HAPPENINGS & RESOURCES
September 9 - Late Summer Tour - 9:00 am - 1:45 pm. Come experience a Tale of Two Woodlots as told by two small forest landowners and two foresters. Bring a sack lunch, drinking water and sturdy shoes. Hosts are Paul Campbell and Helen Artntson of the Skookum Creek Tree Farm, LLC and Jody and Jim DeWilde of the DeWildeWoods Tree Farm. Foresters are Tom Westergreen and Ryan Lindsay. Click here for more details.
September 15 - Westside Fall Seminar - 9:00 am - Skagit County. The Fall West Side Seminar will be held at Padilla Interpretive Center and Aquarium near Bayview State Park. The event will also include a tour of the Washington Association of Conservation District's Plant Materials Center in Box, about 10 minutes away from the seminar site. Click here for more information and to register (maximum of 50 individuals), $25 each.
September 23 - Wildlife Habitat Workshop - 10 am - 2:00 pm. Bellingham (event location details will be sent to attendees after registration). $35 per person. Limited parking. WCFFA members are invited to the Wildlife Habitat Workshop presented on behalf of Washington State University Extension and Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Spend the day exploring riparian and forested ecosystems with a group of local experts and learn more about enhancing your land for wildlife including native bird, bat, beaver, and pollinator populations. They'll discuss nest boxes, wetland maintenance, native plantings, habitat piles, bird friendly homeowner practices and more! Details and Registration available online at https://forestry.wsu.edu/wildlife-habitat-workshop
Secretary Position Opening - following voting for Officers at our Annual meeting, we still have a vacant Secretary position. Think you might be interested in joining a vibrant group of people who like to promote interest in the stewardship of private forest resources? Click here for information about the Secretary's duties. If you are interested, you can contact President Jan Vollmer at email@example.com
DNR Financial Assistance for Forest Health - If you own less than 5,000 acres and are a non-industrial forestland owner who wants help managing your lands for optimal forest health, creating a forest stewardship plan, or applying for financial assistance to improve forest health, read on. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering a financial assistance program which focuses on technical and financial assistance to implement forest health or wildfire mitigation treatments or to help landowners write forest management plans. This program can address pre-commercial thinning, brush/vegetation control, pruning, slash management, prescribed fire and tree planting/reforestation. To get a local forester to provide you with a consultation, contact Gene Phillips, District Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
FREE Forestry publications - from WSU Extension that are of interest to forest landowners are now available.
- Seasonal Foliage Discoloration and Loss in Pacific Northwest Evergreen Conifer Trees - click here to download.
- A Climate Resilience Guide for Small Forest Landowners in Western Washington - click here to download. (different title shows on webpage, but click on "Western Washington Guide" and it will take you to the Climate Resilience Guide)
- Porcupines in Managed Woodlands: Tools for family forestland owners - click here to download.
- Henry Richard "Dick" Vollmer, a long-time WCFFA member, past Board member and husband of current President Jan Vollmer, passed away in early July. Dick was active in WCFFA events, attending many activities our Chapter sponsored and he and Jan hosted a tour of their Tree Farm a few years ago. He will be truly missed. There is no information currently about a memorial service, but information will be posted as it becomes available.
- Ron Vekved, a long-time WCFFA member passed away June 21. Since one of his many hobbies was tree planting, it was appropriate that he was especially active with our annual Tree Sale.
- Linda Burpee of Deming passed away June 17. Her family owned a Tree Farm on the Mosquito Lake Road. Linda and her husband, Bruce, were WCFFA members for a number of years.
5th GRADE CONSERVATION TOUR
Participating schools in this year's 5th Grade Conservation Tour, held May 18th, included Custer and Skyline Elementary from the Ferndale School District and Meadow Montessori with some home-schooled children as well. Earlier work by volunteers this spring provided plenty of room for buses and cars to park. Seven groups of children and chaperones were formed to visit the seven stations on a warm sunny day (much better than last year's downpour). Our new horn, operated by Dan Koehler, gave a loud and clear signal when it was time to move to a new station. Don Assink handled the Introduction to Forestry station. Don has been participating in this Tour for 65 years - starting as a student. Your long-standing dedication to this event is much appreciated Don. Past President, Herb Barker, handled the Forest Resources station. Thanks to other WCFFA members who helped head Tour master, President Jan Vollmer, on the day of the Tour - Conrad & Jeanne Koehn, Dave New, Karen Bellingar, Helen Arntsen & Paul Campbell.
