CORVALLIS - The "Logger Education to Advance Professionalism," or LEAP initiative at Oregon State University, has been expanded to six sites in 1996.

These two-day educational workshops on forest ecology and silviculture for loggers are increasingly popular, officials say, and this year will also provide additional emphasis on forestry concerns in eastern Oregon.

The workshop locations and dates will be March 8-9 in Mehama (east of Stayton); April 5-6 in Newport; April 26-27 in McMinnville; May 3-4 in Klamath Falls; May 10-11 in Pendleton; and May 17-18 in Madras.

Class instruction will be combined with field trips on such topics as silviculture systems, soils, ecological relationships of trees and forests, managing for different objectives, communication skills and forest practice rules.

"At each location, the programs will be tailored to relevant issues for the geographic areas in which the courses are being held," said Steve Bowers, an Extension assistant with the OSU College of Forestry. "That could include the special needs of southwest Oregon, the Coast Range or eastern Oregon."

The LEAP program is now in its fourth year of operation. Among those loggers who attended workshops conducted previously, 100 percent have said they would recommend the program to a colleague or an employee.

It's one of the few programs in the nation designed for education of loggers as the "applied ecologists" of the future, Bowers said. Loggers will be better positioned to implement these changes if they are educated in new ecological and silvicultural practices, he said.

A $50 fee covers the cost of the program and lunch. Registration and more information about the sessions can be obtained by contacting the OSU Forest Conference Office, 541-737-2329; or by fax, 541-737-4966.

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Steve Bowers, 541-737-0979