Bobbi Freitag first heard of WWOA when she and her husband, Rick, attended a woodland owners conference in Ashland in the early 1990s. They had recently purchased their land in the Birchwood pothole lake area and decided to attend the conference to learn more about their northern woodlands. The conference opened Bobbi’s eyes up to sustainable forestry and enlightened her to the vast amount of information available. After hearing one of the speakers from WWOA, Bobbi and Rick decided to join the organization.
Sustainable forestry quickly became a passion of Bobbi’s. Her woodlands, enhanced by glacial lakes, are a mixed hardwoods type, including oak, birch, maple, popple, ash, and pine species; pine being her husband’s favorite. They implemented trails on the property to facilitate hikes and ATV rides through the woods.
Bobbi lists aesthetics and wildlife habitat as her other passions and management priorities for the land. She recalls a favorite trail camera photograph taken of a mother black bear sitting up and nursing her cub. That, and the discovery of a tree struck by lightning and “blown to smithereens” are unforgettable moments for Bobbi that strengthened her passion for the land.
While Bobbi enjoys the trail system in their woodlands for recreation, she adds, “Deer hunting is a good way to know your land, too, because you get off the trail and really get to know it.” She thinks both (on and off trail) experiences are important for landowners to have.
Bobbi mentions a successful crop release implemented on the MFL enrolled portion of their land. The released stand is adjacent to an untreated stand that is not part of MFL. She describes how incredible it is to see the difference between these stands and goes on to encourage others, “Don’t be afraid to cut down trees if you’re doing it in the right way.”
With time, Bobbi became more active in WWOA, joining the Northwest chapter and participating in their field days. Eventually, she became chapter secretary and is now the chapter chair. She writes the chapter newsletter and is part of the Annual Meeting planning committee that is organizing the September 2017 meeting in Cable. Bobbi explains why she is involved, “Sustainable forestry education is important to me and something I’m passionate about. It’s important for me to know that we’re continuing to get the word out to people.”
Bobbi says her favorite WWOA event is the Annual Meeting, because of the variety of topics offered, new information gathered, and the chance to see different parts of the state. At events like the annual meeting, Bobbi takes advantage of her WWOA membership to network with other people and obtain new resources, like connections to foresters, loggers, etc.
Bobbi advises new members to, “Make a plan and take lots of pictures of your woodlands. Get baseline records now to know where you’re starting from and be sure to attend field days!” She notes that being able to see the before and after impacts of management in your woodlands helps you understand the results of your management decisions and helps you learn more about your land.