Whatcom Chapter

Did you know that 56% of all forestland in the U.S. is privately owned?  That's about 445 million acres which provides 30% of our drinking water and 90% of our domestic forest products.  High five to everyone. 

WSU Extension Forestry is offering free online classes.  Pre-registration is required for WSU Extension Forestry online classes at least two hours before the class start time.  Each class is offered twice - 12:05 to 12:55 pm and 7:05 - 7:55 pm.  If you are interested in a class, but can't attend the date and/or times listed, go ahead and register so that you can receive a link to the recording.  Please click here for full details. 

  • July 28 - The four horsemen of the root disease apocalypse

Tuesday Tree School Online - OSU Extension Forestry & Natural Resources is providing a series of webinars every Tuesday through the summer.  Getting tired of staying at home due to COVID-19.  Use this opportunity to learn a little more about your Tree Farm.  Titles include:  Red Alder Management, Introduction to Small Woodland Management, Managing Root & Butt Rot of Conifers, See the Forest for the Bees, Spacing & Thinning of Young Stands plus much more.  For full details, click here

WTFP Fall Forestry Seminar Goes Virtual - In response to the COVID-19 crisis, this seminar will be covered over the course of three consecutive Wednesday sessions from 3:30 until 6 p.m.  Click here for more details and to sign up.  Tentative schedule:

    • August 26 - Timber Products
    • September 2 - Emerging Markets
    • September 9 -  Special Forest Products. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - Annual Tree Sale

April 26 - 28, 2021 - WFFA Annual Meeting, Vancouver, WA

Please stay safe everyone!

Whatcom Farm Forestry Hats - available to buy

In the mood to add to your hat collection?  We have a very nicely designed sturdy hat in black with "Whatcom Farm Forestry" and a tree design in green stitched on it.  See rotating photos to the right.  Hats are only $15 for Chapter members ($20 for non-members).  Contact Karen Bellingar at 360-303-1193 for purchasing details. 

2020 Mid-Year Report

As social distancing continues, we thought you might like:

  • a recap of what has happened so far this year (an amazing amount)
  • to purchase a Whatcom Farm Forestry hat
  • to create your own "Home-Grown Tree Farm video" to share
  • to help us explore options for community support

All this and more is contained in our first Mid-Year Report which you can see by clicking here

New Officers & Board Members

While COVID-19 kept us from having our annual meeting, it did not stop us from having an election.  Herb Barker moved up from Vice President and took over as President of Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association on May 1.  Stepping in as Vice President is Phil Cloward.  Re-elected Officers include Secretary  Helen Arntson and Treasurer Karen Bellinger.  Many thanks to Don Assink who moves to Past President after serving as President for three years.  And many thanks also to long-time Chapter member Pat Mitchell who leaves our slate of Officers after many dedicated years of service to our group.  Dan Koehler was re-elected as a Board Member and  Conrad Koehn joins our Board of Directors for the first time.  For a full list of all Officers and Board Members, it appears at the bottom of the column to the right. 

What to Do with 400 Ponderosa Pine seedlings?

We had a bit of a dilemma when COVID-19 shut down the annual 5th Grade Conservation Tour that our Chapter usually assists with in early May.  We usually provide an educational station during the tour as well as organizational assistance to keep things moving.  In addition, we usually hand out a complimentary ponderosa pine seedling to each of the students attending.  With no Tour and 400 seedlings looking for a home, our Tree Sale chairperson and schoolteacher, Lisa Tiemersma, came up with the idea to hand out the seedlings to students at Nooksack, Sumas & Everson elementary schools when the students drove by school to pick up their school-provided meals and/or learning packets.  A Smokey the Bear bag, donated by the Department of Natural Resources, was filled with fun things for the kids and the free ponderosa pine seedling from our Chapter. 

During these trying times, it was nice to be able to give kids something positive that they could learn from and take home and nurture, with the added benefit of helping to keep our County green and converting carbon dioxide to oxygen.  What started out as a dilemma turned into a big win.  Thanks Lisa for not only for finding homes for the seedlings, but for all the new challenges you have taken on as a teacher in our current world. 

Tree Seedling Planting Guides

If you have seedlings to plant, these are two very helpful guides for you to check out. 

Multiple Parcels - Tax Refund Possible

If you own more than one parcel of forestland, and are assessed a "fire patrol fee" on more than one parcel, you may be eligible for a refund.  To find out more, click here for a copy of the Forest Fire Protection (FFPA) Refund Form and its accompanying instructions. 