Tree Information & Planting Directions
See below for information about all the trees we sold at our Tree Sale and planting directions.
- Tree Descriptions – Information about growth rate, height at 30 years, soil type preference, suggested uses and other characteristics.
- Seedling Planting Guide – small number of seedlings.
- Forest Seedling Planting Guide – for larger numbers of seedlings with more planting details.
Mark your calendar for next year’s online Tree Sale which will start February 1, 2024. Pick-up day will be March 16, 2024.
It may not be glamorous or clean work, but members and students from the Mt. Baker FFA program showed up to bag seedlings for the 5th Grade Conservation Tour and other school-related activities. Click here for more photos.
OFFICERS & BOARD UPDATE
Concluding elections at our Annual meeting in April, we saw Herb Barker shifting from President to Past President, Jan Vollmer moving into President, Lisa Tiermersma being elected Vice President and Jim DeWilde shifting from Secretary to Treasurer, all for a one-year term. Two Board members were elected to three-year positions - Conrad Koehn & Ryan Lindsay. Thanks to all new and current Officers and Board members for your service.
The Secretary position remains vacant. Click here for more information about the position to see if you might be interested in serving.
We got to hold an Annual meeting in April - the first in four years due to COVID-19. All together, thirty-nine members and/or guests attended a lovely evening at the Shuksan Golf Club. We had two speakers who provided wonderful information. For a full recap and lots of photos, click here.
New WSU Extension Forester
Members who attended the December Holiday Party had an opportunity to meet the new WSU Extension Forester in our area - Molly Darr. Molly would love to come tour your property and talk about issues you may be facing relative to forest health & pest management strategies. She can be reached at email@example.com.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
A warm WCFFA welcome to 2023 new members. We're happy to have you join our Chapter and look forward to getting to know you at Chapter events.
- Dean Van Vleet of DK Forestry located in Mount Vernon,
- Dominic Moceri of Deming,
- Cindy & Joshua Telling of Blaine,
- Scott & Margaret Hamstra of Lynden,
- Brad & Cindy Osborne of Bellingham,
- John Reichstein of Ferndale,
- Molly Darr of Mount Vernon,
- Roger & Nancy Riffle from Mount Vernon.
5th GRADE CONSERVATION SITE CLEANUP
Several WCFFA members banded together to do some cleanup work at the 5th Grade Conservation Tour site at the Olsen Creek Seed Orchard in advance of student Tours which will be held in early May. Thanks to members Herb Barker, Mary Green, Dan Koehler, Conrad & Jeanne Koehn and Jan Vollmer for their time and efforts. Click here for a couple photos and more information.
Our 64th consecutive Tree Sale is one for the books. We sold over 23,000 trees covering 15 species, had about 65 volunteers, 345 orders and we were done packaging ordered trees by noon. In the 64 years of doing this Tree Sale, we have sold over 1.308 million trees, yes, million, which means our Whatcom Chapter is definitely doing its part to “Keep Washington Green!”
While it truly takes a village (aka over 60 volunteers) to host a successful Tree Sale, it also takes a special family steering the ship. Lisa Tiemersma was at the helm as Tree Sale Chairperson and father Tom Westergreen was the head orderer and nurturer of our trees. In addition, they also fielded 14 other family members, with two of the families fielding three generations, to help with the Tree Sale. That help included picking up trees at nurseries, unloading said trees, setting up tables, wrapping trees, helping lug bags of trees out to cars, checking orders out, providing security, directing line traffic, and so much more. Many thanks to the entire extended Westergreen family for all they do not only in support of the Tree Sale, but many other Chapter activities as well.
And speaking of families – the Westergreens weren’t the only ones fielding three generations at the Tree Sale. Also included were Dave and Dar New, Arnold Theisen and Gerry Kudsk. Being able to encourage multiple generations within a family to participate in WCFFA activities will help keep our organization strong for many years to come. Thanks to all the volunteers for all they did by rolling up their sleeves and in some cases getting pretty dirty. Special thanks to the Mt. Baker FFA for helping with the Sale. We supported them with some funds to be able to travel to and participate in the National FFA Championships last Fall and we appreciate their support of our programs in return.
