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Trajectory NW Auction Supports Forestry Education

By Ty Walker

Trajectory NW Auction Supports Forestry Education

Trajectory NW Chief Executive Officer Austin Ernesti has a vision. With a start-up grant from Clackamas County, he founded this nonprofit organization in December 2022 full of big ideas of creating a k-12 education program that connects students with a network of forest industry professionals.

In January 2023, Trajectory helped launch the first Sandy High School Forestry Club in decades, and by the end of the school year, there were two full programs at different Clackamas County high schools, providing them a new outdoor career specialist almost every week. So far Trajectory has visited five schools and served hundreds of local students.

“We are passionate about showing youth there are many paths to fulfilling careers and love to highlight the outdoor and trades works,” Ernesti said.

Now Trajectory NW has its sights set on its first Scholarship Dinner and Auction, scheduled for April 27 in McMenamins Edgefield Ballroom, 2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale. Tickets are going fast and available online at Cost is $75 per individual and $750 for a table of eight. Doors open for the silent auction at 5:30 pm, dinner is served at 6:30 pm, and the live auction starts at 7 pm.

The event benefits education in forestry, natural resource management, heavy machinery, production and other careers. Funds raised go to fund k-12 educational programs and at least one $5,000 scholarship to an inbound freshman headed to a relevant program of study.

Some of the items up for the live auction include: a private South Dakota pheasant hunting and salmon fishing trip, cosmetics and beauty supplies, gift baskets, outdoor gear, saw-carved artwork, and more.

Ernesti, who runs Trajectory with the help of a five-member board that includes a teacher, a logger, an arborist and a heavy machine operator talks about the organization’s mission with great enthusiasm.
“Kids are engaged and care what happens so they get to see this much bigger picture,” Ernesti said. “Our mission is to invigorate the community by tying historical identities to modern workforce needs. In Oregon that means timber. Almost every single one of these towns was created by forestry or logging. We need to combine modern science sustainability with traditional ecological knowledge and old school logger gumption.”

The Trajectory program brings professionals into the classroom and classes to the woods to expose students to forestry-related careers, such as natural resource management, heavy machine operation, and wood production. For example, a Sandy High School natural resource management class recently took a field trip to a local fishery and a fish biologist visited the school.

Ernesti is a member of the Association Of Oregon Loggers (AOL) and Bark, an environmental watchdog for the Mt. Hood National Forest. He grew up on a farm in the midwest, served two tours of duty for the U.S. Army in Iraq to help pay for college, and earned a master’s degree in museum studies from Johns Hopkins University. In 2019, he moved with his family to Sandy, where he sits on the board of the Sandy Historical Society Museum.

For more information about the Trajectory NW Scholarship Dinner and Auction, email

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