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Forest products webinar series

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Products Services Team hosts a series of free webinars on hardwood lumber manufacturing. This series is for small sawmills and new businesses interested in learning more about the hardwood lumber industry.

An overview of recently published Forest Products Technical Guides will be the focus and other background information on each topic. Presentations will be 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes for questions and discussion. Click the links below to register for the Zoom webinars. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email and details on downloading Zoom for your computer or mobile device. If you have any questions, contact Logan Wells at logan.wells@wisconsin.gov or 715-490-3587.

Hardwood Grade Sawing:
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at 7 p.m. CT

The first webinar topic will cover the basics of grade sawing logs. We will discuss specific techniques for positioning a log, when to turn the log to another face and different sawing patterns.

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIlc-qorjMjGtLIMl_jYAyX_FOfuODSZZ51

Edging & Trimming Lumber:
Tuesday, Feb.16, 2021 @ 7 p.m. CT

You can lose significant lumber value and volume with improper edging and trimming. This presentation will dive into generally accepted best practices on how much wane to leave on your lumber. We will also highlight lumber measurement and industry terms and how they relate to manufacturing. 

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrdu2vpz0uGdzf22jJkYbE-dc4khK6csBM

Air Drying Lumber:
Thursday, Mar. 11, 2021 @ 7 p.m. CT

There are many benefits to drying lumber. This webinar is loaded with practical tips on how to set up an air-drying yard best. Reducing the moisture content through low-cost air drying is a great way to reduce kiln time and add value to your lumber. 

Register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsdO-hqD0qE90kyCpz87nx35VM4il1zGGi

Virtual platform for workforce development

By Logan Wells, Forest Products Specialist

A specific area that has posed a significant challenge for schools has been integrating virtual instruction for Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes. CTE curriculum requires hands-on learning for careers such as woodworking, basic construction, natural resource management and other agriculture fields. The challenge with an online format for CTE is that students miss out on practical, hands-on experience. This is a daunting task for CTE teachers to find lessons that help students understand and practice career skills without the in-person exercises at schools.

During a normal school year, members of the Forest Products Services team would typically answer guest speaking requests at high schools to help raise awareness of careers in the forest products industry. Given virtual learning and safety guidelines (and with the help of digital presentations and videos), our program was able to turn an in-person school presentation into a short set of online videos that explain the process of primary products, such as turning a log into lumber. Despite my own technology limitations, this still is a helpful resource for CTE teachers searching for virtual assignments and activities.  

Screen shot of YouTube videos

Logs to Lumber YouTube videos hosted by the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education at UW-Stevens Point.

These videos, hosted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, will remain valuable even when districts return to in-person learning. Certainly, a live guest speaker is preferred to a video, but it is our hope that these videos will reach a wider audience across the state. These videos can also help set the stage for students to take part in a mill visit or bring in guest speakers from the industry to focus on specific career skills like the basics of hardwood lumber grading.

Please feel free to check out the Logs to Lumber YouTube videos using the link here. Alternatively, you can search “Logs to Lumber UWSP” in Youtube.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback on these efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Logan Wells, DNR Forest Products Specialist, at 715-490-3587 or Logan.Wells@wisconsin.gov.

Federal grant opportunities

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wood Innovations Grant

The USDA Forest Service Wood Innovations Program is a funding opportunity supporting traditional wood utilization projects, expanding wood energy markets and promoting wood as a construction material. The grant supports proposals that significantly expand and accelerate wood energy and wood products markets throughout the United States to address forest management needs on National Forest Systems and other forest lands. The deadline to submit wood innovations grant proposals is Jan. 20, 2021.

USDA Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Grant

If you are looking for financial assistance for woody biomass energy projects, please explore 2021 Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation funding opportunity request for proposals. The competitive grant can provide funds for shovel-ready projects such as installing a thermally led community wood energy system or building an innovative wood product facility. The deadline to submit Community Wood Energy proposals is Feb. 3, 2021.

More information regarding these funding opportunities, including the requests for proposals, instructions and the pre-application webcast are on the US Forest Service Wood Innovations web page.

New Chief State Forester Named

Heather Berklund, Chief State Forester, Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole announced that the department’s new Chief State Forester will be Heather Berklund, effective October 12. Her office will continue to be in Rhinelander and her contact information will remain the same (phone: 608-598-9068; email: Heather.Berklund@Wisconsin.gov).

Heather brings years of on-the-ground Wisconsin forest management and fire control experience to her new position.  She began her forestry career with the Wisconsin DNR in 2000, serving as a field forester in Merrill, Crandon and Mercer for more than a decade before becoming the Ashland-Iron team leader and then the Woodruff area leader in 2016.  In her role as the Deputy Division Administrator of Field Operations for the past three years, Heather led the public and private lands programs, Good Neighbor Authority partnership coordination, forest certification, tax law, and fire protection programs.

