Do you own or manage acreage in Southern Oregon? Do you have a small farm or a small woodlot? Are you thinking about acquiring property? Are you a land manager or simply a natural resource enthusiast? If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, this conference is for you!
Living on Your Land features more than two dozen 90-minute classes on a variety of topics related to natural resources and land management. You can participate in up to four classes during the conference. Classroom space is limited and some popular sessions fill up early, so don’t delay in registering.
About the field sessions: Some classes will take place entirely or partly outside on the campus grounds or in the woods next to campus. Please be prepared to potentially walk a short distance on uneven terrain. Spring weather is unpredictable, so you may need to bring sunscreen and a sun hat—or rain gear, depending on conditions. Sturdy walking shoes are also recommended.
BLOCK A: 9 - 10:30 AM
1A Community Emergency Preparedness
Do you know how to keep safe during a major emergency? What are the roles of individuals and households? What can you expect from the local, state and federal government? This presentation provides an overview of what you can/should do during a crisis and reviews the role of various local government agencies (such as emergency management, law enforcement, fire/rescue, EMS, public works, etc). We will also discuss Citizen Alert capabilities, Best Practices and Lessons Learned and personal action plans.
Speakers: Sarah Rubrecht, Josephine County Emergency Manager and Stacey Anderson Belt, Jackson County Emergency Manager.
2A Paired Watershed Studies: A New Look at Contemporary Forest Practices
Three paired watershed studies—Hinkle Creek, Trask and Alsea Revisited—have been conducted to help guide future stream protection practices in Oregon forests. Each study was 10 years long, involved thousands of acres, and used sophisticated monitoring and tracking technology. Scientists investigated fish, water quality and aquatic habitat at spatial and time scales never before possible. This class will cover the results of the three paired watershed studies and discuss their relationship to the Oregon Forest Practices Rules.
Speaker: Mike Cloughesy, Director of Forestry for the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.
3A Ponds: What You Need to Know
Ponds can be attractive features, create wildlife habitat and store water for irrigation, stock watering and other uses. Ponds can also have a variety of problems including weeds, vectors, and inability to hold water effectively. Fixing the problems can be difficult. This class will include four topic areas: pond construction, regulations, basic biology and chemistry, and potential problems with possible solutions. Existing pond owners should gain a better understanding of what is happening in their ponds. Landowners contemplating building ponds will gain a better understanding of what they may encounter.
Speaker: Stan Dean, a civil and environmental engineer with three decades of experience in water resources and water infrastructure.
4A Restoring Forests & Proactively Living with Fire
Unprecedented fire seasons elevate the need for a new land management approach. After a century of fire suppression and extractive logging, overly dense forests and hot, dry summers are increasing fire impacts despite fire suppression efforts. The Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy is an approach to developing strategic projects and increasing understanding among stakeholders. The Strategy protects key habitats while prioritizing restoration, risk reduction and climate adaptation projects through ecological forest thinning and controlled burns. By clarifying costs and benefits of forest restoration, we are building a coalition to implement the Strategy on federal land. In this session, we will focus on how the Strategy touches down to reduce wildfire risk and restore private forests—a critical element for protecting communities.
Speaker: Dr. Kerry Metlen, coordinator of multiparty monitoring of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project; he has a PhD in plant community dynamics in frequent-fire forests.
5A Managing Your Land for Biodiversity & Resilience Using Native Plants
Native plants support pollinators, wildlife and require fewer resources to thrive. This talk is aimed at helping landowners better understand why, how, when and where to plant and replant with native species, including wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees. Special areas of focus will include restoration of understory plant communities, how native species help to reduce noxious weed infestations and wildfire risks, as well as recommendations for how to source locally grown native plant materials and information about current efforts to increase the regional native plant supply.
Speakers: Kathryn Prive, coordinator for the Rogue Native Plant Partnership and a founding member and executive director of The Understory Initiative; and Sean Prive, managing partner with Understory Consulting LLC, a local ecological consulting firm.
6A Organizing Your Firewise Community
This presentation covers some of the basic strategies of wildfire preparedness and the need to approach wildfire threat with an emphasis on the home as well as community-wide preparation. We will discuss the concept of defensible space and what homeowners should do to create it. And we’ll address the specifics of why and how to develop a functioning Firewise Community. The session includes video, a presentation with Q&A and some collaborative brainstorming on what to do next on your property and in your community.
