WHATCOM CHAPTER

Did you know that 56% of all forestland in the U.S. is privately owned?  That's about 445 million acres which provides 30% of our drinking water and 90% of our domestic forest products.  High five to everyone. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • November 7, 2019 - Focus on Forestry Conference - Monroe - 8:00 am to 6:30 pm.  $60 in advance, $70 at the door (includes morning refreshment & lunch).  Wildfire risk reduction, WildCrafting & Agroforestry, Strategies to Reduce Adverse Impacts and Increase Resilience and Understanding Tree Mortality.  For more information and to register, click here
  • November 9, 2019 - Bigleaf Maple Syrup Workshop - Concrete. $40.  For more information and to register, click here
  • November 14, 2019 - Current Forest Health Issues Webinar.  Two FREE offerings - 12:05 to 12:55 pm or 7:05 to 7:55 pm.  Why are so many trees dying right now and what can you do?  How to increase tree resilience and mitigate impacts.  For more information and to register, click here for 12:05 class and click here for 7:05 class. 
  • November 19, 2019 - Forest Health, Fire, and Water Seminar - Monroe Library, 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm.  FREE, no registration required.   Increasing tree mortality and fire risk are serious threats to health and safety, water quality and quality of life.  Dead and dying trees, wildfire and smoke are growing concerns.  Learn what's happening, why it's happening, what it means for your property and your watershed, and what you should and should not be doing.  For more information, click here.
  • Saturday, December 7, 2019 - Holiday Member Pot Luck Meeting.  Deming Log Show Grounds starting at 1 pm.  Main dish will be provided, members bring a salad or dessert.  American Tree Farm System Western Finalist for Regional Tree Farm of the Year, David New of Nourse Tree Farm will be present to share some of his family's story.  Stay tuned for more details. 
  • Tuesdays, starting January 28 - March 17, 2020 - Forest Stewardship Coached Planning - online - 6:00 to 9:00 pm.  $190 before January 11, $220 after.  Learn how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems, attract wildlife and take practical steps to keep your forest on track.  You will develop your own plan which could lead to being eligible for cost-share assistance and significant property tax reductions.  Field trip on March 14.  For more information, click here Almost full - sign up today!
  • February 29 - Forest Owners Winter School - Auburn.  Indoor counterpart to summer field days.  A dozen workshops will be offered and includes exhibits by local agencies & professionals.  Registration and additional information will be available soon. 
  • March 14, 2020 - Annual Tree Sale.  Lynden Fairgrounds.  10 am until noon or sold out.  No minimum purchase required.  Cash or check only. 

Nourse Tree Farm - Western Regional Winner

David and Dar New, third generation owners of the Nourse Tree Farm located outside Arlington and members of the Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association, were selected as the Western Regional Tree Farm of the Year.  They are now competing for the National Tree Farm of the Year award.  Read their story of a legacy almost lost and then nurtured with good forest practices to a place where family and friends enjoy time in nature, with an enhanced wildlife habitat and a restored salmon spawning stream.  Click here for the full story.


Nourse Tree Farm Videos

Are you interested in learning more about succession planning or stream restoration?  The New family, of the Nourse Tree Farm, were named 2018 Washington State Tree Farmer of the Year.  They prepared these videos to share their experiences with other like-minded folks.  Enjoy.

Succession Planning video

Stream Restoration video


Vedder's Edge Tour Recap

On Saturday, August 24, twenty Farm Forestry members and friends attended a walk and talk through Jackie & Art Edge's Christmas Tree Farm.  But attendees found out that they are more than just a Christmas Tree Farm and that they were happy to share what they had learned.  To find out more about the "more than a Christmas Tree Farm" that sits at the base of the Vedder Mountain Ridge, read the recap thoughtfully prepared by Liz Wiegand, and check out the photos taken by Mark Wiegand by clicking here


Wildfire Risk Reduction Workshop

On May 18, a Workshop was held at the East Whatcom Regional Resources Center on Wildfire Risk Reduction for Small Forest Landowners.  This Workshop was a cooperative effort of Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association, Whatcom Conservation District, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and a local Fire District.  To see a recap of the Workshop, please click here


5th Grade Conservation Tour

The 5th Grade Conservation Tour was another great success.  Various entities man the stations that students visit throughout their Tour.  WCFFA handles the introduction to Forestry station and coordinates the logistics for the tour.  Washington State Department of Natural Resources addresses Fire.  Whatcom County Public Works talks about Water.  USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service addresses Soil.  The U.S. Forest Service demonstrates Wilderness Etiquette at a mock campsite.  Sierra Pacific talks about Forest Ecosystems.  And, Weyerhaeuser does a presentation on Reforestation and donates the use of the tour site.  Whatcom County WSU Extension oversees the tour.  Thanks again to Jan and Dick Vollmer for taking the lead role for WCFFA participation in this important educational event in our County.      