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Spotlight on Wisconsin Forests during Forest Products Week

What do wood products research, urban wood products and school forests have in common? They are among the many engaging Wisconsin stories shared in new episodes of the national TV program America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell

While he may be best known as the keyboardist and musical director for The Rolling Stones, Chuck Leavell is also an educated and enthusiastic forestry advocate, conservationist and woodland owner and he explores Wisconsin forests in these new episodes. The two-part Wisconsin series will be featured in a virtual premeire event during Forest Products Week on Wednesday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m. 

This free, online gathering, hosted by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison, will bring together thought leaders to engage in a rousing conversation on the critical importance and value of well-managed public and private forest lands in Wisconsin. And you are invited to participate!

Registration for the virtual premiere and screening of the episodes is available online at go.wisc.edu/talesfilmseries2020. Links to attend the virtual premiere event and to view the episodes in advance will be emailed to all who register.

At the October 21 virtual premiere event, Leavell will be joined by Heather Berklund (Forestry Division Administrator with the Wisconsin DNR), Tony Ferguson (Director of the Forest Products Laboratory for the USDA Forest Service), Buddy Huffaker (Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation),  Henry Schienebeck (Executive Director of Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association) and Adena Rissman (Associate Professor at UW-Madison, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology). The panel will be moderated by James Edward Mills of the Nelson Institute at UW-Madison.  Don’t miss this chance to hear from the panelists about the importance of Wisconsin forests to the ecological, social, cultural and economic well-being of our state and local communities.

Leavell serves as the on-camera guide for the TV show, interviewing people who are passionate about the gifts we get from our woods and exploring creative solutions to complex problems impacting this important natural resource. Other topics Leavell explores in the Wisconsin episodes include ruffed grouse, the sustainable forestry practices on the Menominee Tribal forests, and the biodiversity of the Baraboo Hills.

Celebrate Wisconsin’s Working Forests

Forest Products Week (celebrated on October 18-24, 2020) recognizes the people who work in and care for our forests, the businesses that create forest products and the many ways forest products contribute to our lives. In addition to celebrating the positive impact of Wisconsin’s forest products sector on the state’s economy, Forest Products Week recognizes the myriad forest products ingrained in our daily lives.

Facts to celebrate:

  • Forest products contribute $24.4 billion annually to the state’s economy.
  • Forests directly provide more than 60,000 jobs for Wisconsin residents with a payroll of $4.2 billion.
  • Forestry is the number one employer in 7 counties.
  • Every forestry job supports 1.7 additional jobs in the state.
  • More than 1,200 forest products companies in Wisconsin make products we use every day – from paper products such as food packaging, fine writing paper and tissue paper, to lumber used for homes and furniture.
  • Emerging forest products such as mass timber, nanocellulose and biochemicals are beginning to unlock innovative uses for wood that may help the state’s industry further diversify in the future.

The Wisconsin DNR-Division of Forestry is proud to help Wisconsin’s forest industry build and maintain strong markets while ensuring that forests remain a vital part of the state’s economy and culture for future generations. To learn more, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for “forest businesses.”

Forest products session for educators

Forest Products Specialist Logan Wells  will visit with Wisconsin educators at noon on October 8, 2020 on the theme of “Celebrating Wisconsin’s Forest Products.”  The webinar, offered by LEAF (Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program), is open to anyone but advance registration is required (registration link).

In his presentation, Logan will explore products made from forests in Wisconsin and the importance of markets to sustainable forestry. He will also discuss global marketplace impacts and other changes impacting the industry, how Wisconsin producers are adapting to change, and share information about innovative products on the horizon.

Forest Products Week is the third week of October, so start planning now to showcase how vital forest products are to Wisconsin.

Forest Products Services Program Hosts Webinars

In June 2020, the Wisconsin DNR Forest Products Services program hosted two webinars related to forest products utilization and the sustainability of Wisconsin wood products. Overall, these webinars were targeted to educate attendees on Wisconsin’s forest products industry and the benefits of using wood and were aimed at promoting new and emerging technologies and products. 

The first webinar – “Wood: Sustainably Grown, Locally Available” – was hosted on June 16. The primary objective of this webinar was to promote the diverse application of Wisconsin’s oldest grown, locally available, and environmentally friendly material – wood. Architects, designers, consumers, and other interested individuals participated in the webinar.

The second webinar was held on June 24 and was titled, “Biochar Production Technologies.” During the webinar, speakers provided information on biochar production systems and technological solutions that can help manage wood residue issues in storm-damaged areas, municipal wood yards, and at wood-manufacturing facilities, while also generating value-added biochar. The webinar expanded on previous outreach, which highlighted the basics of biochar and its potential applications in Wisconsin.

To view recordings of these webinars, visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestManagement/videos.asp and select “Forest products utilization and marketing” from the drop-down menu.

Opportunities for US softwood lumber in Pakistan

In early September, the Wisconsin Wood Marketing Team and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Products Services program partnered with the Softwood Export Council and Northeastern Lumber Manufacturer’s Association to host a virtual trade seminar with US softwood manufacturers, US building material brokers, and Pakistani wood buyers. The seminar had 28 people in attendance, with the majority being lumber purchasers from Pakistan. Participants from Pakistan gained valuable information about the benefits of using US softwood products and current market trends for wood products in Pakistan.

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