Education and Outreach

With funding support from the US Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Pacific NW biochar working group is interested in learning about your recent biochar project success stories. This is an opportunity to spotlight your work and efforts to develop the biochar sector in our region (OR, WA, ID, and MT).

9044 Takilma Rd
Cave Junction, OR 97523

Taught by: Kelpie Wilson, biochar consultant
Cost: $100 ($80 for Spiral Living Center members)
Included: Lunch, a biochar sample and instructional handouts
Advance registration required. SPACE IS LIMITED!
Register now at
Description: At the Biochar Intensive, you will learn several ways of making biochar yourself using simple equipment. You will get an overview of the science behind biochar and how it affects soil chemistry and microbiology. You will see a demonstration of techniques and equipment used to test, condition and charge biochar to make fertilizers that feed the soil food web, promoting healthy soils and plants.

On December 11th, 2014 the US Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) hosted a meeting of the Northwest Biochar Working Group in Salem, Oregon.

The meeting brought together interested members of the Northwest Biochar community to share information, lessons learned, and to solicit ideas on the pathway forward for the development of biochar as a commercial activity in the region.

Participants discussed common market development challenges across five biochar industry segments: agriculture, horticulture, filtration, and land remediation. The meeting also reviewed survey results from previous meetings (namely the 2012 NW Biochar Working Group event in Olympia, WA) as well as collected new data from 2014 participants.

Matt Delaney and other NW Biochar Working Group stakeholders will develop a strategy paper that articulates key themes from the 2014 meeting, and identify opportunities for collective action to help propel the biochar market forward. The paper will be released in February 2015.

For more information contact Matt Delaney ( ).

Tiller Ranger Distric
Tiller, OR 97484

Drop by Monday, Nov. 3, 2014
between 10 & 3 near Tiller

Directions: East of Canyonville to Tiller Ranger District; from the District headquarters continue on the same road 4.2 miles; turn left onto Road 1610; park in 1.9 miles near a quarry

Sponsors: South Umpqua Rural Community Partnership
(SURCP), Umpqua Biochar, Phoenix School, and Tiller Ranger District

To RSVP and for more information contact:

Swallow Valley Farm
1100 Valley Ford/Freestone Rd.
Valley Ford, CA 94972

5 days of learning and experimentation at Swallow Valley Farm in Sonoma County, California
Produced by Wilson Biochar Associates, New England Biochar, LLC and Biocarbon Associates
Co-sponsored by US Biochar Initiative, Sonoma Biochar Initiative, Southern California Biochar Initiative and others TBA

Sign up at:
- See more at:

Who should attend? Small farmers; home, community, commercial gardeners; and anyone interested in soils, plants and small scale biomass energy.

What you will learn from our faculty of 12 prominent biochar experts:

  • No-cost and low-cost ways to make plenty of biochar for your farm
  • Biochar application rates and methods for best results
  • How to make biologically active, nutrient balanced biochar fertilizer blends
  • How to analyze biochar characteristics
  • How to integrate biochar economically and ecologically into your farm production systems
  • How to design biochar devices that capture useful energy
Master Gardeners’ Discovery Garden at River Forks Park
Roseburg, OR 97471

Black is the New Green
Grow it Better with Local Biochar
Biochar Expo
October 18, 2014
Master Gardeners’ Discovery Garden at River Forks Park
Roseburg, OR

Oregon BEST funding and partnership with Oregon State University Researchers helps Sunmark Environmental develop a new stormwater filter media that uses biochar made from lumber mill residue to remove metals from stormwater.

"With our filter media, we're seeing metal removal rates of between 80 and 100 percent," said Robin Cook, founder and partner of Sunmark, a soil and native plant restoration company. "Most other available filter media remove only about 60 percent, at best, so people are pretty excited about this. But we need third-party, scientific data from research to back up our findings."

The researchers hope to develop a media mix for optimal removal of zinc, copper, and heavy metals. These metals can come from galvanized steel (metal roofs) and roadway runoff (car brake linings, antifreeze, etc).

See more at:

Tom Miles Leading the Biochar Workshop
Larry and the Estufas Finca
JD from Carbon Cultures
Tom, Renel, and Michelle Heller with Biochar in the Summit's Classroom sessions
We had a good crowd at the biochar demonstration.
Tom Miles giving examples of biochar production at various scales

March 7th and 8th Tom Miles ran a biochar making workshop as part of the San Juan County Agricultural Summit Biochar Workshop. Tom explained the guiding principles of char use and production, and the Larry James (Seachar) demonstrated the Estufas Finca. JD Tovey (Carbon Cultures) gave a great short introduction to the development of the Carbon Cultures biochar oven. We had about 40 people from a mix of agriculture, trades and small land owners. Sam Heller ran a quick demo of his home make TLUD retort, and Erin R. did a small cone kiln demonstration. Renel Anderson great information, posters and demos of char, and Jim Karnofski shared a lot of practical application advice.

Tom and Renel Anderson (Biochar Supreme) gave a great couple of short talks During the San Juan Island Agriculture Summit about making and using biochar at a farm scale. Renel generously shared her struggles with getting her biochar tested, certified, and the packaging issues sorted out for sale in retail and farm stores. It was a great presentation. The San Juan Islands have an interesting challenge. It’s expensive to ship anything to the islands, so they need to integrate their use of each part of their farm cycle to improve their soils as well as their production. They have a mix of older farmers and young farm families just starting out. There was great information at the summit, and it will be exciting to see how these families take up the challenges and implement some of the ideas over the next year.
Download a copy of Tom's Presentation 4Mb pdf

Biochar Burn school was put together to field test simple, ways to reduce CO2 and emissions from existing forest slash burning practices. The working theory was "We can do better".
They ran some controlled experiments, and came up with some straightforward techniques that improve forest residue burning methods and satisfy other needs of taxpayers and forest managers.
For details see the slideshow:

For more information check out Kelpie Wilson's summary at

CalForest Biochar Compost

Washington State Department of Ecology and Washington State University released:
Odor in Commercial Scale Compost: Literature Review and Critical Analysis

This is a well written and thoughtful analysis of evolving challenges to commercial compost operations. It outlines current challenges in odor management and presents possible solutions in organization of the plant, biological solutions and non-biological solutions. Thanks to Mark Fuchs who has diligently included all possible solutions to the odor problem, and we appreciate the hard work of both teams at Washington State Dept of Ecology and Washington State University.


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