From a distance, the broken tops of the 20-year old Douglas fir trees looked like small pointy tan-colored flags interspersed among the green needles of the lower branches. I was looking across a ravine through a section of forest that had been set up as an experimental test site by Starker Forests, but the November 2014 ice storm disrupted this 40 year experiment by layering on inches of ice through two days of freezing fog. With the branches heavy, a moderate wind was all it took to snap the tops, bringing them crashing to the now debris-covered forest floor. The owners of this tree farm now face a dilemma that illustrates the challenge of growing trees. Few farming activities carry the same gauntlet of risks as growing a crop intended for harvest in 60 years. Insects, fire, ice storms, wind storms, changing market demands, and changing regulations make the actual prospect of harvest highly uncertain. What you plant today, won't pay back for two generations if it pays back at all. And yet, we depend heavily on our tree farmers for their patience, their vigilance, and their faith that somehow it's all going to work out. Our economy depends on the success of foresters to grow trees. Most of us live in houses made of wood, use paper made from wood and utilize furniture made of wood. Our atmosphere depends on trees that convert CO2 to Oxygen, sequestering carbon in the process. Our clean water comes primarily from forests. And many of us take solace in the scientifically documented health benefits of a walk in the forest. Unless we make it worthwhile for owners to keep forests in tact, they will turn them into some other use...which means fewer trees in the future providing us the benefits I just listed. At the World Forestry Center, we are looking forward... over the next century, finding ways to connect people to the forests of the future. What a privilege it is to participate in this audacious endeavor.



Eric Vines

Executive Director


World Forestry Center Leadership Hall  
Remembering  Barbara Walker  


Nothing was impossible for Barbara Farrow Walker who, for more than a quarter century, worked tirelessly to connect people with nature within the City of Portland. By the end of her life, she had helped to spearhead virtually every high-profile parks project in the greater urban area.


It all started in 1968 just below her own backyard with a wooded ravine that Barbara helped turn into Marquam Nature Park.  She went on to advocate for what today has expanded to over 140 miles of linked park trails and a host of outdoor public areas.  Remember her the next time you pause to enjoy the steps of Pioneer Courthouse Square or walk the Eastbank Esplanade.


Barbara passed away on October 26 of last year. She had served on the Board of Directors of the World Forestry Center for over 30 years.  There, she championed our many education programs and strongly promoted the development of our tree farms.  Thank you , Barbara.  We miss you.


H er  full biography  is on display in Leadership Hall of the Discovery Museum. 



The World Forest Institute is saying farewell this month to our first ever Fellow from Myanmar (formerly Burma), Ms. Wai Wai Than. Wai spent the last six months here in Portland learning about invasive species management. She returns to Myanmar with new found knowledge and many memories to share with her colleagues, friends, and families. Traveling from the coast to the mountains, and even down to the redwoods, Wai covered a lot of ground in learning about natural resource management in the west. Of her time here, Wai said "The greatest value of this program was the friendship with the forestry community and the sharing of our research to help bridge knowledge between my country and Oregon."


Wai was sponsored by the International Tropical Timber Organization. She returns home to continue her work in invasive species management with the Forest Research Institute in Yezin.  Click here to read Wai's research poster.   


Starting in April, WFI will start welcoming a new cadre of Fellows from Nepal, Bolivia, Ghana, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Learn more about the World Forest Institute and the International Fellowship Program on our website


Treemendous First Thursday!

Visit our Discovery Museum today, March 5th and take advantage of $3.00 admission for everyone ages 3 & up! 

New Reduced Admission Prices!
In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we have reduced our admission rates to $5.00 for everyone 3 years and older! 



Recognition of our Donors & Sponsors

The World Forestry Center's donors and sponsors are the secret to our success.

With our organization in a period of transition and renewal, we think first of those we serve in our community and thank those that support our efforts.

Our mission serves kids and adults alike and we continue to have a tremendous amount of support. We want to thank each and every one of you who contribute to the continued success of our organization.
If you are interested in becoming a donor or sponsor, have an estate gift or bequest, please contact Wendy Mitchell, Dir. of Stewardship: 503-488-2111  or

You can also visit our website to make a secure donation online.
Your gift of any size will make a difference! Thank You! 




