WSSAF Recognizes its Golden Members 2020-2023

Golden Members Awardees
Tom Westergreen (L) (North Puget Sound Chapter) – 2021 Golden Member Gordon Gibbs (North Olympic Chapter) – 2021 Golden Member Dennis LeMaster (North Puget Sound Chapter) – 2023 Golden Member Dick Hopkins (South Puget Sound Chapter) – 2022 Golden Member Luke Semler – WSSAF State Society Chair

On August 3, 2023, the Washington State Society of American Foresters (WSSAF) held its Golden Member Appreciation Luncheon in Fife, WA to recognize SAF members who achieved Golden Member status (50 years of SAF membership) in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. Twenty-six members were honored at the luncheon, and several were on hand to accept their plaques.

Also in attendance were previously recognized Golden Members who came to support the new golden Members and to network. In addition to recognizing the Golden Members, Chris Schnepf, SAF board member for District 1, provided a national update, and Andrea Watts, the SAF Northwest Office manager, gave an update on activities at the Northwest SAF Office.

Sponsors of the luncheon were Nuveen Nature Capital, Weyerhaeuser, American Forest Management, Robert Bass, and TTG Forestry Services; the venue sponsor was Wade Boyd.

This Golden Member Appreciation Luncheon has been held annually since 1996, apart from a brief hiatus
from 2020-2022 due to the ongoing pandemic.

Originally organized by South Puget Sound Chapter, the luncheon serves to acknowledge and honor senior members for their half-century membership in SAF. In 2017, SAF’s House of Society Delegates awarded the South Puget Sound chapter with a national recognition award for diversity & inclusion in recognition for organizing this annual luncheon. The luncheon is now organized by WSSAF.

Seeking Volunteers for the 2023 Washington State Fair

Come to Puyallup between Friday, September 1, and Sunday, September 24, to see, smell, and taste The Fair and help staff the Washington State Society of American Foresters booth in the Expo Hall, located near the Gold Gate entrance.

Shifts are 3 or 3 1/2 hours, and there are 2 or 3 shifts a day. The shifts start at 10 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. and end at 7 p.m. depending on the day. The Fair is closed all Tuesdays – Sept. 5, 12, and 19 as well as the first Wednesday – Sept. 6, 2023.

In return for your help, we offer a free entry ticket, access to free parking, and shuttle service from at least one of the parking lots. Tickets will be available mid-summer. 

This document lists the currently available shifts, and contact Gene McCaul at mccauls1234(at) to sign up.

WSSAF Member Elected Fellow in 2023

SAF recently announced SAF members who were elected Fellow in 2023, and WSSAF’s John Ehrenreich, Jr. was one of these Fellows!

The Fellow Award is a prestigious award that recognizes an SAF member for long-standing service to forestry at the local, state, and national levels. The SAF Fellow is recognized as an ambassador for the advancement of forestry. Nominations are accepted from any SAF member in good standing. Awardees are recognized during their local state society meetings and during the SAF National Convention. 


Congratulations to the following professional foresters who became SAF certified as Candidate Certified Foresters or Certified Foresters in 2022. The Certified Forester credential is for SAF members and non-members promoting excellence in the stewardship of our nation’s forest resources through enhanced professionalism in forestry.

Cody Davis, CF
Gregory Howisey, CF
Alexander Pancoast, CF

2023 Tour of Washington Forestry Calendar Available for Preordering

Cover of 2023 A Tour of Washington Forestry calendar. The cover features a barred owl perched on a cut tree.

This year, the Washington State SAF (WSSAF) and the Washington Tree Farm Program (WTFP) again partnered to produce the 2023 Tour of Washington Forestry calendar! For this calendar, the members of WSSAF and WTFP outdid themselves in capturing what sustainable forestry looks like in Washington State.

We are asking for a $25 donation per calendar, and we recommend preordering your calendar to guarantee availability.

Calendars may be ordered online here. If you want to pay by check, please fill out this order form, and mail it and the check to Washington Tree Farm Program PO Box 1814 Olympia, WA 98507.

Thank you to the WSSAF volunteered their time to produce this calendar, including Marisa Bass, Don Hanley, Jenny Knoth, Josh Meek, Luke Semler, and Andrea Watts. WTFP volunteers included Margaret Ellis, Jon Matson, David New, Tammie Perreault, and Elizabeth Ide,

Catch the Premier of The Big Burn: American Experience on September 7, 2022

The Big Burn: American Experience will air on KCTS on September 7, 2022, at 10:00 p.m. This documentary is based upon Timothy Egan’s book, The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America.

To learn more about the documentary, visit

It’s Time to Volunteer at the Washington State Fair!

For a number of years, the WSSAF has hosted a booth at the Washington State Fair. Most exhibitors at The Fair pay a substantial amount, but after many years of working with The Fair and the longtime dedication of many people such as John Bergvall, and the building superintendent who is a fellow SAFer, we have been invited back each year without a fee. Others in the building include Wash. State Trappers, Washingtonians for Wildlife, Tacoma Water, Rails to Trails, Boy Scouts, and others.

WSSAF needs volunteers to help staff the booth and provide outreach to the public for our profession. In return for your time, volunteers receive free admission to The Fair and access to free parking. To sign up for volunteer shifts, please fill out this form

Congratulations to the 2022 WSSAF Award Winners

A fixture of every annual meeting is recognizing the accomplishments of WSSAF members and chapters. At the 2022 WSSAF Annual Meeting, two deserving individuals and SAF chapter were recognized.

