Northwest Innovative Forestry Summit updates

NIFS logoWritten by Colleen Robinson

The Northwest Innovative Forestry Summit (NIFS) is a venue for regional learning, exchange and ongoing cooperation to advance and celebrate innovation in all aspects of forestry and forest-related work in the Pacific Northwest region. Here we recognize the underappreciated history of experimentation and innovation in the region’s forest sector and aim to chart a course for improving sustainable forest management through partnerships and problem solving. 

2022 marks the Summit’s second year. Last spring, we kicked off this event and a Mighty Networks online community with a pandemic-inspired virtual Summit. This year, our spring NIFS Virtual Series just wrapped up in April, building momentum for a late September in-person Summit at the University of Washington’s Pack Forest. 

The 2022 NIFS Virtual Series events included a mix of panel discussions, lectures by presenters, and breakout room discussions. Descriptions and recordings of the events can be found on the NIFS website. 

April’s weekly sessions covered: 

1)  Living with Change: Discussing Future Challenges and Opportunities 

2)  The Co-evolving Story and Stewardship of Northwest Forests 

3)  Diversifying Forest Revenue and Values: What’s the Same and What’s Changing? 

4)  Working Together: New Partnerships in Forest Ownership and Conservation 

Pacific West field tour We’ve heard from a handful of participants in the 2022 Virtual Series evaluations so far. They told us that they attended with hopes of learning something new and getting new ideas while meeting like-minded peers. They also wanted to engage in thoughtful discussion. Overall, the series met their expectations! 

Some things learned during the Virtual Series include information about community forest mapping, the needs of private nonindustrial forest owners, and the high value newcomers to the region place on forests. These participants appreciated the diversity of perspectives during the series.  

We asked Virtual Series participants what topics they’d most like to see part of the Pack Forest event later this year. Topping the list are Forestry Culture and Communities and Tribal Forestry Practices, along with non-traditional forest products and uses. We hear loud and clear that people also want opportunities to network and socialize, which we look forward to providing during our upcoming in-person sessions.

We also heard a desire to cover specific alternative forestry practices that are environmentally based. There was additional interest in sessions dedicated to professional development and sector development for loggers, planters, and other field workers.

Thank you to those who provided feedback and ideas. We are very busy planning for late September and appreciate your engagement.  

NIFS is all about responsible forestry and community. Neither can be accomplished in isolation. So, mark your calendars for NIFS in-person at Pack Forest! Registration will open early this summer. Event details so far are available on the NIFS website.