Camping for a Cleaner Forest

Written by Brain Mize, Field Forester
Photographed by Milo Zorzino

Foresters tend to be an introverted lot, spending our days care taking the land in solitude.  So when our volunteer coordinator, Lauren Miheli, suggested an overnight camping excursion in the Central Cascades with a group of volunteers, I was a little apprehensive to say the least.  I provided the idea for a project of cleaning up a couple areas where people had illegally built cabins and left garbage scattered about.  I warned Lauren that this area was isolated, and was at least a 4 to 5 hour drive from Seattle.  This is when Lauren came up with the idea of camping onsite to allow more time for working.

As we convened on Saturday morning, my uneasiness was quickly settled when I realized we had a small, but incredibly dedicated group of volunteers.  We traveled to the project site and quickly set to work cleaning up a jackstrawed mess of rough cut logs, chicken wire, plastic, and scattered trash.  The afternoon temperatures reached into the upper 80’s, and there was no shade at the work site; however, our group of 5 volunteers cleaned up the area and hauled everything 500’ up to the road in about two hours.  We spent the rest of the evening setting up camp and enjoying the scenery.

By the time we split off on Sunday, our small group had exceeded all expectations of how much work we would accomplish.  But more than that, the dedication of our volunteers helped me get over my anxiety, and left me wanting more.  Although we have not planned our next volunteer event in the Central Cascades, I look forward to spending more time with people in a place that I love.

See our upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Checking in with the East Cascades Steering Committee




Written by James Schroeder, Director of Forest Conservation and Partnerships;
Photographed by Tomas Corsini, Northwest Photographer

Did you know The Nature Conservancy has a Steering Committee of dedicated volunteers focused on the success of our work in the East Cascades Forests? For more than five years now, this group of volunteers has met to learn, discuss, and strategize on how to protect, connect and restore the forests in their backyard. With members from Leavenworth, Cle Elum, Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Yakima, Selah, Seattle, Sammamish, and the Tri-Cities, this group has a broad reach and diverse ideas and experience. One thing that binds them is their love for The Nature Conservancy and their belief in our mission.

From meeting with County Commissioners to lobbying members of Congress, from introducing TNC to their local news media to speaking about our work at their local rotaries, this group has decided to put their energy toward making a difference for TNC in the East Cascades.

At our August meeting, hosted by Larry and Becky Scholl at their beautiful home in Ronald, we discussed the Conservancy¹s management plan for our 48,000 acres forest acquisition. We spoke about the status of wildfires across the state, and what TNC is doing to promote “Fire Adapted Communities,” and we updated them on what they can do to speak up on state and federal policies that could affect our work and their lives. And along with the conversation, we enjoyed wine, dinner and delicious berry pie for dessert!

If you are interested in learning more about the East Cascades Steering Committee, or might be interested in attending a dinner meeting, please let us know!