Forestry as Part of the Solution

May 3-5, 2023, at Maple Hall in La Conner, Washington

Western white pine, Photo taken by Samantha Chang

Hosted by the North Puget Sound Chapter in beautiful La Conner, this meeting will be held in-person. The speaker sessions will include presentations on forest health, climate resilience strategies, tribal cultural uses, carbon projects, current research in fire ecology and post-fire regeneration, and forestry in youth education.  Two field trip options will allow participants to see a range of forest management and related activities.

The town of La Conner is located a short drive through farmland from I-5, across the channel from the Swinomish Reservation. Maple Hall is within close walking distance of a variety of shops, art galleries, museums, and restaurants from pub fare to fine dining with locally sourced ingredients. The Museum of Northwest Art, Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, and Skagit County Historical Museum have something for everyone. Although the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival officially wraps up at the end of April, fields of late-blooming tulips may still be found nearby.

2023 WSSAF Annual Meeting Program |PDF

Registration Types

Ticketed Items

Early bird
(by April 15)


Awards Banquet

Field Trip

Tree Farm Inspector Appreciation Breakfast

SAF Member

Non-SAF member

























Hosted by

Washington Tree

Farm Program

Registration includes light refreshments at the Icebreaker Social on May 3, and both breakfast and lunch on May 4. All events on May 3 and 4 take place at Maple Hall, 104 Commercial, in La Conner.  A pass for free parking will be provided at registration.

The Tree Farm Inspector Appreciation Breakfast is hosted by the Washington Tree Farm Program. It is a free event for Tree Farm Inspectors on Friday, May 5, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill and Irish Pub (previously the Farmhouse Restaurant), 13724 La Conner Whitney Road, Mount Vernon. Please select this free ticketed item when registering if you plan to attend.

Wednesday, May 3
1:30-3:00 p.m. 

WSSAF Executive Committee Meeting
Registration opens, Poster and Exhibitor setup, Silent Auction starts
Icebreaker Social, light refreshments
Student and Early Career Mentoring Event

Thursday, May 4
7:00-8:00 a.m.       




Breakfast, Registration opens
Morning Speaker Session 1

Climate Resilience for Forest Landowners in Washington David Peterson, Professor of Forest Biology, University of Washington; Emeritus Senior Research Scientist, USFS PNW Research Station

Assisted Population Migration Planting Trials & the Seedlot Selection Tool
Claire Ellwanger, Eastern Washington Zone Geneticist, USFS

Carbon Market Access for Small Family Forest Owners
Sandy Letzing, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester, Forest Carbon  Works





11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.


Morning Speaker Session 2

Cultural Value and Importance of Western Redcedar
Tino Villaluz, Wildlife (gathering) Program Manager, Swinomish Tribe

Western Redcedar Dieback
Betsy Goodrich, Forest Pathologist, USFS

Western Redcedar Dieback Linked to Drier and Warmer Summer Conditions
Robbie Andrus, Postdoctoral Researcher, WSU

Blister Rust Resistance Trials in Washington Rachel Brooks, PhD, Forest Pathologist, DNR






Afternoon Speaker Session 1

Integrating Forestry in Youth Education & Empowement
Oak Rankin, Executive Director, Glacier Peak Institute

Reducing Recidivism Through Natural Resources Employment
Alex Smith, Owner, Division Street Landscaping and Shea Zwerver, MES

Community Engagement Tips and Tricks
Lindsay Davis & Susan David, Community Engagement Specialists, Hampton Lumber





Afternoon Speaker Session 2

Building Forest Inventories Powered by Robotics and AI
Elizabeth Hunter, PhD, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Treeswift

PNW Fire Ecology Research Projects and Findings
Brian J. Harvey, Assistant Professor, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences; Madison Laughlin, PhD Student; Liliana Rangel-Parra, PhD Student; Angie Gonzalez, PhD Student; The Harvey Lab at the University of Washington






Washington State SAF Business Meeting

Social Hour (light refreshments provided)

Awards Banquet, Silent Auction ends

Friday, May 5
7:00-8:30 a.m.

9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tree Farm Inspector Appreciation Breakfast
The breakfast is open to current Tree Farm Inspectors and will be held at Shawn ’Donnell’s American Grill and Irish Pub (a.k.a. Skagit Valley Farmhouse).

Field Trips (lunch provided)



The Washington State SAF Business Meeting will be held on Thursday afternoon, following the speaker sessions. The Business Meeting is required by the state bylaws and gives members the chance to hear reports from their state officers on WSSAF’s activities and financial status, learn about open positions in the Executive Committee and nominations for upcoming elections, and any other “business of sufficient importance to require careful consideration of the membership at large.” The Business Meeting is included with registration.

The Awards Banquet on Thursday evening will be a celebration of WSSAF Foundation scholarship and awards recipients. It is our chance to recognize the contributions of selected members to the Society and our profession, and support students on their journey to a career in forestry and natural resources. The Silent Auction, proceeds of which support forestry education and outreach through the Forester’s Fund and WSSAF Foundation scholarships, will conclude during the Awards Banquet. The Awards Banquet is a separate ticketed item.

To nominate an WSSAF member for an award, please visit

Field trips will be on Friday, May 5. Participants can select a field trip option when registering for this ticketed item.  A bag lunch is included.

*This tour is now full.*
SPI Mill Tour and Field Visit: Tour the Sierra Pacific Industries Burlington mill in the morning, and then travel to a SPI field location that may include active logging with ground-based equipment, herbicide trials, Douglas-fir plantation establishment and managing invasive species; or plantation forestry for high-site Doug-fir, managing fish habitat – then and now, and a Doug-fir stand thinned with ground-based equipment (TBD closer to field trip date). 

There is a fair amount of walking through the mill, including metal grated surfaces and stairs, and high noise levels. The field site is an outdoor tour, so please come prepared for inclement weather and walking on uneven terrain.  Closed-toe shoes required, boots recommended. PPE will be provided, or bring your own hardhat and hi-vis vest if you prefer. Participants on this tour will ride in provided vans for safety on active logging roads.  Registration is limited to 27 people.

Tree Farm and Figured Maple Option: Visit Ken Osborn’s tree farm in the morning, where 55-year-old stands have been thinned and underplanted with western redcedar, and new plantation has been recently established. The afternoon stop is at the Utopia Figured Maple Project site, one of Pacific Rim Tonewood’s research projects into sustainable production of high-value fiddleback maple. This is an outdoor tour, so please come prepared for inclement weather and walking on uneven terrain.  Participants on this tour will take their own vehicles, and carpooling is encouraged.  There is no limit on registration for this tour.

A block of rooms is available at a discounted group rate at the La Conner Country Inn, 107 S. Second Street, for stays arriving May 3 and departing May 5. To make a reservation, guests must call the hotel at (360) 466-3101 and reference the group name “Society of American Foresters.” Reservations must be made by April 19. After this date, guests may continue to book rooms at market rate, based on availability.

The group rate includes complimentary continental breakfast, parking, and wi-fi. The Country Inn has two floors and there is no elevator. There are a limited number of pet-friendly rooms that can be reserved for an additional fee per pet if coordinated with the hotel. Bookings made through third-party sites do not qualify for group pricing. 

This meeting qualifies for up to 10 Category 1 CFEs, or up to 10 CEUs for ESA members (6.5 for speaker sessions, and the 3.5 for field trips).

Thanks for the support of our generous sponsors!  If your company would like to be a sponsor, please contact Chapter Chair Samantha Chang at

Forest Carbon Works

Grandy Lake Forest Assoc.

Sustainable Forestry Initiative Washington logo


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