WSU Extension offers landowners training to help maintain healthy, resilient forests

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Private forest landowners have an opportunity to gain skills and training in managing their woodlands later this month.

The Washington State University Forestry and Wildlife Extension program will host its 2019 Western Washington Forest Owners Winter School on Feb. 23rdat Green River College in Auburn, WA. The one-day course, which aims to help forestland property owners address challenges facing them, will focus on forestry management and best stewardship practices.  Other topics discussed during this year’s winter school includes certification programs for landowners, forest health, reducing fire risk and legal issues.

“Our mission is to provide education and resources to forestland owners,” said WSU Forestry Program Coordinator Kelsey Ketcheson. “Our winter school offers a variety of topics related to small forest management and gives people the chance to speak with the experts.”

Representatives from the Washington Department of Natural Resources, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, National Research Conservation Service, climate scientists and natural resource professionals will be available to answer questions and provide assistance. Between sessions and during breaks, winter school participants also can connect with other private forest landowners, see equipment displays and speak to vendors.

WSU Forestry and Wildlife Extension, which is part of WSU Extension program, provides education and information about forest management to private forest landowners, with classes, workshops and online resources throughout the year. The Western Washington Forest Owners Winter School is an educational partnership between WSU Extension Forestry and Green River College Natural Resources.

Much of the winter school training will concentrate on helping landowners maintain healthy forests, Ketcheson said. And though preventing wildfire and responding to drought have received quite a bit of attention in recent months, noxious weeds and invasive plant species post an immediate threat to maintaining biodiversity and forest health as well, she added.

Said Ketcheson:

We’re not just focused on fire and drought. What is going to make the biggest impact on forest landowners is forest health. Trees are dying, especially cedars in King County. When you maintain a healthy, resilient forest, that’s going to help with addressing those challenges moving forward.

Western Washington Forest Owners Winter School Details:

  • Winter School is 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday, February 23rdat Green River College, 12401 SE 320th, Auburn, WA 98092. Doors open at 8:00 am.
  • Register online, by mail or at the day of the event. Lunch will be provided for all who register in advance.
  • Registration is $35 per individual or $45 per family. The cost increase by $10 after February 14th.
  • Registration is free for youth under age 18.
  • Please call (206) 263-1128 with any questions or special needs accommodation requests.