Whatcom Chapter

HAPPENINGS

Financial Planning Committee - We are looking for a couple of volunteers to serve on our new Financial Planning Committee.  If you have an interest in, or experience with financial planning, then participating on our Financial Planning Committee may be a good community service opportunity for you.  The committee will provide financial advice to the Whatcom Chapter Board of Directors in support of our Chapter's purposes.  The time commitment will be minimal: about eight hours over the next few months.  To volunteer or get more information, contact Treasurer Jim DeWilde at 678-590-2546 or jim.dewilde@outlook.com

Upper Puget Sound Chapter Events - If you are interested in attending any of the events listed below, check out our next door neighbor, the UPS Chapter webpage, serving Skagit, Snohomish & North King Counties, as we get closer to the dates listed below. 

  • Friday, August 2 - 10:00 a.m. tour of Janicki Industries mass timber building in Hamilton
  • Saturday, September 7 - Annual meeting.  Mountain Tree Farm.  Ann Stinson speaker on Women Owning Tree Farms. 

WSU Extension Forestry Summer Events - Interested in learning about Trail Building, how about Invasive Weed Control or the online Forest Stewardship Coached Planning course, joining a Twilight Forest Tour or the 2024 Puget Sound Forest Owner's Field Day on July 27.  To find out details about all these activities, click here

RESOURCES

Whatcom Conservation District & Forest Stewardship - If you own forested property in Whatcom County, Whatcom Conservation District wants to help you keep it forested and in good health.  They can assist you with identifying and prioritizing issues on your property based on your goals and objectives, whether it’s increasing habitat for wildlife, growing timber for wood products, sequestering carbon, maintaining a property for recreation or conserving a peaceful family refuge.  Request a FREE, non-regulatory, confidential site visit to discuss your concerns, answer questions and offer technical advice.  To request a site visit or for more information, click here

Regulation Assistance Forester - As a small forest landowner (SFLO) do you need help navigating regulation and permitting?  Contact Hollis Crapo, with Department of Natural Resources for questions or a consult via email, phone or in person.  He also is knowledgeable about SFLO cost sharing programs.  Give him a call at 360-306-2251 or email at hollis.crapo@dnr.wa.gov.

Women Owning Woodlands (WOW) is an education network aimed at connecting women forest landowners with the resources and skills they need to manage their own forests.  WOW will be hosting a four-part webinar series in spring 2024, centered on the theme of “Forest Health” and hope to schedule in-person workshops in western Washington this summer.  Molly Darr, a Whatcom Chapter member, is a key part of the WOW team which utilizes educational resources and personal stories to instill a sense of confidence and empowerment in women’s abilities to meet the challenges of forest ownership.  Interested?  Click here for more information

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 gene.phillips@dnr.wa.gov

FREE Forestry publications - from WSU Extension that are of interest to forest landowners are now available.  

  1. Seasonal Foliage Discoloration and Loss in Pacific Northwest Evergreen Conifer Trees - click here to download
  2. 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)
  3. Porcupines in Managed Woodlands:  Tools for family forestland owners - click here to download.

Tree Planting Information - Helpful information regarding tree characteristics and planting guidelines can be found with the following links:

Mark your calendar for next year’s online Tree Sale which will start February 1, 2025.  Tree Pick-up day will be March 15, 2025


2024 HIGHLIGHTS

2024 Member Survey

Many thanks to the 35 Chapter members who responded to our Chapter Survey.  Here’s a quick recap of what you told us:

Volunteering Opportunities – 48 members stepped up and volunteered. 

Accessing Chapter Webpage – Most members access webpage quarterly or annually and 75% of responding members found the information useful. 

Event Recaps - 90% of responding members like the Recaps we create for events with photos and information about the event. 

Chapter Information - 45% of members would like to get an email monthly or quarterly about events.  In response to this, we have created a newsletter which we anticipate going out every quarter.  Watch for the first issue in late July.  Feel free to let us know what you think. 

Learning Opportunities - We received lots of responses on what you are most interested in learning about.  The top 5 topics in descending order were:

  • Timber stand Management – pre-commercial thinning, partial cuts and release cuts.
  • Forestland Maintenance – manual and herbicide options to control unwanted vegetation.
  • Wildfire Preparedness – this topic will be addressed at an upcoming Tour. 
  • Timber Harvesting – selecting a consulting forester, logger, contracts, marketing, etc.
  • Estate Planning – succession planning, land trust, etc. 

