Idaho’s Pro-Logger Program: A Credential for Idaho Loggers.
To many Idaho loggers, there is a difference between a logger and someone who simply cuts trees. However, loggers have not traditionally been fond of additional paperwork or other administrative hoops, so many have not been quick to support formal logging credentials. Nevertheless, loggers have become increasingly frustrated by those who buy a chainsaw, declare themselves loggers, then log in a way that gives all loggers a bad name. In addition to loggers’ concerns, a variety of other factors have came together in the mid 1990’s to produce the Idaho “Pro-Logger” program.
Logger Education to Advance Professionalism — L.E.A.P.
LEAP is a nationally acclaimed Extension program originally started at the request of loggers in the northeastern U.S. who wanted to improve their skills, document and market their services, and communicate more effectively with forest owners and managers. The program features over 20 hours of training on forest ecology, silviculture, and water quality. Over 1,000 loggers have participated in Idaho LEAP sessions since 1993, many with scholarships from Idaho forest product companies.
The Idaho Pro-Logger Program
Loggers and forest product companies considered some kind of logger credential for some time. SFI, forest certification, and loggers’ desire to increase their skills, improve their image, and market their services have quickened that interest. The Idaho Statewide Logger Education Implementation Committee was established in 1998. The committee consists of loggers, logging contractors, and representatives from forest industry, foresters, contractors, the University of Idaho, the Idaho Dept. of Lands, Idaho Logging Safety Advisors and the Associated Logging Contractors. The primary focus is to meet the educational needs of Idaho loggers, forest owners, and forest product companies first, then also meet SFI requirements and similar needs. That committee developed and governs Idaho’s “Pro-Logger” program, which is administered through the Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho (ALC).
To become accredited as an Idaho Pro-Logger (IPL) the following three basic/core items must be completed and an application form must be submitted to the Associated Logging Contractors.
- The owner/operator and key employees (as defined by the owner/operator) of a logging firm must take three days of instruction in silviculture, forest ecology, and water quality as offered in the current University of Idaho Extension program titled LEAP (Logger Education to Advance Professionalism).
- All employees of a logging firm, including the owner/contractor, must take first aid training sufficient to receive first aid certification as required by current OSHA regulations.
- The owner/contractor and key employees will take a half-day course in safety and best management practices at least every other year. New employees that were not with the firm at the time of training and who have not received the training with another firm, will need to take this course the first time it is provided in the area.
Upon completion of these three items participants will have met the requirements to become accredited in the Idaho Pro-Logger program. Participants must submit an application with the Associated Logging Contractors to receive this accreditation.
To maintain current status as an “Idaho Pro-Logger” a participant must take 16 credits of continuing education programs each calendar year. These courses must come from an approved list of courses. Courses not on the list can be submitted to the statewide committee or its designated representative for approval. The Associated Logging Contractors is currently the designated representative.
Why should I enroll in the Pro-logger Program?
Many forest products companies are requiring their loggers participate, however you may want to enroll whether the mills you work with require it or not. The Pro-Logger credential can help you market your skills more effectively to forest owners and non-AF&PA companies. The education in association with the Pro-Logger program can also help build your skills and understanding of forest management, and help you communicate more effectively about forest resource issues with foresters and the general public.
Logging companies that wish to participate in Idaho’s pro-logger program must submit a completed application form to the ALC. The ALC keeps records of firms and individuals enrolled in the program, and furnishes related information to loggers, forest product companies, and forest owners upon request. Loggers are also encouraged to maintain their own records of education sessions they have attended.
Locating continuing education classes
The ALC will have a list of conferences, safety meetings, forestry workshops, and other training opportunities offered by Universities, the Idaho Logging Safety program, logging associations, and other groups that are eligible for Idaho Pro-Logger continuing education credits. If a class you want to take is not listed, you can submit it to the ALC for approval.
Neighboring State Programs
Washington, Montana, and Oregon have similar “pro-logger” or “accredited logger” programs in place. Reciprocity varies from state to state. Ultimately, the forest product companies and forest owners you work with decide whether they recognize a given state’s program. For the most part, credits from continuing education classes taken in other states will meet Idaho Pro-logger continuing education requirements.
For more Information
The Idaho Pro-Logger program will likely continue to develop and evolve with time, but it is off to a very good start. For more information on the program, contact the Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho at (208) 667-6473.
Examples of courses eligible for Idaho Pro-logger continuing education credits:
In general 1 hour of course/instruction time is eligible for 1 IPL credit. For accurate credit accounting or eligibility contact the ALC.
- UI Forest Engineering Conference
- ALC Annual Conference
- Washington Logging Safety Conference
- Intermountain Forest Association Annual Meeting
- Intermountain Logging Conference
- Oregon Logging Conference
- Forest Products Safety Conference
- Idaho Forest Owners Association Conference
- University Extension Courses (UI, WSU, OSU, etc.)
- SAF Chapter meetings
- EMT Training
- Mill/Contractors Meetings
- IDL Training Seminars
- ALC Board Meetings
- SFI SIC Meetings
- College Courses
- EWU/OSHA Meetings
Other courses eligible for credit include:
- Equipment Supplier Training
- Other States’ Accredited Logger Continuing Education Courses
- Community Service Activities will be considered for up to four credits per year
- Work related seminars
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