2022 Online Washington Forest Owners’ Winter School

Online — Saturday February 26, 2022 — Free!

Take time during the off-season for forestry education

Is it time to sharpen the saw of your forestry knowledge?

Do you want to learn new things about enjoying and caring for your property? Do you want to learn things like:

  • How to make your trees more resilient in a changing climate
  • Heat, drought, Ips beetles, sooty bark disease, and other current forest health threats
  • Agroforestry and nontimber product opportunities
  • How to improve wildlife habitat
  • Native American uses of the land
  • And much more?

Do you want to participate in roundtables and discussion panels to get stories and tips from your fellow landowners and mingle with other landowners at virtual lunch tables? If so, this Winter School is for you!

Winter School is the classroom counterpart to our summer field days. Designed to let you attend multiple workshops all in the same day, the Winter School will help you address challenges on your property, restore healthy forest conditions, and achieve your goals. The event will feature thirty unique seminars, expert panels, and roundtable discussions specifically for people with forested property in Washington. There will be both Eastern and Western Washington sessions. Virtual lunch tables will allow you to interact with other participants during the lunch hour.

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. This is a family-friendly event. Youth are encouraged to participate, so tune in with your next generation of forest stewards.

When and Where

The 2022 Online Winter School will take place from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Saturday, February 26th, 2022. Sessions will be taught via Zoom.

What you will need

If you do not have one already, you will need to sign up for a free Zoom account in order to participate in the course. You should also install the Zoom client by going to the Zoom download page. The top item, Zoom Client for Meetings, is what you will want if you are using a computer. Scroll down the page to see app options for phones and tablets. You should set up your Zoom account in advance of the Winter School itself. There will be opportunities to pre-test your connection before the Winter School (details will be provided after you register).

Cost and Registration



Pre-registration required

Registration is now closed

What to Expect

Live sessions

The Online Winter School will consist of five 50-minute sessions, during each of which you can pick from a variety of topics. You will be able to ask questions and interact with instructors and panelists via the chat box.

A final schedule, with Zoom meeting room numbers for each session, will be sent out a few days in advance of the event so you can plan which sessions you want to attend live.

Virtual lunch tables

There will be a 30-minute lunch break from 12:00 – 12:30 p.m. During the break, you can turn on your camera and microphone and chat with other participants at one of our themed virtual lunch tables.


Can’t attend live on February 26th? Register anyway! Registered participants will receive links to the recordings of the sessions. This will also allow you to see all the sessions you are interested in, even if they’re scheduled for the same time slot–watch one live and catch the recordings of the others later.

Session Topics

This is a list of the sessions you’ll be able to choose from. This list is subject to updates.

Western Washington Forest Health

Learn about western Washington forest health issues, including root diseases, bark beetles, and recent trends. Instructor: Rachel Brooks, WA DNR

Moving the Target: Managing Your Forest in a Changing Climate

This presentation will summarize the latest science on the effects of climatic variability and change on forest ecosystems in Washington and beyond. We will discuss management options that landowners can use to increase the resilience of their forests in a warmer climate. Instructor: Dave Peterson, University of Washington

Wildlife Basics

We all know they need the big 4 – Food, Water, Cover and Space. Let’s explore these needs in a few exemplary species around the state and ponder how this effects our management of small forest lands! Instructor: Ken Bevis, WA DNR

Non-Timber Forest Products and Agroforestry

Timber is not the only product your forest has to offer. Humans have utilized forests for food, fiber, medicine, and more for millennia and even developed complex management systems to promote these products. In this class we’ll discuss several different types of products you can find on your property and explore agroforestry management systems that cultivate timber and non-timber products together. Instructor: Patrick Shults, WSU Extension Forestry

Forest Health in Eastern Washington

Learn about common insects and diseases in eastern WA and some best management practices that can be implemented to increase the resistance and resilience of your forest to these pest issues. Instructor: Melissa Fischer, WA DNR

The Role of Fire in Washington and Preparing Your Home for Wildfire

Learn about the Fire Ecology in the state of Washington how it changes as we go from Western Washington to Eastern Washington and some tips on steps you can take to reduce the chance of your home being lost in the next wildfire. Instructor: Guy Gifford, WA DNR

Corridors, Connectivity, and Landscape Pattern: Important Keys to Conservation

The arrangement of forest stands and other habitat components in a landscape will help determine how the landscape functions for wildlife, watersheds, and other values. Even a small tree farm can contribute beneficially to this mosaic. This talk will include some basics of landscape ecology, and some conservation strategies that can involve any size of property. Instructor: Mark Swanson, Washington State University

Introduction to Bigleaf Maple Sugaring

Did you know you can make maple syrup from our native bigleaf maple? In this class for beginners, we will explain the basics of bigleaf maple syrup production at the hobbyist scale, including equipment needed, weather and site conditions, tapping and sap collection, and boiling off the water and finishing the syrup. Instructor: Patrick Shults, WSU Extension Forestry

Timber Harvesting – Things To Consider

Learn about different types of harvest, steps in the harvesting process, and the benefits of working with a consulting forester to help you through it. Instructor: Jeff Debell, Cascade Woodland Design

