Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Orkila showcases ecological forestry

Along the rocky shores of Orcas Island, YMCA Camp Orkila is a special place where the forest meets the sea. Campers describe the iconic Northwest destination as magical, Neverland, and Oz. The YMCA offers camp programs by summer and outdoor environmental education programs in the spring and fall, serving more than 17,000 campers and students each year. The iconic camp is a San Juan destination for fun, outdoor exploration, and learning. It’s also on its way to becoming a showcase demonstration forest for ecologically-based stewardship. Camp Orkila is a Conservation Member of NNRG’s Northwest Certified Forestry program, stewarding more than 170 acres of forest within the

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Member Spotlight: Oak restoration & attuning to “hidden” wonders

When Jeanie Taylor and her husband, Tom Lenon, saw their forest for the first time they knew it was home. While the 20 acres in the Gopher Valley hills of Yamhill County was riddled with scotch broom and blackberry, it also supported Oregon white oaks and suggested the potential to provide habitat for endangered Fender’s blue butterfly, threatened Kincaid’s lupine, western gray squirrels, western bluebirds and other species endemic to the Willamette Valley. They bought the land with the intent to restore native oak ecosystems and eventually live full-time on the property.   Jeanie and Tom knew it would be work to rehabilitate the historic oak woodland choked

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Member Spotlight: Giving back to forest, creek, and community

Camp Myrtlewood brings together a community dedicated to stewardship, environmental education, and fellowship. Just a few miles upstream from the confluence of the Middle Fork Coquille River and Myrtle Creek, Camp Myrtlewood includes 124 acres of temperate rainforest that is Forest Stewardship Council® certified through NNRG’s FSC® group certificate. Tucked away in the Coast Range of southern Oregon, the retreat center and hospitality ministry of the Church of the Brethren draws people from throughout the Northwest. The camp’s leadership and volunteers strive to give back to the forest and river that sustain the camp (making every day Earth Day at

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Member Spotlight: Learning the ways of their dream forest

For years, Tod and Gerie Lemkuhl loved exploring Mount Rainier National Park and dreamed of some-day stewarding a wild forest akin to the park’s cathedrals of lush old-growth. Seven years ago they knew it was time to turn “someday” into reality. So they sold their home in Seattle, purchased 20 acres of forest near Eatonville and started to get to know the land. As the Lemkuhls embarked on their journey, they learned to use active management to steward the forest of their dreams. At first the Lemkuhls got to know their forest by camping out and spending time building trails,

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Member Spotlight: Nisqually State Park

To restore ecological complexity to a forest, you need good partners and often, you need to cut a few trees. Last summer, Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission worked with the University of Washington’s Pack Forest, WA State Department of Natural Resources, and WyEast Timber Services to conduct an ecologically-based harvest project on 104 acres of Nisqually State Park. State Parks’ goal for the project was to improve forest health by enhancing the biodiversity of the forest. The restoration treatment used a silvicultural method known as a variable density thinning (VDT) and created half-acre to 1-acre gaps where all the Douglas-fir were

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Member Spotlight: Turning nothing into something

In our Member Spotlight series, we highlight NNRG members who have used forest products for unique and entrepreneurial purposes on their land and within their communities. Often these projects help members earn supplemental income. For the third installment in the series, we introduce you to Oak Basin Tree Farm, a Forest Stewardship Council® certified member of our group certificate, who has sourced non-timber forest products from their woods to local markets. Oak Basin Tree Farm Through much hard work and creative ideas, brothers Jim and Ed Merzenich have the seemingly magical ability to turn nothing into something. Their skills in alchemy are abundantly evident throughout the restoration work and the non-timber forest products they sell

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Member Spotlight: A few sheep and EQIP help steward the forest

Steve and Linnea Bensel of Nootka Rose Farm steward 32 acres of forest on Waldron Island in the San Juans. In recent years, they accessed cost-share funds through the Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop a forest management plan and do a pre-commercial thinning in their forest. They also channel the appetites of a few woolly ruminants to stymy invasive ivy.  By Christina Davis and NNRG When asked how he came to acquire his land, Steve Bensel replied “I walked around with a shovel in my hand, digging holes until I found some dirt I liked”. Steve and his wife, Linnea, both grew up as stewards of the land: Linnea’s

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Member Spotlight: Shiitake Mushroom Logs

In our Member Spotlight series, we highlight Northwest Certified Forestry (NCF) members who have used forest products for unique and entrepreneurial purposes on their land and within their communities. Often these projects help members earn supplemental income. For the second installment in the series, we introduce you to Gopher Valley Botanicals, a Forest Stewardship Council® certified member of our group certificate, who has sourced non-timber forest products from her woods to local markets. Gopher Valley Botanicals   Located amid the rolling foothills of Yamhill County in the western Willamette Valley, Gopher Valley Botanicals (GVB) stewards a 20-acre forest comprised of Douglas-fir, Oregon white oak, and a wooded wetland. The landowners take an active management

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