Morning Mist over Forest

Conservation News

Our work often generates media postings or articles covering the efforts of the Worthy Garden Club addressing broad issues of climate change and loss of critical habitat.  This incredibly important work includes supporting and collaborating with researchers and scientists at Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, and other organizations looking at forest health issues such as fire resistance, carbon storage, connectivity, and biodiversity.  We'll post recent information here, and maintain an archive of past activities and publications to keep you informed of our work and how we're meeting our mission.  

For more information and to see what you can do, click on the Forest Management page under the initiatives tab at the top of the screen.  Thank you for supporting the Worthy Garden Club!

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The document Dr. DallaSala and I created for Wyden and Merkley's staff (included as a post a couple spaces below this one) was spread to a number of representatives and candidates in the recent midterm elections.

Phil Chang, one of the Deschutes County Commissioners received a copy during our "Rock the Vote" event on November 11.  His response was very thoughtful and summarized his views as a representative and member of the Deschutes Forest Collaborative.

Dominick DellaSala wrote a very good response to each of the points raised by Phil.  Here's a copy of exchange.  

Hillside landscape

East Cascades Native Plant Hub

Worthy Garden Club has partnered with OSU Cascades and the National Park Service in the creation of the East Cascades Native Plant Hub.  A unique partnership focused on restoration and conservation of sagebrush steppe ecosystems throughout the western U.S.  

Central Oregon Daily came out with a story about the partnership. 

Click the link to watch it!  

On Tuesday, October 5, Roger and Rick met with two member of Senator Merkley's staff to discuss forest management issues and look at how we can work directly with Senators Merkley and Wyden on reinstating the Eastside Screens.  We also discussed the broader need for mature tree and forest preservation nationwide.

In preparation of that meeting and to summarize our views for other representatives and candidates, Dr. Dominick DellaSalla and Rick Martinson put together these brief "talking points".  The idea was to present short issue statements and distinct action items that can be implemented now.  Enjoy!

Mountain Ridge

Dr. Bill Ripple, an ecologist and researcher at Oregon State University and partially supported by the Worthy Garden Club was recently interviewed by NPR about his work on keystone species and climate resiliency, and the concept of "rewilding" the west.  

Here's a link to the brief (~4 min.) interview.  Excellent.


This just in from Bloomberg Law.  Excellent article discussing why current methods of fire prevention in forests don't always work.  Enjoy!

On August 9, Roger had an opportunity to meet with Senator Merkley in Portland.  During that meeting he handed the Senator a copy of our response to the joint letter we received from Senators Merkley and Wyden.  

We worked with Dr. Dominick DellaSala and Dr. Bev Law in drafting this response.  While it was easy to produce a letter thick with the supporting science, we chose to summarize the information and call for continuing efforts to preserve our few remaining old and mature forests.  

On August 1, 2022 we held a symposium at Worthy Brewing to discuss the need to preserve large diameter trees and mature forests in central and eastern Oregon.  

We were joined by Drs. Beverly Law and Dominick DellaSala, two international experts on forest ecology, climate change, and biodiversity who discussed their work in climate science and the importance of mature forests.

Roger Worthington (Worthy Garden Club), Ben Gordon (Central Oregon LandWatch), and Erik Fernandez (Oregon Wild) provided information on the need and efforts of local organizations working on preservation of forest ecosystems.  All good work!

As part of the planning for our Aug 1 symposium, we asked our congressional representatives and some people currently running for office four specific questions about their thoughts on mature trees, forest ecosystems, and the need to preserve biodiverse systems in a climate emergency.  The following letters document their response.

We're continuing to work with researchers, scientists, and policy makers to implement rules and standards for preserving mature forests.  But we can use your help.  Please contact your national and state representatives and local policy makers to express your concerns over the fate of our forests and our world.  Together we can make a difference!

Letter from Senators Wyden and Merkley answering the four questions.

Received Aug 1, 2022

This response is from Representative Peter Defazio.  Recieved July 27, 2022

And this response from Representative Suzanne Bonamici. 

Received July 21, 2022 

Congressional Democratic Nominee Jamie McLeod-Skinner may have provided the most thoughtful response to our four questions.

Received via email July 28, 2022

This letter is a bit out of sequence, but was sent by Roger to Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley back in April after an event with President Biden in Portland.

In the letter, Roger asks Wyden and Merkeley to slow the removal of large diameter trees in the name of wildfire suppression and forest health.  

"Ongoing forest thinning projects under the guise of “wildfire suppression” need to hit the pause button so forest trustees can consider their impacts on climate change, biodiversity, freshwater reserves, and recreation-driven local economies. As a starter, I’m asking you to implore the Biden administration to undo the Trump rollback of the Eastside Screens protection for large carbon-rich, fire-resistant trees and intact roadless forests."