And while we’re throwing out our appreciation – thanks to Jon Matson for all things tied to our online Store. It’s a tremendous website and has streamlined our Tree Sale substantially. Also thanks to Northwest Washington Fair and Event Center for hosting us and to the nurseries that provide us our trees. We’d also like to thank KGMI and the Lynden Tribune and the many businesses that allow us to post a flyer advertising the Tree Sale.
Want to get a flavor for how our Tree Sale operates and to see a number of photos, just click here.
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 Today" orange tab at the very top of this webpage on the right side for information about becoming a member.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 any of the following documents, please click on the blue words below.
President: Jan Vollmer
Vice President: Lisa Tiemersma
Treasurer: Jim DeWilde
Past President: Herb Barker
Board Member: Wendy Wefer-Clinton
Board Member: Conrad Koehn
Board Member: David New
Board Member: Ryan Lindsay
Board Member: Karen Bellingar
Board Member: Mary & Jim Green
2022 ACTIVITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Click here for a recap of our Chapter's 2022 Actitivites and Accomplishments. It's always a little startling to see just how much we do as a Chapter each year. Check it out and see if there is anything you might be interested in participating in during 2023.
Nineteen folks made it to this year's Holiday Party on December 3 at the Deming Log Show Museum. Dave New made a presentation about using a camera to capture wildlife on your Tree Farm. See several photos from the Holiday Party and information on setting up your own camera on the 2022 Activities and Accomplishments recap.
MT. BAKER FFA PLACES 12TH IN THE NATION
Congratulations to the Mt. Baker FFA Forestry team who placed 12th out of 43 teams (130 students overall) at the Nationals held in Indianapolis in late October. Jorey Johnson was a GOLD individual scoring in the top 1/3 of all competing students. Case Heutink, Kaylee Wahl and Alexis Yates were SILVER individuals scoring in the upper middle 1/3 of students competing. WCFFA assisted Mt. Baker FFA defray competition costs by donating $4,000. Looks like our money was well spent and helps us fulfill one of our purposes which is to promote youth opportunities for education in forestry and land stewardship! Mt. Baker also fielded two other teams at Nationals - Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems placed 7th and Floriculture placed 15th. Great job to all Mt. Baker FFA members and especially to those who placed so highly on the Forestry team. An additional thank you to Todd Rightmire, who has been advising these students for many years.
WINTER HARDENING OF SEEDLINGS
Tom Westergreen visited WACD Nursery in Bow on November 18 to check out seedlings they are growing for our Annual Tree Sale. Click here to get a brief silviculture lesson and see some great photos.
SECRETARY POSITION FILLED
Thanks to Board member, Jim DeWilde, for stepping up to take over the Secretary position. We didn’t tell Jim, but it will be his role to keep all the Board members in line – just kidding. Jim will keep our organization’s records, communicate with members, prepare minutes of meetings, assist with setting up events and whatever else he has an interest in.
Many thanks to Helen Arntson for serving as Secretary for three and ½ years. The 1/2 year was since May when Helen agreed to continue on until the Fall. She did a wonderful job and we wish her all the best in her “retirement” from the Board. Now she’ll have no excuse to keep her away from her beloved music.
BOARD POSITION AVAILABLE
And because Jim DeWilde took the vacant Secretary position, we now have a Board position available. Join us to help achieve our Association’s purposes – including:
- cultivating stewardship of private forest resources,
- exchange of ideas between tree farms and public and private agencies,
- promoting opportunities for youth education in forestry and land stewardship, and
- assisting with providing tours, demonstrations and other educational programs that will enable farm foresters to better manage their property and that illustrate the value of forestry to Association members and the general public.
HATS 4 SALE
Interested in showing off your affiliation with Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association? Purchase a hat for only $20 - see hat photo in rolling photos to the left. This would make a great Holiday gift. Contact Karen Bellingar at 360-303-1193.
WCFFA has our own “seed whisperer” in Tom Westergreen. Tom has been instrumental in collecting local seeds and working with nurseries to grow seedlings that we sell at our Tree Sale. The seedlings where we have collected the cones will be acclimatized for Whatcom County. Tom reports that we have enough Cedar seeds to last 10 years, Hemlock seeds to last 13 years and Douglas fir to last 12 years from a good crop of cones collected this year.
