Left to right: Foresters Dave Luther and  Matt Engberg with Sr. Carol Ann Wassmuth and a Tree Farm inspector.

Benedictine tradition includes the reverent care for and use of all things, so that the earth can be a healthy and enduring home for all creatures. We steward 1,400 acres of beautiful land, which includes farm, grazing land, gardens, and orchards, as well as 1,000 acres of forest. 

Sister Carol Ann Wassmuth is a master forest steward and oversees the forest with the help of Matt Engberg, a senior forester with Northwest Management, Inc. of Moscow, Idaho. “He is professional and hardworking,” said Sr. Carol Ann. “We’ve become good friends.”

Matt’s first major project in the St. Gertrude’s forest was in 2000 when he directed a harvest of dead and dying grand fir trees. The area was replanted with a diverse array of native species and most recently underwent its first thinning. ““I love those woods up there,” he said. “We are working to make them healthier.”

Matt also helps in planning and is currently assisting with updating the Monastery’s 25 year-old forest management plan. “Everything in the first plan has been taken care of,” he explained. “We will create new land management goals for the stands we’ve cleaned up and continue to get the right species in there. Also, some of the stand boundaries are no longer accurate.” 

Of course working alongside a Benedictine nun adds something special to a day in the forest. “She does give me a spiritual uplift — just the way she looks at everthing,” said Matt. “I am blessed to know her and I am amazed that she’s taken time to learn what I have made a career out of.”