What's happening in the forest sector?

OFRI’s year in review

The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) had a busy 2019. Through programs focused on public, K-12 and landowner education, we were able to advance public understanding of forests and forest management, and encourage sound forestry.   

In our Public Education program, we started the year with a bang with the release of Oregon Forest Facts 2019-2020 Edition. This is OFRI’s most popular publication, containing the latest facts on Oregon’s forests and their social, environmental and economic impact. Later in the year we followed up with a deep dive into the role of forestry in Oregon’s economy, with the 2019 Forest Report.  

One of the highlights from our K-12 Education program was the publication of Life in the Forest. Developed for grades 6-8, this publication helps students understand how forests provide habitat for different wildlife species. It highlights current wildlife research and presents data for students to analyze. In May we worked with high schools from across the state as 180 students competed in the Oregon Envirothon natural resources knowledge and skills competition. Another big success was our high school teacher tour in June that focused on mass timber.   

In our Landowner Education program, we published an updated Understanding Eastside Forests, which contains detailed information on managing forests in central and eastern Oregon. We also engaged directly with landowners through education sessions delivered by OFRI at Oregon State University Extension Service’s Tree School, as well as through the Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA) and Oregon Tree Farm System annual meetings, and Neighbor to Neighbor woods tours hosted by OSWA and OSU Extension.   

By far, the highlight of 2019 was an OFRI board-hosted forest tour, which took place in Bend in October. Approximately 50 people attended the tour, which highlighted collaborative efforts to restore the fire resiliency and health of fire-dependent federal forests in central and eastern Oregon. Tour attendees, including Sen. Jeff Merkley, state legislators and county commissioners, visited various sites in the Deschutes National Forest to examine forest restoration work led by the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project, a forest collaborative group representing a diverse range of views and values for federal forests.

These are just a few highlights from the year. As we say farewell to 2019 and head into 2020, we look forward to continuing to educate the public, students, teachers and landowners about Oregon’s greatest resource: its forests.

For the forest,

Erin Isselmann
Executive Director 


Traveling to Tasmania

I’m in a forest filled with eucalyptus trees, standing next to ferns taller than I am. I’m definitely feeling like I’m not in Kansas anymore! Or, to be biologically correct, I’m not in my native Douglas-fir forest type. Instead, I’m far from home in a forest on Mount Wellington in Tasmania, overwhelmed by all the plants and animals I’m seeing that I’ve only ever read about in textbooks.  

I’m here representing the OFRI as a guest of the Forest Education Foundation Inc. (FEF). FEF is nonprofit educational institution that has been providing learning experiences for teachers and students throughout Tasmania for over 25 years. It’s a bit like OFRI in that it receives its core funding by way of sponsorship from Sustainable Timber Tasmania and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania. And, just like OFRI, education is a priority for the foundation. 

Last year two educators from FEF, Darcy Vickers and Hannah Kench, visited Oregon to find out about K-12 forestry education resources and programs offered here. They toured the state and visited the sites of various forest education field programs, including OFRI’s Natural Resources Education Program at The Oregon Garden as well as Forest Today and Forever’s Forest Field Days program in Lane County and the Oregon Department of Forestry’s program at the Tillamook Forest Center.  

They were also very interested in OFRI’s Oregon Forest Literacy Plan (OFLP), a conceptual framework for educators that lists concepts about our forests every K-12 student should know. Their goal was to write a plan for Tasmanian forests following our model.  

This year Darcy and Hannah invited me – plus Rick Zenn, a senior fellow at the World Forestry Center in Portland, and Joan Mason Ruud, state director of Talk About Trees, a classroom program for preschool through eighth-grade students that’s funded largely by OFRI – to visit Tasmania and present sessions on K-12 forestry education at their “The Stories Behind the Trees” conference, held Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.The conference was attended by classroom teachers and representatives from their forest sector.

On the first day of the conference, the Forest Education Foundation rolled out their forest literacy plan, which is modeled after OFRI’s Oregon Forest Literacy Plan. Conference attendees discussed the plan and why it’s important to both foresters and educators.

The second day of the conference was a forest tour that featured their new Forest Field Day program. It’s modeled after the Forest Today and Forever program Darcy and Hannah observed in Lane County last year. It featured a series of learning stations in the forest where students learn about various forest-related topics, including soil, wildlife and wood products. Instead of measuring Douglas-fir trees at the forest inventory station, we measured eucalyptus trees! The pilot program was well received by conference attendees.

It was inspiring and gratifying to see how well these “Oregon ideas” for K-12 forest education worked in Tasmania. I’m looking forward to more communication and sharing of ideas with the Tasmanian educators.

Norie Dimeo-Ediger
Director of K-12 Education Programs

Forester Friday: Fran Cafferata Coe

Forester Friday features an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique contribution to the forestry field. This series is meant to highlight and recognize these stories.

This week’s Forester Friday isn’t about a forester, but someone who is still important to the forest sector. Fran Cafferata Coe is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® who works with foresters. She is the owner of Cafferata Consulting, a firm that specializes in helping timber companies manage wildlife in working forests. So while Fran isn’t a forester, she still plays a vital role in forestry. 

