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This week, on Saturday, April 22, we celebrate Earth Day! A day created to raise awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations.

It is fitting that this is also the week the Montana Logging Association is hosting its annual Forest Stewardship Workshop for timber harvesters.

This workshop educates timber harvesters on the importance of their role as stewards of the forest and responsible forest management practices to ensure generations of healthy forests for future Montanans.

The Montana State University Extension - Forestry team produces the workshop, taught by natural resource professionals. It is held over three days and includes both classroom exercises and fieldwork.

During the workshop, attendees learn about sustainable timber harvesting practices and study the relationship between living things and their habitat in Montana’s forests. Topics covered include:

· Distinguishing the different types of forests in Montana.

· Plant identification.

· Wildlife and wildlife habitat preservation.

· Silviculture, or the growing and cultivation of trees.

· Wildfire management and prevention.

· Forest inventory and analysis reports – Information collected by the U.S. Forest Service outlining critical state and trend information.

· How to assess a forest.

· Creating a forest stewardship plan.

· How to use professional forestry tools.

· Interacting with other professional loggers, foresters, and landowners.

· And more.

Since the inaugural Forest Management Workshop held in 1994, 559 individuals have completed the course. The workshop is offered as part of an Accredited Logging Professional Program, which requires additional classes on safety, best management practices, and operational sustainability, as well as a CPR certification class. Once accreditation is achieved, logging professionals must complete an additional 32 hours of training each year.

1st 1994 Workshop

1998 Workshop @ Yellow Bay

2021 Class @ MT Logging Association

The program is a big commitment, but it is one that many MLA members undertake because they are passionate about what they do, care about the safety of their fellow loggers, and are committed to protecting Montana’s forests and communities for the future.

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