Interested in seeing more results – click here for the full Member Survey results

Conservation Tour Tree Bagging & Donation to MB FFA

Thanks to WCFFA members and Mt. Baker FFA members who helped bag up 400 Ponderosa Pines to hand out to students attending the annual 5th Grade Conservation Tour.  Additionally, President Jan Vollmer presented the FFA with a check for $1,500 in recognition of their winning the state competition and their anticipated trip to Nationals in the Fall.  Congratulations Mt. Baker FFA!  For more details and numerous photos, please click here

Water Slide Closed for the Season

A previous posting (scroll down a bit) introduced you to the Water Slide that ducks used on the stream at Nourse Tree Farm.  Well, the resident beaver decided it was time to rebuild. 

A contractor friend commented to Dave New of Nourse Tree Farm that he should hire some beavers because they are hard workers.  Dave had a different view - Appearances are deceiving:

1) He gave them the job two months ago, but they didn't start until last week

2) They only showed up for work about an hour each night for a week 

3) They ruined the landscaping 

4) They left the place in a mess 

Click here to check out the video so you can see the duck's reaction. 

Seedling Bagging

The Mt. Baker High School Natural Resources class of about twenty students individually bagged with soil the roots of almost 400 Ponderosa Pine seedlings donated by our Chapter.  They then counted them into a box for each of the fifteen school classrooms that will be attending the 5th Grade Tour Conservation Tour in May. Conrad and Jeanne Koehn donated the soil and assisted the students.  Other members helping were Ruth Heft, Dan Koehler and Mary and Jim Green.  A donation check of $1,500 was presented to the Mt. Baker High School FFA Forestry Program from our Chapter for their use. Mt. Baker FFA Forestry took first in Washington State at the 2024 Forestry Career Development Event statewide competition in Pullman. They will compete in Nationals this coming fall.  Many thanks to students and members who helped with this very worthwhile project. 

Angry Bird?

At our Annual Meeting in April, Dave New, of Nourse Tree Farm, shared a number of videos with us taken on the family's tree farm.  In particular, he had video of a flicker who seemed to be very angry with the trail camera recording his actions.  Or was he just seeking out a mate to share his birdhouse with?  Watch/listen and see what you think.

Forestry Literacy Workshop for Teachers and other Educators

On March 23, Tom Westergreen and Lisa Tiemersma joined with Pacific Education Institute to host a one-day opportunity for teachers and other educators to learn more about tree farming and forestry and an opportunity for us to correct misperceptions and negative opinions about managing forests.  About 20 educators took part in classroom discussions and time on the Westergreen Tree Farm.  Evaluations were very positive.  Many thanks to Tom and Lisa for all the time they devoted to this project in joining hands with Pacific Education Institute.  For a comprehensive review and photos, please click here

Tree Sale

Mother Nature put a kink in our Tree Sale this year as we were unable to get almost 3,000 trees out of the ground in time for our pickup date of March 16 due to frozen or extremely wet ground.  As a result we held our planned Tree Sale pickup on March 16 and a second one on April 6 for folks who had ordered some of the trees we were unable to get in time.  We so appreciate their willingness to stop a 2nd time to finish picking up their tree order.  To thank them, volunteers gathered each order so as our customers pulled up, we could just do a drive-through and hand them their pre-packaged trees.  Click here to see the Recap for more details and lots of photos. 

Passings

It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of two members that we missed in prior years.  Richard Zarnowitz passed in 2023 and William Franklin passed in 2022.  Both were remembered at the 2024 Annual Meeting along with previously listed members in 2023. 

Annual Seed Orchard Work Party

The annual Seed Orchard work party to clean up brush at the site of the 5th Grade Conservation Tour allowing for parking and exiting safety on the north and west perimeter lanes was April 8 in the rain. Brushing was also done on the south end of the west perimeter lane Tour route going by Station 1 and by Station 2. The workers were Conrad and Jeanne Koehn using loppers, Dan Koehler with his brush hog, Ryan Lindsay on his chain saw, Margaret Hamstra on brush cutter and Jan Vollmer working on brush control.  Thanks to these volunteers for enhancing the experience for the 5th Grade Tour.  Progress was continued on blackberry control, the initiation of the scotch broom control, and the ongoing battle of the cottonwood.  The grade Herb Barker installed last year by excavator is intact, needing no maintenance. 

