Valley View Forest, which was protected in 2018 with community forest funding from Washington State and donations from local community members, opened to the public in 2020. It will eventually serve as the entrance to Chimacum Ridge Community Forest.
In November, salmon enthusiast Linda Dacon generously shared her knowledge about forest health.
Forest ecosystems are characterized by fascinating relationships between wildlife, plants, trees, water, and air. Add human use and economies into the mix, and the dynamics at play become even more complex.
Over the winter in our 4-part Discovering the Forest series, the Land Trust’s Rebekah Korenowsky and Heather Harding teamed up as hosts to help us explore those dynamics. Throughout the program, a variety of community members shared their knowledge about the plants, trees, animals, and birds that call forests home — and highlighting the ways we benefit from forests and can better steward their abundant resources for the future.
David Brownell, historian for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, presented during the December episode of Discovering the Forest.
We kicked off the series with an introduction from the Land Trust’s Sarah Spaeth as she introduced us to the Chimacum Ridge and Valley View forests. Biologist Geoff Hammerson and salmon enthusiast Linda Dacon then joined forces to help us explore the concept of forest health.
In December, David Brownell, historian for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and the Land Trust’s Carrie Clendaniel took us one step further to consider forest stewardship and the actions we can take to support and enhance forest health.
In January, weaver and interdisciplinary artist Maureen Walrath presented a variety of ways that forests enrich our lives.
In January, Betsy Davis and Sean Koomen from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, Tim Lawson from the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, and weaver and interdisciplinary artist Maureen Walrath presented a variety of ways that forests enrich our lives.
In the exciting conclusion, we put together all that we learned with a focus on community forests. Photographer and wildlife tracker David Moskowitz and the Land Trust’s Erik Kingfisher, helped viewers dive into the question: “What is our vision for a community forest on Chimacum Ridge that benefits both people and forests?”
David began our exploration by sharing information about the Harrop-Procter Community Forest in the Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia. He learned about this forest while working on a conservation photography project about old growth and endangered species conservation. David’s work on this project ultimately resulted in the book, Caribou Rainforest: From Heartbreak to Hope.
According to David, his time learning about and documenting the work of the Harrop-Procter Community Forest was one of the most uplifting parts of the project. To him, it demonstrated the real potential for a future where local forests provide sustenance for both local and global human communities.
During the February episode of Discovering the Forest, photographer and wildlife tracker David Moskowitz shared information about the Harrop-Procter Community Forest in British Columbia.
The Harrop-Procter Community Forest was established 30 years ago when community members petitioned the provincial government for the opportunity to manage the forest that made up their watershed, rather than allowing it to be logged by standard industrial methods.
The forest is managed by a nonprofit with a board of directors made up of community members from the towns of Harrop and Proctor. In stewarding the forest, they have three directives that guide their work:
It was exciting and inspiring to hear how these committed community members care for their forest using this set of guiding principles. They’ve been extremely successful in ensuring clean water, promoting forest health, and creating local jobs. In addition to locals who manage and harvest the forest, the nonprofit built and manages a small mill that has eight full-time employees.
Although the Harrop-Procter Community Forest, at about 28,000 acres, is significantly larger than the forest at Chimacum Ridge, there are still meaningful lessons to learn from an experience that transformed a community and the community’s reciprocal relationship with their forest.
Erik Kingfisher wrapped up the episode by providing a brief history of our work to protect an 850-acre forested ridge in Chimacum and transform it into a community forest. For more than 10 years, we’ve been working as a community on this exciting and ambitious project. Our initial efforts protected the land and then we were able to add a second level of protection for the forest, ensuring that future harvests will be sustainably managed. Now, we’re working to purchase the land so that we can create a community forest that will be managed to benefit people, wildlife, and the environment.
Learn more about Chimacum Ridge and sign up to become a Friend of the Forest.
Throughout, we also heard from the audience by having participants collaborate on three word cloud activities. Word clouds are a great way to display priorities, because the larger a word appears, the more times it was used. To create the word clouds, participants were asked to reflect on a set of three nearly identical questions, and submit the words and phrases they felt best described their answers.
Below are the three word clouds created during the program. Click on any of them to see the full graphic and scroll through the set.
When the three word clouds were compared at the end of the program, it was clear that participants’ ideas had gotten more complex and a sense of community pride became evident. It was also illuminating to see how generally the same question led to a shift in shared understanding as we learned more about the potential for a community forest.
Huge thanks to Geoff Hammerson, Linda Dacon, David Brownell, Tim Lawson, Betsy Davis, Sean Koomens, Mo Walrath, David Moskowitz and Tracy Hudson for sharing their knowledge and guiding our learning. We’re also grateful to all of you who shared videos in the video mosaics and to our participants for joining us for this season-long journey to discover the forest.
The screenshot above shows many of the participants and presenters from the final episode of Discovering the Forest.