Forester of the Year – Andy Perleberg
Andy is an associate professor/regional extension specialist with Washington State University, a position he has held since 2008. He is also a certified instructor and trainer for the Washington Tree Farm Program. The nomination was primarily in recognition of his chairmanship of the 2021 WSSAF Annual Meeting. As the general chair, he was responsible for the entire program and all logistics that went into this educational effort.

Chapter of the Year – Mid-Columbia SAF Chapter

2021 Washington State Chair – Josh Meek

Again, congratulations on your accomplishments!


A guest post by Vicky Scharlau, Interim Executive Director, Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation

Violence broke out, people were arrested, some were beaten, shots were fired, vehicles were damaged, a bridge was burned. This could be the news from last week, but I want to take you back to Washington’s “Fish Wars” of the ’60s and ’70s. Sport and commercial fishing industries were competing with Native American tribes. The lawsuit that followed redefined the roles of tribes in natural resource management in the Pacific Northwest, leading eventually to the Timber/Fish/Wildlife Agreement (TFW), which was signed in the early 1980s as a new way to manage natural resources with tribes, loggers, environmentalists and agencies working together on practices.

Credit for TFW is given to two strong leaders: Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal leader, and Stu Bledsoe, an Ellensburg rancher turned politician. What these two men accomplished with TFW showed all natural resource industries, including agriculture, the need for and value of aggressively pursuing their needs and explaining them to the public—especially as it related to public policy. 

As he worked on TFW, Stu Bledsoe also drove the first efforts to build a natural resources leadership program in Washington state, patterned after other state programs.

Leadership. Some will say, “I know it when I see it.” What if you didn’t have to wait to stumble upon someone with leadership skills? What if you could build leaders? Take raw talent and allow that talent to grow, to bloom, to excel? Would you be interested? 

Now in its 45th year, the AgForestry Leadership Program has graduated over 1,000 leaders in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Leaders that help advance their industries through understanding, education and empowerment. Leaders who understand and navigate issues in the public policy arena. 

The program spans 18 months with 11 multiday seminars, plus a week in Washington, D.C., and two weeks in a foreign country. The seminars build leadership skills but also group dynamics and public speaking; working with the media; social issues; state and federal government; forestry issues and agriculture issues; transportation; the Columbia River system; and crime and corrections.

But the AgForestry program of 1977 will not be effectual in 2027.

To continue intentional impact and deliver adult leadership development through training, programming and experiential learning, well, one needs to look to the future: a future with Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z — then comes Generation Alpha! It is already clear that the target audience of tomorrow is different and has very different values, learning styles and expectations. AgForestry needs to evaluate and retool to ensure its leadership program remains relevant, attracts high-quality candidates, makes an impact with graduates and continues to resonate with grantors, alumni, contributors and stakeholders. 

I am a graduate of Class 10 and was barely 30 years old at the time. AgForestry changed my life and my professional trajectory and taught me much, most importantly to help others find their voice and facilitate the “process” toward public policy. A process that is often like watching paint dry, but necessary, needed and often long overdue. I found I could make a difference by not being the loudest voice in the room. 

If you look closely, you can spot an AgForestry graduate. And if you know a recent graduate, you are no doubt amazed and impressed with the transformation that occurred before your eyes. Graduates emerge as different people. As they should, after a highly competitive selection process, seminars covering 18 months, and at least 58 days of required time and attendance. Astonishingly, the cost to a participant is just $6,000. The actual cost is over $40,000 — offset by contributions from grants, alumni and other stakeholders who value leadership. The total investment in each class is $750,000. 

The Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation, which oversees the AgForestry Leadership Program, looks for production candidates — key or up-and-coming decision-makers from farming, forestry, fishing or natural resource entities or who spend their time in hands-on activities. Agriculture, forestry and natural resources include producers (farmer, forester and fisher), processor/shippers, and marketing/salespeople. It also includes education, law, finance, insurance and government agencies who serve the natural resources sector. Those in fields such as the environment, media, research, labor and public relations who demonstrate strong connections to natural resource industries are also considered. 

Applications for Class 44 will be accepted until April 30. The first seminar is set to start in October at Washington State University. To learn more, there are Q&A sessions on Wednesday, April 6 from 10–11 a.m. and the last one is Monday, April 18 from 1-2 p.m.

To learn more or to start the application process, go to:

To invest in future leaders, go to:

We cultivate leaders.

Scholarship opportunity for high school seniors studying forestry

The Washington State Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) Implementation Committee (WASIC) is accepting scholarship applications from students pursuing an education in forestry or natural resources.

The scholarship is available to high school seniors who will be attending full-time (at least 12 units) during the 2022-23 school year, a forestry or natural resource program at one of the following schools:
• University of Washington, Seattle
• Washington State University, Pullman
• Green River Community College
• Spokane Community College
• Grays Harbor College
or any SAF-accredited forestry or natural resource program.

Complete and return the following application form to WASIC postmarked no later than April 1, 2022. The successful applicant will be notified in early June. Electronic application forms are available on the Washington SIC website: Applications must be submitted in paper form to the address on the application.

The mission of the Washington State SFI Implementation Committee is to promote and foster an understanding of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and to promote sustainable forestry practices on all forestlands in the state.

The current core priorities for the WASIC are to:
• Establish criteria and identify delivery mechanisms for contractor (e.g. logger) and forester training;
• Establish protocols for addressing inconsistent practices;
• Focus landowner outreach efforts on education and technical assistance;
• Focus public outreach efforts on increasing SFI program recognition and support among local opinion
leaders and forestry professionals;
• Protect the integrity of the SFI program;
• Support the efforts of state and federal agencies to report harvest and regeneration statistics.


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