Learn about San Juan forest this September

Submitted by Northwest Natural Resources Group.

The dry, rainshadow climate of the San Juans makes for a truly beautiful place to live, but stewarding a healthy forest here means asking a lot of management questions.

Is your forest healthy? What is a healthy forest anyway?

Is it at risk of stand-replacing fire or pests and disease?

Does thinning make sense, and how would you choose which trees to remove?

What can you do to improve wildlife habitat in your forest?

What species should you plant in anticipation of a warmer and drier future?

We have a full slate of resources to help answer your forest management questions and set you on the path to owning the forest of your dreams.

September Fireside Chats

In September we’ll be presenting two fireside chats focused on how fire played a role in shaping the dry, Olympic rainshadow ecosystem of the San Juan Islands. We recommend attending both to get a full understanding of the topic!

Sept. 14, at 7:30 p.m., – Biochar for Increasing Forest Resilience and Carbon Storage with Kai Hoffman Krull, San Juan Conservation District Forest Health Manager

Kai Hoffman-Krull, Forest Health Manager for the San Juan Conservation District and founder of Restore Char, will discuss techniques for increasing forest resilience and carbon storage through in-forest biochar production. Pyrogenic carbon, also known as ‘biochar,” has received significant attention recently for its role in sequestering carbon and increasing soil resilience in agricultural and forest soils. This talk will cover the role of biochar historically in forest and prairie ecosystems as a byproduct of regular fire return intervals, and charcoal’s potential to serve as a long-term soil amendment to store carbon, nutrients, and water in our forest and agricultural soils as we transition into a changing climate. 30 minutes will be reserved for open discussion and Q and A.

Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m – Increasing Fire Resilience in the San Juan Islands also with Kai Hoffman Krull and Carson Sprenger, Forest Ecologist and Restoration Forester for Rain Shadow Consulting

At this fireside chat, Sprenger and Hoffman-Krull will discuss how historic fire regimes shaped the ecology of the San Juan Islands and how fire’s absence in the landscape for the past century has influenced how our forests grow and the risks they face. They will discuss tactics forest owners can use to improve the fire resilience of their forests while mitigating the risk of pests and disease and improving long-term carbon storage. We will reserve 30 minutes for open discussion and Q and A.

These fireside chats will be held on Zoom and are free and open to all. Fill out the form below to register for the event and get the Zoom invite! Please note: The Zoom invite for this meeting will be sent via email to all registrants at least two days before the chat. If you do not receive the Zoom invite via email by then, please contact outreach@nnrg.org for assistance.

Learn hands-on strategies for stewarding a climate-resilient forest in the San Juans.

This free workshop is made possible with financial support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Western Extension Risk Management Education.

At this workshop at a Shaw Island family forest, local and regional foresters will introduce forest owners to a set of simple, hands-on strategies for increasing their forests’ resilience in the face of a warmer and drier climate.

Participants will develop a deeper understanding of the ecological and social risks facing San Juan County forests due to wildfire, drought, disease, and insect infestation. We will discuss how to evaluate the current health of a forest based on desired future conditions, when thinning might be appropriate, how to select trees for thinning, and utilizing woody biomass to create wildlife habitat structures and value-added products like biochar.


Instruction will be a combination of lecture, demonstration, and hands-on activities, including:

Expected Climate Impacts: Temperature and precipitation changes we can expect and likely impacts on San Juan County forests, including fire risk, pests & disease, and species vulnerabilities.

Stand Assessment 101: How to “read” and understand what is happening in your forest from an ecological perspective, and how to evaluate how climate-adapted your forest is. Topics include species competition, tree canopy classes, and timber quality.

Choosing climate-adapted species: Which native species are well-suited for the anticipated future climate of this region. Sourcing native tree species from other regions. Drought and heat-tolerant understory and mid-canopy species.

Forest Management Goals & Options: Strategies for reducing fire risk, improving timber growth and quality, emulating natural fire disturbance in your forest, and increasing resilience to climate change.

Tree Selection for Thinning: The rhyme and reason for thinning from below, thinning across diameters, tree spacing, and species selection.

Utilizing Cut Material: Strategies include lop & scatter, habitat piles, creating biochar, making constructed habitat logs, firewood, chipping, etc.

Funding Forest Stewardship: How to fund your forest health work through cost-share programs.

Participants are encouraged to bring a sack lunch and water for the day. Coffee and snacks will be provided in the morning. More information about workshop activities will be provided closer to the workshop. Masks are not required, and the workshop will take place entirely outdoors. We respect anyone’s preference to continue wearing a mask for whatever reason.

This event is being held in a privately-owned forest on Shaw.

Free Site Visits

Participants can sign up for a limited number of free two-hour site visits with Director of Forestry Kirk Hanson of Northwest Natural Resource Group, Carson Sprenger of Rain Shadow Consulting, or Kai Hoffman-Krull of San Juan Conservation District. During the site visit, the forester will help landowners refine plans for managing their forest and answer site-specific questions. To register for a free site visit, please email kirk@nnrg.org.


Kirk Hanson | Northwest Natural Resource Group

Kai Hoffman-Krull | Restore Char and San Juan Conservation District

Carson Sprenger | Rain Shadow Consulting

Workshop presented by

Northwest Natural Resource Group

Rain Shadow Consulting

San Juan Conservation District

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA.