Bios from the Program

 

CLINT BENTZ

Tree Farmer, Scio, Oregon

When the Bentz family bought their land in 1964 it had just 350 thousand board feet of standing timber and little else. Blue Den Ranch now has 7.1 million board feet standing, plus 425 acres of young plantations grown with careful planning by the growing Bentz family.

Clint Bentz thinks a lot about inter-generational responsibility. It is the nature of the timber business, Clint says, that we benefit from our ancestors' forethought. "I don't personally benefit from any capital improvements I'm making now. I won't live long enough. On the flip side, I am benefiting now because of the trees planted by those who have come before."

 

JOHN BLISS

Professor of Forestry, Oregon State University

John is a Professor, Starker Chair in Private and Family Forestry, and Associate Department Head in Oregon State's Department of Forest Resources. He has authored a wide range of articles on forest management and has done research in private forest policy, forest-based rural development, natural resources sociology. Current research projects include conservation of biodiversity in the oak woodland ecotype on family forestlands in Oregon's Willamette Valley, protection of threatened and endangered species on family forestlands in Oregon, linkages between healthy forests and healthy communities, and the role of traditional ecological knowledge in tribal - Federal collaborative land management.

 

JIM BOWYER

Professor of Forestry and Forest Products, University of Minnesota

Dr. Jim Bowyer is a professor (part time) within the University of Minnesota's Department of Bio-based Products. He is an Elected Fellow of the International Academy of Wood Science, Chairman of the Tropical Forest Foundation, Chairman of the Minnesota Bio-fiber Council, a Scientific Advisor to the Temperate Forest Foundation, and an Associate in Dovetail Partners, Inc. - a business oriented environmental consulting firm.

Bowyer has served as President of the Forest Products Society (1993-94) and of the Society of Wood Science and Technology (1987-88), and as Vice President of the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (1992-2003). He was Head of the University of Minnesota's Department of Wood & Paper Science from 1984 to 1994, and Founder and Director of the Forest Products Management Development Institute at the University of Minnesota (an organization dedicated to education and development of industry professionals) from 1994-2003. Bowyer served as Project Leader of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station project "Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Bio-Based Materials and Products" from 1988 to 2003, and led a research team focused on global raw material consumption and supply trends over a 30-year period.

Dr. Bowyer has published over 220 articles dealing with wood science and technology, environmental life cycle analysis, and relationships of wood and other raw materials use, forest policy, and environmental impacts. He is also coauthor of the leading introductory wood science textbook in North America, Forest Products and Wood Science - an Introduction, now in its 4th edition.

 

NILS CHRISTOFFERSEN

Deputy Director, Wallowa Resources

Wallowa Resources is a community-based non-profit in Wallowa County, Oregon that provides leadership in promoting forest, watershed, and community health in the county. The field program balances field based restoration work with support to value-added manufacturing and marketing.

Nils is a member of the Enterprise School Board, the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry and the Global Concepts Group of The World Conservation Union's Sustainable Use Initiative. From 2003-2005, he served as Chairman of the Governor of Oregon's Eastside Forest Advisory Panel.

Nils' previous work experience includes over six years in Eastern and Southern Africa on forestry, wildlife and community development issues, as well as forest management work in Norway and range management work in Australia. He has a B.A. in Economics from Williams College, and a M.Sc. in Forestry from Oxford University, UK.

 

DAN DUNCAN

Farmer, Wallowa County

Dan was born and raised in Wallowa County on the same farm and ranch that he now manages. The ranch was started by his grandfather during the depression. He was the youngest of four children, but the only boy, and the only one to ever take interest in taking over the farm.

He earned a degree in mechanical engineering and began working in Kansas City, but came home "temporarily" to help with harvest when his father died - he never went back to Kansas City.

At first he farmed and ranched out of obligation and longed for something more. At one time he learned how to fly helicopters and started a spraying business in Wallowa County. It came down to making a choice between spraying or farming but not both. He chose to stay with the farm.

Over time the focus has changed from farming wheat to running cows. Now there is a gradual change from cows to forest management. There is only so much time in a year, and Dad is finally pursuing his greatest interest, which has perhaps always been forest management. The more he learns the more he strives to manage.

 

BRUCE DUNN

Forester for R-Y Timber, Wallowa County

Bruce was a co-author of the Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Recovery Plan (1993)

 

LEO GOEBEL and BOB JACKSON

Tree Farmers, Wallowa County

Leo Goebel grew up in a Wallowa County logging family and started logging with his father with a crosscut saw and a team of horses. He went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Geology from the University of Oregon. Around the time the partners purchased the Tree Farm, Leo began doing logging contracts during the summer school vacations. During the school year he taught math and science at Joseph High School and also logged on weekends and vacations (and sometimes before and after school).

Bob Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Iowa State University and went on to work as a forester. Over several decades, he worked as a forester for various sawmills and as a consulting forester in Wallowa County.

Since they bought the land in 1970, Bob Jackson and Leo Goebel have been managing 160 acres of Douglas fir, white fir, Ponderosa pine, and larch (tamarack) on the north slope of the Wallowas. The management style they have developed here unites high biodiversity with outstanding production of merchantable logs. "Our forest-management philosophy is based on the premise that a healthy forest is a complete forest."