CONSERVATION TOUR HISTORY
Our current 5th grade Conservation Tour started out with 6th graders (pre-Middle School) in 1958 at the Assink Tree Farm when Past President Don Assink was a 6th grader. It was there until the 1970's when it moved to the Georgia Pacific Stewart Mountain Tree Farm off the Y Road and then to the Olson Creek Seed Orchard in the 1980's where we have held the Tour for many years. Thanks to Tom Westergreen for the GP start date - he remembers, because that's when he went to work for GP. The Tour is a great opportunity to share our love of the outdoors and trees with 5th graders from across the County, many of whom may have very little exposure to "all things nature." If you are interested in helping with the Tour, please contact Vice President Jan Vollmer at email@example.com.
WEST-SIDE ANNUAL MEETING
Many thanks to David & Dar New and family for hosting the West-Side Washington Farm Forestry Association annual meeting at the Nourse Tree Farm. You represented our Chapter exceptionally well. The New family were 2019 National Tree Farmers of the Year and always have some good stories to share. Below are a few videos that David has put together shot on their Tree Farm.
BOARD POSITION FILLED
Per our Chapter Bylaws, the Board of Directors voted to fill a vacant Board position with two members who came forward and volunteered. Mary and Jim Green will be sharing one Board position. Mary brings a keen interest in the 5th grade Conservation Tour and Jim has worked at our Tree Sale for a number of years. If you see them, please welcome them to our Chapter governing body. We still have an opening for the Secretary position.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
We welcome to the Whatcom Chapter of Washington Farm Forestry Association Ryan and Andrea Lindsay of Sedro Woolley. We hope to meet you at an upcoming event.
Russ Pfeiffer-Hoyt started visiting Bellingham as a child each summer to see his grandmother, and because she was a Nesset, there were many visits to the Nesset farm which WCFFA toured in 2018. Russ was recently written up in Adventures NW magazine for his almost 50 years of building hiking trails. Some of his trails include Port Whitehorn, Wild Goose, Mount Pilchuck, Hannegan Pass & Goat Mountain reconstruction and many, many more. To see the entire list and learn a little more about Russ’s efforts, either pick up a free copy of the Adventures NW - Summer 2022 edition around town or click here for a link to Adventures NW magazine. The article about Russ starts on page 24. Thanks Russ for your extensive contributions which allow your fellow WCFFA members and others the ability to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
WELCOME NEW MEMBER
A big welcome to Chris Elder of Acme as the newest member of the Whatcom County Chapter. We look forward to being able to meet and see Chris at an upcoming event.
WASHINGTON STATE TREE FARMER OF THE YEAR
The Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association and the Washington Tree Farm Program jointly held an awards ceremony and tree farm tour at the Nelson Road Tree Farm, LLC. In addition to the announcement of the State Tree Farmer of the Year, the Washington Tree Farm Program Leadership Award was presented to Tom Westergreen. Click here to see a recap with numerous photos.
5th GRADE CONSERVATION TOUR
This year’s tour was conducted in one day, Wednesday, May 18. The day started out very wet and stormy, but cleared up later. Partners in this endeavor who set up tables or displays to give presentations to the students included: Washington State University Whatcom County Extension Program, Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association, Department of Natural Resources, Whatcom County Public Works, Whatcom Conservation District, United States Forest Service, Sierra Pacific, Barkers Chipping and Hampton Lumber. Volunteers from WCFFA included: WCFFA Tour head honcho Vice President Jan Vollmer, President Herb Barker, Secretary Helen Arntson, Past President Don Assink, Board members – Conrad Koehn, Dan Koehler (thanks for the new signs) and Wendy Wefer-Clinton plus WCFFA member Ruth Heft. Thanks to all partners, presenters and volunteers! See a couple photos in the rolling photos to the left.
Here’s a quick recap: Pouring rain at the start * Winds 10-20 mph * Nine classes from four schools with 180 fifth graders with three buses & drivers * Two homeschool families * 30 grownups attending * Innumerable cars * Two log trucks to be avoided * Three outhouses * Three gates * One parking area (plus overflow roadside bus parking * One fire truck * Eight educational Stations * One new train horn with eight horn blasts signaling the end of each 20-minute session * Nine partner sponsors * Two start lines with a shotgun start * 20 presenters + 6 other volunteers (including three guides) * Ten tree boxes with 200 Ponderosa seedlings (1 to each student) * One school picnic * One creek * One trail * In one county * One fence around a seed orchard * One riparian area * One outhouse truck/pickup truck collision (thankfully no spills) * Zero comments on the weather – because the Weather is part of the Tour * Zero litter * Zero trash * Two empty trash & recycle cans * Some masking * Lots of joy!
