Category Archives: Partnerships

Smokey Bear to bring fire prevention message to Oregon license plates this summer

Smokey Bear is an iconic symbol of wildfire prevention. Oregon's new Keep Oregon Green special license plate joins 1950's artist Rudy Wendelin’s Smokey Bear with a backdrop of Oregon's lush forests. The plate's $40 surcharge will help fund wildfire prevention education activities around Oregon, which share Smokey and KOG's shared message regarding the shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires.

Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, the Ad Council, and Oregon Department of Forestry, have partnered to bring Smokey Bear and his important message to Oregon drivers: Only YOU can prevent wildland fires.

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles sold 3,000 vouchers for a new, Smokey Bear -emblazoned license plate in December.

The vouchers serve as pre-payment for the special plate surcharge fee for drivers hoping to adopt the new plate; the sale of 3,000 vouchers is required for the state to begin placing orders for plates with a new design.

With 3,000 vouchers sold in just a few days, the plate is will go into production soon, and will become available to vehicle owners registering their passenger vehicles, or replacing their existing license plates, later this year.

Once the plates are released, any Oregon vehicle owner can apply by paying a $40 “special plates” surcharge when registering for new or replacement license plates, in addition to the usual registration and plate fees.

The surcharge will help fund wildfire prevention activities conducted by Keep Oregon Green, an organization that educates the public about the shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfire in communities throughout Oregon.

For more information, visit:

Source information:
The Keep Oregon Green Association was established in 1941 to promote healthy landscapes and safe communities by educating the public of everyone’s shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires.

Smokey Bear was created in 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear would be the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention. Smokey’s image is protected by U.S. federal law and is administered by the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council.

In the News: Capitol Christmas Tree-lighting

Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen gives a speech during the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Capitol Building in Washington DC, December 6, 2018. USDA Forest Service photo by Cecilio Ricardo

In keeping with tradition, the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, harvested from the Willamette National Forest’s Sweet Home Ranger District, was lit by the Speaker of the House (with help from Oregon 4th grader Bridgette Harrington) Dec. 6.

“This tree traveled 3,000 miles from Oregon, involving many different people of all ages and all walks of life, with events in many different communities, with celebrations along the way,” Vicki Christiansen, chief of the USDA Forest Service, said.

“Indeed, the entire journey, from the selection of the tree to its arrival in Washington DC reminds us of what we can accomplish if we unite for a common purpose. If we work together to sustain our nation’s forests, we can produce trees like this for generations to come.”

Below is roundup of media coverage as the tree completed it’s journey from Sweet Home, Ore. to Washington D.C., and the tree-lighting event.

Washington Post:

USA Today:

Albany Democrat-Herald:

Salem Statesman-Journal

The Oregonian / OregonLive:

The Wildlife Society’s Oregon chapter launches ‘Northwest Nature Matters’ podcast

Northwest Nature Matters logo

Northwest Nature Matters is a new podcast produced by the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society (in partnership with Oregon Wildlife Foundation).

The people of the Pacific Northwest value beautiful natural scenery, clean air and water, and abundant fish and wildlife resources, John Goodell, podcast host and producer, said.

“Conservation is important to us, yet sourcing accurate scientific information can be difficult in this age of polarized content. The goal of the podcast is to serve as an antidote,” he said.

The podcast brings experts together for conversations around scientific information about natural history, conservation, and other natural resource issues here in the Pacific Northwest.

Three episodes at a time will be available online.

  • In episode 1, Dr. Tom Cade, a conservation biologist and founder of the Peregrine Fund, and Kent Carnie, a retired military intelligence officer and a leader in the North American falconry community, discuss the return of the Peregrine Falcon, which was de-listed from the Endangered Species Act in 1999
  • In episode 2, Jay Bowerman, a leading Oregon herpetologist and expert on the Oregon Spotted Frog expert, discusses the natural history and conservation of this currently threatened species, whose historical range extends from central Oregon to southern parts of western Washington.
  • In episode 3, Davia Palmeri, conservation policy coordinator with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, discusses the history of conservation, new challenges, and potential future of legislation regarding wildlife conservation policy in the U.S.

For more information, visit:

To download episodes or subscribe:

In the news: WTA ‘Thank a Ranger’ & ‘The Changing Face of National Forests’

Yewah Lau, district ranger for Hood Canal Ranger District, Olympic National Forest, in a 2017 photo. Photo courtesy of Washington Trails Association, used with permission.

The Washington Trails Association recently re-posted an interview with Yewah Lau, district ranger for Hood Canal Ranger District, on the Olympic National Forest, to highlight their “Thank a Ranger” campaign.

Yewah Lau spoke to the association’s member magazine about diversity, and the values that brought her to a career with the agency, in 2017.

Would you like to show your thanks and appreciation for a forest ranger through WTA? Read the article online at, then fill out the “thank you” form at the end of the page to express your thanks and pledge to thank a ranger on the trail during your next forest visit (please note: filling out the form discloses your email address and may result in additional emails from WTA).

From the article:

As the local decision-maker for the happenings on the east side of the peninsula, from Sequim to past Hoodsport and along some of its south side, her role is all-encompassing: recreation, vegetation and wildlife management, working with local staff and specialists to help protect resources, and interacting with and creating opportunities for the public.

Yewah deals with big complex multi-stakeholder issues, working with diverse factions, like elected officials, community groups and local tribes, something that she finds extremely fulfilling…

“I have met women who were the first: the first wildlife biologist in their forest or office, or the first firefighter … I feel like I’m following in their footsteps.”

Ultimately, though, Yewah’s work is driven by an overarching principle:

“Our obligation is to protect natural resources, wildlife and watersheds.  We have a mission that is unique and complex because we’re serving the American public and also trying to find the best combination of what all of those values are.”


Teachers, mentors: Apply to celebrate International Day of Forests with United Nations in Rome

The 2019 theme for the International Day of Forests is “Forests and Education” and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations wants the world to know how you educate children and youth about the importance of trees and forests.

From the UN FAO website:

Today, more than half the world’s population lives in cities, and are increasingly disconnected from nature.

it is more essential than ever to bring an understanding and awareness of forests and their benefits into children’s lives at an early age.

We’re inviting teachers and non-teachers alike to send us a short video that shows how you provide children with a foundation to better understand the importance of forests and trees for our planet’s future.

The press release suggests taking video of “a traditional class, a field trip into the forest, an art or music lesson, or even a yoga class.”

Videos should 60 seconds or less, uploaded to YouTube, then submit the link via the entry form at

Videos will be posted on FAO’s website, and the winner will join the staff at FAO headquarters in Rome to help celebrate the International Day of Forests on March 21, 2019.

Deadline for entries is Dec. 15, 2018.

For more information about eligibility, answers to frequently asked questions, and the submission form, visit:

Source information: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, achieve food security for all, and to make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.

In the News: Adriana Morales, Siuslaw NF district fisheries biologist

Adriana Morales, Hebo District fisheries biologist, Siuslaw National Forest, wears waders and poses with a depth measurement tool while collecting stream data

How does a girl from Bogota, Columbia, who grew up in a city set high in the Andes, fall in love with the ocean and end up working for the Forest Service in Hebo, Ore.?

The Skanner News recently profiled Adriana Morales, a district fisheries biologist for the Siuslaw National Forest, as part of a running series highlighting diversity in the Forest Service, and opportunities in the natural resources career fields.

Morales is passionate about working with partners to restore the Pacific Northwest’s salmon and steelhead habitat, which relies on the clean, cold streams supplied by forest shade and melting mountain snow.

She’s also dedicated to sharing her love of the natural world with others; she frequently conducts bilingual outreach events and opportunities that open outdoor experiences to youth from under-served communities.

From the story:

“We are sharing this planet … and we need to recognize and ensure that conservation, preservation and rational use of natural resources needs have a balance with the interest of the society, and with other animal and plant species, because this is our legacy for future generations,” Morales said.

Read more, at:

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Guest blog: Hungry, hungry caterpillars (WA DNR)

close-up of a male Douglas-fir Tussock moth catepillar, undated.

The USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region helps monitor forest health in Washington and Oregon via annual aerial forest health surveys, conducted in partnership with with the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources and the Oregon Dept. of Forestry. When signs of a widespread disease or insect pest activity are detected, more intensive monitoring programs may be established.

In this guest post from Washington State DNR, the state agency discusses about its efforts to trap, monitor, and collect better data on the patterns surrounding one such insect which periodically impacts the health of trees, especially in eastern Washington – the Douglas-fir Tussock moth.

From Washington State DNR:

“The life of a Douglas-fir tussock moth is not an easy one. The females can’t fly, and food is often scarce, not to mention viruses that make them explode. What’s more difficult than being a tussock moth, is having those moths in your forest.

“Every ten years or so, the tussock moth population skyrockets in some areas of eastern Washington, well beyond what the forest can support. When that happens, these insects can eat so much that they literally kill the fir trees they feed on, sometimes up to 40 percent in a single stand. If a tree is lucky enough to survive the infestation, they’ll then be much more vulnerable to disease, pests and wildfire.

“Often when we talk about species that destroy forests, those species are invasive. They didn’t come from the areas they’re killing. The tussock moth is actually a native species here in Washington, so what causes their once-in-ten-year eating rampage? We know that historically, the event happens approximately every ten years, but with a potentially disastrous ecological hazard, being as precise as possible is very important…”

Read more, on the agency’s “Ear to the Ground” blog:

close up of a Douglas-fir Tussock moth on a conifer branch

An undated field photo of a male Douglas-fir Tussock moth. USDA Forest Service photo by David McComb (via

More information:

For more Douglas-fir Tussock Moth photos, check out this USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region Forest Health Flickr album:

For photos from annual aerial health forest survey conducted jointly by the USDA Forest Service and Washington State, and surveys conducted with the State of Oregon, visit:

WEBINAR: Demystifying Forest Service special use permits; Sept. 18


Are you a guide, outfitter, or organization facilitating outdoor recreation opportunities on Forest Service land? If your answer is “yes”, then this online webinar is for you!

The USDA Forest Service’s special uses program team lead will help present a “Demystifying Forest Service special use permits” webinar, scheduled for September 18, 2018 at 10 a.m.

Ben Johnson, team lead for the agency’s national recreation special uses program, will share a recently-created guide designed to help to you learn about the process for obtaining a special use permit, focusing on recreational uses.

This guide is designed to help anyone who organizes recreational activities on National Forests understand what kind of activities and uses are considered a “special use” and require a special use authorization, learn about the process for obtaining a special use authorization, and provides additional information that will help navigate the proposal and application process.

A question and answer period will follow the presentation.

RSVP, at

More info:

Special Use Permitting 101 for National Forests, on the “Transforming Youth Outdoors” blog:

Source information: Transforming Youth Outdoors is a resource-based community for people committed to developing and delivering best-in-class outdoor programming to youth, and this work sponsored in part by contributions from the USDA Forest Service. For more information, visit


2018 Capitol Christmas Tree selection underway on Willamette, NF

The 2017 Capital Christmas Tree is displayed on the National Mall, outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

SWEET HOME, Ore. – Aug. 9, 2018 – A representative of the Architect of the Capitol is visiting the Willamette National Forest to  select the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, which be displayed on the National Mall in December.

The forest’s local “tree team,” which includes foresters and a botanist, have been working with their southwest Oregon community for months to identify the candidates, which include 80′ by 30′ specimens representing several native Oregon specieis.

The 2018 Capital Christmas Tree logo features green trees, a snow-capped mountain, and a winding trail to represent Willamette National Forest.

Willamette National Forest still needs ornaments to decorate the tree! Info:

Jim Kaufmann, the Director of the Capitol Grounds and Arboretum at the Architect of the Capitol, the federal agency responsible for the operations and care of the Capitol buildings and grounds, will make the final selection following his visit, which will be announced when the tree is cut in early November.

“Oregon is known around the country for its spectacular natural beauty, including its incredible national forests. It’s a privilege to visit the Willamette National Forest to select the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree,” Kaufmann said. “I have no doubt that we will find the perfect tree for the West Lawn of the Capitol, and we’re thrilled to have Oregon be an important part of the nation’s holiday celebration this year.”

Forest staff had invited members of their community to help identify suitable trees for the eff, and continues to work with local individuals and organizations to produce the 10,000 ornaments needed to decorate the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree, and dozens of smaller trees that will be displayed throughout the Capitol itself.

Kaufmann will be evaluating each tree for a variety of desired characteristics, including being 65-85 feet in height, having a straight stem, uniform branching, a perfectly conical shape, natural density, and rich green color. Each of the tree candidates is either a Douglas or Noble fir tree, the two most iconic conifer species in both the Willamette National Forest and the state. The Douglas-fir is Oregon’s official state tree. Also of great importance is the tree’s accessibility by crane and semi-truck for when it’s time for it to be harvested. Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service is evaluating each location to ensure the protection of sensitive habitats and species.

