Clackamas Tree School, set for March 21, 2020, would have marked our 30th anniversary. Since 1991, the Clackamas County Extension office has been organizing this forestry education event for anyone interested in learning about forestry and natural resources. Through the years it has grown and become what it is today, the largest annual forestry education event in Oregon. Not only has it grown in size, it has also inspired five other Extension offices throughout the state to develop Tree Schools with the hope that more will follow.
“It has really been fun to watch this event grow over the years,” said Mike Bondi, former Extension Forestry Agent in Clackamas County and originator of the program. “The first Tree School grew out of the Clackamas County Farm Forestry Association’s Annual Meeting. We were looking for a different way to approach forest owner education—providing lots of different classes, all in one day, that would appeal to a large number of landowners, each with their own interests of what to learn. The learning opportunities, coupled with a great group of exhibitors who provide important product and services for the landowners, amazing instructors with great expertise, and a huge crowd of people for attendees to network with, all helped to build this incredible event. That first Tree School had 125 attendees and 24 classes. Look at it today—it just gets better every year!”
Tree School has become an important spring gathering where our community can get together and expand our knowledge in forestry and become better stewards of our woodlands. Our partners from around the state including Oregon Small Woodlands Association, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Oregon Department of Forestry, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and more, volunteer their time each year to teach the subjects that they are passionate about. Some families use the day to come together for family reunions. Others get their children and grandchildren involved with the hopes that they can take over the family woodland in the future. Many come to gain continuing education credits to help them in their careers. The exhibit hall is another important piece of Tree School. Exhibitors come from all over to showcase their programs and products. It is an opportunity for the participants to learn what other resources we have available in our community, and even purchase some useful items on the spot.
As our global community is increasingly affected by COVID-19, it has been difficult coming to terms with the decision we were forced to make to postpone Clackamas Tree School this spring. But we have begun working on a plan for a Tree School webinar series and fall field day in order to deliver many of the classes that were meant to be taught on March 21. Further details will be coming soon, and we will continue to post information on our Clackamas Tree School website and our local Forestry Facebook page.
We understand that this will not take the place of Tree School, but we are pleased to be able to offer this online opportunity as we are all spending more time in our homes. Our team is energized to learn new ways to offer our Extension Forestry and Natural Resources programs to you. We have offered all participants the option of receiving either a full refund or credit toward future Extension Forestry and Natural Resources events through 2021. If you registered for Tree School 2020, and have not received information on this, please fill out our Tree School Clackamas 2020 refund and credit request form before May 1.
We hope to see you throughout 2020 for our other Forestry education events either virtually or in-person later in the year, and we look forward to Tree School 2021 next spring!
Other Regional Tree School Changes
- Tree School Lane: At this time, Tree School Lane in Pleasant Hill scheduled for April 4 is looking into postponing until either the end of the summer or fall of this year.
- Tree School East: Tree School East is looking to reschedule their June 12 event sometime this fall. Information and updates on all Tree Schools can be found at the OSU Tree School website.