Announcements, Events and Other News

(If you are reading a paper copy of this newsletter, links for these events can be found at the WSU Extension Forestry website:  http://forestry.wsu.edu )

 

Forest and Range Owners Field Days

These out-in-the-woods, family-friendly events allow you to attend five or six different outdoor classes and workshops on topics like tree planting, weed control, thinning, tree diseases, mushroom-growing, and much more…

 

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning

If you own wooded property, our flagship course will teach you how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems, and attract wildlife. State experts will help you develop your own Forest Stewardship Plan to keep your woods on track to provide enjoyment and income for years to come.

 

Invasive Forest Weed Control Field Practicums

  • Arlington (Snohomish County) September 30, 2017

Save these dates for an upcoming practicum near you:

 

Red Alder Management Workshop

  • Arlington (Snohomish County) October 6-7, 2017

  

Farm & Food Expo, November 3 & 4 at Spokane Community College

This event offers more than 75 classes to choose from in a wide array of topics for every farmer, gardener or foodie. It also has an entire track of forestry classes on forest health, wildlife, fire ecology and more. More information, opportunities for vendors, and tickets sales are online at www.FarmAndFoodExpo.org.

 

Succession Planning TIES TO THE LAND workshops

  • Ilwaco (Pacific County) October 21, 2017

Note:  Dates and locations for Ties to the Land workshops are determined by community interest. Contact Andy Perleberg at WSU Extension, 509-667-6540, or email andyp@wsu.edu for more information and to campaign for us to hold a workshop near you.

Few challenges that family forestland owners, farmers, ranchers, and other land-based family businesses face are more important than the issue of passing the business and its land base on to the following generation. Many small landowners want to preserve their family lands but don’t know how to involve family members in ownership and operation of their small land-based businesses.

This facilitated workshop focuses on ways to maintain family ties to the land from generation to generation, and is a mix of presentations and practical exercises to help families address tough issues. Each family will receive a copy of the Ties to the Land workbook which is designed to help families continue to improve and direct their communications at home. Topics covered will also be relevant to professionals working with landowner families. More information is available on the Ties to the Land website.

Can’t find the event you were looking for? Visit http://forestry.wsu.edu or contact: andyp@wsu.edu

Announcements, Events and Other News

(If you are reading a paper copy of this newsletter, links for these events can be found at the WSU Extension Forestry Website:  forestry.wsu.edu )

Free Workshops on Forest Health and Fire Risk Reduction 

Forest and Range Owners Field Days

These out-in-the-woods, family-friendly events allow you to attend five or six different outdoor classes and workshops on topics like tree planting, weed control, thinning, tree diseases, mushroom-growing and much more…

 

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning

If you own wooded property, our flagship course will teach you how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems, and attract wildlife.  State experts will help you develop your own Forest Stewardship Plan to keep your woods on track to provide enjoyment and income for years to come.

  • Preston (King County) starting September 12, 2017
  • Sedro Woolley (Skagit County) starting September 28, 2017
  • Southwest Washington, locations and dates to be announced, Fall 2017. Contact andyp@wsu.edu
  • Stevens County, location and date to be announced, Fall 2017. Contact andyp@wsu.edu

 

TIES TO THE LAND: A Facilitated Workshop on Succession Planning

Keeping Family Forests, Farms, and Ranches in the Family

Note:  Dates and locations for these workshops will be determined by community interest.  Contact Andy Perleberg at WSU Extension, 509-667-6540, or email andyp@wsu.edu for more information (and to campaign for us to schedule a class near you).

Few challenges that family forestland owners, farmers, ranchers, and other land-based family businesses face are more important than the issue of passing the business and its land base on to the following generation. Many small landowners want to preserve their family lands but don’t know how to involve family members in ownership and operation of their small land-based businesses.

This facilitated workshop focuses on ways to maintain family ties to the land from generation to generation, and is a mix of presentations and practical exercises to help families address tough issues. Each family will receive a copy of the Ties to the Land workbook which is designed to help families continue to improve and direct their communications at home. Topics covered will also be relevant to professionals working with landowner families. More information is available on the Ties to the Land website.