Contact Us



President:    Herb Barker

Vice President:    Phil Cloward

Secretary:    Helen Arntson

Treasurer:    Karen Bellingar

Board Member:    Lisa Tiemersma and Wendy Wefer-Clinton

Board Member:    Conrad Koehn

Board Member:    David New

Board Member:    Dan Koehler

Board Member:    Dick and Jan Vollmer

More information

Chapter Governing Documents

Governing documents for the Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association consist of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.  If you would like to review either document, please click on the green words below. 

Contact the Chapter President for more information: whatcom@wafarmforestry.com



Archived Content


2019 Activities & Accomplishments

We had a busy 2019 with events, tours, educational outreach including a Wildfire Risk Reduction Workshop and most importantly, the Nourse Tree Farm was not only selected as the Western Regional finalist, but also the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year!  Click here for the recap of 2019 and see below for several articles about the Nourse Tree Farm and the videos about their Tree Farm. 

New Family named 2019 National Outstanding

Tree Farmers of the Year!

Congratulations to the New family, owners of the Nourse Tree Farm near Arlington, WA who are Whatcom County Chapter members.  They have been named Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year by the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) for their efforts to restore a portion of a critical watershed to help a threatened species.  The New family, David and Dar New, Dar's mother, their daughter and her family and their sonsare owners of this 165-acre property which has been in Dar's family for three generations.  The American Forest Foundation and the ATFS commended the New family for their passionand dedication.  For more information, watch their story

Holiday Meeting

Twenty-eight Chapter members and family attended a potluck dinner with lasagna and beverages provided by our Chapter.  Marilyn Mitchell provided some musical entertainment followed by David New presenting three videos about his family's Tree Farm.  The videos included Succession Planning, Stream Restoration and the latest video - that of the family being awarded the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for the Nourse Tree Farm.  Links to all the videos are contained within stories on this website. 

Harvest Restrictions - Small Forest Landowners

WFFA has been working on alternate harvest restrictions for small forest landowners (SFLO) for over 20 years.  A WFFA proposal has been in for review since February 2015.  The Forest Practices Board is expected to vote on this proposal for smaller buffers for SFLO's on August 12, 2020.  If you are interested in getting short email update summaries as review continues, please contact Ken Miller by email at kenbonniemiller@gmail.com 

Nourse Tree Farm - Western Regional Winner

David and Dar New, third generation owners of the Nourse Tree Farm located outside Arlington and members of the Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association, were selected as the Western Regional Tree Farm of the Year.  They are now competing for the National Tree Farm of the Year award.  Read their story of a legacy almost lost and then nurtured with good forest practices to a place where family and friends enjoy time in nature, with an enhanced wildlife habitat and a restored salmon spawning stream.  Click here for the full story.

Nourse Tree Farm Videos

Are you interested in learning more about succession planning or stream restoration?  The New family, of the Nourse Tree Farm, were named 2018 Washington State Tree Farmer of the Year.  They prepared these videos to share their experiences with other like-minded folks.  Enjoy.

Succession Planning video

Stream Restoration video

Vedder's Edge Tour Recap

On Saturday, August 24, twenty Farm Forestry members and friends attended a walk and talk through Jackie & Art Edge's Christmas Tree Farm.  But attendees found out that they are more than just a Christmas Tree Farm and that they were happy to share what they had learned.  To find out more about the "more than a Christmas Tree Farm" that sits at the base of the Vedder Mountain Ridge, read the recap thoughtfully prepared by Liz Wiegand, and check out the photos taken by Mark Wiegand by clicking here

Wildfire Risk Reduction Workshop

On May 18, a Workshop was held at the East Whatcom Regional Resources Center on Wildfire Risk Reduction for Small Forest Landowners.  This Workshop was a cooperative effort of Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association, Whatcom Conservation District, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and a local Fire District.  To see a recap of the Workshop, please click here

5th Grade Conservation Tour

The 5th Grade Conservation Tour was another great success.  Various entities man the stations that students visit throughout their Tour.  WCFFA handles the introduction to Forestry station and coordinates the logistics for the tour.  Washington State Department of Natural Resources addresses Fire.  Whatcom County Public Works talks about Water.  USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service addresses Soil.  The U.S. Forest Service demonstrates Wilderness Etiquette at a mock campsite.  Sierra Pacific talks about Forest Ecosystems.  And, Weyerhaeuser does a presentation on Reforestation and donates the use of the tour site.  Whatcom County WSU Extension oversees the tour.  Thanks again to Jan and Dick Vollmer for taking the lead role for WCFFA participation in this important educational event in our County.      

What does the number 1144 have to do with the 5th Grade Conservation Tour?  It is the total of 373 kids, 8 busses, 15 classes, 6 schools, 3 districts, 1 private school, 1 homeschool group, 8 stations, 20 minutes per station, 2 hr 40 minute tour, 9 sponsors, 500 trees given out, 2 outhouses, 1 firetruck, 12 presenters, 6 volunteers, 1 new schedule piloted, 15 smokey bags, 1 cookie lady, 1 new sponsor and 1 horn.  Whew - it definitely takes a village to put on a Conservation Tour.  Thanks to everyone who participated. 