Wildlife Waterslide

In March, David New of Nourse Tree Farm knocked a hole in a beaver dam in their lower field hoping to get some video footage of the beaver rebuilding it. Instead, the beavers have left the hole in place and all kinds of waterfowl, in addition to the beavers are using it as a theme park water slide. Check out the video here and also enjoy the calming sounds of the water running over the slide.  Thanks Dave for sharing. 

Farm Expo

WCFFA had a booth at the Whatcom Conservation District Farm Expo on March 2nd.  Members who worked at the booth included Lisa Tiermersma, Dar and Dave New and Margaret Hamstra.  Hollis Crapo representing the Department of Natural Resources also worked at our booth.  Ponderosa pine saplings were handed out along with planting instructions.  For more information and to view photos of the event, click here.  Many thanks to Dave New for writing up the recap and supplying the photos. 

Welcome New Members

A very warm welcome to a new Chapter members, James D'Hondt of Blaine and Ryan & Leah Rawls of Bellingham.  We look forward to meeting you at one of our events.   

Member Survey

Work has begun by the Communications Committee to craft a member survey.  We are particularly interested in finding out what you like about the things the Chapter does, what you'd like to see added or dropped and what you'd like to see changed.  Plus we'll be looking for volunteers to lend their talents to our Chapter activities.  In the next couple of months, we’ll be providing multiple opportunities to respond to the survey.  We thank you in advance for your interest and participation.     

Board Activity

We have a few updates from our most recent Board meeting on February 7.  Jim DeWilde, Treasurer, reported that with the help of WCFFA member Israel Jacob an internal audit was conducted with the reported outcome being that everything was in good order.  This was a trial run and we hope to do a full fiscal year audit after our fiscal year ends April 30, 2024 and yearly thereafter. 

Three committees have been formed by the Board to spearhead specific goals. 

  • A Financial Planning Committee has been created to help make recommendations to the Board regarding how to manage our Chapter’s money.  This committee will be chaired by Treasurer Jim DeWilde
  • A Communications Committee was created to conduct and oversee communications with the WCFFA membership and to assure compliance with “Purposes” for the Association as stated in the Bylaws.  Committee members are currently working on a Charter, Member Survey, Document Retention & Destruction Policy, creating a template for reporting Events, a Chapter Calendar, and transferring files contained on individual’s computer to a shared online forum.  This Committee is chaired by Secretary Liz Wiegand.
  • A Hospitality Committee chaired by Board member Karen Bellingar was also created to coordinate hospitality activities as needed at Chapter events such as the Annual Meeting, Holiday Party, etc. 

Welcome New Members

A very warm welcome to four new Chapter members.  We welcome you and would love to meet you at our Tree Sale.  Hope to see you there.

  • Jorey Johnson - Bellingham
  • Gene Phillips - Department of Natural Resources, NW Region
  • David Pilkenton/Sarah Catudio - Everson
  • Mark Westin - Bellingham

Nourse Tree Farm Salmon Run

Take a few minutes to watch this video about two salmon runs that come to the Nourse Tree Farm in Snohomish County.  It cover two runs: a good-sized run of Pink salmon that spawn in the main stem of Pilchuck Creek adjacent to the Tree Farm, and a smaller run of Coho salmon that have required a bit of effort on their part to help preserve them.  Many thanks to Dave and Dar New for continuing to provide entertainment for members.  Other videos about other creature visits to their Tree Farm can be viewed by clicking here.  Enjoy!

Forest Literacy for K-5 Educators

Many thanks to Lisa Tiemersma and Tom Westergreen and a bit of applause for them.  They’ve collaborated with Pacific Education Institute (PEI) to put on a one-day workshop March 23rd focused on meaningful forest education for K-5 educators.  Participants will explore Washington forests firsthand, learning from small forest landowners and integrating concepts of forest ecology, forest management and career-connected learning.  The day will include in-class time with each educator receiving a book with specific lessons they can use as well as outdoor learning on Westergreen Family Tree Farms.  The WCFFA Board approved spending up to $5,000 for this extremely worthwhile project which falls directly in line with our Chapter's purpose of promoting opportunities for youth education in forestry and land stewardship.    

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 Today" orange tab at the very top of this webpage on the right side 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: whatcom@wafarmforestry.com

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. 

 

Contact Us

whatcom@wafarmforestry.com

Officers

President:    Jan Vollmer

Vice President:    Lisa Tiemersma

Secretary:    Liz Wiegand

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

More information

 

 

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: whatcom@wafarmforestry.com


Contact the Chapter President for more information: whatcom@wafarmforestry.com

 

Membership

Archived Content

2023 HIGHLIGHTS

Welcome New Members

A warm Whatcom Chapter welcome to two new Chapter members. We hope to see you at some of our Chapter events during the New Year.