Announcements, Events and Other News

(If you are reading a paper copy of this newsletter, links for these events can be found at the WSU Extension Forestry Website: http://forestry.wsu.edu )

 

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning

If you own wooded property, our flagship course will teach you how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems, and attract wildlife. State experts will help you develop your own Forest Stewardship Plan to keep your woods on track to provide enjoyment and income for years to come.

Coming in Fall 2017

 

Firewise Workshop

Learn the basics of how to create defensible space around your home at these evening workshops in Ferry County.

 

​After the Storm: Forest Health Issues for Natural Resource Professionals

  • Vancouver (Clark County), May 12, 2017. Contact Todd Murray at tmurray@wsu.edu for more information

Registration information will be posted at: http://forestry.wsu.edu

 

Forest and Range Owners Field Days are back in 2017

These all-day, out-in-the-woods, family-friendly events allow you to attend five or six different outdoor classes and workshops on topics like tree planting, weed control, thinning, tree diseases, mushroom-growing, and much more. Watch for registration information at http://forestry.wsu.edu

  • Eastside Field Day at Dayton, Wash., on June 24, 2017
  • Idaho-Washington Field Day at Athol, Idaho, on July 15, 2017
  • Westside Field day at Oakville, Wash.,  on August 19, 2017

 

Ties to the Land: A Facilitated Workshop on Succession Planning for Keeping Family Forests, Farms, and Ranches in the Family

Note: Dates and locations for these workshops will be determined by community interest. Contact Andy Perleberg at WSU Extension, 509-667-6540, or email andyp@wsu.edu for more information and to request a class in your area.

Many small landowners want to preserve their family lands but don’t know how to involve family members in ownership and operation of their small land-based businesses. This facilitated workshop focuses on ways to maintain family ties to the land from generation to generation, and is a mix of presentations and practical exercises to help families address tough issues. Each family attending will receive a copy of the Ties to the Land, a workbook designed to help families continue to improve and direct their communications at home. Topics covered also will be relevant to professionals who work with landowner families. More information is available on the Ties to the Land website.

Announcements, Events and Other News

(If you are reading a paper copy of this newsletter, links for these events can be found at the WSU Extension Forestry Website:  http://forestry.wsu.edu )

 

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning

If you own wooded property, our flagship course will teach you how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems and attract wildlife.  State experts will help you develop your own Forest Stewardship Plan to keep your woods on track to provide enjoyment and income for years to come.

  • Newport (Pend Oreille County) Tuesdays, Jan. 10 – Feb. 28, 2017 (also available via computer streaming for snowbirds, absentee landowners and other NE WA forest owners not able to drive to Newport.)  Click here for more information

 

Twenty-fifth Annual Family Foresters Workshop, January 20, Spokane

This annual workshop strengthens the skills of natural resource professionals who work with family forest owners, and serves as a forum to provide updates on emerging technology and knowledge applicable to family forestry. Click here for more information.

Staunching a Wound, Starting a Fire

Tinder conk
Tinder conk (Fomes fomentarius) is found mainly on birch trees in the northern boreal forest. Photo: Alaska Dept of Natural Resources.

Anyone who wanders in the woods has seen bracket fungi, those odd banded shelves that grow in arcs from standing snags and deadfall trunks. Most of them belong to the family of Polypores, whose members are composed of thousands of tiny tubes growing tight together on a vertical plane. The fungi hang on to dead or dying wood through a network of parasitic, thread-like roots called rhizomes that slowly work to decompose their host. Like any mushroom, the brackets emerge as soft, spongy masses. Many are edible, and they shed millions of microscopic spores during their fruiting time. But usually by the time people notice polypores they are tough and woody, often harder than the log they are attached to.