Partnerships & Outreach Updates  

The International Educator's Institute, started in 1996 and led by Rick Zenn is now in its 18th year. In 2014 we had 20 participants from Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, Ireland, China, Taiwan, Japan, California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Oregon.  (Pictured above) 



The World Forestry Center continued to support participation by American Forest Foundation's national outstanding educators this year from Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina. These individuals are recognized at "teacher of the year" level, highly influential in their professions, nominated and vetted by state forestry associations, and continue on a path of growth and excellence. They are true ambassadors for the World Forestry Center in both the education and forestry professions at home.


Local donations have allowed The World Forestry Center to support participation by educational leaders in NW classrooms and non-profits. In 2014, The World Forestry Center invited the new leadership team of the Eugene based "Forests Today and Forever" Beth Krisko and Lindsay Reaves of Bauman Tree Farm. The World Forestry Center has hosted forest educators from Port Blakely, Starker Forests, OSU's Institute of Applied Ecology, and the Klamath Outdoor School.

Happenings in the
Education Department



On Friday, January 30th the World Forestry Center hosted and participated in the Outdoor School for All Campaign Kickoff event.

The Outdoor Education Coalition gathered in Miller Hall in an effort to raise $22 million through the state to fund outdoor school for all 5th (or 6th) graders for 5 days. Around  200 people attended including Timber Joey, of The Portland Timbers.

The Oregon Outdoor Education Coalition launched the Outdoor School for All campaign to find lasting public funding to provide every Oregon fifth or sixth-grader with the opportunity to attend a full week of Outdoor School or comparable science-based outdoor education experience that meets local needs.

Other participating organizations included: Hoyt Arboretum, Japanese Garden, Portland Parks & Recreation, Northwest Regional ESD, Leach Botanical Garden, Multnomah ESD, Mazamas, Friends of Outdoor School/Adventure Wild, Environmental Education Association of Oregon, Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Honoring Our Rivers, and OMSI.

Museum News
Alumni News

Big Changes in the WFC Discovery Museum  

50th Anniversary Admission Price 

Starting March 15th, 2015 we have reduced our admission fee to $5.00 per person! Children 2 & under are still free. This program will go through Dec. 31, 2015. Take advantage of it now!


Expansion of our Education Space

We are preparing for an increase in Educational Programming here at the WFC Discovery Museum and that will require more space. Part of the second floor of the museum is currently being converted into an educational theater, science zone and school group lunch room.


First Floor Gallery

Our gift shop is shrinking to make way for a new changing exhibits gallery and special events space on the first floor.  Beginning in May, we will be featuring new forest-related shows.




The Discovery Museum is open 10 am - 5 pm Thursday - Monday. We hope to see you there!



Our alumni are meeting up all over the world

WFI alumni meet in Kunming, China. Recently, our Korean alumnus, Kwangho Baek (2012), travelled to China as part of his Korean Forest Service work, and met up with fellow alumni Dr. Huancheng Ma (2011), Dr. Linsen Zhao (2008) and Dr. Yanping Zhang (2005). All three Chinese alumni are currently in teaching, research and administrative positions at universities in Kunming. Kwangho works in international relations within the Korean Forest Service and often travels the world on cooperative forestry projects.


From left: Linsen Zhao (China 2008), Huancheng Ma (China, 2011), Yanping Zhang (China 2005), and Kwangho Baek (Korea, 2012) all met in Kunming and shared a few drinks while reminiscing over their time at WFI. Kwangho commented that the WFI program is nice because it makes the world a smaller place with friends nearby.
There have been other alumni sightings too! Senior Fellow Rick Zenn recently visited Vancouver, B.C where he met up with  WFI alum Dr. Guangyu Wang. Guangyu is now Assistant Dean, Asia Strategies, College of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia.
WFI alum Dr. Guangyu Wang (right)with Senior Fellow Rick Zenn and wife Judi in Vancouver, British Columbia in January.

Learn More About The World Forestry Center
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We are located in Washington Park at:
4033 SW Canyon Rd 
Portland, Oregon 97221

Contact Us:
Michelle Coumarbatch
503-228-1367 x100

Wendy Mitchell, Director

Amber Morrison, Manager

Zak Roundy, Membership & Database Specialist
Eric Vines

Rick Zenn, Sr. Fellow

Jennifer Kent, Director

Jessica Love, Liaison
Darlene Boles, C.P.A.

Sara Wu, Director

Chandalin Bennett, Prog. Mgr
Mark Reed, Director

Rob Pierce, Education Dir. 

Louise George, Visitor Services Mgr.
Reade Weber, Curator

Bill Woods, Tree Farm Mgr