  • Patty Hammer – Bellingham
  • Philip Steilstra & Bob Barnes – University Place

2023 Activities and Accomplishments

Click here for a recap of our Chapter's 2023 Actitivites and Accomplishments.  Check it out and see if there is anything you might be interested in participating in during 2024.

Holiday Party

The 2023 Holiday Party was held at the Deming Log Show Museum with 29 members, family and friends in attendance.  President Jan Vollmer emceed the event which included:  1)  a rolling slideshow of WCFFA events and activities over the last few years put together by Wendy Wefer-Clinton.  2. David New talking about the differences between the Farm Forestry Association and the Washington State Tree Farmer Program and how to acquire Tree Farm certification.  3) Ryan Lindsay gave a slideshow presentation showing various wildlife, fire impacts, logging, and various trees and habitats.  Helen Arntson played the ukulele while those present sang Christmas Carols - all of which had a woods/tree theme, of course.  Other volunteers who made this event a success were Hospitality Chair Karen Bellingar, Mary & Jim Green, Conrad & Jeanne Koehn, Liz & Mark Wiegand and Freddie Vollmer.  For a detailed recap with lots of photos, please click here

Climate, Carbon and Our Forests

We had 71 folks attend the presentation at the Bellingham Public Library  given by Dr. Elaine Oneil, Executive Director of the Washington Farm Forestry Association. Many thanks to Elaine for her wonderful and thoughtful presentation.  If you would like to see a recap of the presentation with photos and the handout, please click here.  If you would just like a copy of the handout, please click here. We hoped to record the talk but had technical difficulties.  With the assistance of Matt Comisky and his podcast The Stump, Dr. Elaine Oneil has given her presentation again, now available by clicking here.  After Dr. Elaine Oneil's presentation, she and Mr. Comisky continued with a very engaging conversation and additional information.

Welcome New (Old) Secretary

A big welcome back to Liz Wiegand who volunteered for the Chapter's vacant Secretary position.  Liz previously served in the Secretary role for a number of years, but things have changed a bit since then.  When Liz held the position before, it had become so big that the Board decided to funnel some duties away from the Secretary to others.  This shifting of work included webpage updating which Wendy Wefer-Clinton has been doing for a few years.  And also, the recent creation of a Hospitality Committee chaired by Karen Bellingar who after stepping down from Treasurer at the end of April accepted a Board position.  This will allow Liz to focus on the key responsibilities of the Secretary position.  Thanks for stepping up Karen and Liz, it is appreciated. 

September Tree Farm Tours

Many thanks to two Tree Farms that opened up their property for tours in September.  Skookum Creek Tree Farm was first up.  Thanks to owners Past Secretary Helen Arntson & Paul Campbell.  Board member and Forester Ryan Lindsay led the tour and discussed challenges faced.  Second up was DeWildeWoods Tree Farm Tour hosted by Chapter Treasurer Jim & Jody DeWilde with a walking tour led by Jim followed by a relaxing lunch on their property.  See rolling photos.  Thanks to the fifteen members who attended these tours.  If anyone is interested in hosting a tour, please don't hesitate to contact the Board at whatcom@waforestry.com.

Passings

  • 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. 
  • 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, have been 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 eight 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 Arntson & Paul Campbell.

Tree Information & Planting Directions

See below for information about all the trees we sold at our Tree Sale and planting directions. 

Mark your calendar for next year’s online Tree Sale which will start February 1, 2024.  Pick-up day will be March 16, 2024. 

SEEDLING BAGGING

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. 

ANNUAL MEETING

We were able 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 molly.darr@wsu.edu.

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. 

TREE SALE

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

 

2022 HIGHLIGHTS

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.

HOLIDAY PARTY

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.

SEED WHISPERER

WCFFA has our own “seed whisperer” in Tom WestergreenTom 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 hollowarrow@hotmail.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.

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT

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 WestergreenClick 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 EwingMiriam 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. 

ELECTION RESULTS

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. 

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.

 

NEW MEMBERS

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 HIGHLIGHTS

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. 

TREE SALE

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.

NEW MEMBERS

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. 

 

2020 Highlights

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 jcoe@whatcomcd.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 HIGHLIGHTS

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

Holiday Meeting

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 kenbonniemiller@gmail.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.

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.

 

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: whatcom@wafarmforestry.com