OREGON CITY, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Mike Bondi has been named 2011 Extension Forester of the Year by the national Forest Landowners Association, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.
Bondi is staff chair and Extension forester of the Oregon State University Extension Service in Clackamas County. He is also interim superintendent of the OSU North Willamette Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Aurora. He will be honored in June at the association’s national convention in Williamsburg, Va.
The Extension Forester of the Year Award recognizes a forester who has been in practice at least five years and is dedicated to the advancement of forest landowner education and outreach, focusing on private landowners.
Since Bondi joined OSU Extension in 1978, he has become known for his forest landowner and Christmas tree Extension programs. Bondi has stayed with OSU Extension, he said, because he enjoys working with people on the ground and bringing the university's research and knowledge to them.
"Getting the information, science and technology to them to improve lives at the local level is what I enjoy most,” Bondi said. “It's fascinating working with people who are trying to solve problems, whether they're farmers, homemakers, public officials and agency managers, homeowners or youth.”
More than two decades ago, Bondi created Tree School, which each year brings together 600 family forest owners and Christmas tree growers for a day of classes. The one-day forestry training boot camp has grown into the largest annual family forestry education program in the United States and has been a model for similar programs around Oregon and the nation.
Bondi helped create Forests Forever Inc., a nonprofit that owns and manages the Hopkins Demonstration Forest near Oregon City. The group, which serves several thousand visitors each year, also offers educational programs and volunteer opportunities in the forest.
Bondi also brought the OSU Master Woodland Manager program to Clackamas County. Since the program began in 1983 nearly 300 people across Oregon have graduated from the course and now serve as volunteers who help other woodland owners.
Leading seven international forestry study tours to four continents, Bondi has brought local landowners and professional land managers to regions of the world where forestry is a key industry and center for technological development. Nearly 250 people have participated in these tours.
The Forest Landowners Association is a national organization serving the needs of America’s private forest landowners