5th Grade Conservation Tour Tree Bagging

Eight WCFFA members helped bag ponderosa pine seedlings at Mt. Baker High School in preparation to give one tree to each student at the 5th Grade Conservation Tour.  Many thanks to Ruth Heft, Jan Vollmer, Dan Koehler and Maralee Smith for manning the bagging process.  Thanks also to Dick Vollmer & Phil Cloward for bundling up the trees and loading them up and to Conrad Koehn, who donated the dirt and peat, and along with Doug Smith mixed the dirt with peat moss & water to be added to each seedling bag.  In addition, eight members of the Mt. Baker FFA forestry class along with their instructor, Todd Rightmire, also helped

Annual Meeting

Click here for highlights from the April 12 Annual Meeting which had 46 members in attendance. 

2019 Tree Sale - a Success!

With people waiting in line for over an hour before our Tree Sale started, we sold out shortly after our noon closing time, as some leftovers were purchased.  14 species were sold, a record setting 4,644 Western Red Cedar and 18,299 trees sold overall.  This included Giant Sequoias that President Don Assink nurtured on his own land for two years.  It's clear that WCFFA is doing our part to keep Whatcom and Skagit Counties green with trees.  Volunteers were particularly impressed with the cheerfulness of buyers, especially since some of them stood in line for up to two hours.  Small children had wide smiles looking forward to planting trees and adults were particularly appreciative of our holding the Tree Sale which allows folks to purchase different types of trees at the extremely low price of $1 each.  Even those who missed out on trees they came to buy, because they were sold out, went ahead and purchased something else and just decided they need to come earlier next year.  Kudos to Lisa Tiemersma in her first year as Tree Sale Chairperson.  An event like this takes the dedication of many volunteers - 73 in fact this year - and we thank everyone who so generously gave of their time - members, spouses, family members, boy scouts and folks just interested in helping.  Everyone who volunteered, whether it was preparation, at the sale or clean-up afterwards helps to make this event an annual success.  And what perfect weather followed our Sale for everyone to get their trees in the ground.  A job well done by ALL!

Is Western Red Cedar Right for You?

Is your forest primarily Douglas-fir?  Are you considering diversifying your forest?  If you would like to find out more about whether or not Western Red Cedar might be right for your forest, click here to read an article written by our very own Tom Westergreen

A Tall Tale of Giant Sequoias

On Saturday, March 9, 14 volunteers (including 5 shovel-toting young men) helped dig, sort and bag 1,135 Giant Sequoia 3-year old seedlings in preparation for the annual WCFFA Tree Sale.  President Don Assink finished up prepping another 209 seedlings a few days later after the ice surrounding them had thawed.  But that is the end of the story.  Let's start at the beginning.

With 1,800 Sequoias available at a discounted price in June 2018 due to a customer backing out of a commitment, they were purchased and President Don Assink agreed to take them and plant them on his property.  He nurtured these trees, watering throughout the summer and caring for them which resulted in 1,344 seedlings for our Tree Sale.  Folks who got these trees for $1 each got one of the best bargains around.

Thanks to Don for all his attention to the Sequoias and his extra hours spent gathering up the final trees before the Tree Sale.  Also thanks to Tom Westergreen for his invaluable expertise in helping guide Don through prepping the trees for sale.  The 50 bags of trees were a full load for Don's pickup when he delivered them to the Lynden Fairgrounds.  Thanks also to Don's wife, Carol, for serving lunch to those who helped dig up the trees (as well as her patience while Don tended to the Sequoias) and thanks to the 14 volunteers for donating a couple hours to be part of such a great story.

Membership Information

Interested in membership in the Washington Farm Forestry Association?  Membership with the State Association is required to be a member of the Whatcom County Chapter.  Please click on the "Join" tab above for information about becoming a member. 

Website Content

Do you have an event to add to our website or suggestions of potential events we could sponsor as a Chapter?  Please send an email to: whatcom@wafarmforestry.com


2018 Chapter Activities & Accomplishments

2018 was a very busy year for the Whatcom County Chapter and the Board of Directors wanted to update you on those activities and accomplishments.  Click here to see the many opportunities that were available to members throughout the year to increase your knowledge and stewardship of your tree farm. 

Nesset Farm & Bakke Tree Farm Tours

Twenty people attended the combined tours of the Nesset Farm and Bakke Tree Farm under cloudy, but rainless skies.  Many thanks to the wonderful stories and warm welcome provided throughout the day by Ray Bakke, Gordon Bakke, John LaMonte and Russ Pfeiffer-Hoyt.  The memories that were shared provided the tour attendees with a more up-close and personal tour including ski jumps, divine intervention with a potential flood and a little pastime that will remain a secret among those who attended.

