Linn chapter shares activities, hopes

Dec 16, 2021 | Author: Tim Otis, President and Jim Merzenich, membership chairman, Photos by Larry Mauter | Editor: Gabriel Bradford

Hello neighbor:

The Linn County Small Woodlands Association values its members. The activities and information that we provide is intended to reflect your needs and desires. The past two years have been a challenge. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic the historic wildfires of 2020 shocked all of us. The woes continued in 2021 with a dry April, and virtually no rain between mid-June and September. Drought and excessive heat have subsequently caused widespread tree mortality throughout our region and we empathize with your loss.

As we seek your continued support, know that we remain active and are striving to host activities and workshops to help you better manage your tree farm in these trying times.

Our annual seedling sale continues as our mainstream fundraiser. With Covid restrictions in place the 26th annual event set records for both quantity of plants and net profits in 2021. The 2022 sale is set for Feb. 5. Using proceeds from the seedling sale, three Linn County college students are sharing $6,000 in renewable scholarship money this year. Another $2,500 in scholarship money has been awarded to 4-H forestry and leadership groups. 4-Hers and their parents are among the volunteers participating in the two-day seedling sale.

Money from the Robert F. Mealey Pine Fund has paid for the creation of a two-panel forestry education sign and grove of Willamette Valley Ponderosa pine at Sunnyside Park on Foster reservoir. The 60-tree grove was planted in March. Construction of a kiosk covering the signs is now under way. A formal dedication for the project is expected in the spring of 2022. Similar education projects are being considered.

Along with providing stories for the Quarterly Bark, our association has an active website linncountyswa.com. packed with news and even the board of directors’ quarterly minutes. It has recently been reformatted, with posting duties and editing chores being handled by 4-Hers. Members are welcome to add stories and news items to the site.

We welcomed summer with a walking tour of Oak Basin tree farm near Brownsville. This was immediately followed by a five-day record heatwave. Our tree farmers of the year for 2021 are Mike and Jo Barsotti of Lyons. A tour and outdoor lunch at their tree farm was held on a fine October day. We hope to increase woodland tours, mill tours and forest management workshops as Covid restrictions are eased. Write-ups of our tours and workshops are posted on our website.

Beyond your membership, we hope you might consider joining the board of directors or perhaps contributing to one of the standing committees. The board meets quarterly and follows Covid protocol at the gatherings.

Large or small, new to tree farming or not, all tree farm members have stories to tell and successes and mistakes to relate to others. Please consider being recognized as a future Linn County tree farmer of the year.

— President Tim Otis; membership chairman Jim Merzenich and the board of directors

In early March, Lee Peterman, left, and Bill Bowling planted young Ponderosa pines at Sunnyside Park. Jim Cota prepared sites with the mini excavator.

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Tree farm tours, like this one in October, allow tree growers opportunities to learn from others' experience.