WFIWC Purpose, Objectives, and Origin

Western Forest Insect (Work1) Conference

December 7, 1949

During 1949 a growing sentiment appeared among forest entomologists in western Canada and the United States for the formation of what is now the Western Forest Insect (Work) Conference. It was felt that the need was great for an organization that would provide a common ground for the discussion of many problems in forest entomology. The appearance of devastating outbreaks of both old and relatively new forest insect pests and the rapid strides in survey and control techniques made in these two countries in the last decade have called for a careful coordination of effort on the part of all forest entomologists. The opportunities to discuss mutual problems that have risen in connection with these developments have not always been available to these men through the medium of already-established forestry and entomological organizations.

The need for a getting together of western forest entomologists was stressed by Dr. J.J. de Gryse3 during the past year. He cited the success of the Northeastern Forest Disease and Insect Pest Control Committee, now in its 10th year, in helping to solve some of the perplexing problems in the eastern part of Canada and the United States. Correspondence between various forest entomologists in the western part of the two countries helped to create the interest that eventually culminated in the organization of the conference at Portland, Oregon, December 7, 1949.

The organizing of the Conference was greatly facilitated by the appointment in Seattle, Washington on October 12, 1949 of a steering committee composed of Messrs. Hector A. Richmond, Victoria, B. C. (Chairman); Robert L. Furniss, Portland, Oregon; and James C. Evenden, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. This committee, with Mr. F. P. Keen, Berkeley, California, substituting for Mr. Furniss4 and Mr. Philip C. Johnson, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho for Mr. Evenden, met in Portland on December 6, 1949 to lay the groundwork for the present organization. The text of a proposed constitution was drafted at this time and subsequently approved with modifications.

The objectives of the Western Forest Insect Conference are stated in the Constitution adopted in Portland on December 7, 1949 as follows:

1. To advance the science and practice of forest entomology.
2. To provide a medium of exchange of professional thought.
3. To serve as a clearing house for technical information on forest insect problems of the western United States and Canada.

The consensus of those present at the organizational meeting seemed to indicate a decided preference for a rather informal type of organization. It was felt that the meetings, in particular, should be more in the form and substance of work conferences where all those attending could have an opportunity to participate. This approach was followed in conducting the December meeting in Portland and those who attended seemed convinced that the ultimate success of the Conference lies in its adherence to this principle.


1 "Work" was added to the name at the 1950 conference.
2 Author not indicated. Scanned and converted to Word by Malcolm M. Furniss from a typed sheet in the files of R.L. Furniss.
3 Chief, Forest Insect Investigations, Division of Entomology, Science Service, Dominion Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada.
4 R.L. Furniss was on assignment to Japan.