2023 Living with Fire: Sonoma County Forest Conservation Conference
June 23-24, 2023
at the SRJC Shone Farm in Forestville, 7450 Steve Olson Ln, Forestville, CA 95436
The Sonoma County Forest Conservation Working Group, in partnership with the County of Sonoma and the Santa Rosa Junior College, hosted our community’s forestland residents, landowners, land managers and stakeholders, in a two-day conference centered on managing forestland in these new and challenging times. While managing forestland can seem daunting, the first steps are simple. This event was designed to help land managers feel confident about what they can do and feel supported where they need help.
A Powerful Collaboration
This conference was made possible by a powerful collaboration of dozens of organizations and individuals, including Sonoma County Ag + Open Space, the Sonoma County Resource Conservation Districts, University of California Cooperative Extension, WRA Environmental Consultants, CAL FIRE, Circuit Rider, private foresters, private landowners, concerned members of the public, and many others. These contributors are members of the Sonoma County Forest Conservation Working Group.
The Conference in Numbers
Number of Attendees
Attendees managing less than 100 acres
Attendees Who Own, Manage or Work on the Land
Attendee Experience Level
Members of Fire Safe Councils
91% of those surveyed said their practical knowledge and skills increased due to the conference.
88% of those surveyed said their support network increased due to the conference.
Testimonials from our attendees
“I learned so much, made a ton of good connections … So I’m going to start working on finding funding for our Neighborhood Project and get some of the neighbors interested.”
“We met potential new clients and employee candidates, collaborators, and had the chance to catch up with people in our network. Thanks again for your work!”
“Never really thought about managing the trees as if a fire had gone through. Made a great deal of sense.”
“Picked up [a lot of] useful information. Will use the Sonoma County Wildlife Resilience Planner. [I] enjoyed speaking with the CalFire people.”
“Talked to so many interesting people and learned more about what is available.”
“Packet information is going to be used and shared with neighbors. THANK-YOU for all that you did and are doing to continue to work with the community and the land.”
“Great event design. Wonderfully usable materials.”
“Great opportunity to build community.”
“Great, informational event. Thank you all for your effort.”
“Thank you for offering this program! It was excellent!”
“Well organized and ran smoothly. The attendees were interesting and brought knowledge and valuable perspectives. I appreciated the youthful enthusiasm and knowledge as well as the experience of the more seasoned participants. Great mix of people. Speakers were all knowledgeable and encouraged participation and interaction. Well done! Food was delicious.”
“This was an extremely organized and well thought-out conference. I am so glad we attended. Thank-you so much”
“Thanks for organizing this event; hope there are more in the future.”
“I loved the way you divided the groups. I felt like I was with the right level of knowledge & experience.”
Next Steps for Attendees
Now that the conference is over, what will you do?
We encourage attendees, and those who missed the conference, to take these next steps:
- Study the Conference Resources below and finish filling out your Conference Participant Worksheet.
- Reach out to us if you need technical help. We can connect you with a free consultation
- If you don’t have one already, start a forest management plan. Need financial assistance? Apply to EQIP for a plan for a property under 20 acres or apply to NBFIP for properties 20-500 acres.
- Take consistent steps (small steps are ok!) to improve your forestland. Implement the activities in your forest management plan. If you need financial or technical assistance, reach out for help. There are many resources in Sonoma County to help you.
- Work with your neighbors to share information, collaborate on projects, and make your neighborhood more fire safe. Watch the Landowner Panel to hear real success stories from local landowners who collaborated on forest management projects.
- Monitor your progress over time. What’s working? What’s not? Ask for help when you need it.
- Keep learning with us! We host monthly meetings and our partners host frequent events. Our website is also full of quality educational resources.
Stay In Touch
You can sign up here to receive our quarterly e-newsletter to stay in the know about educational presentations, workshops and field tours on forest stewardship. This is a great way to stay motivated and informed as you continue your stewardship activities. See examples of past newsletters here.
If you would like support with your forest property, please fill out our assistance survey to get started.
Have a question? Contact us.
General Conference Info
Workshop: Intro to Sonoma County 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.
- Briana Boaz, Professor of Natural Resources, Santa Rosa Junior College
- Marshall Turbeville, Battalion Chief, Northern Sonoma County Fire District
Workshop: Forestry Project Planning, Permitting and Funding
Professional foresters will present the basics on setting your goals, working with a forester to plan and permit your forest management activities, and applying for financial assistance.
- Jason Wells, Registered Professional Forester, Sonoma Resource Conservation District
- Robert Aguero, Registered Professional Forester, Permit Sonoma
- Intro to Sonoma County Forest Management Financial and Technical Assistance
- Sonoma County RCDs Forest Conservation Programming 2022-23
- North Bay Forest Improvement Program (NBFIP) Financial Assistance
- NRCS Forest and Grassland Resilience RCPP Financial Assistance Program
- UCANR Forest Stewardship Series: A Forest Stewardship Framework
- LandSmart Grazing Financial Assistance Workshop 7/26/23
Workshop: 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 like wood chippers and biochar kilns. Techniques for building burn piles may also be demonstrated.
- Annie Madden, Wildfire Resilience Program Specialist, Santa Rosa Junior College
- Asa Voight, Wildfire Resilience Program Specialist, Santa Rosa Junior College
Workshop: Tactical Solutions to Common Forestry Issues
How do land managers identify problems on the land, like invasive plants, disease or fuel buildup? 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.
- Tori Norville, Fire Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension
- Jason Mills, Senior Restoration Contractor, WRA Environmental Consultants
- Jill Butler, Retired Forestry Assistance Specialist, CAL FIRE
- UCANR Resource List
- Quick Info: How to Prune Trees
- Quick Info: Poison Oak
- Quick Info: Ticks and Lyme Disease
- Homeowners Guide to Sudden Oak Death
- Woody Material and Monitoring Options
- Workshop Exercise: Doug-Fir Encroachment
- Workshop Exercise: Shaded Fuel Break Maintenance
- Workshop Exercise: Fire Resiliency
- Workshop Exercise: Sudden Oak Death
- Biswell Forestry
- CAL FIRE
- Coast Ridge Community Forest
- Permit Sonoma (County of Sonoma Permit and Resource Management Department)
- Fire Safe Sonoma
- Flexilis Forestry LLC
- Pacific Watershed Associates, Inc.
- Pepperwood Preserve
- Regenerative Forest Solutions
- Sonoma Ecology Center
- Sonoma Resource Conservation District (Sonoma RCD)
- Sonoma Water
- Wildfire Mitigation Advisors
- WRA Environmental Consultants, Inc.
Thank You to Our Sponsors
This conference was sponsored by the County of Sonoma. The social reception was sponsored by the Sonoma Land Trust. Thank you to those attendees who donated to a student or to the conference in registration. Our conferences are held every five years. The 2023 conference is the third conference hosted by the Forest Conservation Working Group.