And it's not only legal firms filing suit!  This letter from two key members of Great Old Broads for Wilderness describe their efforts to protect mature trees through attempted collaboration with federal management agencies and legislators.  To no avail.  So they decided to be co-signers of the litigation filed by Central Oregon LandWatch.

We encourage everyone to get involved in the efforts!  Write or call your congressional representative and voice your support for our mature forests.  The services these forests provide, especially in our current climate crisis, is critical to our survival on this planet.  We can't take this fight on alone.  EVERYONE needs to be involved.  Please support our efforts in any way you can!  The future of us and our planet depend on it!


On July 1, 2022, Rory Isbell, Staff Attorney for Central Oregon Landwatch published this letter in the Bend Bulletin.  In it, Rory describes a recent suit filed by Central Oregon Landwatch and five additional conservation organizations against the Forest Service over the 2021 changes to the Eastside Screens protection of large diameter trees in forests of eastern Oregon and southeast Washington.


The day after Roger sent his letter, RIck Martinson, Worthy Garden Club's Executive Director sent this to a number of Oregon's congressional delegation.

This letter took a slightly different approach; discussing some of the language in the 2021 decision to downgrade the Eastside Screens rule to a "guideline".  

We believe a personal perspective and an academic review are effective on their own, but together has the potential to compel action by our representatives.  

We can't let this issue go.  Large diamter trees figure prominently in recent studies on our climate emergency.  Researchers are looking at this issue globally.  As the saying goes, we must act locally to make a significant difference.

Eastside Screens decision challenged

Yesterday, June 14, six conservation organizations around Oregon filed a legal challenge against a Trump-era decision that allows the logging of mature trees on over 7 million acres of eastside forests.

This document is the press release submitted by Central Oregon Land Watch describing the suit and summarizing the issues.

We strongly support this effort and are working with these organizations and others to effect change in the preservation of mature trees and the decisions made by managers of our state and federal forests.

We'll continue to report on progress, and will be offering opportunities for public input and education on the Eastside Screens issue.  Stay tuned!

On June 28, Roger Worthington sent this plea to Senator Ron Wyden asking him to step up and defend the Eastside Screens rule -- a rule designed to protect mature trees greater than 21" diameter in forests on the east side of the Cascades in Oregon and southeast Washington.

The Trump administration gutted the rule in January 2021, just five days before he left office.  The changes grant the Forest Service the OPTION of protecting large trees and working with the public on monitoring agency activities in the forest.

Roger's passionate request is a template for the support we hope to see from the public on this issue.

The time is now.  If we don't act immediately, we're going to lose the opportunity to increase carbon sequestration, preserve a biodiverse world, maintain clean water, and provide recreational and social benefits.

Please join the effort!


West Bend Project Keeps On Giving

The Bend City Council sent a letter to Holly Jewkes, Supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest on April 26 (see below). The Bend Bulletin published this article on Thursday, May 19 2022 describing the main points in the letter and providing some additional perspectives on both sides of the issue. 


At the heart of the controversy is climate change and the role that large diameter trees play in our climate emergency.


Copy of IMG_5141.HEIC

This letter went to Holly Jewkes, Supervisor of the Deschutes National Forest, asking for additional information about what happened at the West Bend Project near Phil's Trail.  What occurred during logging seems to contradict what was approved during the environmental analysis and documented in the Record of Decision.  Approvals are nearly a decade old, and the Forest Service refused to put a hold on this small portion of the project to consider new science.  They could have revised the decision, but chose not to.  We expect better decisions from those we trust to manage our public resources.

The Bend City Council sent this letter to Holly Jewkes, Deschutes National Forest Supervisor to express their support for the protection of large and mature trees around Bend. They specifically reference the wide range of public benefits provided by the Deschutes National Forest.  

We thank the Bend City Council for taking a stand on this issue and submitting this letter!

We sent this letter to Bend Mayor Sally Russell, County Commissioner Phil Chang and Deschutes Forest Supervisor Holly Jewkes on March 24, over a week before the mature ponderosa along Phil's Trail were removed.

In it, we summarize recent scientific findings related to climate change and fire resistance, and ask for a pause before approving removal of the trees.

It didn't work.  But we included the letter as Exhibit 1 with the letter sent on April 18  to maintain the record.  We are using this project to raise awareness of forest practices across the state and in our own backyard.

Worthy-BULLETIN-AD Final tiff.tiff

These photos document the removal of large diameter ponderosa along the Pine Drops trail in the Phil's Trail mountain biking trails complex.  The stated objective of the harvest was to improve fire resistance and maintain mature forest structure.  However, the oldest and largest trees were removed; the trees with the greatest fire resistance because of thick bark and high crown heights.  The smaller trees that are more susceptible to fire were left, reducing the overall resistance to fire, decreasing carbon storage capacity, and threatening biodiversity within the project area.  This doesn't make sense.


For more information contact: Rick Martinson, Executive Director.  |  541-639-4776 x 221