History of AWFC Conclave
On February 2, 1939, 40 men from ten different schools west of the Mississippi met with a goal of creating a multi-statewide community. They wanted to create a professional, educational and social order of foresters. They wanted to create a community that would be sponsored by the professional Society of American Foresters, would have a regular newsletter, and would have some sort of competition. This was the beginning of a tradition: the Association of Western Forestry Clubs.
Once a year, the AWFC met at an event called Conclave. They discussed their club’s news, and resolutions to problems that they could implement into their own clubs back home. They attended tours; banquets and the first Conclave even attended a University of Montana Foresters' Ball. However, the focus of Conclave as we know it today wasn’t to compete in timber sports until after WWII.
In 1952, after a ten-year gap for the war, the AWFC newsletters and Conclaves renewed. This is when competitions in woodsman’s events started: chopping, sawing, birling, tree climbing and tug-o-war.
And so started the Conclave that we know today including tours, competitions, and banquets. 2016 is the 77th AWFC Conclave, and the University of Montana in Missoula welcomes all schools in attendance. We strive to keep the tradition going, so get ready to be covered in saw dust, chips and dirt, when we all get together for this year’s events.
Photo: 1981 UM Woodsman Team Conclave Team