It was a good day with children (and many adults) exuberant at being able to be outside together after two years of no Tours due to COVID.
WASHINGTON TREE FARM PROGRAM (WTFP) AWARDS
Congratulations to two Chapter members on winning awards through this year's Washington Tree Farm Program. Named 2022 WTFP Tree Farmer of the Year for Washington state were Bob & Kaz Barker and Robin & Dave Tempero of the Nelson Road Tree Farm, LLC. They will be hosting a Tour of their Tree Farm on May 21. Also picking up an award for our Chapter was Tom Westergreen who was given the WTFP State Leadership Award. Congratulations to all award winners - well deserved all around.
MEMORIAL DONATIONS – Miriam Ewing
Many thanks to members who donated to our Chapter in memory of Miriam Ewing. Miriam and her husband Bob were active, long-time Chapter members. We received over $600 in donations. The Board decided to use the donations to fund our involvement with this year’s 5th Grade Conservation Tour. One of our Chapter’s purposes is to promote opportunities for youth education in forestry. The Board felt that using these donations was a good match as we try to reach potential, next generation family forest landowners. Thanks to Miriam and her family for asking for donations to our Chapter.
The Board of Directors election results are in. The following were re-elected - Herb Barker - President, Jan Vollmer - Vice President and Karen Bellingar - Treasurer. Jim DeWilde was newly elected to a 3-year term on the Board. Welcome Jim and welcome back Herb, Jan and Karen. Your service is appreciated. We still have a Secretary position open and another Board position.
MT. BAKER FFA WINS STATE
Congratulations to Mt. Baker FFA students who won the Washington State Championship title in Forestry. Next step is off to the National Championships in the Fall. They have supported the 5th Grade Conservation Tour for many years by individually wrapping a Ponderosa pine to give to each student in attendance. In turn, we have supported them financially in buying needed supplies and helping to support their trips to Nationals - which they have done numerous times. The Board decided at the May meeting to agree to contribute $4,000 towards their trip to Nationals next Fall. We wish them the best of luck.
ANNUAL TREE SALE
With over 300 online orders, we sold a total of 23,406 trees varying among 15 species. Many thanks to those who made a purchase and a HUGE thank you to all the volunteers who made this online sale possible by "shopping" for the purchasers, wrapping and bagging the orders and then delivering the bagged trees to the purchaser's vehicle. Job well done!
Just in case you don't have your trees planted in the ground yet, see the links below for some good information.
- Tree Descriptions - List of seedlings available and information about each tree. Information includes: growth rate, height at 30 years, soil type preference, suggested uses & other characteristics.
- Seedling Planting Guide – small number of seedlings
- Forest Seedling Planting Guide – for larger numbers of seedlings with greater detail.
NOURSE TREE FARM VIDEO
David New of Nourse Tree Farm has been at it again, crafting together a video of all the various visitors they have crossing a bridge on their property. He said there was one particular animal which concerned him with grandkids who love to run around the property. See if you can figure out which animal it was. Click here to enjoy the video.
We’d like to extend a very warm welcome to new members – Rich & Kathleen Greenbaum of Sumas and Michael Herrick of Seattle. We hope to see you at a future event so you can meet other folks who are interested in tree farming.
2021 ANNUAL ACTIVITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Our Chapter was very active in 2021, especially considering the limitations that were before us. We had one of our most successful tree sales ever - even though it took on a much different look plus three tours of Tree Farms around the County. To see everything that happened, click here. You'll not only see highlights for the year, but have links to go to recaps of events with photos and lots of great information.
ALPINE MEADOWS CHRISTMAS TREE FARM TOUR
We really appreciate Ken Stremler and his family opening up their Alpine Meadows Christmas Tree Farm for a Chapter member tour. Thirteen attendees enjoyed hearing about the Christmas tree business and how it all came to be a reality at Alpine Meadows. For a full recap with photos, click here.
