About Us

The mission of Western Forestry and Conservation Association is to promote forest stewardship in western North America. The association’s objectives are to:

  •  Promote the science and practice of forestry for the sustainable production of goods, services and uses of forest resources.
  • Promote the dissemination of forestry research and technical information to those interested in the social, environmental and economic values of western forests.
  • Promote cooperation and understanding of management issues among federal, provincial and state governments, universities, forest-related industries and others with professional and technical involvement with forest resources.

The association was founded in 1909 and member companies and organizations are located in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alberta. Richard Zabel is the executive director.

WFCA provides high quality professional continuing education for natural resource managers in the western United States. These events range from workshops and field trips to conferences on the science and practice of forest management. WFCA often co-sponsors events with outside groups interested in the goal of forest management.



Richard has been the Executive Director of Western Forestry & Conservation Association (WFCA) since 1988. Prior to that, he was the Continuing Education Coordinator with the Society of American Foresters in Washington DC and also worked as a logging engineer with Crown Zellerbach.  He received his BS in Forest Management at the University of Minnesota and a Masters of Adult Education from Washington State University.  He is also a graduate of the Washington AgForestry Leadership program, Class 5.

Richard also serves as the operations manager for the Forest Biometrics Research Institute, which has contracted, with WFCA since 2010.  He administers the financial and business side of the Institute.

Richard was raised in Minnesota and is glad to leave the midwest winters behind and enjoy the lush PNW.  He enjoys reading, home handyman jobs, and biking.  His wife, Margaret, is a horticulturalist and has one son who is working as a mechanic engineer.


Nicole has a Bachelor’s from University of Washington in Forest Resources, a Master’s in Natural Resource Management from University of Idaho, and a Master’s in Soil Environmental Science from Virginia Tech.

Nicole has worked for the USDA Forest Service and Fish & Wildlife Service in fire research and management, for the Dept. of Defense as an Ecological Program Manager, and most recently in the Habitat Conservation Plan Section of the WA DNR Forest Resources Division.

When not working, Nicole enjoys spending time on Pacific beaches with her son.



Melinda is the Administrative Assistant for the Western Forestry and Conservation Association (WFCA).

Melinda was born and raised in Hillsboro, Oregon. She studied Graphic Design at the University of Idaho and has over 10 years of clerical and customer service experience. Prior to her current position Melinda worked as the counseling secretary at a local high school.