OFRI eNews: January 2024

The forecast calls for trees

After a snow-and-ice-filled start to January, any sign of some relief — or at least a dry spell — is always welcome. But despite the recent severe weather, the winter snow and rain are a reminder that all that precipitation fosters the forests we love. 

Our west-side forest ecosystems thrive in the rain. And snow-covered mountains in central and eastern Oregon will filter snowmelt the remainder of the year to feed our streams, rivers and aquifers.

A temperate climate and abundant rainfall combine to make the Pacific Northwest one of the best places in the world for growing trees, and for all the forest amenities we love — such as clean air and water, fish and wildlife habitat, and sanctuary from the stresses of daily life.


So, come rain or shine (or snow and ice!), OFRI's work — to support the forest sector and natural resource stewardship by advancing Oregonians’ understanding of the social, environmental and economic benefits of our forests — will continue to be as important as ever.

For the forest,


Jim Paul

Executive Director

OFRI hosts conference for high school teachers

OFRI’s K-12 education program hosted a conference for high school teachers last month at The Oregon Garden in Silverton that covered an array of current issues related to forestry, natural resources and environmental education. A training session followed for teachers of students who will participate in the 2024 Oregon Envirothon this spring.

More than 100 teachers attended the Natural Resource Career and Technical Education High School Conference, held on Dec. 11. Topics covered at the conference included creating connections through climate science, opportunities in the green workforce, fire mitigation, and noninvasive wildlife monitoring. 

The following day, OFRI provided a training session for 45 teachers whose students are planning to participate in this year’s Oregon Envirothon, an annual statewide natural resources knowledge and skills competition for high school students. The teachers who attended the training learned about the 2024 competition’s current issue category, “Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future.” The training agenda included presentations on clean energy by experts from the Oregon Department of Energy, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, and Portland State University’s Institute for Economics and the Environment. 

Native bees webinar recording available

For those who missed tuning in to a webinar OFRI hosted in late November on how forest management affects native bees in Oregon, a recording is now available on YouTube.

The “Wildlife in Managed Forests: Native Bees” webinar featured experts from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, the University of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Forestry who discussed the latest research related to native bees in Oregon’s forests and forest management practices that benefit bees.

In addition to organizing the webinar, OFRI recently published Wildlife in Managed Forests: Native Bees. It’s the newest publication in the Institute’s Wildlife in Managed Forests series, which offers scientific research-backed guidance on managing forests to support healthy wildlife populations. The Native Bees booklet provides context for better understanding the roles managed forests play in providing habitat for native bees.

Print and electronic versions of Wildlife in Managed Forests: Native Bees are available to order or download free of charge through OFRI’s website, OregonForests.org.

Watch the webinar

Webinars focus on fires, fuels and density management

The Oregon State University Extension Service is holding a webinar series, starting this month and continuing through the spring, that will delve into fires, fuels and density management for a variety of forest types and management objectives across central and eastern Oregon.

Webinars in the series, which kicked off on Jan. 18, will be held on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. through May 2. Topics that will be covered include thinning and fuels reduction techniques, as well as recommendations for rangeland management and whitebark pine conservation.

The webinars are open to forest landowners, natural resource professionals, contractors and anyone interested in learning more about forest management in central and eastern Oregon. They are free to attend, but registration is required. 


Grants to fund stream habitat improvements

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is now accepting grant applications for its new Small Forestland Investment in Stream Habitat (SFISH) program, which provides funding for projects that improve stream habitat and fish passage on small private forestlands.

The grant program funds road improvement projects that increase fish connectivity or minimize sediment entering streams. Examples include replacing culverts and repairing abandoned roads. The program grants can fund 100% of the project costs, including design and construction.

SFISH is a program of the ODF’s Small Forestland Owner Office. This office was established to provide technical assistance and incentive programs for Oregon’s small forest landowners (SFOs) as a result of changes made to the Oregon Forest Practices Act through the Private Forest Accord agreement.

Qualifying SFOs can apply for SFISH grants by filling out an application form and completing a road condition assessment. For more information about SFISH, including eligibility requirements for grant funding, visit the program’s webpage

In other news...

Forest health webinar series planned

The Forest Health in Oregon 2024: State of the State conference will be held as a two-day webinar series Feb. 27-28, co-hosted by the Oregon State University College of Forestry and Natural Resources Extension, the Oregon departments of forestry and agriculture, and OFRI. The first day of the webinar series will focus on invasive species, pests, diseases and forest health west of the Cascades. The second day of the series will focus on forest health east of the Cascades and the unique interactions between fire and forest health. Both webinars will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon. More information will be available on the events tab at KnowYourForest.org once the conference details are finalized. 

Scholarships for students pursuing forest careers

Students currently studying or planning to study logging, forestry, diesel mechanics, welding or other natural resource-related careers may be eligible for scholarships through the Oregon Logging Conference Foundation (OLCF). Scholarship applications are now available for the 2024-25 academic year, and the deadline to apply is April 1. OLCF awards 10 or more scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 each year. The scholarship application can be downloaded from the OLCF website.

Nominations sought for awards recognizing urban forestry

Oregon Community Trees and the Oregon Department of Forestry are seeking nominations for individuals, communities and organizations in Oregon who demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and leadership in urban and community forestry. Nominations for the 2024 Oregon Urban and Community Forestry Awards will be accepted through Feb. 24. via an online nomination form

YCSWA to host presentation on OFRI 

The Yamhill County Small Woodlands Association will host a presentation by OFRI Executive Director Jim Paul on Jan. 24 about goals for the Institute moving forward. The event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Oregon State University Extension Service office in McMinnville and will include the option to attend via Zoom. More details here.  

Upcoming events

Douglas Small Woodlands Association Annual Members Meeting and Dinner

Jan. 23, Roseburg

Yamhill County Small Woodlands Association – Goals for OFRI

Jan. 24, McMinnville

Oregon Logging Conference

Feb. 22-24, Eugene 

Forest Health in Oregon 2024: State of the State

Feb. 27-28, Zoom 

Tree School Clackamas

March 23, Oregon City

International Mass Timber Conference

March 26-28, Portland

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Oregon Forest Resources Institute

The Oregon Forest Resources Institute supports and enhances Oregon’s forest products industry

by advancing public understanding of forests, forest management and forest products.

A 13-member board of directors governs OFRI. It is funded by a portion of the forest products harvest tax.



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