Speakers: Kara Baylog, Educational Programming Assistant with OSU Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center; and Tyler Averyt, Jackson County Firewise Coordinator.
7A The Soil Food Web: Nature’s Way of Controlling Greenhouse Gases
The Earth has gone through many episodes of global warming as well as rises and falls in greenhouse gas concentrations. Each time, our planet has evolved new and ever more sophisticated mechanisms for dealing with these variations. Understanding how we fit into the next stage of this evolution is what forms the foundation of Climate Resilience and Regenerative Agriculture. This class will explore this understanding and the ways we can actively and effectively integrate our needs as a culture with the natural processes at work.
Speaker: Scott Goode, a retired environmental scientist currently developing carbon sequestration and petroleum-free farming technologies in the Rogue Valley.
BLOCK B: 11 - 12:30
1B Trees & Flowers: A Native Plant Walk*
Do you have a mixed woodland with a variety of native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers? Would you like to get to know our native plant species better? This class features a fun slow-paced walk through typical Southwest Oregon woods on mostly level and gently sloping trails. Guided by our enthusiastic botanist, you’ll encounter many native plants, learn how to identify them and become familiar with their benefits and uses. *This is a field class; please dress accordingly. Space is limited to 20!
Speaker: Rachel Werling, botanist and OSU Land Steward Program Coordinator.
2B Why Are My Trees Dying?
This class explores the ecology, biology, impacts and management of the common insects and diseases associated with native forest trees in Southwest Oregon. The focus will be on lower elevation forests and include details on drought damage, pine bark beetles, oak mistletoe and madrone diseases.
Speaker: Ellen Goheen, plant pathologist with the US Forest Service, Forest Health Protection, Southwest Oregon Forest Insect and Disease Service Center.
3B Water Rights 101
There are a few key factors to understanding water rights in Oregon: where you collect the water from, the rate at which you collect it, where you can apply it, and the duration of your “season.” This presentation provides an overview of all aspects of a water right, what can be done with a water right and whom to contact if you want to modify your water right. We will also discuss conservation options, such as instream leasing.
Speakers: Shavon Haynes and Jake Johnstone, both of whom have held various positions in the Oregon Water Resources Department.
4B Small-Scale Timber Harvesting for Woodland Owners
Done carefully, small-scale timber harvests can improve the health of your forest and put a few dollars in your pocketbook. They can be hard to pull off, however, and there are many considerations for a successful operation. In this class, you'll have a chance to hear directly from a logger who has completed many harvests on small woodland properties of varying sizes. Learn about some of the issues that loggers face in dealing with small-scale harvests and hear tips on how to best manage your prospective harvesting project.
Speaker: Don Hamann, owner of Don Hamann, Inc. of Butte Falls, a contract logging firm.
5B Our Disappearing Western Monarchs: What Happened & What’s Next?
Last year, the total known population of Western Monarch butterflies plummeted to a scant 20,500 insects—less than one hive of honeybees! The loss over the last 20 years is at 99.4 percent. What happened in 2018 and why? Have we reached a “tipping point” of no return? And just as importantly, what can we do here in Southern Oregon to help? Our presenters will introduce you to the iconic monarch butterfly, explain the fascinating migration of the eastern and western populations in North America, and share what happened to our western population last year. But take heart! We will also discuss what you can do on your land to help restore monarch butterfly habitat and help many other pollinators throughout the season.
Speakers: Robert Coffan, Dr. Tom Landis and Angela Street from Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates.
6B 21st-Century Fire Management: Building a Better Relationship
With a special emphasis on Southern Oregon, this presentation will describe how we can use fire and mechanical fuel treatment to restore ecosystem structure and function while protecting life and property. The discussion will cover changes in fire behavior and effects, fire staffing, zoning, building codes and other issues.
Speaker: Rich Fairbanks has worked in fire and fuels as Interagency Hotshot Crew Foreman, Brush Disposal Crew Foreman, Division Supervisor, Complex Burn Boss and expert witness.
7B Design for Climate Resilience in Southern Oregon
This presentation begins by reviewing projected climate changes for Southern Oregon and the West Coast of the US in the context of climate classification systems and the conditions in analogous climate zones throughout the world. We will explore future scenarios as projected by leading world climate scientists, and then discuss the impacts and potential design solutions being modeled in Southern Oregon and elsewhere. In particular, we will examine the threat of wildfire, and look at ways that wildfire has been mitigated through the design of individual homesteads and properties using the permaculture design system.
