A Note from Our Director

Growing Our Guild Community in 2017

To Our Members and Supporters,

As I reflect on what we have achieved together, I've realized what many of our members already know: the Guild is much more than a professional society - we're a community of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines who share a common goal of conserving forests for all their values. As members, supporters, and partners of the Guild, you are an important part of that community. This year, we’re planning a number of activities to build on that strength.

Beginning in January 2016, the Guild has been sponsoring a reforestation project led by young professionals in the community of Mirebalais, Haiti. The first phase of the project culminated on January 12, 2017, when the first 1,000 tree seedlings were distributed and over 80 local volunteers participated in a 5-day training session led by locally trained agronomists. We’re planning to continue support for their efforts in 2017. 

Here at home, we’re planning for a cohort of regional events around the U.S. We have gatherings in the works in the Northeast, North Carolina, California, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. Because we know there is no better way to keep the spark alive than by spending time together, our goal is to make sure that every member has access to events within driving distance of home each year.       

There is no better way to put community in forestry than employing local youth to work in forests. In New Mexico, we’re planning for a larger than ever Forest Stewards Corps – our 18th year running a youth conservation corps program employing young people in northern New Mexico. Our program this year will be larger and longer than ever, and we’ll be looking for opportunities to grow in other locations.   

Our Membership and Policy Council (MPC) is already at work this year focusing on new policy development and ways to add value to our membership. Professional Members will soon be voting on a policy statement on public lands – which is sure to be a hot issue in Washington this year. By taking a strong position on the value of public lands, the Guild will be joining a much larger community of conservation organizations who all share a stake in the benefits we receive from well-managed public lands.    

Look for changes this year within our flagship Model Forest program. We’re seeing significant opportunities for growth in our Model Forest network, and we’ll be beginning to roll out additional benefits and services tied to Model Forest designations. There is no better example of our mission and our values than the long-term commitment to exemplary forest stewardship practiced by our community of Model Forest designees and their managers.

We have events, webinars, and Guild-sponsored programs going on throughout the year. On January 31st, our long-time member Peter Bundy will be presenting on Restoration Forestry in the Lake States.  Across Lake Michigan, the Guild is sponsoring the first conference of Michigan Forest Biomaterials Association on February 1-2 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Keep an eye on our Guild events page for updates on events happening in your area.     

Finally, one very important way we're strengthening our community this year is by connecting our student members seeking real-world experience with our professional members and their organizations who can offer that experience. If you or your organization is planning for internships or seasonal and short-term needs this year, please contact Amanda Mahaffey, and we will gladly promote your opportunity with our growing number of student members who are eager to gain meaningful work experience. And if you're a student looking for forestry experience, keep an eye on our internships page for a growing list of opportunities.

Thanks so much for being part an essential part of our community,

- Fred