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Winter School

2020 Western Washington Forest Owners Winter School

February 29th – Auburn


Take time during the off-season for forestry education

Is it time to sharpen both your knowledge and your chainsaw?

Do you want to learn new things about enjoying and caring for your property? Do you want to learn things like how to grow gourmet mushrooms; why so many trees are dying and what to do; how to sharpen, maintain, and safely operate your chainsaw; how to handle problematic legal issues like easements and trespass; how to improve wildlife habitat; and much more? If so, this Winter School is for you!

Winter School is the classroom counterpart to our summer field days. It is designed to let you attend multiple workshops on topics of interest to you all in the same day. Winter School will help you address challenges on your property, restore healthy forest conditions, and achieve your goals. Winter School will feature more than twenty workshops specifically for people with forested property in the region. The Winter School will also feature exhibits by local agencies that assist owners of forested property and plenty of networking opportunities with professionals and other property owners. See the complete workshop schedule here (PDF).

Come to the Winter School and:

  • Get practical, “how-to” advice on simple stewardship practices
  • Talk with agency and natural resource professionals from Eastern and Western Washington who are available to assist you in meeting your family’s goals
  • Meet other landowners (maybe a neighbor!)
  • See equipment displays and speak to vendors

Whether you are a “novice” to family forestry, or your family has owned land for many generations, there is something new for everyone to learn.

When and Where


The Winter School will take place from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Saturday February 29th, 2020. Gates and exhibits open at 8:00 AM.


Green River College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092

Map of the campus and parking areas (PDF).

What to Expect


Workshops and classes will range from 1 hour to 2 hours. Throughout the day, and a dozen topics will be presented for you to choose from! By the end of the day, you will have attended four to six sessions. In addition, by the registration area there will be a resource area featuring exhibitors, vendors, and displays by public, private, and nonprofit organizations that provide products and services to assist property owners. You can browse the resource area and network with forestry professionals in the morning and during the lunch hour. The workshop stations are located in classrooms on the first floor of Cedar Hall, all within a 5 minute walk from the registration and exhibit area.

For each workshop session, you will get to pick from the workshops offered for that session time. A schedule showing what workshops are offered at what times (and the classroom locations) will be provided when you arrive. The sessions will run approximately one hour, followed by ten minutes to walk to your next workshop.

Coffee and very light refreshments will be available in the morning, and water will be available throughout the day. Lunch will be provided for all pre-registrants. Pre-registration is required for lunches, because we have to know how many to order. If you register at the gate, please pack your own lunch, or plan to go out during lunch time. Restrooms will be available in the building.

Workshops Offered

These are the different workshops that will be offered throughout the day. Below is a preliminary list of workshops that will be offered, subject to some minor changes and additions. See the complete workshop schedule here (PDF).

  1. Carbon Basics – Find out what a forest owner should know about sequestration, storage, and what people can do in a changing climate.
  2. Chainsaw safety & maintenance – Receive hands on instruction on how to safely, and effectively, run a chain saw. This is a two-hour workshop. You need to bring your saw (empty gas tank only!) and tools. This class is limited to 20 people, and is now full.  Please see the registration form to add yourself to the waitlist.
  3. Climate change – Come hear some of the latest research, what we can expect, and what we still don’t know.
  4. Conservation easement & Transfer of Development Rights – Find out what programs are available to help you conserve your forest long-term
  5. Consulting foresters – Meet a consulting forester and learn about when and how to use one to help get the most from your forest.
  6. Figured maple – Learn about figured maple wood, what it is, how to recognize it, and how to participate in a program to breed figured maple.
  7. Forest health – Learn about current issues, mortality trends, and what to do.
  8. Forest soils – To really know your property, you should learn about what’s under your trees, including how to find out what type of soil you have, soil properties.
  9. Growing shiitake mushrooms on logs – See how to grow these gourmet mushrooms on logs on your property.
  10. Legal issues for small-forest landowners – Learn about how you can handle and prevent legal issues on your property.
  11. Living with beavers – Beavers are amazing animals, but can cause major management conflicts. Learn to work with beavers to manage your forest.
  12. Maintaining your forest road/driveway and FFFPP – Keep your road pothole free, and your streams sediment free. Find out what state assistance is available to improve your culverts.
  13. Native plant identification – Learn how to spot some of the common native species in your woods.
  14. Safety and security – Law Enforcement Officers from the Department of Natural Resources will lead a discussion on ways to deter trespassing, dumping, vandalism, timber theft, and off-road vehicles.
  15. Selecting and planting seedlings – Make sure you know how to ensure maximum survival and growth of your plantings.
  16. Silvopasture – Learn about how trees and livestock can be incorporated together to create productive, sustainable systems.
  17. Sword fern die-off & madrone health – What is happening to the sword ferns in Seward park, and why does your madrone keep dropping branches? Come find out!
  18. Variable density thinning & variable retention harvests – Come hear from an expert on the latest techniques to manage your forest for long term health, resilience, and timber.
  19. Wildfire risk reduction – Wildfire risk is high in our region – learn to protect your trees and your home.
  20. Wildlife habitat – Learn about the wildlife that call our forests home, and simple, effective strategies to improve habitat for on your property, and minimize damage from critters.
  21. Invasive woody weed control – Learn how to control aggressive woody, non-native plants that damage the local ecosystem.


Cost and Registration


If you pre-register, your lunch will be provided.

Early Pre-Registration

Must be received before Thursday February 20th, 2020 – Includes lunch.

  • $35 per individual
  • $45 per family (same household/ownership)

Late Pre-Registration

Must be received by 5:00 PM Thursday February 27th – Includes lunch

  • $45 per individual
  • $55 per family (same household/ownership)

Register at the Gate

Check (preferred) or cash (exact change) – Bring your own lunch.

  • $45 per individual
  • $55 per family (same household/ownership)

Discounts and Refunds

Discounts are available for students and active Master Gardeners – call 425-357-6023 for details. To be eligible for a refund, cancellations must be received by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 21st, and refunds may be subject to a $5 administrative fee. For online registrations, Eventbrite fees are not refundable.


Register online

Registrations via Eventbrite are subject to credit card processing fee. Online registration will be open until 5:00 p.m. Thursday, February 27th.

Register by mail

Send in the registration form along with a check made out to WSU Extension. Registrations must be received no later than 5:00 PM Monday, February 27th. The registration form is an accessible document.

Acknowledgements and Accommodations

The Western Washington Forest Owners Winter School is an educational partnership between Washington State University Extension Forestry and Green River College Natural Resources. This program is made possible in part by funding support from King Conservation District, Washington State University,and the Washington Tree Farm Program.

Agencies and organizations contributing instructors and in-kind support include the Washington Department of Natural ResourcesKing County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Stihl, Washington Farm Forestry Association, Forterra, Phillip Burgess Law, Beavers Northwest, and the USDA Forest Service.

Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs, or who require alternative means for communication or program information or reasonable accommodation, contact Brendan Whyte at (425) 357-6023 or at least two weeks prior to the event.

WSU Extension publications contain material written and produced for public distribution. Alternate formats of our educational materials are available upon request for persons with disabilities. Please contact Washington State University Extension for more information

Issued by Washington State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, and national or ethnic origin; physical, mental, or sensory disability; marital status or sexual orientation; and status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Trade names have been used to simplify information; no endorsement is intended.