Cone Picking Event

Picking Western Red Cedar cones to replenish our supply of seeds was a fun outing in September.  These seeds will be used to custom grow Cedar seedlings for our Annual Tree Sale.  Members met at the home of Sharon and Ed Westergreen to strip the Cedar cones from branches gathered the previous day.  Other seed pickers included:  Jan and Dick Vollmer, Helen Arntson and Paul Campbell, Lisa Tiemersma, Janet Gilda, Phil Cloward, Dan Koehler, Carol and Don Assink, Lars Holien, Gerry Kudsk and Bonnie and Tom Westergreen.  The four bushels of tiny, ripe cones harvested will provide approximately 225,000 Western Red Cedar seedlings to reforest over 600 acres!

Mt. Baker FFA Wins Big

One purpose of the WCFFA is “to promote opportunities for youth education in forestry and land stewardship.”  The FFA group at Mt. Baker High School placed first this year in the State Forestry Career Development Event, which is the 10th state title for Mt. Baker HS.  As the state winner, they attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana and placed 4th in the Nation.  The Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association donated $3,000 to the Mt. Baker FFA to help pay for their trip to the National Convention. 

2018 Washington State Tree Farmer of the Year

Congrats to our fellow member David New and the New family for their tree farm the Nourse Tree Farm being awarded this year's tree farmer of the year by WFFA. It is quite the honor and we couldn't be more proud!

2018 Tree Sale

This year's tree sale was a big success!  We sold out completely before noon.  There were over 70 volunteers including the wonderfully helpful Boy Scouts.  Thanks to all who participated!

60 years – 2018 5th Grade Conservation Tour @

Weyerhaeuser Seed Orchard

401 students from 18 classes spread over 4 school districts (9 schools total, 1 private school and home school) attended the tour with 20 minutes allocated at each of 8 stations spread over 4 days.

Special thanks to Mt. Baker FFA for bagging seedlings and to the following WCFFA volunteers:  Dick and Jan Vollmer, Sharon Westergreen, Herb Barker, Tom Westergreen, Phil Cloward, Dan Koehler, Doug and Marilee Smith, Conrad and Jeanne Koehn, Joan and Gerry Kudsk, and Alpine Meadows Christmas Trees


2017 Summer Tree Farm Tours

Dick and Jan Vollmer and Ken Stremler provided tours of their tree farms. Here is a link to a summary about the day.

2017 5th Grade Conservation Tour at the Seed Orchard

Every year multiple groups come together to provide 2 hours of education and entertainment for our local 5th graders over a 4-day period.  The Seed Orchard Tour is held at the Weyerhaeuser Seed Orchard on the Y Rd in Bellingham and was attended by 653 students.

Special thanks goes to Sierra Pacific for providing some funds for transportation when schools can't find budget for the field trip.

2017 National Outstanding Inspector of the Year

Congratulations to our very own Tom Westergreen for receiving the ATFS National Outstanding Inspector of the Year for 2017.  We couldn't be more proud and know that you are very deserving of this award.  Great Job Tom!

2017 Annual Tree Sale

This year's tree sale was a big success with over 60 volunteers including members, extended family and Troup 23 Boy Scouts.  We had to substitute plugs for bare roots on the Western Red Cedar as the freezing weather damaged the seedlings.  We only had 61 Shore Pine and 85 Japanese Larch left over.  Most trees sold out by 11:35.


David New named a 2016 Conservation Leader

David New was named a 2016 Conservation Leader by the Snohomish Conservation District. 

Forest Landowner Legal Issues

Leslie Clark, attorney with Phillips Burgess, presented a seminar on Forest Landowner Legal Issues in Burlington in October 2016.  She made her handouts available to us.  She covered trespass law, adverse possession, easements, recreational immunity, and a number of other timely topics. 


Wefer Tree Farm Tour

Even though it was a very drippy day we had 28 attendees for this tour of a tree farm right next to I-5 above Lake Samish.

As part of the tour, the Wefer family provided documents they have used to help govern and organize their Tree Farm as the 3rd and 4th generation has taken over for 2nd generation family members.  Copies of policies are available on Internal Controls and  Partner Tree Cutting.  Additionally, they create a Management Plan with a "To Do" list every year to document activities and provide breadcrumbs for themselves in future years and for future generations who will oversee the Tree Farm.     

Chapter Governing Documents

Governing documents for the Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association consist of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.  If you would like to review either document, please click on the blue underlined words below. 

Contact the Chapter President for more information: whatcom@wafarmforestry.com