Speaker: Andrew Millison, OSU Horticulture Department instructor and permaculture landscape designer.
BLOCK C: 1:30 - 3 PM
1C Healthy Pastures: Best Practices & Pitfalls
Understanding the biology of forage plants and behavior of animals grazing on pasture allows for the sustainable feeding of livestock without the requirement for outside inputs. This class discusses the principles of effective and sustainable pasture management from soil to plant to livestock. Most problems with pasture (weeds, mud, insufficient feed) can be solved with improved grazing management rather than costly inputs. Learn the theory and specific practices needed to meet a range of pasture management goals.
Speaker: Dr. Gordon Jones, Professor of Practice in General Agriculture at OSU Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center.
2C Harvesting & Building with Small Poles*
This class provides one answer to the perennial question, “What can I do with all those small trees?” Local woodland owner and craftsman Christoph Buchler will demonstrate how to build attractive pole fences, gates and small outbuildings using logs generated from thinning dense thickets of trees. Effective techniques for harvesting, transporting and peeling poles will be shown. This is a hands-on session, so expect to learn by doing! *This is a field class; please dress accordingly.
Speaker: Christoph Buchler, Rogue Valley woodland owner and barn builder/craftsman.
3C Water Retention Landscaping
This class delves into how to understand and apply holistic, regenerative land and soil management strategies to retain water in the landscape, replenish groundwater, develop drought tolerance and restore damaged ecosystems and watersheds. Techniques surveyed and detailed will include swales, dams, keyline design, terraces, rain gardens and their use in both agricultural systems and ecosystem restoration.
Speaker: Lion Waxman, founder and owner of Good Earth Gardens, specializing in regenerative gardening/farming techniques, permaculture, soil health solutions and edible gardening.
4C Growing Backyard Fruits for Flavor & Fun
Want to plant a few fruit trees but not sure where to begin? Are you interested in growing varieties of fruit selected for flavor, rather than shipping characteristics, or maybe those with a historical connection? Have an interest in growing apples and pears for making hard cider or juice? This presentation will cover the basics of growing tree fruits, including options for growers with limited space. A major focus of the presentation is an introduction to the many varieties of heritage fruits not generally available at the local grocer or plant nursery, including those used for the production of cider.
Speaker: Dr. Deborah Nelson, enthusiastic home orchardist and gardener, amateur cider maker and retired research scientist with a background in plant biology.
5C Growing Native Plants from Seed: Seed Collection, Cleaning & Propagation
Learn the tricks of the trade to propagate your favorite native plants from seed. This class will present basic skills for successful seed collection, cleaning and propagation to grow native plants for land stewardship, biodiversity, habitat restoration, native plant conservation and pollinators. Native plant seeds have a reputation as being difficult to grow, but with some basic skills and a willingness to experiment you can propagate beautiful native plants from seed. Topics will include ethical native seed collection techniques, seed cleaning with basic home supplies, seed germination requirements for specific species, growing native plants in containers, and direct seeding techniques. Information presented in this class will be tailored to landowners and land stewardship in the Klamath-Siskiyou region.
Speaker: Suzie Savoie, co-owner of Siskiyou Ecological Services and Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds.
6C Ecologically Based Forest Thinning & Management
An introduction to thinning—the process of judiciously removing trees from your forest to accomplish specific objectives such as reducing fire susceptibility, promoting wildlife habitat, maximizing growth, emulating historic stand conditions and minimizing disease. Thinning is a “planned disturbance” that can mimic historic disturbances such as low-severity fire, insects, disease and others. This is an important time in the life of a stand as you set the future trajectory of forest development and achieve important ecologic and economic objectives.
Speaker: Marty Main, forestry consultant and owner of Small Woodland Services, Inc.
7C Reptiles & Amphibians on Your Land
Western pond turtle, California kingsnake, foothill yellow-legged frog and southern torrent salamander—these are just a few of the native reptile and amphibian species occurring in Southern Oregon. Many species are cryptic in nature so rarely seen, yet all are fascinating and are an important part of a healthy ecosystem. Sadly, many of Oregon’s reptile and amphibian populations are on the decline and some are even being considered for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Land and water managers play an important role in the present and future health of Oregon’s reptiles and amphibians. This class will provide an overview of reptile and amphibian ecology, habitat needs, key threats and recommended conservation actions. Learn what you can do to help provide and improve habitat for these under-appreciated species.