VEDDER'S EDGE TREE FARM TOUR
Thanks to the Edge family for hosting a quick tour of their Vedder's Edge Tree Farm and showing everyone how to make a holiday wreath. With 20 attendees, some good work was produced. For more information and to see lots of photos, click here.
PHIL CLOWARD MEMORIAL BENCH
In memory of former Board member, Phil Cloward, a beautiful bench was purchased with a plaque stating, "In memory of Phil Cloward and his love of trees and community." Phil was a tremendous supporter of trees and the timber industry. In addition to serving on the Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association Board, he and his wife also volunteered many, many hours at the Black Mountain Forestry Center which had historical equipment and buildings and provided rich foder for Phil to regale folks with stories about the timber industry. Click here for a photo of the bench placed at the East Whatcom Regional Resouce Center, because Phil also believed in giving back to his community. Many thanks to Phil's good friend Dan Koehler, with assistance form his daughter Jessica, who spearheaded the memorial bench in honor of Phil.
NOURSE TREE FARM VIDEOS
David New has added a new video of the waterfall trail with a surprise ending. Lots of animal life caught by the cameras - some so well, you could have the kiddos count the number of flies on a deer! Check out all six videos and see if you can identify all the animals (another good game for the kiddos). Click here for videos.
WESTERGREEN TREE FARM TOUR
An all-around great day was spent by almost 60 people on July 10 while we toured the Westergreen Tree Farm. From ponds, pits, ridges, meadows and more than a few trees to a glorious sweeping view into Canada and of the North Whatcom farmlands we saw it all under sunny skies. Ken Bevis, from the Department of Natural Resources, joined us to talk about wildlife habitats and to entertain us during lunch with some of his original songs and WFFA President Dick Alescio joined us for a day in the woods. Click here for a recap with many photos of the Tour.
UPPER PUGET SOUND TOUR RECAP
Eleven members of the Whatcom County Chapter attended a tour of Ken Osborn's Devil's Creek Road Tree Farm in Skagit County. Members who attended reported that there were numerous speakers who were very good and while everyone was prepared for rain, it held off for the tour. Our Whatcom Chapter helped the Upper Puget Sound (UPS) Chapter develop flyer-like information about the Tour patterned off what we had recently done for the Westergreen Tree Farm Tour. If you'd would like to see some photos (some of our members are in them) from the Tour or read a short recap, click here.
THE KING OF THE WOODS (True Bear)
Ken Bevis, renowned DNR troubadour, has written a song about who he believes is the "King of the Woods." For a video of his song, click here to see if you agree with his choice. The video was filmed on the Golden Gate bridge at the Nourse Tree Farm owned by Whatcom County chapter member, David New, and family.
ASIAN GIANT HORNET
We’re sure most of you have heard about the Asian Giant Hornet that is trying to infiltrate our area. In an effort to limit the spread of these very destructive hornets who pose a serious threat to honeybees, other insects and even humans, citizen scientists were solicited to participate in a trapping program. The program is running July – November and we have members who are helping with this effort.
DEMING LOG SHOW BLEACHER SIGN
In 2020, the WCFFA Board of Directors voted to donate some monies to causes related to our purpose and function. Among them was a donation to the Deming Log Show and also the purchase of a "bleacher sign" with our Chapter name on it. Click here to see what the sign looks like. It turned out great and will be placed on a bleacher for this year's Deming Log Show which is scheduled for June 12 & 13. The Log Show has been held for the benefit of busted-up loggers since 1963 (except for last year's COVID-forced cancellation). If you've never been, it's a good view of the type of work that occurs in the woods and the equipment that is used and if you've been every year - why stop now - there's something for everyone.
OFFICER & BOARD ELECTIONS
Special congratulations to Jan Vollmer being elected Vice President for the first time after having served on the Board of Directors since 2016. Congratulations also to those who agreed to run again for Office or a Board position and were re-elected by an eVote. This includes: President - Herb Barker, Treasurer - Karen Bellingar, Secretary - Helen Arntson and for Board positions - David New and Lisa Tiemersma/Wendy Wefer-Clinton (sharing one position). Comments were submitted with votes thanking those on the slate offered for running and agreeing to do these jobs which are vital to a well-functioning organization. Thanks to all members who submitted their vote.
