Doug Sternback, air quality specialist with the Makah Tribe spoke with us about their woodshed program.
THHN: When did the woodshed program begin, and how many tribal households have you reached?
Doug: We build and deliver freestanding woodsheds to tribal elders and seniors relying on wood heat in our community. We started this program in 2009, and so far 55 woodsheds have been distributed. Our current goal is to produce a minimum of 5 woodsheds per year and with any luck up to 15 per year. The program has been a big success and our hope is to continue so we can reach more households, with funding locally or otherwise.
Tell us about the nuts and bolts of the program (no pun intended):
We’ve improved the materials and process over the years to make the woodshed design efficient and economical -‐ the materials cost about $250 per shed. The construction crews over the past few years consisted of summer interns, summer youth, fisheries staff, and the Makah air quality specialist. We’ve become very efficient builders – believe it or not, in 55 minutes we can put together a wood shed. The actual delivery can take longer than the build process! We advertise at the Senior Center when the sheds are ready, and hold a drawing there to give away the new woodsheds before burn season.
What are some of the benefits you see from this program?
Prior to getting a woodshed, these households were struggling to keep dry wood. Either the wood stack was uncovered, or maybe had a tarp cover that is difficult to keep in place. In some cases, residents were storing wood right alongside the home which can lead to pest and mold problems. So you can see that a wood shed offers many benefits ranging from cleaner air quality and better heat, to avoiding pests.
What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
As of 3 years ago I knew absolutely nothing about air quality -‐ my background is actually in water quality, but to me these two mesh together well.
To learn more, contact Doug Sternback: (360) 645-3273, email@example.com
A diagram and materials list of the Makah modular wood shed can be found here: