May, 2020 Newsletter
In this Issue:
  • Class Updates
  • AgForestry News
  • Alumni Spotlight
  • April Donors
  • Upcoming Events
A Message from the Executive Director
COVID-19 highlights our vulnerability. Human and economic tragedies are unfolding before our eyes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who are suffering.

COVID-19 highlights our strength. There are incredible examples of leadership and sacrifice from everyday heroes. Our gratitude goes out to those on the front lines.

COVID-19 highlights our ingenuity. Where difficulties arise, so does innovation. Three cheers for the problem solvers and doers.

The impact of COVID-19 is inescapable. Our supporters want to know how the pandemic has affected AgForestry... Here’s the dirt.

We are grateful Classes 41 and 42 came home safely from their International and National Seminars this winter. Business as usual has been anything but usual since. We postponed Class 41’s Graduation Celebration to November. Class 42’s Forestry Seminar was rescheduled for August.

Based on the current guidelines for “reopening Washington,” we are cautiously optimistic AgForestry will hold face-to-face events again soon. If all goes well, our annual golf tournament will happen in July and seminars will resume this fall.

Thoughts of a return to business as usual, though, could be a stretch. Social distancing will likely change the way events and seminars occur. A resurgence in COVID cases might derail our ability to meet in person. After a year of generous giving, there are signs AgForestry donors are pulling back their financial support. These obstacles challenge our ability to cultivate leaders.

While uncertainty continues to rule the day, I can tell you what is certain:

  1. The AgForestry board and staff are regularly communicating and making contingency plans.
  2. We are committed to our mission and finding ways of fulfilling it, regardless of the circumstances.
  3. Effective leadership is more important than ever. That makes AgForestry, and your support for the organization, more critical than ever.

While there are circumstances beyond our control, we can control how we respond. How will you help?

  • Recruitment: Ask a high potential individual you know to apply for Class 43, and send them to
  • Golf: Celebrate being outside in the company of good people by golfing or volunteering at the tournament. See the registration below.
  • Graduation: Honor Class 41, “Class of COVID-19,” by coming to their celebration. Bring family, friends, colleagues and prospects.
  • Donate: Your financial support will help us navigate this time of uncertainty. Make a one-time donation, or sign-up for a monthly pledge. Can you afford $10 per month? What about $50? Regardless of the amount, your gift will make a difference. If you already donated this year, please consider a second gift. Click here to donate.

Thank you for your support!
 Matt Kloes, Class 36
Executive Director
Class Updates
Class 41 is patiently waiting for graduation. Plans have been made to ensure it’s an unforgettable event. Join us at the Red Lion in Wenatchee on November 5 th . The Class has donated incredible items for a raffle. Keys will be sold for a chance to take home the wine fridge, donated by Charles Laird, Class 32. Please show your support to the first AgForestry class impacted by COVID-19.
Kara Kaelber, Class 37
Program Manager
Class 42 still has its Forestry Seminar to look forward to this August, thanks to COVID-19. This month, the class begins the mid-program check-in, which facilitates stronger relationships and strengthens the culture of accountability within the cohort. During this process, participants reflect on their experience, receive feedback from their classmates, and set their goals for growth in their second year.
Hannah Poush, Class 38
Program Director
AgForestry News
Alumni Spotlight
In the Community...
Lindsey Williams, Class 40, and husband Matt (a Plant and Soil Science Instructor at Walla Walla Community College) found an opportunity to keep teaching and doing outreach during stay-at-home orders. They have been providing weekly, socially distanced, plant science courses for their neighborhood kids, who range from kindergarten to 5 th grade! The kids identify what they want to do the following week after each class, and start each class with a recap of their last lesson (and sometimes with LOTS of questions) – plant identification, trees, pollinators, and vegetable gardens have been recent requests…but the worms seem to be the favorite so far.
Matt showing neighborhood kids (and dad) the outcome of their recent pruning experiment, showing “apical dominance”
Composting Set Up Day! Each household built a small vermicomposting bin, and recorded their starting weight of worms to see who could grow the most/biggest by the time school starts again!
Checking in on the compost bins each week, answering questions, and adjusting as needed!
In the News...
Take a look at this month's issue of Irrigation Leader magazine. Mark Wagoner , Class 8 , talks about the special challenges of working with one of the oldest irrigation districts in the state. Wagoner is president of Wagoner Touchet Farms, in the Walla Walla area, and sits on the board of the Gardena Farms Irrigation District.
Alumni on the move...
Kelly Lawrence , Class 41 , has been selected as the Forest Supervisor for the Olympic National Forest. Kelly has served the last 17 years with the Forest Service in research, partnerships, planning and, most recently, as the Naches District Ranger on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
We want to hear about you! Tell us what you've been up to since your AgForestry experience. Email us at and watch for more alumni profiles at
Upcoming Events
Class 41 Graduation
Thursday, November 4th
Red Lion Hotel, Wenatchee

Individual tickets a nd sponsorships are available.
Doors will open at 5 p.m. Your chance to win a fully stocked wine fridge has returned. Each of the Public Policy Groups has put together a basket that will be raffled off to lucky winners. The program starts at 6 p.m. and we will wrap up by 8:15 p.m.

Dinner options are Tuscan Chicken, Prime Rib, or Manicotti Ratatouille. A children's dinner option of chicken strips and tater tots is available for guests under 12 years. We will contact those who have already registered to modify your dinner selection.
Did you miss our webinar with Jill Yashinsky-Wortman, Staying Strong in Uncertain Times? Watch it here . If you have feedback or ideas for future webinars offered to the AgForestry network, please complete our survey.
Thank you to our April Donors
Emily (38) & Tim Bautista-Herdt
Eric (27) & Debbie Keller
Kathy O'Halloran (24)
Mark (37) & Debbie (40) Wieseler
Kevin (22) & LaNece Arneson
Michael (35) & Jenna Babenko
Steve (30) & Marilyn Barnowe-Meyer
Doug (2) & Karen Bayne
Brulotte Farms, Inc.
- Reggie Brulotte (23)
Ashley (41) & Charlie Hatfield
Travis (33) & Stephanie Meacham
Washington Blueberry Commission
Dan (4) & Darci Coyne
Karl (1) & Ione Felgenhauer
Hansen Logging, LLC
- John & Sherri Hansen
Ag Association Management Inc
- Shane (33) & Megan Johnson
Christy Mastin (24)
First Interstate Bancsystem Foundation
Matson Fruit Company
Washington State Farm Bureau Washington State Hay Growers Assn.
Northwest Farm Credit Services
King/Pierce County Farm Bureau