Click here to see a quick recap of our first "online" Tree Sale. Thanks for your interest, support and purchases which helped us sell over 23,000 trees. We hope to see you at next year's Tree Sale slated for March 19, 2022.
We’d like to extend a very warm welcome to new members – Bradlee Frierott & Jade Denali Ohana of Maple Falls and Jerry and Lurline Hammer of Everson. And a welcome back to Paul and Lori Murphy of Bellingham.
CAPTURING WILDLIFE ON CAMERA AT NOURSE TREE FARM
David New, co-owner of Nourse Tree Farm, talked about his experiences using game cameras on their property in a virtual meeting held on February 16. There were a wide variety of animals depicted – bear, deer, beaver, hawks, owls, coyote, fish and more. He also gave tips on height to place a camera, angles to consider, activity level of the chosen area, wide-angle lens or not, and other things he learned along the way. Thanks David for the great meeting and representing our Chapter so well. Click here if you would like to see the presentation and a very informative question and answer session after David's presentation.
PHIL CLOWARD TRIBUTE
It is with sad hearts that the Board of Directors announce the passing of a Chapter treasure. Phil Cloward spent a great part of his life in the woods as a forester and a logger. He was an integral part of our Chapter and he will be missed. Click here for a short tribute to Phil.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS CHANGES
With the passing of Phil Cloward, we had a vacancy for the position of Vice President. Per Chapter Bylaws, the remaining members of the Board of Directors voted to move current Board member, David New, into the Vice President position until we have a vote by the membership in April. Additionally, Sharon Westergreen stepped down from her Director position, but Ed Westergreen agreed to step into her position. To cover the vacancy created by David’s move to Vice President, Co-Directors Lisa Tiemersma and Wendy Wefer-Clinton, will each move into a full Director position which rounds out the Board of Directors.
2020 ANNUAL REPORT
Even with all the restrictions brought on by COVID-19, your Chapter was able to accomplish a great deal. Click here to see the full recap of Activities and Accomplishments.
WILDFIRE RESILIENCE PROGRAM
In September & October, your WCFFA Board submitted letters of support to the Whatcom County Executive and Council regarding 2021-22 funding of the Whatcom Conservation District's Wildfire Risk Reduction Program. With the support of our organization and many other individuals and organizations, that funding was approved. If you are interested in an on-site wildfire risk assessment or would like to obtain more information, contact Jenny Coe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-526-2381, ext. 106. Please be aware they already have a backlog of requests, so if you are interested in an assessment, better to contact them now to get on the list.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
A very warm welcome to five new family memberships in 2020. Gretchen and Allan Klotz of Maple Falls, Greg and Allie Debruin of Everson, Brian and Suzanne Lange of Sumas, Randall Card and Kelly McClurg of Bellingham, and Jennifer and Jeffrey Parker of Bellingham.
"KING OF THE WOODS"
Ken Bevis, the DNR troubadour, has written a new song about who he believes is the "King of the Woods." For a video of his song, click here to see if you agree with his choice. The video was filmed at the Nourse Tree Farm, owned by Whatcom County member, David New, and family.
DONATIONS IN A TIME OF NEED
At the September Board of Directors meeting we discussed the challenges facing many groups during these difficult times. Since we currently have a healthy bank account, it was decided to make some donations to select groups which have a tie to WCFFA.
1. Washington Farm Forestry Association – our state organization comprised of and for forest landowners who are “Stewards of the Land,” coordinates with local chapters – like our own Whatcom County chapter. Knowledge is shared among members, educational opportunities are offered, and a voice for small forest landowners in Olympia is made available. $500
2. Washington Tree Farm Program – voluntary certification program, performed by volunteer inspectors, along with many other resources that ensures healthy privately-owned forestlands that contribute to our state's clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities, while producing the jobs, wood, and timber products we all need. $500
3. Deming Log Show – without the ability to hold a Log Show this year, the coffers for the “Busted Up Loggers Fund” did not receive their normal boost. Because many of our members use the services of local loggers to harvest timber, we chose the Log Show for a donation. We will spend $750 to purchase a bleacher sign – which will provide ongoing marketing of our Chapter, along with $4,250 for the Busted Up Loggers Fund.
4. Mt. Baker High School FFA – this group of teenagers, focusing on forestry, have assisted us for many years in a variety of ways. Most notably, they help to separate and package the 400 to 500 trees that are normally handed out at the 5th Grade Conservation Tour. $1,300 was donated for the purchase of technical forestry supplies needed for this group.