What does the number 1144 have to do with the 5th Grade Conservation Tour?  It is the total of 373 kids, 8 busses, 15 classes, 6 schools, 3 districts, 1 private school, 1 homeschool group, 8 stations, 20 minutes per station, 2 hr 40 minute tour, 9 sponsors, 500 trees given out, 2 outhouses, 1 firetruck, 12 presenters, 6 volunteers, 1 new schedule piloted, 15 smokey bags, 1 cookie lady, 1 new sponsor and 1 horn.  Whew - it definitely takes a village to put on a Conservation Tour.  Thanks to everyone who participated. 


5th Grade Conservation Tour Tree Bagging

Eight WCFFA members helped bag ponderosa pine seedlings at Mt. Baker High School in preparation to give one tree to each student at the 5th Grade Conservation Tour.  Many thanks to Ruth Heft, Jan Vollmer, Dan Koehler and Maralee Smith for manning the bagging process.  Thanks also to Dick Vollmer & Phil Cloward for bundling up the trees and loading them up and to Conrad Koehn, who donated the dirt and peat, and along with Doug Smith mixed the dirt with peat moss & water to be added to each seedling bag.  In addition, eight members of the Mt. Baker FFA forestry class along with their instructor, Todd Rightmire, also helped


Annual Meeting

Click here for highlights from the April 12 Annual Meeting which had 46 members in attendance. 


2019 Tree Sale - a Success!

With people waiting in line for over an hour before our Tree Sale started, we sold out shortly after our noon closing time, as some leftovers were purchased.  14 species were sold, a record setting 4,644 Western Red Cedar and 18,299 trees sold overall.  This included Giant Sequoias that President Don Assink nurtured on his own land for two years.  It's clear that WCFFA is doing our part to keep Whatcom and Skagit Counties green with trees.  Volunteers were particularly impressed with the cheerfulness of buyers, especially since some of them stood in line for up to two hours.  Small children had wide smiles looking forward to planting trees and adults were particularly appreciative of our holding the Tree Sale which allows folks to purchase different types of trees at the extremely low price of $1 each.  Even those who missed out on trees they came to buy, because they were sold out, went ahead and purchased something else and just decided they need to come earlier next year.  Kudos to Lisa Tiemersma in her first year as Tree Sale Chairperson.  An event like this takes the dedication of many volunteers - 73 in fact this year - and we thank everyone who so generously gave of their time - members, spouses, family members, boy scouts and folks just interested in helping.  Everyone who volunteered, whether it was preparation, at the sale or clean-up afterwards helps to make this event an annual success.  And what perfect weather followed our Sale for everyone to get their trees in the ground.  A job well done by ALL!


Is Western Red Cedar Right for You?

Is your forest primarily Douglas-fir?  Are you considering diversifying your forest?  If you would like to find out more about whether or not Western Red Cedar might be right for your forest, click here to read an article written by our very own Tom Westergreen. 


A Tall Tale of Giant Sequoias

On Saturday, March 9, 14 volunteers (including 5 shovel-toting young men) helped dig, sort and bag 1,135 Giant Sequoia 3-year old seedlings in preparation for the annual WCFFA Tree Sale.  President Don Assink finished up prepping another 209 seedlings a few days later after the ice surrounding them had thawed.  But that is the end of the story.  Let's start at the beginning.

With 1,800 Sequoias available at a discounted price in June 2018 due to a customer backing out of a commitment, they were purchased and President Don Assink agreed to take them and plant them on his property.  He nurtured these trees, watering throughout the summer and caring for them which resulted in 1,344 seedlings for our Tree Sale.  Folks who got these trees for $1 each got one of the best bargains around.

Thanks to Don for all his attention to the Sequoias and his extra hours spent gathering up the final trees before the Tree Sale.  Also thanks to Tom Westergreen for his invaluable expertise in helping guide Don through prepping the trees for sale.  The 50 bags of trees were a full load for Don's pickup when he delivered them to the Lynden Fairgrounds.  Thanks also to Don's wife, Carol, for serving lunch to those who helped dig up the trees (as well as her patience while Don tended to the Sequoias) and thanks to the 14 volunteers for donating a couple hours to be part of such a great story.


Membership Information

Interested in membership in the Washington Farm Forestry Association?  Membership with the State Association is required to be a member of the Whatcom County Chapter.  Please click on the "Join" tab above for information about becoming a member. 


Website Content

Do you have an event to add to our website or suggestions of potential events we could sponsor as a Chapter?  Please send an email to: [email protected]


2018 HIGHLIGHTS

2018 Chapter Activities & Accomplishments

2018 was a very busy year for the Whatcom County Chapter and the Board of Directors wanted to update you on those activities and accomplishments.  Click here to see the many opportunities that were available to members throughout the year to increase your knowledge and stewardship of your tree farm. 

Nesset Farm & Bakke Tree Farm Tours

Twenty people attended the combined tours of the Nesset Farm and Bakke Tree Farm under cloudy, but rainless skies.  Many thanks to the wonderful stories and warm welcome provided throughout the day by Ray Bakke, Gordon Bakke, John LaMonte and Russ Pfeiffer-Hoyt.  The memories that were shared provided the tour attendees with a more up-close and personal tour including ski jumps, divine intervention with a potential flood and a little pastime that will remain a secret among those who attended.

