Registration is Open! 2023 Living with Fire: Sonoma County Forest Conservation Conference

Gold Ridge RCD
4 min readMay 16, 2023

The Sonoma County Forest Conservation Working Group, in partnership with the County of Sonoma and the Santa Rosa Junior College, is excited to invite you, our community’s forestland owners, managers and stakeholders, to a two-day conference centered on managing forestland in these new and challenging times.

While “conference” seems to get at the spirit of the event as a place to convene and learn together, this event could also be called a “workshop” or a “training.” That’s because our goal is to provide those who live and work in Sonoma County’s forests with the practical knowledge needed to manage forests.

This event comes at an important time. Our forests are facing serious challenges: uncertainties of climate change, conversion, declining activity, diminishing infrastructure, disease, fragmentation, increasing regulation, invasive species, and most recently, increasing risk of wildfire. At the same time, our forests offer many valuable resources worth protecting: carbon sequestration, clean air, clean water, recreational use, timber production, and wildlife habitat, among many others.

While managing your forestland can seem daunting, the first steps are simple. This event is designed to help you feel confident about what you can do and feel supported where you need help.

Day 1: Workshops at Shone Farm in Forestville

Friday, June 23rd, 8am-5:30pm

Workshop Descriptions

Attendees will participate in each of the following workshops.

  • Intro to Forest and Fire Ecology: Learn about the basics of forest management in Sonoma County, from fire history in oak woodlands, to fuel reduction in overstocked conifer forests. By understanding the historical and current conditions of your forest, you can better manage for the future.
  • Forestry Project Planning, Permitting and Funding: Lightning round of speakers will present the basics of setting your goals, working with a forester to plan and permit your forest management activities, and applying for financial assistance.
  • Forestry Tools Demonstration: Trained professionals will demonstrate the use of various tools and equipment commonly used in forestry. You’ll see hand tools such as loppers, pruners, pole saws, chainsaws, weed pullers, pulaskis and McLeods, as well as larger equipment such as wood chippers and biochar kilns. Techniques for building burn piles may also be demonstrated.
  • Tactical Solutions to Common Forestry Issues: How do land managers identify problems on the land? How do they determine the best solution? How do they evaluate success? This workshop will teach you to watch and learn from the land, take small but strong steps to steward the land, and be proactive about addressing common issues such as invasive plants.

Resource Fair: Partner organizations will be tabling in a “resource fair.” Take time for one-on-one conversations with dozens of organizations ready to help answer your questions and share useful resources.

Day 2: Field Tours Across Sonoma County

Saturday, June 24th, 8am-5pm

Field Tour Descriptions

Attendees will choose one field tour to attend.

  • Coast Ridge Forest Council: This tour will take attendees to the north coast Fort Ross/Cazadero area to three private properties working collaboratively within the larger Coast Ridge Forest Council (CRFC). CRFC is a non-profit community forest organization, consisting of mostly private landowners. They are working to improve forest health, increase resiliency in the face of climate change, and reduce future impacts of wildfire in our rural communities. We will tour a roadside shaded fuel break project along Fort Ross Road….. Read more
  • Green Valley Farm and Mill // The Ranch at Bodega: This tour will take attendees to two properties in West County. First, just west of the town of Graton is Green Valley Farm + Mill, a 100-acre farm community committed to ecological stewardship, education and regenerative farm enterprises. As part of this work, they are stewarding the mixed evergreen forest and are reviving an historic mill…. Read more
  • Pepperwood Preserve: This tour will take attendees east to the Mayacamas Mountains to Pepperwood Preserve, a 3,117-acre preserve dedicated to conservation science managed by the Pepperwood Foundation. Assistant preserve manager Devyn Friedfel will tour attendees through four different fuels management units in the preserve’s Douglas-fir and oak woodland forests…. Read more
  • Saddle Mountain Open Space Preserve: This tour will take attendees east of Santa Rosa to Saddle Mountain Open Space Preserve, a 960-acre preserve managed by Sonoma County Ag + Open Space. Stewardship Specialist and resident fire ecologist Monica DelMartini will discuss the strategy for recovering this extraordinary property after the 2020 Glass Fire and prepare it for future fires in this fire-prone part of the county.…. Read more

Register by May 31st. Space is limited. In registration, you will be asked to choose which field tour you’d like to attend, as well as a few other questions about your interests and background. These questions are designed to help us understand our audience.

Contact Us

Have a question? Contact the event organizer at hello@topocollective.com.

The Resource Conservation Network gathers and shares the stories and ideas from its partners and colleagues. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the RCDs managing this publication.

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