WHATCOM FARM FORESTRY HATS - AVAILABLE TO BUY
In the mood to add to your hat collection? We have a very nicely designed sturdy hat in black with "Whatcom Farm Forestry" and a tree design in green stitched on it. See rotating photos to the right. Hats are $20. Contact Karen Bellingar at 360-303-1193 for purchasing details.
NEW OFFICERS & BOARD MEMBERS
While COVID-19 kept us from having our annual meeting, it did not stop us from having an election. Herb Barker moved up from Vice President and took over as President of Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association on May 1. Stepping in as Vice President is Phil Cloward. Re-elected Officers include Secretary Helen Arntson and Treasurer Karen Bellinger. Many thanks to Don Assink who moves to Past President after serving as President for three years. And many thanks also to long-time Chapter member Pat Mitchell who leaves our slate of Officers after many dedicated years of service to our group. Dan Koehler was re-elected as a Board Member and Conrad Koehn joins our Board of Directors for the first time. For a full list of all Officers and Board Members, it appears at the bottom of the column to the right.
WHAT TO DO WITH 400 PONDEROSA PINE SEEDLINGS?
We had a bit of a dilemma when COVID-19 shut down the annual 5th Grade Conservation Tour that our Chapter usually assists with in early May. We usually provide an educational station during the tour as well as organizational assistance to keep things moving. In addition, we usually hand out a complimentary ponderosa pine seedling to each of the students attending. With no Tour and 400 seedlings looking for a home, our Tree Sale chairperson and schoolteacher, Lisa Tiemersma, came up with the idea to hand out the seedlings to students at Nooksack, Sumas & Everson elementary schools when the students drove by school to pick up their school-provided meals and/or learning packets. A Smokey the Bear bag, donated by the Department of Natural Resources, was filled with fun things for the kids and the free ponderosa pine seedling from our Chapter.
During these trying times, it was nice to be able to give kids something positive that they could learn from and take home and nurture, with the added benefit of helping to keep our County green and converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. What started out as a dilemma turned into a big win. Thanks Lisa for not only for finding homes for the seedlings, but for all the new challenges you have taken on as a teacher in our current world.
MULTIPLE PARCELS - TAX REFUND POSSIBLE
If you own more than one parcel of forestland, and are assessed a "fire patrol fee" on more than one parcel, you may be eligible for a refund. To find out more, click here for a copy of the Forest Fire Protection (FFPA) Refund Form and its accompanying instructions.
2019 Activities & Accomplishments
We had a busy 2019 with events, tours, educational outreach including a Wildfire Risk Reduction Workshop and most importantly, the Nourse Tree Farm was not only selected as the Western Regional finalist, but also the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year! Click here for the recap of 2019 and see below for several articles about the Nourse Tree Farm and the videos about their Tree Farm.
New Family named 2019 National OutstandingTree Farmers of the Year!
Congratulations to the New family, owners of the Nourse Tree Farm near Arlington, WA who are Whatcom County Chapter members. They have been named Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year by the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) for their efforts to restore a portion of a critical watershed to help a threatened species. The New family, David and Dar New, Dar's mother, their daughter and her family and their sonsare owners of this 165-acre property which has been in Dar's family for three generations. The American Forest Foundation and the ATFS commended the New family for their passionand dedication. For more information, watch their story.
Twenty-eight Chapter members and family attended a potluck dinner with lasagna and beverages provided by our Chapter. Marilyn Mitchell provided some musical entertainment followed by David New presenting three videos about his family's Tree Farm. The videos included Succession Planning, Stream Restoration and the latest video - that of the family being awarded the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for the Nourse Tree Farm. Links to all the videos are contained within stories on this website.
Harvest Restrictions - Small Forest Landowners
WFFA has been working on alternate harvest restrictions for small forest landowners (SFLO) for over 20 years. A WFFA proposal has been in for review since February 2015. The Forest Practices Board is expected to vote on this proposal for smaller buffers for SFLO's on August 12, 2020. If you are interested in getting short email update summaries as review continues, please contact Ken Miller by email at email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- Whatcom Chapter Articles of Incorporation
- Whatcom Chapter Bylaws
- Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws history
Contact the Chapter President for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org