In the forests of Pend Oreille County, by far the best host for bracket fungi are birch trees. Birches grow around the edges of many wetlands, from low to medium elevations, but also sprout in patches on hillsides with an extra hint of moisture. They are a short-lived tree, prone to the diseases that make them easy fodder for the life-sucking rhizomes of the fungus. The curly, peelable birch bark outlasts the sapwood, so that after a tree crashes down bracket fungi often multiply up and down its length.

The species of bracket fungus most commonly seen on our local birches is Fomes fomentarius, better known as horse’s hoof fungus or tinder conk. The brackets emerge as a white foamy mass that hardens and expands from a slender top down to a broad, flat growing margin. From both side and bottom views, they really do mirror the form of a horse’s hoof. Like most brackets, these fungi are perennial, continuing to grow as long as the tree can feed them. Each year they add a new dark-colored line to the bottom of the hoof shape. As long as it is alive, the growing margin of each hoof remains velvety soft, and distinctly cool to the touch.

These birch polypores have a circumpolar distribution–they can be found in any northern forest around the globe, across Asia, Europe, and North America. That range connects them through time and place in a way that reflects the movements of a host of different cultures. The common name conk, applied to many species of bracket fungi, compares their shapes and colors to those of the elegantly curved conch seashells. Originally derived from a Greek word associated with ocean shells, many Inland Northwest school kids today still apply the term conk to all hard fungi growing in the woods.

The same tinder conks that we see attached to birch trees have been used to start fires all around the world for untold generations. The Latin genus name, Fomes, means tinder, as in flammable kindling. Long ago people discovered that if you pound on this polypore the tubes separate into fibers that can catch a spark and keep it going. The early fur men who came to our part of the world carried tinder conk in their tobacco pouches, but that did not surprise the local tribes they met–a Salish word for the fungus has been translated as ‘burning coal’ because of the way an ember from a fire, when placed in the center of the growing margin of a freshly plucked tinder conk, will smolder for hours. In a world before flint and steel, this would have been the most effective way to transport your fire from camp to camp.

In the 1970s Martin Louie, an elder of the Colville-Okanagan tribes, described how the tribes used the heat retention properties of tinder conk as a treatment for arthritis. The fungus was picked, pounded until mushy, then applied as a poultice to the affected area. When hot towels were wrapped around the spot, the pounded fibers would absorb their heat and apply it to the affliction. Louie also confirmed earlier ethnographic reports that the tribes would place a small piece of ignited ‘burning coal’ directly on a moistened, aching joint. As the fungus fragment smoldered down to the skin it would ‘pop,’ and the ache was often soothed. Both these methods call to mind the variety of heating pads and liniments so often used today for similar complaints.

The Latin species name for tinder conk, fomentarius, means ‘dressing for wounds,’ a fact reflected in many standard textbooks of European medicine. Their myriad tubes, pounded and separated, have the absorbent qualities of a handy sponge, and the tannic acids present in the woody fibers provide an antiseptic action. More than two thousand years ago, the Greek physician Hippocrates described the use of birch polypores as a means to stop bleeding and cauterize infections. In France, dentists still keep a supply of what they call ‘amadou’ on hand for packing in the socket of a freshly pulled tooth. Amadou is nothing more the horse’s hoof fungus we know pounded into fibers, dipped into a solution of saltpeter, and allowed to dry.

But what is two thousand years? The Ice Man who washed out of a glacier in the Italian Alps a few years ago died five thousand years before the present. Beside his famous brass ax, bow and arrow, and remarkable clothing, he carried with him a small leather pouch. Inside the pouch were the ground-up fibers of tinder conk, at the ready for anything from an everyday fire to emergency medical treatment. The little horse hooves, so common a part of our local scene, have been a part of traveler’s kits across the ages.

by Jack Nisbet

Jack Nisbet is a naturalist and writer who lives in Spokane, Washington. This article first appeared in the 2004 Fall issue of Diggings NewsletterNisbet’s most recent book, Ancient Places, is now available in paperback. For more information visit www.jacknisbet.com