Next generation steps up

Mar 22, 2024 | Author: Christy Tye, LCSWA secretary | Editor: Nancy Hildebrandt

Lauren Parks joins LCSWA board at annual meeting

Better late than never! The LCSWA held its rescheduled annual meeting Saturday, March 16 in Scio after winter storms postponed the January meeting.

About 100 members, family and guests enjoyed the potluck dinner, business meeting and program.

Meeting attendees go through potluck dinner line

Prior to the business section of the annual meeting, the potluck dinner chow line offers a multitude of options. Photo credit Tim Otis, LCSWA board member

Our newest board member, Lauren Parks, was approved. Parks is the daughter of active board member Jim Cota. Lauren enjoys supporting the Fun Forest Tree Farm as a family effort and is excited about her new role on the board. Other board members approved by the membership for an additional term are Shirley Holmberg, treasurer, and Jim Cota, director.

Other business meeting action items included a review of the board’s amendments to our by-laws. The amended by-laws passed by consensus.

Highlights of the gathering included updates from scholarship recipients of our active programs for college students and 4-H forestry members. Both programs encourage youth to take an active role in OSWA and develop their interest in Oregon’s rich natural resources.

Outstanding achievements by long-time members were also celebrated. Jim and Ed Merzenich and Fay Sallee recently received recognition from the Linn Soil and Water Conservation District — Sallee as their Educator of the Year, and the Merzenich brothers  as Cooperators of the Year.

Rod Bardell, who heads the team that inspects and certifies tree farms in Linn County for the Oregon Tree Farm System, was selected as Inspector of the Year and then American Tree Farm System’s Western Region Inspector of the Year.

Neal and Valerie Bell’s 2023 Tree Farmer of the Year video was played and is on the Oregon Tree Farm System’s YouTube channel, along with the other nominees.

Mike Barsotti and Valarie and Neil Bell hold Tree Farmer of the Year sign

Valarie and Neil Bell were honored as outstanding tree farmers for the second time during the annual meeting. Mike Barsotti, left, presented the Bells with a commemorative sign after the meeting. Photo credit Mike Barsotti.

Bonnie Marshall and Lena Tucker were both presented with tree farm signs for their outstanding efforts with the county tree seedling sales.

Lena Tucker, left, and Bonnie Marshall holding LCSWA signs

Lena Tucker, left, and Bonnie Marshall were recognized for their efforts with the annual seedling sale. Photo credit Tim Otis, LCSWA board member

Lorella Sherman, OSU Extension Agent for Linn, Benton and Polk Counties, spoke about her areas of expertise, including forest ecology, non-timber forest products, invasive species and fungal ecology, and how they contribute to her overall mission of helping woodland owners.

Sherman introduced Crystal Kelso, program assistant with Small Farms and Forestry, who continued their shared theme of connection and communication; Connections among farmers, woodland owners and other supporting organizations were highlighted and emphasized.

Ty Siepert, NRCS Oregon, reiterated that the organization has funding for assisting small woodland owners with both new and continuous conservation and management projects on their properties. Contact him and he’s happy to visit member properties, take a look and advise.

Door prizes and a live auction were also part of the evening. Proceeds from the auction will go toward renovation efforts at the Z Hall in Scio, long-time location of the annual meetings.

Membership in the LCSWA is currently 140 members, with another 20 subscription members.

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