Old logging truck carrying logs
The 84th annual Oregon Logging Conference in Eugene runs Thursday through Saturday. (Photo by Getty Images)

Philomath students among those planning to attend Future Forestry Workers Career Day

The 84th annual Oregon Logging Conference this week at the Lane Event Center and Fairgrounds in Eugene is returning this year to a traditional event with state-of-the-art equipment and other displays, seminars and panel discussions, log loader competition, chain saw carvers, Family Day and more.

The conference begins Thursday and runs through Saturday and focuses on education, events and activities, as well as current issues of importance to the logging and related industries. “Family, Friends and Forestry 2.0” will serve as the theme.

“Like myself, the theme for this year is making the rounds for a second time…with a slight variation,” OLC President Scott Melcher of Sweet Home-based Melcher Logging said through a news release. “Family, Friends, and Forestry 2.0 will carry us through the conference this year and has carried us as we have navigated through the many uncertainties that we have faced.”

Family, Friends and Forestry was the theme for last year’s conference, which took place in a scaled-down format because no gatherings were allowed under COVID-19 restrictions. With the focus on education, in 2021 the seminars and panel discussions, normally held in person, were recorded and could be watched on YouTube.

Blake Manley, natural resources teacher at Sweet Home High School, will serve as the keynote speaker. Manley is creator of the Manley Jobs career video YouTube series, serves as chair of the Oregon Natural Resources Teachers Association and works as a logger.

Philomath High School students are planning to attend the conference’s Future Forestry Workers Career Day, an invitation-only event with 20 schools sending students.

The students will interact with professionals in the fields of forestry, reforestation, milling and forest products, logging, trucking, diesel mechanics, equipment operations and wildland firefighting.

Organizers said that this year at the career day event will be a harvest simulator, hosted by the Oregon State University College of Forestry, to promote an initiative to supply Oregon high school CTE (career and technical education) programs with harvest simulators.

Many companies will also have exhibits and information available for the students, as well as current employment opportunities in the industries.

A high school logging and forestry skills competition will also be part of the event, where students may observe activities that include cable splicing, choker setting, crosscut and single buck sawing, compass and pacing, tool identification, log scaling and ax throwing.

The conference will also include the popular Log Loader Competition, which tests the skills of log loader operators in the areas of speed, skill and efficiency. Operating a Link-Belt log loader, contestants have 7 minutes to stack log blocks end-to-end, matching numbers or colors on predetermined marks on the ground.

On Saturday, the conference will have Family Day from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Family Day includes paper making, birdhouse building and other hands-on activities.

For a complete schedule of events, go online to www.oregonloggingconference.com.