Our new Forest Conservationist

person in straw hat in forest

After a very competitive hiring process, Laura Taylor was selected as the District’s new Forest Conservationist, replacing Michael Ahr who now serves with Benton Soil and Water Conservation District in Corvallis. Taylor was formerly the District’s Conservationist & Education Coordinator and has been on staff since 2014.

In her previous role, Taylor provided monitoring, project implementation, and conservation planning support for the forestry, healthy streams, and healthy habitats programs, and managed the District’s education program which provides technical and financial assistance to school and community gardens and local environmental education partners. She worked on forest-related projects with Ahr since the beginning of her time on staff at the District. Together they piloted a two-year forest understory seeding study to look at the effectiveness of different methods of establishing native understoryUnderstory The area under and around trees plants from seed.

Taylor is continuing the District’s work of helping woodland owners grow healthy resilient forests by developing forest stewardship plans, providing technical assistance, and managing forest health projects for their properties. She also provides expertise on monitoring and data collection, plants and pollinators. Taylor has been a member of the District’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee since 2018 and currently serves as co-chair.

Taylor has worked for public, non-profit, and private organizations where she provided botanical and ecological technical support. She earned her B.S. in botany and forest ecology from Evergreen State College and M.S. in invasive plant ecology from Portland State University. Taylor is an active volunteer for Friends of Trees and the Citizen Rare Plant Watch. If you need help with your forest property, contact Laura Taylor at 503-238-4775, ext. 112 or laura@wmswcd.org.

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