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Lumber to Legacy is an effort by Albany Parks & Recreation to raise money to support our Oregon White Oak Restoration Program and related educational outreach activities, such as Sawing for Schools. This initiative evolved when 8 mature oak trees from a new development site in Albany were removed.  This event has led us to focus more attention on the heritage of Albany’s Oregon white oak habitat. The trees were part of a remnant oak grove, known as the Hackleman Grove in honor of Abner Hackleman, one of Albany’s founding fathers. The oaks ranged in age from 150 to 270 years old.

lumbertolegacyOver the years, urban development and other factors have impacted this grove and other oak habitats. Logs from the Hackleman Grove were donated to the Sawing for Schools program and students from West and South Albany high schools assisted with the milling during Arbor Week as well as throughout the year with help from local sawyers and wood workers. The sawn wood is high quality (furniture grade) lumber that has been distributed to artists and woodworkers in the Willamette Valley and across the U.S.. They are working with this historic wood and are donating their time, and creative works to a live auction that will benefit Oregon White oak habitat in Albany.

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Sawing For Schools

Sawing for Schools is a wood milling event that occurs every year in Albany during Arbor Week. Started in 2009 as a partnership between the City Tree Commission, Albany Parks Department, Greater Albany Public School District, Oregon State University, and other community members, the milling demonstration has become a way to salvage logs and turn them into useable lumber for high school woodshop classes. As of 2014, 29,000 board feet of lumber, valued at $160,000, has been provided to the schools.
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See the Sawing For Schools Flickr gallery

Media Coverage

Oregon White Oak Restoration Program

“Willamette Valley prairies are among the most endangered ecosystems in North America—less than 8 percent of oak savanna and oak woodlands and less than 1% of historic wet prairies are still intact”

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
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Background

Prior to European settlement in Oregon, Oregon white oak woodlands, savannas, and prairies dominated the Willamette Valley landscape.

The Kalapuya peoples maintained the openness of this landscape by seasonal burning of the shrubs and grasses. The oaks, which are adapted to fire, thrived and provided the natives with a local food source from the acorns.

Urban development and agriculture continue to cause the decline of these unique habitats.

Significance

Oak habitats are important because they support over 200 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, including declining sensitive species such as the acorn woodpecker, the western bluebird, and the western pond turtle. 

Restoring these habitats in Albany will serve as both a reminder of the past and a treasure for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Restoration Strategies for Albany’s Oaks

  • Identify and preserve both large specimens and groves of Oregon white oaks in Parks and Natural Areas
  • Create a seedling tree program from acorns collected from resident trees
  • Reestablish and manage an Oregon oak savanna habitat at East Thornton Lake Natural Area
  • Identify Douglas fir encroachment on white oak habitats and thin firs to prevent shading and to encourage larger oak canopies
  • Enhance native understory vegetation and increase plant diversity for the benefit of wildlife and native pollinators
  • Monitor and control invasive vegetation