Our Community Forest
Herland Forest is managed by the Windward community, a 501(c)(3) education and research non-profit.
As a cooperative community more than thirty years in the making, Windward is working to demonstrate practical, human-scale technologies and integrated systems, while supporting one another in developing healthy, fulfilling lives. To learn more about Windward, check out our community blog, Notes from Windward.
Windward recognizes that humans are an integral part of the natural world, and so we seek to integrate our needs and offerings with those of our home forest, composing a way of life in tune with the ecosystems that support us.
Establishing the Herland Forest is a natural outgrowth of Windward’s efforts to provide holistic alternatives for all stages of life, and an affirmation of commitment to our state-recognized Stewardship Forest.
A Forest Cemetery
Herland is situated at the edge of the Cascadian wilderness, on the southern slope of Mt. Adams, on a plateau carved out by the Klickitat River. The high prairies rise up from the Columbia River in the distance, with Mt. Hood standing prominently to the Southwest.
Herland Forest lies at the transition between the moist mountain forests of Cascadia and the dry prairies to the East featuring mixed stands of Ponderosa pine, Douglas Fir and Oregon white oak.
The landscape is one of rolling hills, seasonal streams, and forest decorated with meadow wildflowers. The Forest is home to hawks, migratory songbirds, mule deer, coyote and more. Herland is bordered by the larger Windward woodland, as well as family-owned timber land and rural homesteads.
It’s a quiet place where wild meets rural, and all are bound to the seasonal cycles of life.
A Stewardship Forest
In meeting our physical needs, we search for meaningful and wholesome ways to live with the Earth. Through the path of stewardship we are called to create a lasting home, and experience a connection with nature and our place within the wider community of life.
We are inspired by the magnitude of the task of creating a home, allowing that inspiration to be the soil in which our knowledge, love and compassion grow. We joyfully embrace the obligation to care for, listen to, and protect this bit of the Earth from which we draw our daily bread.
With Herland Forest we foster the values of stewardship, while rejoicing in the ancient cycle of life, death and renewal that is constantly occurring all around us.
More information on our stewardship philosophy is available on the Stewardship page.
A Research Forest
Our ability to appropriately steward this land is predicated on keen observation and humility in the face of what we do not understand. So Herland Forest is dedicated to ever deepening our understanding of the processes that create and maintain this forest ecosystem and the processes through which a forest ecosystem can sustain a small human community.
The biological, geological and chemical characteristics of Herland Forest all impact and are impacted by each other in the fascinating story that has created the forest we now inhabit and the forest that future generations will inherit.
With Herland Forest we seek to grow our understanding of the ancient cycle of life, death and renewal so that we can better honor it through our actions as stewards.
Herland Forest’s research focus and priorities are outlined in the Research section.
Walt Patrick,President and Trustee, is a founding member and Senior Steward of the Windward Foundation. A chemist by training and thirty-year member of the community, he currently divides his time between transitioning Windward into the next generation of Stewards and researching the use of sunlight and woody-biomass to meet the energy needs of small, rural communities (biomass2methanol.org). Walt has long been interested in novel ways to support land conservation, and is drawn to the symmetry of using one’s death to preserve living systems.
Kirianna Patrick, Sexton, is an Assistant Steward of the Windward Foundation. She came to the Windward community in August of 2017 to find a place to call home and cultivate skills to aid in her development. Recently she has taken up the responsibility of preparing the interment sites for the Herland Forest Cemetery. Carefully excavating the land by hand, she uses her vital energies to craft a passageway into the earth facilitating a person’s final journey home.
Opalyn Brenger, Vice-President and Trustee is a Steward of the Windward Foundation. A geohydrologist by training and ten-year member of the community, she recently completed her business management and accounting studies and is taking on a larger role in both Herland and Windward management. When she steps away from the computer she divides her time between managing our forested areas – think reducing fire hazard while gathering firewood and forest products – and tending Windward’s small sheep flock including all things fiber: wool washing, spinning, knitting, and weaving. Opalyn seeks ways to integrate whole-systems thinking into every project and create value for everyone who joins us in this adventure – Guardian and Intern alike.
In Appreciation: Much of this website was created by Andrew Schreiber. Andrew died in a single car wreck on November 12, 2018, and since then I’ve (Walt) taken over the work of managing the website. As a result, the WordPress software this site runs on is rapidly replacing his name with mine. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure out how to configure Word Press to retain his name on a page he wrote when I edit or update that page. If you know how to correct that, please get in touch.