quality. He also served on OSWA’s Water Quality Team when OSWA commented to Oregon Department of Forestry on the Siskiyou Region riparian rule review process. 

            Jim James, Greg Peterson, and Mike Barsotti

Mike Newman was also given the Riggin Slinger Award. Mike also served on OSWA’s Water Quality Team and took a leadership role when the new Westside riparian rules were being developed at the Board of Forestry. As an OSU professor, Mike’s ongoing research on riparian areas, his expertise on the subject, and his ability to testify to the Board of Forestry helped shape the new rules to be less onerous to landowners. 

Jim James, Mike Newton, and Mike Barsotti

The third Riggin’ Slinger was Jim Schreiber, and a member of OSWA’s Membership Committee since 2012 representing Clackamas County. He helped write OSWA’s current membership growth strategy in 2013 that has averaged a 4% growth each year since then. He remains active on the committee offering suggestions to address membership issues when they come up. 

ATFS Signs

Two 25 Year and two 50 Year ATFS signs were presented to OSWA members who are also members of the Oregon Tree Farm System.

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