Cone Picking Event

Picking Western Red Cedar cones to replenish our supply of seeds was a fun outing in September.  These seeds will be used to custom grow Cedar seedlings for our Annual Tree Sale.  Members met at the home of Sharon and Ed Westergreen to strip the Cedar cones from branches gathered the previous day.  Other seed pickers included:  Jan and Dick Vollmer, Helen Arntson and Paul Campbell, Lisa Tiemersma, Janet Gilda, Phil Cloward, Dan Koehler, Carol and Don Assink, Lars Holien, Gerry Kudsk and Bonnie and Tom Westergreen.  The four bushels of tiny, ripe cones harvested will provide approximately 225,000 Western Red Cedar seedlings to reforest over 600 acres!

Mt. Baker FFA Wins Big

One purpose of the WCFFA is “to promote opportunities for youth education in forestry and land stewardship.”  The FFA group at Mt. Baker High School placed first this year in the State Forestry Career Development Event, which is the 10th state title for Mt. Baker HS.  As the state winner, they attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana and placed 4th in the Nation.  The Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association donated $3,000 to the Mt. Baker FFA to help pay for their trip to the National Convention. 

2018 Washington State Tree Farmer of the Year

Congrats to our fellow member David New and the New family for their tree farm the Nourse Tree Farm being awarded this year's tree farmer of the year by WFFA. It is quite the honor and we couldn't be more proud!

2018 Tree Sale

This year's tree sale was a big success!  We sold out completely before noon.  There were over 70 volunteers including the wonderfully helpful Boy Scouts.  Thanks to all who participated!

60 years – 2018 5th Grade Conservation Tour @ Weyerhaeuser Seed Orchard

401 students from 18 classes spread over 4 school districts (9 schools total, 1 private school and home school) attended the tour with 20 minutes allocated at each of 8 stations spread over 4 days.

Special thanks to Mt. Baker FFA for bagging seedlings and to the following WCFFA volunteers:  Dick and Jan Vollmer, Sharon Westergreen, Herb Barker, Tom Westergreen, Phil Cloward, Dan Koehler, Doug and Marilee Smith, Conrad and Jeanne Koehn, Joan and Gerry Kudsk, and Alpine Meadows Christmas Trees


2017 HIGHLIGHTS

2017 Summer Tree Farm Tours

Dick and Jan Vollmer and Ken Stremler provided tours of their tree farms. Here is a link to a summary about the day.

2017 5th Grade Conservation Tour at the Seed Orchard

Every year multiple groups come together to provide 2 hours of education and entertainment for our local 5th graders over a 4-day period.  The Seed Orchard Tour is held at the Weyerhaeuser Seed Orchard on the Y Rd in Bellingham and was attended by 653 students.

Special thanks goes to Sierra Pacific for providing some funds for transportation when schools can't find budget for the field trip.

2017 National Outstanding Inspector of the Year

Congratulations to our very own Tom Westergreen for receiving the ATFS National Outstanding Inspector of the Year for 2017.  We couldn't be more proud and know that you are very deserving of this award.  Great Job Tom!

2017 Annual Tree Sale

This year's tree sale was a big success with over 60 volunteers including members, extended family and Troup 23 Boy Scouts.  We had to substitute plugs for bare roots on the Western Red Cedar as the freezing weather damaged the seedlings.  We only had 61 Shore Pine and 85 Japanese Larch left over.  Most trees sold out by 11:35.


2016 HIGHLIGHTS

David New named a 2016 Conservation Leader

David New was named a 2016 Conservation Leader by the Snohomish Conservation District. 

Forest Landowner Legal Issues
 

Leslie Clark, attorney with Phillips Burgess, presented a seminar on Forest Landowner Legal Issues in Burlington in October 2016.  She made her handouts available to us.  She covered trespass law, adverse possession, easements, recreational immunity, and a number of other timely topics. 

 

Wefer Tree Farm Tour

Even though it was a very drippy day we had 28 attendees for this tour of a tree farm right next to I-5 above Lake Samish.

As part of the tour, the Wefer family provided documents they have used to help govern and organize their Tree Farm as the 3rd and 4th generation has taken over for 2nd generation family members.  Copies of policies are available on Internal Controls and  Partner Tree Cutting.  Additionally, they create a Management Plan with a "To Do" list every year to document activities and provide breadcrumbs for themselves in future years and for future generations who will oversee the Tree Farm.     


Chapter Governing Documents

Governing documents for the Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association consist of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.  If you would like to review either document, please click on the blue underlined words below. 


Contact the Chapter President for more information: [email protected]

 
 
Members at Vedder's Edge Christmas Farm tour
Members at Vedder's Edge Christmas Farm tour

Chapter Officers

President Don Assink  
Vice President Herb Barker  
Secretary Helen Arntson  
Treasurer Karen Bellingar  
Board Member Lisa Tiemersma and Wendy Wefer-Clinton  
Board Member Phil Cloward  
Board Member David New  
Board Member Dan Koehler  
Board Member Dick and Jan Vollmer  
Board Member Sharon Westergreen  
Past President Pat Mitchell  
Membership Tom Westergreen  
Tree Sale Lisa Tiemersma