Sooty Bark Disease in the PNW: What to Look For in Your Maple Trees

Sooty bark disease is an emerging issue in the Pacific Northwest caused by the fungus Cryptostroma corticale. The disease primarily affects maple trees, including bigleaf maple, but a number of other native and ornamental species are also susceptible. Learn about it’s natural history, how to identify it, and how you can contribute to the research by sharing observations or sending samples to WSU scientists. Instructor: Joey Hulbert, Washington State University

Trees, Drought, and Heat

This class will cover the interaction between heat and drought stress on trees, and focus on the ultimate consequence of this stress – tree death from drought. The role of thinning on reducing tree drought stress and increasing growth will also be covered. Instructor: Henry Adams, Washington State University

Using Trail Cameras and Cell Phones for Wildlife Photography

Dave New has been using his various wildlife cameras and cell phone to capture images and video clips of wildlife of all types on his family’s tree farm for a number of years. He will present a series of slides showing some tips about setting up a wildlife camera, how to position a wildlife camera and use a cell phone to get good pictures, and dealing with those pictures once you have them. Instructor: Dave New

Native American Uses of the Land

Learn about Native American uses of natural materials. Instructor: Mike Lithgow, Kalispel Tribe

Variable Density Thinning

Learn how to harvest timber in a manner that can develop biodiversity and increase structure and complexity in your forest to accelerate the creation of older forest conditions or various types of wildlife habitat. Instructor: Matt Provencher, WA DNR

Prevention and Control of the Pine Engraver Bark Beetle

A comprehensive look at preventing and controlling pine engraver infestations. Instructor: Melissa Fischer, WA DNR

Benefits and Management of Wetlands

This session introduces folks to the primary characteristics of wetlands, describes how wetlands are distinctive from other types of waters and land, and surveys wetland diversity in Washington. We’ll then cover how wetlands function on the landscape and how people value and benefit from the services those functions provide. The training concludes with a summary of wetland regulation and management. Instructor: Clayton Antieau, Seattle Public Utilities, University of Washington

Native pollinators in Managed Forest Landscapes

This class will provide will provide a basic overview of insect pollinator biology and recent research on pollinator habitat associations in forested landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. Instructor: Rachel Zitomer, Oregon State University

Using Biochar Kilns to Reduce Hazardous Fuels

An emerging alternative to pile burning for small woodland owners is converting this liability wood into biochar with flame-cap kilns. This presentation will introduce the audience to a variety of flame cap kilns, large and small, and the methods used to produce biochar in the woods with simple metal containers. Instructor: Darren McAvoy, Utah State University

So, You Want to Plant Trees?

This will be a broad overview of items you will need to incorporate into your reforestation plan to ensure it is successful. This will cover what you need to think about regarding site analysis, stock selection, site preparation, planting and follow-up. Instructor: Phil Anderson, WA DNR

Understanding and Managing Forest Soils

This presentation will describe the physical, chemical, and biological properties of forest soils, including how to evaluate soils on your land. We will discuss how landowners can use soil properties to inform forest management practices and other land-use activities. Instructor: Dave Peterson, University of Washington

Wildlife Adaptation to Climate Change

It’s getting hotter and the habitats are a changin’. Wildlife species can be flexible, but these changes will influence how they exist. Tune in for some thoughts on the matter by Ken. Instructor: Ken Bevis, WA DNR

Learning from a Little Accipiter

We will talk about the birds of prey (accipiters, harriers, eagles, falcons, buteos, and owls) that are here in Washington, why they matter, and how they relate to forest management. Instructor: Kent Woodruff

Growing Shiitake Mushrooms

Growing your own delicious shiitake mushrooms on logs from your forest is a fun and easy project. Learn how to get started inoculating logs with plug spawn. Instructor: Kevin Zobrist, WSU Extension Forestry

Multifunctional Riparian Forest Buffers

Riparian buffers on our rivers and streams are essential for our salmon populations and for the overall water quality of the entire Puget Sound. However, overall riparian forest cover is declining in our lowlands and on our agricultural lands. Riparian forest buffers must become multifunctional in the future to include both ecological benefits to streams and fish, but also offer food, medicine, and materials to human communities. This class will cover the need for these new ways of thinking about restoration of degraded lands and what new models might look like. Instructor: Carrie Brausieck, Snohomish Conservation District

Panel – What You Ought to Know About Portable Sawmills

Panelists: Michael Weller (MT. View Lumber and Livestock), Ross Frank (Red-Tail Canyon Farm), Dave Konz (Double D Wood Products)

Panel – Technical, Financial, and Educational Assistance

Panelists: Matt Provencher (Dept. Natural Resources – Service Forestry), Holly Haley (DNR Small Forest Landowner Office), Carri Gaines (Natural Resources Conservation Service), Andy Perleberg (WSU Extension Programs)

Panel – Working With Fire Hazard and Forest Health Contractors

Panelists: Connor Craig (Wildfire Home Protection)

Panel – Working With Consulting Foresters: What Services to Expect

Panelists: Phil Hess (Forest & Land Services), Brian Vrablick, Eric Koenig (American Forest Management)

Acknowledgements and Accommodations

This program is made possible in part by funding support from Washington State University, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Island County, King Conservation District, King County, Lewis County, Pacific County, Pierce County, San Juan County, Skagit County, Stevens County, Snohomish Conservation District, Snohomish County Surface Water Management, USDA Forest Service, and the Renewable Resources Extension Act.

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 who contact Grace Garrison at grace.garrison@wsu.edu at least two weeks prior to the event.