Armchair photo tours: World Forestry Center in Portland

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The World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon

Photos by Cheryl Landes

The World Forestry Center offers educational programs to members and the general public to promote the understanding and appreciation of well-managed forests. Not only does the center focus on the importance of forests to the economy—particularly in the Pacific Northwest—but it also stresses the need to protect this valuable resource.

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An exhibit at the World Forestry Center focusing on what a forest is and the importance of forests

Conservation exhibits provide information on forest wildlife and the importance of forests in preventing these animals’ extinction. We are reminded that visitors to a forest are merely guests of the wildlife that thrive there. Forests are also important for maintaining a healthy climate for the entire world.

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A bear in an exhibit at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon. Forests are important for protecting wildlife.

Other exhibits I found at the World Forestry Center during my last visit included:

  • Wood products made around the world
  • Comparisons of the weight of different types of wood
  • What it’s like being a smokejumper
  • Forest management and restoration
  • Harvesting trees
  • Tours of a boreal forest in Russia, tropical forest in Brazil, temperate forest in China, and subtropical forest in South Africa
  • How our choices in products affect the environment

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A cross-section of a petrified oak found in 1983 near Antelope, in Eastern Oregon, on display at the World Forestry Center. Its age is estimated at 11-25 million years.

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A 100-pound bear sculpture created by Masamichi Nitani, a native of Sapporo, Japan, and a member of the Ainu tribe. The wood came from a diseased black walnut tree removed from the South Park blocks in Portland. Wood carving is a traditional art for the Ainu.

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A smokejumper’s uniform and gear on display at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon

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The second floor of the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon

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A vehicle used for African safaris on display at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon

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A table made from myrtlewood at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon. Myrtlewood trees grow on a narrow strip of inland land along the Southern Oregon and Northern California coasts.

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One of the wooden toys on display at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon

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An exhibit showing different products made from wood from around the world at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon

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Compare the weight of different types of wood to water at this exhibit at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon. The clear case near the left represents water.

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This armed tree was created over time after a .22-caliber rifle was left in the bend of a willow tree. The fast-growing willow completely enclosed the gun. Three inches of the rifle’s butt extends from one side of the trunk, and part of the barrel protrudes from the opposite side. The barrel end is visible at the right of this picture.

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This exhibit at the World Forestry Center explores environmental factors to consider when buying products.

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This 45-ton locomotive, named Peggy, hauled more than one billion board feet of logs during its 41-year stint as a logging train. Peggy is now on display outside the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon.

The World Forestry Center is an indirect product of a fire. In August 1964, a blaze destroyed the old Forestry Building, a giant log cabin built for the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. The Western Forestry Center was established in 1965 to find a way to replace the old Forestry Building. After much fundraising and planning, the new buildings were completed at their current location in Washington Park and opened to the public on June 5, 1971. In January 1986, the name was changed to the World Forestry Center.

The World Forestry Center is located at 4033 SW Canyon Road, across from the Oregon Zoo. Parking is available at a metered city lot between the center and the Oregon Zoo. Credit cards are accepted at the meters.

Several buses stop at the World Forestry Center, as well as the blue and red MAX trains. If you take the MAX, get off at the Washington Park stop and take the elevator to the street. The elevator exit is across the street from the zoo, and the World Forestry Center is a short walk behind you. Get details about the bus and train schedules at trimet.org.

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