On July 24th, the Benton County chapter of the Small Woodlands Association held its annual picnic at the Castle Family Forest. The approximately 35 picnickers mingled, ate, and paid rapt attention when member Van Decker recounted the history of the 20 acre forest donated to the Philomath Community Foundation by Emery Castle and his daughter, Cheryl Rogers in 2016. Decker described Castle as a man of many contributions. He enlisted in the Air Force immediately after Pearl Harbor, became a much beloved professor of agricultural economics at Oregon State University, and, by the gift of the Castle Family Forest, offered the best possible practical forest education to the youth of Philomath.
In addition to honoring Emery Castle and his daughter, the picnickers cheered loudly when member Ed Easterling, Benton County chapter’s 2020 Tree Farmer of the Year, and now Oregon’s 2021 Tree Farmer of the Year, arrived at the picnic! Way to go, Crestmont Farm! (By Diana Blakney)
Castle Family Forest Photos from the April 17th Mini-Tour
The Castle family’s gift was designated to be used for environmental education with goals of expanding Philomath High School’s forestry and natural resources program.
With this in mind, the Castle Family Forest has been developed to provide PHS students with increased engagement with the natural environment, increased opportunities to develop industry skills through more hands-on learning experiences, and enhanced connections with post-secondary jobs or related training and education.