The World Forestry Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to connecting people to the importance of forests and  sustainable  forestry. We are supported by the generosity of individuals and community partners and are proud to recognize them here.
A Message from Our Executive Director

Eric Vines
Executive Director
The month of May ended with a flurry of activity at the World Forestry Center. In partnership with Sustainable Northwest, we co-hosted the Northwest Community Forest Forum, which explored methods to assist communities in managing their own forests. We then hosted the Conservation Finance Network Practitioner Roundtable to explore new mechanisms for the acquisition of forests and other working lands. Both events drew passionate industry professionals determined to collaborate and find ways to maximize the many benefits of lands to their local communities.
On May 11 and 12, I attended a gathering of the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition where we looked primarily at the challenges of state-level forest management. On June 1st the Intertwine Alliance held its annual meeting on our campus in Cheatham Hall. It featured renowned local author Brian Doyle speaking about the important role that its 150+ members play in connecting people to nature.
The next day, Oregon Community Trees held their annual meeting in Miller Hall. Participants were treated to a series of diverse presenters speaking about ways to convey the sheer magnificence of trees to help connect more people to these valuable natural resources. I then traveled to Salt Lake City to join a conference by Carpe Diem West on the city's progress in forging a coalition of 30 organizations to help coordinate management of the large watershed supplying Salt Lake City's water. The forests in this watershed are also home to one of the most popular recreation areas in the country.
From my perspective, the big take-away this month is that there is a critical, growing need to bring together the diverse players in our communities around the many interconnected issues related to natural resource management. Water security, conservation finance, environmental education, urban resilience, rural economic stability, and wood product manufacturing as well as recreation, agriculture, human health, and forest management are all interwoven elements in the larger picture that can only advance from enhanced collective dialog. The World Forestry Center is proud to play its role both as host to and participant in many of these gatherings. We bring to them our conviction that sustainably managed forests contribute significantly to the healthy future of our communities. The challenges we all face are certainly complex, but by working together today we are finding better ways to utilize and balance the many benefits that stem from our forests.


Eric Vines
Executive Director 

World Forest Institute News
Registration Opens for Industry's Largest Timberland Investor Conference
In September, the World Forest Institute will hold its two annual, back-to-back conferences on wood products markets and the timberland investment arena. The 3-day program starts September 20 with the Forest Products Forum, a day-long program organized by Massachusetts-based consulting firm Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), featuring FEA and other experts on U.S. housing, lumber, and timber demand. This highly rated event offers forward-looking market outlooks on specific wood products. Its intimate size allows attendees to interact with the speakers.
Immediately following the Forum, the opening reception for Who Will Own the Forest? starts in the Discovery Center Museum. Two full days of conference sessions follow as we feature North American and international experts discussing every aspect of institutional timberland investing. With interest rates at historical lows, and stock markets hopping around more like a bunny than a bear or a bull, real assets such as timberland have become increasingly appealing to investors seeking less volatility and attractive total returns compared to the bond and equity markets. 
Regarded as the must-attend event of the year for those involved in institutional timberland investing, Who Will Own the Forest? celebrates its 12th year with over 40 sponsors supporting the event, including Title Sponsors Farm Credit Services and Timberland Investment Resources. The two-day event will feature discussions about opportunities and challenges in timberland investing domestically and abroad. Registration is now open. Click here  to view the full conference agenda and to register.

International Fellow Spotlight: Abiodun "Abi" Solanke
Each month, you can learn about one of the WFC's visiting International Fellows who has been selected for a six-month assignment to collaborate with forestry practitioners here in the Pacific Northwest. The Fellows are passionate, engaged in their local communities, and committed to driving change in forest management practices around the globe. 

Where are you from?

I am a native of Sagamu, Ogun State but work in Lagos State. That is in the southwest - the Yoruba speaking part of Nigeria.
You've been here in the United States for two months so far. Tell us a little bit about your journey.

This is my first time in the U.S. and my first time being outside of Nigeria! Before landing in Portland, I travelled through North Africa and spent one day experiencing Morocco. Then I flew to New York, Philadelphia, Denver, and then finally made it to Portland. It was quite an adventure through six airports.
What attracted you to the World Forest Institute Fellowship Program?

I've always been keen on affordability in housing as a fundamental right. Related to this, is the need for Nigerians to think outside the box; going beyond using conventional sandcrete, concrete, and rebar for construction. There are a lot of local resources that are untapped! While I was researching this on the Internet, I learned, through the World Forest Institute, about some other green building materials such as bamboo, Cross-Laminated Timber, and glulam and the construction innovations that are developed with these materials in the Pacific Northwest. I later discovered the opportunity to work with the Portland-based World Forestry Center.
What were you doing before you arrived in Portland?

I'm a licensed Architect back home. I develop client briefs, produce architectural schematic designs, work with consultants to make construction designs, seek approval from government agencies, and do site inspections. One of my famous projects is a 1,500-person capacity auditorium in Ogun State. I also recently designed and supervised a car dealership project in Lagos.
What's on your wish list of things to accomplish while working at the World Forestry Center?

