Tree Farmers of the Year provide ‘haven’ for critters

By Larry Mauter
For The Lebanon Local

Lee Peterman and Shirley Jolliff have been busy shepherding 80 cut-over acres they purchased in 2013. They have come to love a place they call Bogwood — located near the Roaring River County Park.
In 2020, they are the Linn County Tree Farmers of the Year. They will be honored at next summer’s Oregon Small Woodlands Association annual meeting.
“We view ourselves as stewards of the land and the creatures that dwell on it,” said Peterman, “meaning that we are restoring the native plants and providing shelter and haven for the pollinators, birds, reptiles, mammals and every animal that lives here, big and small.”
Joe Holmberg, who coordinates TFOY activities for the Linn chapter, said Bogwood illustrates the varied scenarios facing small woodlands owners.
“They are focused on re-establishing their wet prairie habitat,” he said of Bogwood.  “That is what I like about tree farmers.  Each story is unique.  Last year it was the Otis family with their tree farm property in their family since 1854.  The year before, it was the Welds with their tree farm atop a former dump,” Holmberg said.
Peterman is currently wrapping up a two-year term as the chapter president. The couple was chosen in 2017 as chapter volunteers of the year.
They are also active in other organizations including the Scio library, South Santiam Watershed Council and the Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine Association.
Peterman is president of the watershed council.
At Bogwood, power is all electric, with 7 kw of solar panels powering home, electric vehicle, tools and even a sawmill on site.
Peterman has done the majority of eradicating invasive species, (English hawthorn/Scotch broom/Blackberry) and thinning of the Douglas fir and valley ponderosa pine to release Oregon white oak and other native hardwoods.
“Shirley has helped some with that,” said Peterman, “and collected hundreds of seeds from dozens of native species and raised the native pollinators and forbs that are going to be planted and seeding within the wetland prairie.”
She has been in the past five years diligently working collecting native seed from various sources.
Started in small pots she has separated and replanted species into larger pots over the summers. A rough estimate is more than 1,000 plants are now ready to go into wet prairie/native habitat.
Her favorite season at Bogwood, she said, is spring “to see what is popping up.”
Peterman joined OSWA in 2014 after attending a “Howdy Neighbor” tour of the Avery property.
“I saw the benefit of the collective knowledge and experience through the other members,” he said. “I was inspired following the hike through old-growth hemlock and Douglas fir to emulate a managed forest for wildlife habitat.”
A helping hand for Bogwood has been extended from federal NRCS programs, something that is available to other tree farmers seeking to enhance their land.
“The programs have given us a plan and timeline, as well as financial assistance and practical knowledge in identifying and eradicating invasive species and how to enhance the wet prairie and forest habitats,” said Peterman.
“That guidance, combined with OSU Extension and ODF Foresters, has enabled us to work efficiently and get us to where we are now — from a literal deficit on forestry knowledge in our previous lives-before-Bogwood,” he said.