 

HOWARD JOHNSON

Tree Farmer, Wallowa County

A "retired" cattle rancher, Howard is quietly challenging some widely held beliefs about the management of forest lands. In eastern Oregon, many have grown up believing that a commercial timber harvest is a once-in-a-lifetime thing on a piece of land, or at most once in a generation. And many believe that forest health is a cost, and that it can only be achieved at the expense of something else.

Though his 3,900-acre Smith Mountain property northwest of Wallowa is not a premium site for growing timber, Johnson's committed management has achieved results that have surprised Johnson himself.

In 1986, Johnson was chosen Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year. The whole question of timber management, observes Johnson, "boils down to your philosophy. There's a philosophy out there that says you own this land, you can do anything you want. I don't believe that. If you're not improving that land, you're not living up to the potential of the property."

 

JOHN KITZHABER

Governor of Oregon, 1995-2003

John Kitzhaber was born in 1947 in Colfax, Washington. He grew up in Oregon and graduated from South Eugene High School in 1965. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1969, he attended the University of Oregon Medical School, earning a medical degree in 1973.

Kitzhaber first ran for public office in 1978 and was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives. In 1980 he was elected to the first of three terms in the Oregon Senate representing Douglas County and parts of Jackson County. He was elected Senate President in 1985 and served in that position until 1993. As Senate President, Kitzhaber was recognized nationally for authoring the Oregon Health Plan, which was designed to extend health care coverage to more Oregonians.

As Governor, Kitzhaber undertook the expansion of the Oregon Health Plan, which eventually reduced the rate of uninsured Oregon children from 21% to 8%. Kitzhaber also broke new ground with the Oregon Option, a cooperative approach with the federal government that attempted to increase accountability and reduce bureaucracy related to the delivery of a number of government services.

Kitzhaber developed several policy initiatives related to natural resources during his two terms as governor. His Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds attempted to restore dwindling runs of endangered native salmon species to Oregon's rivers and streams. The Oregon Plan was a collaborative effort that encouraged federal, state and local government agencies to work with private landowners to restore watershed health and recover endangered salmon runs. In a related effort, he also took a high profile and controversial stand in favor of breaching several Northwest dams to help restore salmon populations.

A staunch supporter of Oregon's comprehensive land use system, he fought against attempts to weaken its protection of farmland and enforcement of urban growth boundaries. Kitzhaber also created the Governor's Growth Task Force and the Willamette Valley Livability Forum to help gather accurate information and outline integrated approaches for developing sustainable communities.

 

STEVE MEALEY

Manager of Wildlife, Watersheds and Aquatic Ecology, Boise Cascade Corporation

After a tour as a US Air Force Intelligence Officer, Steve Mealey worked as a big game hunting and river guide and grizzly bear researcher. He joined the US Forest Service in 1977 and held several positions, including wildlife biologist, forest supervisor on Shoshone and Boise National Forests, co-leader of Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, Assistant Director of Wildlife and Fish, and Assistant Chief for Strategic planning. In 2001, Steve became Manager of Wildlife, Watersheds, and Aquatic Ecology for Boise Cascade Corporation.

 

DOUG MCDANIEL

Board Member, Wallowa Resources

Doug has been a resident of Wallowa County 48 years and Union County, OR for 22 years. He has worked on the land his entire life . He owned and operated a logging and road building company for 22 years. Owned and operated a cattle ranch for 16 years and worked for Boise Cascade 9 months. Doug has a BS from OSU in Production Technology. He is currently on the board of Wallowa Resources based out of Enterprise, OR. He also serves on the Advisory Council of Holistic Management International, based in Albuquerque, NM.

 

DIANE SNYDER

Director, Wallowa Resources

Diane Snyder is a fourth generation resident of Wallowa County, living on the ranch that was her grandfather's where she and her husband and their five children operate a small cow-calf operation. Diane has extensive experience in land use planning, community development, public mediation and state and local government. She has worked for the Oregon State House of Representatives, serving as Committee Administrator for the State and Federal Affairs Committee and worked as the director of the Wallowa County Land Use Planning and Building Department. Diane currently serves as Executive Director of Wallowa Resources, a community based non-profit organization that is working to blend the needs of the land and community in natural resource management.

Ms. Snyder serves on numerous local, regional, state and national boards and commissions, including the Oregon State Board of Forestry, the Communities Committee of the Seventh American Forest Congress, the Oregon State Progress Board, Wallowa County Natural Resources Advisory Committee, Wallowa County Economic Development Council and Wallowa County Business Facilitation Board of Directors. She is a member of the Wallowa County Rotary Club, Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce, Liberty Grange and The Society of American Foresters.

 

LESLIE WELDON

Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest

Leslie was born in 1961 in Pullman, WA, but raised primarily in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Her younger years saw her family move several times within the U.S. and overseas as her father was a career Air Force officer. Leslie, her husband Mike and their twin thirteen-year-old sons live in Bend.

Leslie is currently the Forest Supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest. She has served in that capacity since July, 2000. Her choice of natural resources as a career was influenced by two high school summers with the Youth Conservation Corps working on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. Leslie's 20-year career with the Forest Service began in 1981 as a summer hire monitoring seedlings, fighting forest fires, and surveying Spotted Owls on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington. During this time she began training in fisheries through the coop-education program.

Prior to her assignment with the Chief of the Forest Service, Leslie served with the Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry as Forest Service Liaison to the US Army Environmental Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. In this role, she pioneered an interagency partnership for technical assistance in natural resource management on US Army and other military installations both here and overseas.

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