After five-year hiatus, Tree School East returns to serve forestland owners

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There are more than 79,000 family forest owners who manage 3.6 million acres of private forestland in Oregon. Oregon State University Extension Service’s Tree School provides a major opportunity for these managers to learn new skills, gain knowledge, find assistance and stimulate new thinking on a wide range of forestry and natural resource related topics.

Tree School, a core initiative of the Extension Forestry and Natural Resources Program, started in Clackamas County in 1991 as a mini-college program designed to attract a broad audience and offer a diverse array of educational topics to address the goals and challenges facing local forest landowners. Tree School East is a regional Tree School offering, typically held every two years, either in Baker City or La Grande. Tree school East was last held in 2018 and was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tree School East returned in June 2023 for local forest landowners to learn about topics focused on areas east of the Cascades. The program included 27 classes plus demonstrations and continuing education. Most classes were eligible for Society of American Foresters continuing forestry education credits and Associated Oregon Loggers Oregon Pro Logger Credits, and several were eligible for Oregon Department of Agriculture Pesticide Recertification Credits.

Classes took place at Baker High School in Baker City and covered a range of topics relevant to central and eastern Oregon that were intended to support successful land stewardship and meet a diversity of landowner objectives. Major topics included:

  • Stream restoration.
  • Wildlife.
  • Forest health.
  • Rangeland management.
  • Grazing.
  • Fire risk reduction.
  • Ecology.
  • Planning.
  • Pollinators.

The event drew 125 attendees, including participants, instructors, exhibitors and volunteers. Of the 40 participants who completed the post-event survey, 29 indicated they owned and/or managed forested property that impacted the management on a total of 23,947 acres in Oregon. On average, respondents rated their overall experience as 4.71 on a scale of one to five, with five being “excellent.”

Twelve respondents reported planning, or being able, to apply practices and/or make positive management changes as a result of attending Tree School East.

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