I believe that bamboo - which is a highly renewable resource growing in our local communities back home - is an incredible opportunity for ceilings, floors, and rain screens and in some cases wall panels in Nigeria. Utilizing this resource is paramount to improving the housing situation and making housing more affordable and economically beneficial to local communities. By the end of my fellowship, I want to have the practical, technical understanding of how to transform bamboo culms into laminated bamboo for construction - primarily for floor and ceiling finishes and lightweight timber construction for building construction. This is what I am most excited about implementing back home.
What's one of your most exciting observations so far?

Two things. The emerging movement of 12-story building made entirely out of timber products. Second, American society is incredibly cohesive and a well integrated system. It has been shaped to function over time much like the system of the human body. Commuters have many options in getting around town. The MAX line is so functional and integrated with Google such that you can literally expect the MAX or bus to arrive in exact time as shown on the Google map. That is simply not possible in my country. I hope we get there someday!
What do you miss the most about home?

I miss my family - my two boys and my wife. My oldest son turns five in November. I promised him that I would be home in time to celebrate his birthday.
You can contact Abi directly at If you are interested in inviting Abi to speak at your organization or event, please contact International Fellowship Program Manager Shadia Duery at

WFC Invited to Address Industry Leaders in Australia
Last month, Senior Fellow Rick Zenn was international keynote speaker at the Food and Fibre Matters conference in Canberra, Australia.

Invited by the Forest Learning program of Australia and the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA), Zenn proposed to the 150 leaders attending the 2-day conference that one effective way to strengthen school programs, which promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is to "add wood."

"Wood is the original STEM" he reminded the audience. Science-based lessons about trees and forests can easily "tell the rest of the story" he said by including wood as building materials, fuel, paper, and a countless variety of other products used in our daily lives. Using wood "gives the tree a second life."

Beyond STEM, by adding tree, forest, and wood-related connections to "literature, art, history, religion, and culture" Zenn said, "we can work across the curriculum to create three-dimensional learning experiences which are more useful, interesting, and relevant."

"Students may not choose a career in forestry or science, but they certainly can choose a career or lifetime avocation which intersects with using wood as a tool, art form, or building material."

Zenn also sat on two PIEFA conference panels, and he led an outdoor workshop at the new National Arboretum in Canberra. World Forest Institute alumnus Tony Scherl, now Senior Fire Management Manager for Australia Capital Territory Parks and Conservation Service, and Tania Crosbie, Program Manager for Forest Learning generously hosted two days of forest tours for Zenn around the capital area. He was interviewed by famous Australian TV hosts Andrew Hart and Nick Duigan of "Hook, Line, and Sinker."

Following the conference, Zenn flew to Sydney for meetings with the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) and the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). He also met with Dr. Cameron Archer, PIEFA Chair, Ben Stockwin, PIEFA Executive Director, and the Honorable Rick Colless, Member of Parliament and Secretary for Natural Resources and Regional Planning of New South Wales.

WFC Art Gallery Exhibit 
Dave Guttschmidt
Hollow Form
Maple Burl, Burned & Dyed, Carved Feet

This showcase of over 65 pieces from 35 different artists includes a wide variety of what can be done with wood; from hand carved Native American and First Nations artwork and masks to intricate heirloom toys, from fine custom furniture to exquisite turned masterpieces and much more.  The styles include items with natural edge table tops, artistic combination of different woods with contrasting colors and textures, and the use of burls and other types of figured woods that bring out the real beauty of wood.

On view now - July 10    *     Free Art Gallery Admission 

Community Events
Forest Products Society International Convention

The annual International Convention is the premier event for professionals in the forest products industry. The Convention brings together hundreds of scientists, design professionals, managers, decision makers, and others from academia, government, nonprofit, and private industry sectors to discuss the state of forest products research and learn about innovations in the field.

Date: June 27-29, 2016

Event Location:    
Portland Marriot Downtown Waterfront
Portland, OR
Click here to register or for more information.

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We are located in Washington Park at:
4033 SW Canyon Rd 
Portland, Oregon 97221

Contact Us:
Michelle Coumarbatch 
Office Manager
503-228-1367 x100

Wendy Mitchell

Amber Morrison

Zakary Johnson
Database Administrator
Eric Vines

Leigh Goldberg
Director of Communications

Rick Zenn
Senior Fellow

Reade Weber
Special Projects Manager

Jennifer Kent

Angie Garcia

Alison Herlihy
Event Liaison

Chuck Wiley
Facilities & Maintenance Manager 
Darlene Boles, C.P.A.

Sara Wu

Chandalin Bennett
Senior Programs Manager

Shadia Duery
Programs Manager
Mark Reed

Rob Pierce
Education Director

Louise George
Visitor Services Manager

Liam Hassett
Tree Farm Manager