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The Discover Your Forest event is scheduled to recruit people for a variety of tasks

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY OCHOCO NATIONAL FOREST
 - Members of the Central Oregon Trail Alliance with Forest Service employees in May 2017 during a two-day trails building class in the Ochoco National Forest.

The Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland are looking for more volunteers and will host a special event next week to recruit them.

The two agencies will partner with nonprofit stewardship organization Discover Your Forest to host a Volunteer Information Night for volunteers who are interested in supporting natural resources, wildlife, range, trails, educational and interpretive programs on National Forest System lands.

"What we are trying to do is build on the existing volunteer base," explained Stacey Cochran, community engagement director for Discover Your Forest.

She went on to say that the Ochoco has quite a few volunteers who help with work on the forest, but the agency would like to increase the services they are providing and help serve the need of other projects.

The Volunteer Information Night will be held Wednesday, April 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ochoco National Forest office. The event is focused on recruiting volunteers to serve in many areas. Volunteer rangers help to identify and pull invasive weeds, provide conservation education at geologic sites, help with range projects, fence and gate maintenance, trails maintenance, and more.

"We are really looking for volunteers who can help with our Big Summit wild horse inventory," Cochran added. "We have some opportunities in recreation."

People interested in volunteer opportunities on the Ochoco National Forest are encouraged to attend the event.

"It is really a great way to get more visibility out there for people who want to serve and volunteer time," Cochran said, adding that in many cases, no prior experience is necessary. "It depends on what the person is interested in. In some cases, you don't have to have a lot of experience because we provide free training."

In addition, volunteering provides a way for people interested in employment to get their foot in the door with the agencies.

"If you are interested in a career in natural resources and with the Forest Service, volunteering is so valuable," Cochran stated. "It is a great way to get on-the-job experience as well as meeting the Forest Service employees and specialists in the fields you are interested in."

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