One thing Oregon does have going for it is a state-approved high school forestry curriculum that’s currently being offered by 35 school systems in the state. Manley told hundreds of loggers assembled for the keynote that the four legs of support for developing high school forestry interest are: 1— having a state-approved curriculum; 2—having administrative support at the school; 3—finding the right teacher (and it’s not always the guy with the flannel shirts); and 4—building local and industry support for the program.
Manley noted all communities are different and may choose to emphasize various segments of forestry, “But you all have the potential to have these programs in your schools,” he emphasized. “If you want to know how, find me.”
Associated Oregon Loggers is also working to find new employees for its members and help them keep the ones they have. Recently hired AOL Workforce Development Manager Sara Nelson notes in an AOL Mainline newsletter article that on a recent survey an aging workforce, lack of forest career promotion and demand for higher wages were major labor issues for AOL members.
Changing the forest industry narrative to make it more enticing to young people is a major goal, she says. Also, surveys show AOL members rely heavily on word of mouth when looking for employees. Industry may be able to do better by getting its message consistently in front of groups that are actively seeking jobs. AOL has also printed out some nifty forest career “playing cards” to hand out to interested individuals, with a QR code that links to the AOL web site.
Oregon’s Private Forest Accord (see Newslines) seeks to move beyond attempting to manage forests by expensive and potentially calamitous ballot initiative campaigns, but it also moves the state into a brave new world of enhanced riparian zone and stream protection in return for certainty of future harvests.
As with any such far-reaching effort hammered into legislation, the devil is in the details.
Associated Oregon Loggers formally voted to support the accord that was negotiated by major landowners and industry interests with state and environmental interests during the past two years. But loggers at the OLC are in waiting mode for the accord’s ultimate impact.
One logger noted his family’s timber holdings would qualify for mitigation funding under the accord. He’s happy to hear he’ll be compensated but he’s definitely reserving final judgement until the details are ironed out.
Another logger said he hoped the stream-side protections would be results- based instead of prescriptive based where protection guidelines would be adequate and work as intended but not consist of blindly followed mandates.
Others noted that major landowners going forward will likely reduce private forest timber rotations, with more loggers having to handle more small logs in the future.