Published May 19, 2023

Check out these photos from Tribal Forestry Education Days this week at the Fort Bidwell Indian Reservation in Surprise Valley, northeastern California, with both young adult crews in Lomakatsi’s Ecological Forestry Training Program—a inter-tribal crew from Chiloquin/Klamath Falls and multicultural crew from around Jackson County.

During a three-day intercultural exchange, 20 trainees and crew leaders visited the Northern Paiute Gidutikad Band Fort Bidwell Indian Reservation and cut and piled hazardous fuels in a priority area where the Barnes Fire last September had the potential to come down the mountain into the Fort Bidwell community. Crews reduced dense bitterbrush shrubs—thinning in a mosaic pattern to retain cultural first foods such as wild plum bushes scattered throughout the project area.

As we approach the final month of the program, these tribal forestry education days were dedicated to improving defensible space ahead of this fire season, bolstering natural resource career pathways, sharing skills in cultural fire and wildfire management, raising peer support between the inter-tribal and Rogue Valley crews, and building workforce capacity for landscape-scale ecosystem restoration. In addition to the ecological fuels reduction work accomplished, trainees learned from tribal elders about place-based Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge and ecocultural restoration during site walks and interactive experiences.

Thank you to the Fort Bidwell Indian Community Council and Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Forestry and Wildland Fire Management for joining us and inspiring our crews! We’re so proud of these teams for all their hard work and grateful to everyone who supported these cohorts.

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