“It’s very exciting to have reached this stage of the yearlong Capitol Christmas Tree process, which started in January when the U.S. Forest Service announced that the Willamette National Forest had been selected to provide the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree,” Nikki Swanson, Sweet Home District Ranger, said. “We have identified some absolutely beautiful candidates that will represent the State of Oregon perfectly, and we look forward to unveiling the winning tree in November, as we tour it along the Oregon Trail on its way to Washington, D.C.”

The theme for the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail. In November, the Capitol Christmas Tree will travel eastward from Oregon on the reverse path of the Oregon Trail. The schedule and special events will be announced on October 30, 2018.

You still have a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting and festivities, through the “Find Your Ornament” contest!

Earlier this summer, 200 glass ornaments were hidden along non-wilderness trails on the Willamette National Forest for lucky adventurers to find. In addition to a keepsake ornament, more than 120 winners will be awarded prizes, and all entrants will be automatically entered to win the grand prize trip to Washington, D.C.

The contest runs through October 2, 2018. Further details are available at the Willamette Valley Visitors Association website.

Source information:

Willamette National Forest public affairs staff. Learn more about the Capitol Christmas Tree, at: www.capitolchristmastree.comTo get involved, email the Willamette National Forest Christmas “Tree team” at

Celebrate Smokey Bear’s 74th birthday Aug. 9-11 (updated)

Smokey Bear gets a "bear hug" from a group of children

PORTLAND, Ore. Aug. 8, 2018National Forests will host birthday parties around the country this week to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 74th birthday. Local celebrations will include children’s parties Aug. 9 in Klamath Falls and Lakeview Ore., and Aug. 11, at Fort Vancouver, Wash. and in Bend, Ore.

The Fremont-Winema National Forest invites kids of all ages to attend one of two celebrations for Smokey Bear’s birthday Party Aug. 9, in Klamath Falls, Ore. or at 1 p.m. in Lakeview, Ore.

In Klamath Falls, the party begins at 10 a.m. at the Moore Park Picnic Shelter, located close to Upper Klamath Lake. Moore Park is located off Lakeshore Drive. (You can find more information and directions here).

In Lakeview, the party will be at the park located next to the swimming pool at Center and D Streets, beginning at 1 p.m.

The Deschutes National Forest and Discover Your Forest invite the public to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 74th birthday on Saturday, August 11th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station, located at 18390 Century Dr. (off the Cascades Lakes scenic byway) in Bend, Ore.

Located just past mile post seven on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, the Cascades Welcome Station serves as a gateway to some of the most popular trails and lakes on the Deschutes National Forest. The Welcome Station offers recreation passes, local area maps, guidebooks and other educational materials, as well as, parking and access to Phil’s and Wanoga mountain biking trails systems.

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Friends of Fort Vancouver, and National Parks Service will also host their celebration Saturday, August 11th, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fort Vancouver Visitors Center (1501 E Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, Wash.).

The Fort Vancouver Visitor Center serves both Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The visitor center has exhibits about Fort Vancouver’s long history, a Gifford Pinchot National Forest Adventures exhibit, orientation films, contemporary local Native American art, and offers recreation passes, maps, books and gifts for purchase.

Festivities at both locations will include activities, wildfire prevention information, and pictures with Smokey.

The real Smokey Bear was a little cub saved by firefighters during a wildfire in New Mexico.  His paws were badly burned when he clung to a smoking, burned out tree. News of the little bear’s rescue spread quickly across the nation and soon became a national icon for promoting fire safety and wildfire prevention.  He received so many gifts of honey and an outpouring of mail that he was assigned his own zip code.

“For more than 70 years Smokey Bear has served as an inspiration and reminder to be careful with fire and anything that can throw a spark in the forest,” Lisa Swinney, a spokesperson for the Fremont-Winema National Forest, said. “We are so excited to celebrate Smokey Bear’s birthday, as well as to share his valuable message of fire prevention.”

For more information about activities, volunteer opportunities and other events on Your Northwest Forests, check out our calendar! It’s at

A Forest Service employee and Smokey Bear wave to the photographer while posed in front of a Forest Service fire truck.

Katijo Maher and Smokey Bear (Matt Robinson) prepare to represent the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest during the Skykomish Centennial June 4, 2009. USDA Forest Service photo.

“Only YOU Can Prevent Wildires.”  – Smokey Bear

Source information: Deschutes National Forest and Gifford Pinchot National Forest public affairs staff.

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