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Extension, DNR offer free online classes to enhance forested property

Woman holding clipboard examining forest trees in woodsThe COVID-19 emergency is not slowing down the Washington State University Extension Forestry and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Stewardship education program. As in nature, the program is simply adapting, partnering with experts around Washington state to deliver high-quality classes and workshops online for people who own forested property.

Upcoming classes, which start on May 13, have something for all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned veterans, covering everything from growing your own mushrooms to boosting wildlife habitat on your property to preparing your trees for climate change. All classes are free, but preregistration is required.

The 11 classes will be taught by experts from Washington State University, DNR, the University of Washington, and more, with each offered in 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. sessions via Zoom.

The schedule of classes is as follows:

May 13: Moving the Target: Managing Your Forest in a Changing Climate – University of Washington forest biology professor Dave Peterson will summarize the projected effects of climate change on Washington’s forests – including higher temperatures, more droughts, and increasing fires – and explore what options landowners have to increase the resilience of their forests in the future.

May 18: Mushrooms You Can Eat More Than Once: Growing Your Own Edibles – WSU Extension Forestry professor Kevin Zobrist will teach participants how to safely feast on fungi by teaching them how to grow their own mushrooms using a nurse log. This class, geared toward hobbyists, will cover the whole process, from cutting the log to enjoying the fruits of your labor.

May 21: Lions and Squirrels and Bears (Oh My!): Critters in the Forest – DNR landowner assistance biologist Ken Bevis will teach participants how to find out what wildlife uses their properties, including basic inventory techniques and using trail cameras to see those elusive creatures.

May 27: A Dead Tree’s Excellent Adventure: There’s Nothing Bogus About Dead Wood – DNR’s Ken Bevis will discuss how dead trees are actually more useful as habitat to many of Washington’s wildlife species, with a special focus on the pileated woodpecker (and possibly a musical tribute to its attributes).

June 4: Another One Bites the Dust: Why so Many Trees Have Been Dying in Western Washington – WSU Extension’s Kevin Zobrist will discuss why dead and dying trees, particularly hemlocks and cedars, have been spreading throughout Western Washington, concerning many across the region, and what property owners can do to protect their timber from insects, disease, and drought.

June 8: Dang it, Who Chewed my Tree? Controlling Animal Damage – DNR’s Ken Bevis will discuss common animal damage situations – when creatures eat your trees, rub them, or destroy them – and what landowners can do to help their trees recover.

June 18: If You Build It, They Will Come: Fun Wildlife Habitat Enhancements – DNR’s Ken Bevis will discuss how the basic needs of wildlife – food, water, and cover – aren’t always available in the forest, and teach how landowners can fill those needs with habitat boxes, piles, wildlife trees, and water sources on their properties.

June 23: Well Begun is Half Done: Proper Site Preparation and Early Vegetation Control – DNR landowner assistance forester Matt Provencher will teach landowners how to ensure their young trees survive to maturity, so that they aren’t wasting time and money when regrowing their forests.

June 29: Plant Trees Like a Boss (So That You Only Have to Do it Once) – DNR’s Matt Provencher will answer pressing questions – what to plant, when to plant it, how to do it, and where it will grow best – to help landowners find the most success in creating their forests.

July 14: Plantae Non Grata: Invasive Species on Small Woodlands – Sasha Shaw from the King County Noxious Weed Control Program will teach landowners about how to identify and control invasive and noxious weeds that affect Western Washington’s woodlands.

July 28: The Four Horsemen of the Root Disease Apocalypse – WSU Extension’s Kevin Zobrist will cover how to identify and treat the four most common tree root diseases in Western Washington: laminated root rot, annosus root disease, Armillaria root disease, and Schweinitzii root and butt rot.

Each of the classes are free, and can be registered for at forestry.wsu.edu. Pre-registration at least two hours prior to the class and a free Zoom account are required to participate. People who wish to participate in the classes but are unable to attend can register and receive a link to the recordings.

Media Contacts

Kenny Ocker, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, (360) 810-1217