October 11th 2018: Woodlands Night Includes Bat Chat

    By Lee Peterman
    Linn County SWA president
    The Linn Chapter of OSWA hosted a Woodlands Workshop Night Oct. 11 at the OSU Extension office in Tangent. Attendance was good, with nearly 20 individuals and represented members from both Linn and Benton chapters of OSWA.
    There were four guest speakers and a wide variety of topics covered.
    Heather Tritt is from the USDA / Farm Service Agency. She is also the executive director for Linn County FSA. Tritt gave a brief, but information-packed presentation on the FSA "Disaster Assistance" programs available to small woodlands owners, such as after the ice storms of 2015 - 2016. Her focus was simple: if your property or trees were affected by a natural disaster, such as an ice storm, contact your local FSA office to begin a claim.
    Ray Dodd, brought his a specialist knowledge on bats with ODFW. Ray had a great slide-show with numerous photos of the local Oregon bats. He detailed how the ODFW is learning about bat population density of species by using acoustic monitoring stations set up at various points around the state. These amazing creatures are the only flying mammal and use echo-location to find prey. They are opportunistic hunters, yet a single bat can literally eat thousands of mosquitos every night, he noted. There was some sad news which he imparted regarding deaths from wind-turbines located in migration routes and a virulent disease accidentally imported from Europe called "White-nose syndrome.” The disease — while not yet in Oregon, has devastated eastern bat populations. It is coming this way, he said, and there is not much we can do about it except to provide good habitat so the bats stand a better chance of survival.
    OSU doctoral candidate from the School of Forestry; Sonia Bruck, spoke about on agroforestry and how some basic principles can be utilized to expand productivity as well as possible income in private woodlands in the Willamette Valley. Some of the points she made were on row-cropping; as in rows of hazel nuts or corn or strawberries between rows of just-planted seedling trees, to diversify land use. Another option, she said, is “silva-pasturing" which is simply letting cattle or other livestock graze the spaces under more mature trees, thereby keeping down “ladder-fuels.” She also gave a detailed account of some of her research on tree-farms in North Carolina and eastern Oregon, comparing how some plans made money for the land owners, and some did not do quite as well, but did further knowledge in the field and generated greater interest in the concepts.
    Sweet Home ODF stewardship forester Steve Kendall was timely after this past, scorching hot summer: “Fire Prevention and Resistance for Small Woodland Owners.” Kendall had two, great information-packed handouts; the first was a list of points small woodland owners should know regarding fire-season — and types of ignition for wildfires, both controllable sources — unattended or careless slash burning or target-shooting as well as uncontrollable sources like thoughtless neighbors or lightning. The second handout contained valuable contact information, for the Linn County Burn Line (541) 451-1904 -- necessary to use “before you burn,” as well as the ODF-Sweet Home Unit (541) 367-6108 to obtain information on fire conditions and safety tips for preventing wildfires in your woodland.
    Thanks to Brad Withrow-Robinson for starting the ball rolling on this Woodland Workshop and for getting the word out in “The Compass.” Thanks as well to Jody Einerson for her assistance in providing contact information for guest speakers. Finally, an especially hearty thank you to Shirley Jolliff and Nancy Mauter, both of whom again selflessly gave their time and baking talents to provide delightful, delectable biscotti, apple tarts and chocolate chip cookies for the refreshment table. Without them, the evening would have been informative, but not nearly as tasty...

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