Fran has been a wildlife biologist for 20 years now, and has owned her company for 10 years. Her daily responsibilities include writing and implementing wildlife management plans, conducting species surveys, and tracking wildlife policy in the state. In addition, she also helps foresters understand policies to ultimately protect wildlife and help keep forests healthy.

Along with her job experience, education has played an important role in Fran’s career. Fran attended Oregon State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife.

For this profile, Fran answered a series of questions about her forest story via email. Here are some of her responses. 

What is your favorite part of your job?

Besides working in the woods by myself? I love working with foresters to make a difference for wildlife while still growing trees and keeping working forests working. I also love seeing wildlife out in the woods. I’m out at night looking for owls, so I get to see all kinds of critters like bear, cougar and elk. I especially love the woods in the springtime when the red flowering currant starts to bloom. 

What drove you or why did you decide to work in your field?

I’ve always loved being in the woods. I grew up in a forestry family, which definitely influenced my decision to become a wildlife biologist. I feel strongly that working forests provide great habitat for wildlife. I’m passionate about helping foresters intentionally manage for wildlife, and I also work hard to help the public understand the value working forests provide for wildlife. 

What is something you want people to know about your job and/or the impact of your job?

All ages of forests provide homes for wildlife, and the way we manage our forests makes a difference for wildlife. All of us have a responsibility to manage for healthy forests, and that includes managing for wildlife. With fairly simple but intentional actions, we can all make a difference for wildlife. 

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon?

My heart belongs to the mountains. I love backpacking each summer with my best friends. We find a new place to go each summer.

Fran is just one of many people who help foresters protect wildlife and keep forests healthy and safe for all. 

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at barber@ofri.org. 

Forester Friday: Casey Clapp

Forester Friday features an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique contribution to the forestry field. This series is meant to highlight and recognize these stories. 

Forestry is predominantly thought of as being a profession set out in the woods, far from cities, but what about forestry in urban settings? This week’s Forester Friday highlights urban forester Casey Clapp, a development tree inspector for the city of Portland. 

Casey is responsible for reviewing and permitting street-tree work associated with housing or commercial development in Portland. Some of his daily responsibilities include assessing street trees for health and structural condition, and balancing whether they should be preserved or removed to make way for urban development. He works with public entities such as the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Bureau of Environmental Services, as well as private sector contractors and property owners, to manage removals, pruning and planting of street trees during their construction projects. He also does emergency response work when needed to help clear streets of downed limbs and trees during storms.

In addition to job experience, education has played an important role in Casey’s career. He attended Oregon State University for a bachelor’s in forest management, and continued on for a master’s in environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts. In addition, he became a certified arborist and qualified tree-risk assessor through the International Society of Arboriculture.

Close up of Casey in a forest.

For this profile, Casey answered a series of questions about his forestry story via email. Here are some of his responses.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my work is being a top resource for the city and citizens when it comes to our urban trees. Many folks in the city are concerned about the loss of urban canopy, and it’s my job to be on the front line fighting to retain and protect trees and their growing spaces within the city. It’s very satisfying to me to represent the people of the city and fight to protect a resource that is so important to everyone.   

What drove you or why did you decide to work in forestry?

My main drive was a love and passion for trees and forests. I could not learn enough about how trees functioned, both as individuals and as a forest. Ecology, biology, physiology and taxonomy – all these subjects fascinated me, and the question of how they interact drove me to continue to learn as much as I could. In traditional forestry, the objectives range from extracting forest resources to management for fuels reduction. In urban forestry, the main objective is managing urban trees for risk and for the ecosystem services they provide to the city and citizens. With my current position, I get to apply the science of trees to complex situations to make the best call for the good of the people and the tree, and this real-world problem-solving is very satisfying.

What is something you want people to know about your job and/or the impact of your job?

I want people to know that it is not simply filled with tree-huggers hoping to save every tree in the world. Trees are an extremely important component of whatever ecosystem they’re in, including the urban ecosystem. My job is to manage trees as a resource, both in an ecosystem sense and also in a cultural sense. Sometimes this means retaining a tree, and other times it means removing it and replanting a new one. The long-term impact of the work I do will hopefully be seen in 40 years when fully treed streets grace all parts of the city and help maintain it as a comfortable place to live in the face of climate uncertainty.   

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon?

My favorite outdoor activity in Oregon has got to be backpacking and camping. I love to strap everything I need onto my back and walk into the wilderness for days at a time. Oregon wildernesses are some of the most outstanding places in the nation, and hold such unique, beautiful landscapes that it’s impossible to not be stunned by them. As a fan of our forests and the plants in them, getting as far into the wilderness as possible affords me the chance to see plants and environments that one just can’t find anywhere else. My favorite place in Oregon is the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the Wallowa Mountains of northeastern Oregon. If you haven’t been, this area is one of most unique ecosystems in the state, and the beauty just can’t be beat.

Casey was also featured in the podcast Ologies with Alie Ward, where he talks about his passion for all things trees. Listen here

If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at barber@ofri.org. 


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