Washington universities lead the way on forestry


Plenty of positive forestry developments in the last week at the two largest colleges in Washington – University of Washington and Washington State University.

We already reported on the excellent talk at UW by London architect Andrew Waugh about the power of cross-laminated buildings. Russ Vaagen of Vaagen Brothers Lumber in Colville, Wash., was there as well and described the experience on his blog.

Andrew and his team are the real deal. They have been urging their clients to use “Timber” (In the US we use either wood or lumber to describe the same thing) in their urban developments. This drive comes from their real desire to do what’s best for the environment. They don’t think it’s enough just to put some solar panels or a windmill on the top of your building and say, ‘Look, we care about the environment.’ He acknowledges that concrete and steel are necessary to build with, but not exclusively. He makes this point very eloquently when he shows a slide of his presentation that has an image of his hand with some seeds in the palm and says, “This is what it took to create the product for that building.”

Vaagen pointed out that Waugh is “one of the world leaders in designing and building with wood.”

Andrew is full of great information. I feel very fortunate to have been introduced to him and look forward to working with him to advance the global use of Timber. It’s ideal for the rural communities where the product is made, beneficial for our cities and best of all it’s the best building material for the planet.

Over at WSU, the school is seeing an uptick in interest in forestry among students after recently restoring forestry as a major. This has been particularly pronounced in the student Forestry Club.

“I wish I had known about the club sooner because it’s been one of the most enjoyable clubs I’ve been a part of at WSU,” said Margaret Kreder, current treasurer for the Forestry Club and a senior wildlife ecology major, and forestry and music minor.

The club has found much success this school year in various ways.

“This year has been a very good year for the club. We have had and retained quite a few new members and have had some very successful events,” Kreder said.

The club organizes survival training, tree-felling and machinery training, all-terrain vehicle and camping trips, and outreach with the community, she said.

“The club has been a great way to explore different kinds of forestry practices and just to connect with other people who have similar interests as I do,” Kreder said.

With greater numbers, the club is partnering with other campus groups and looking to network as much as possible.

This year the club partnered with the WSU Wildlife Society in their restoration project to plant trees in the Magpie Forest Ecological Reserve. The club’s main goal is to implement anything that will help preserve and restore forests, she said.

Through donations from (Hancock Forest Management), the club has been able to buy new chainsaws and fix other equipment that is used for activities and events.

One of the club’s goals is to have a better connection with the University of Idaho’s Society of American Foresters, Kreder said.

“I would say that one of the objectives of our club is to try and learn something new each meeting. From our guest speakers we learn about what it is like to work in the forest industry, problems and recommendations for finding employment, and skills that are being used in the field that we can begin learning,” Kreder said.

“With the return of the Forestry Major to WSU, we hope that the club will continue to grow and provide a resource and an outlet for those with interest in forestry and the environment to learn about professional opportunities and explore their passions.”