Subscribe Archives Calendar ContactLogging & Sawmilling JournalMadison's Lumber DirectoryAdvertise Media KitHomeForestnet

Untitled Document

TimberWest November/December 2013

March/April 2015

The GP grapple processor head by Pierce Pacific allows a single carrier to accomplish tasks that normally tie up two machines.

Making the Cut
Mike Pihl Logging continues to find success with its ‘never give up’ motto

Making a Niche
Pacific Logging and Processing finds a niche providing services for small-scale private landowners, which the company calls “‘permits to planting”

Wood Biomass Column
Oregon Sen. backs woody biomass
for government buildings

Pursuing Innovation
Tolko Industries teams with Oregon Manufacturer to try out GP head are
small volume applications.

Teaching Teachers
Sustainable Forestry Tour
Opens Teachers’ Eyes

Stewards of the Future
Chilkat Logging is Oregon’s only certified logging operation located on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation

Oregon Logging Conference Review
Highlights of the OLC,
including pictorial review

RLC Review
Highlights of the 2015 Redwood
Logging Conference


In the News

Association News

New Products

Guest Column





 CLICK to download a pdf of this article

Sustainable Forestry TourTeaching Teachers

Sustainable Forestry Tour Opens Teachers’ Eyes

By Barbara Coyner

Literally hundreds of products besides lumber come from trees…like chewing gum, rayon, and nail polish, to name three. Who knew? And sawmills use lots of technology and computers to cut lumber. Again, who knew?

The Aha Moment

As 42 professional educators hit the road to tour tree farms, sawmills, and logging sites, the Idaho Forest Products Commission (IFPC) was looking for those “aha moments,” just as teachers do in their classrooms. It’s the familiar “I didn’t know that” comment indicating that learning has taken place.

For tour sponsors and IFPC, the nearly week-long tour is sometimes the equivalent of teaching a foreign language. So much about the forest industry is just plain foreign, especially to those who live in cities far removed from forests.

“I was no great advocate or detractor of logging when I came on the tour,” said Jared Dotson, a career counselor at Sand Creek Middle School in Idaho Falls. “I just enjoy the outdoors and could easily picture clearcuts as part of logging, but I was willing to find out more. I became extra impressed with every aspect of the industry. From paper mills, to trucking, to those in the woods, everyone seemed aware of their roles, and they were engaged in them. I certainly didn’t have that mindset when I came into the tour. I always thought that the logger just wants to cut trees, although I never thought about it in a negative way. After the tour, I see loggers more as foresters and this is their industry.”

Sustainable Forestry TourFinding a Family Connection

Both Margaret Castle and Emily Hoadley claimed logging in their family backgrounds, but neither of the seasoned teachers had ever given much thought beyond the nostalgia and history of the forest industry.

Castle’s father was a log truck driver, but she knew nothing of the complex web of timber ownership and the new technology that has transformed things since her growing-up years in Oregon. And although Hoadley’s husband’s family has logged around Sandpoint for years, the tour made her much more aware of the many products that come from trees and how little people relate to their wood consumption.

“My first impression was that logging is pretty much dying, but I found it is still a thriving industry,” said Hoadley, who teaches 11th and 12th grade advanced placement environmental science at Centennial High School in the Meridian School District near Boise. “Sustainability is a big issue for me, and I wasn’t sure where the industry was on that. I was impressed that it’s their thing too, and it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation. I wish farming was more that way, instead of being pretty much business driven. In the logging industry, they get it. As far as the connection with resource use, people are still consuming and products have to come from somewhere. There’s all the talk about reduce and recycle, but we still need products. This industry has the environmental restrictions to keep things sustainable.”

Sustainable Forestry TourUnderstanding the Value of Logging

For Margaret Castle, currently a fourth grade teacher at Shadow Butte Elementary School in Emmett, Idaho, the tour offered more insight into logging practices. “You always hear about clearcuts being controversial, but we learned that sometimes they can be a healthy practice. It was also interesting to understand why some forests are not totally cleaned up and why dead stands are left. We learned about the regulations behind some of those situations, and how the Forest Service might have to manage differently than state trust fund lands. The federal lands have to cater to all parties instead of to just a few.”

Castle was especially impressed with the civility on the tour, with no obvious biases being expressed by participants. “I kept hearing what people were learning. They were there to learn and there was no debating. We were there to share different viewpoints, and we heard all kinds of different viewpoints. The panelists were very respectful of each other and their opinions and jobs.”

Sustainable Forestry TourThe Wow Factor

For Rochelle Chatburn, the whole tour was just plain eye opening. The third grade teacher from Southside Elementary School in Cocalalla was one of few teachers attending from the northern, more forested part of Idaho, yet the 17-year classroom veteran had never been exposed to the Project Learning Tree curriculum or its content. “The tour was amazing, and what we learned fits so well with what I can use in the classroom. It is so useful to my profession.”

Chatburn’s classroom participates in raising trout and studying streams, so she found the riparian management information especially useful. “We are all about keeping our streams clean, and what we learned shows that they are protecting our streams. That kind of learning is so exciting.” Touring a 20-acre recently logged forest patch, Chatburn added, “I wish I’d known then what I know now, that we can be real stewards. This is both professional and personal to me.”

Tech in the Woods

Perhaps the biggest area of surprise for tour participants was the widespread use of technology both in the woods and in the milling processes. “My favorite stop was at the mill at Chilco and seeing the technology,” said Chatburn. “Things were completely automated, and the X-ray technology was so amazing. I love that they don’t waste anything. They use the whole log.”

For Castle, the mechanical harvester was front and center. “I could have watched that harvester all day,” she said, noting that she’d ridden with her dad in his days of log hauling and knew something of the practices and equipment of earlier eras. “The fact that it’s one machine and one guy shows how much the technology has changed.”

Sustainable Forestry TourCareers in the Woods

The potential jobs in the timber industry drew more than a few comments, and as a career counselor, Jared Dotson took away valuable information about future careers. He found that with the current workers now approaching retirement, there is a need for more men and women to enter the forest industry professions.

“There are so many aspects to this industry, from IT work in paper mills to the whole process of cutting trees. For those not wanting to go through four years of college or sit at a desk job, there are lots of careers out there that pay well and require skill.”

“This is a once in a lifetime experience for educators,” said Michelle Youngquist, IFPC Education Coordinator and director of the tour. “There really is nothing like seeing the entire forest cycle and meeting the real people who make it happen. Through a variety of activities, materials, and aids, educators learned how to take their experience back to the classroom and their students.”

The tour is made possible by over 60 sponsors including the Idaho Forest Products Commission. Learn more about the tour online at