Speaker: Susan Barnes, Regional Conservation Biologist for Western Oregon, with ODFW since 1998.
BLOCK D: 3:30 - 5 PM
1D Smartphone Photo Monitoring*
Harness the convenience of your smartphone to monitor environmental changes for practical use or artistic expression while honing your photographic skill. In this information-packed and hands-on class we will learn the basics of photo monitoring as per Forest Service guidelines, as well as tools and tips to help you make compelling and accurate images of your chosen subject. Please bring your smartphone, fully charged. Class assumes participants already know how to access their photo app, make a picture, and transfer images to a computer. Though the iPhone is our primary example, all manner of smartphones are welcome, as are laptops and iPads. *This is a partial field class; please dress accordingly. Space is limited to 25!
Speaker: Diane Choplin is a Land Steward, photographer and Airbnb host who teaches various hands-on workshops from her five-acre farm in Ashland.
2D Adapting Your Forest to a Changing Climate
Southwest Oregon is expected to experience hotter and drier summers in the future, with huge implications for wildfire, forest health, habitat and much more. Should you adopt different approaches to thinning, reforestation and other management techniques? There are many unknowns, but this class will provide science-based recommendations to make your woods more resilient to the climate of the future.
Speakers: Terry Fairbanks, president of the Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative and small woodland owner in the Applegate Valley; and Max Bennett, an Associate Professor and Extension Agent, Forestry and Natural Resources at the OSU Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center.
3D Forest Bees
Oregon is home to more than 500 species of bees, which are responsible for pollinating many of our staple crops and native plants in rural and urban landscapes. The Oregon Bee Project (OBP) is a new collaborative effort tasked with improving the health of these insects and the habitats that support them. This talk examines how Oregon is tackling pollinator health through taking a census of our wild bees, improving bee habitat, preventing pesticide exposure and researching the threats to wild and managed bees. We'll also discuss what you can do to get involved with OBP as a citizen scientist and guidelines on enhancing pollinator habitat on your forest stand.
Speaker: Dr. Christine Buhl, Forest Entomologist with the Oregon Department of Forestry and board member for the Oregon Bee Project and SalmonWatch.
4D Fences: Why, What & What If…
Deciding where to put a fence and the materials to use can lead to some interesting choices depending on the purpose of the fence. This class explores the many reasons to put up a fence and shows a variety of examples in making the fence work correctly. You’ll see both standard and non-standard building methods to spark your enthusiasm and imagination. An inspiring and entertaining presentation that will have you headed home full of ideas for functional and attractive fencing on your land.
Speaker: Jack Duggan, OSU Land Steward and rural Applegate resident.
5D Hügelkultur: An Atmosphere-Friendly Alternative to Burn Piles
Hügelkultur is a method of composting that converts woody debris into rich soil. It provides an easy and effective way to move carbon out of the atmosphere and deep into the soil where, if left undisturbed, it can reside indefinitely. It has been used to convert low-lying water-saturated sites into fertile land, a tool to mitigate gullies and erosion, and to effectively deal with slash, forest thinning, and fuels reduction waste without resorting to combustion. As a warming climate and wildfire danger become year-round issues, Hügelkultur may become a preferred option in dealing with woody materials. This presentation will address the planning, materials, construction and applications of Hügelkultur.
Speaker: Anna Eichner, who holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from the OSU Department of Horticulture and specializes in farmscape design, carbon sequestration systems and regenerative farming.
6D Fire Hazard Reduction: Maintaining Your Investment*
You’ve created defensible space or cleared out brush and small trees to reduce the fire hazard near your home. But now it’s coming back. Madrone sprouts, poison oak, blackberries and all the rest—how do you keep that stuff in check? This class will discuss and demonstrate tools, techniques, and tips for hardwood sprout and brush control, thinning, pruning, piling and pile burning, and general maintenance of areas treated for fuels reduction, so you can maintain a more fire-safe property now and into the future. *This is a partial field class; please dress accordingly.
Speaker: John O’Conner, who has worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry since 2010 as forester, fuels planner and Cohesive Wildfire Strategy Coordinator.