At Magness Memorial Tree Farm (What is a forest to you?)

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Nathan, Bill, Krystina, and I

“What is Forest to you?”, Bill Wood asked that question  when the first time we came at Magness Memorial Tree farm in Sherwood, Oregon. It is a simple question but believe me, the answer is very difficult. It’s not about forest definition or what can we see in it. For me, it’s more about philosophic matter. What is Forest to me? It is ‘me’, not you or them. My answer will totally reflect my view on forest and more about life itself. I will save my answer for the last paragraph.

Magness Memorial Tree Farm (MMTF) is one of 4 tree farms owned by World Forestry Center in Oregon. This land was donated to World Forestry Center by Howard and Panzy Magness in 1977. Additional lands have been donated by the Robert Heater Family. Bill said that Magness’ gave their land with conditions: it is used for education and must be opened every day in a whole year. Now, it is visited by thousands people every year. Most of them are school kids who want to learn about forest and nature.

Trees at Magness

Bill Wood is the manager of this beautiful 80 acre property with the help from Nathan Boles, his assistant. They are really a good partner and very passionate about trees and forest. Bill assisted us (I and 2 friends- Krystina and Vincent-) in a small tour in this tree farm. We made many stops and discussed many things in it: medicine plants, old growth forest, Spotted Owl, trees, wild life, stream, fish, school kids, etc. Bill’s knowledge about forest is amazing. Later, I knew that he ever visited South East Asia include Indonesia more than 25 years ago. He is a traveler!

After lunch break, we visited other land just beside Magness. Nathan joined us after he finished his job with the kids. We came in the perfect time. Berry’s time! Delicious blackberries were almost every where.

Bill is picking up the berries for us :)

Clear water in the small stream at Magness

We met the baby  mice and the mother. (She's alive! lol )

Back to the question ‘What is forest to you?’. I really don’t know the exact answer. Can I answer a question with another question? I think so. Isn’t it the basic of philosophy? When I was sitting there with Bill and my friends, under the trees in a cloudy day, I remembered about the question and another question popped up in my mind. For me, the answer to ‘what is forest to you?’ is another question, ‘What am I to forest?’.
So, what am I to forest? What is human to forest? Who are we?

I believe that forest has its magical world, something mystical and spiritual. Can we live without forest? I don’t know. Forest is just another world. It grows and lives, even without us. Then we came and tried to manage it. Act God, isn’t it?


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