February 20, 2015 -- The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities Releases 2014 Annual Report
“Our 8th Annual Report (for calendar year 2014) reflects the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities’ (the Endowment) focus on “Investing for Impact” in a wide-array of initiatives all with the ultimate purpose of supporting the North American forest industry,” said President & CEO Carlton Owen.
“We are willing to use many different financial instruments to bring about systemic, transformative, and sustainable change to improve the health of America’s forests and the millions of people that depend upon them,” continued Owen. “We use traditional approaches such as grants, but more frequently we are moving to Program-related (low-interest loans) and Mission-related Investments (traditional loans) and even equity investments. Regardless of our investment strategy, in each case we seek a measurable impact that addresses our twin purposes of ‘keeping forests as forests’ and ‘growing family-wage jobs’ in forest-rich communities.”
Highlights from the Endowment’s 2014 successes featured in the Annual Report include:
Significant investments in commercialization of cellulosic nanofiber technology that could create markets for low-value wood thus providing important forest health benefits, such as reducing wildfires, while yielding 21st Century green products and high-wage jobs in rural America;
Creation of a new consortium focused on renewable energy from torrefied wood as another tool to advance forest health while also growing use of a domestically-produced renewable energy;
Revitalizing forest industry investments in research and development essential for expanding existing markets and creating new ones;
Continuing collaborations between the U.S. and Canada on forestry issues common to both;
Financial strategies to protect and improve management of forested watersheds which produce two-thirds of our Nation’s drinking water; and
Advances to help African American landowners retain and better manage their forests to improve their financial futures.
To access a copy of the 2014 Annual Report, click here.
February 12, 2015 -- State Action Plan RFP
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), in partnership with the Southern Group of State Foresters, the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service, and the Southeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, seeks proposals for projects that enhance collaboration between state forestry and wildlife agencies in updating and implementingState Forest Action Plans and State Wildlife Action Plans. Through this RFP we seek to fund projects that will enhance cooperation, coordination, and collaboration within and/or between states with regard to plan implementation and to improve and document effectiveness of on-the-ground conservation outcomes resulting from enhanced collaboration.
States eligible for this project include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Approximately $132,000 in combined federal and private funding is available for one or two projects. Matching funds are encouraged but not required.
For more information, and instructions on how to submit a proposal, click here.
February 12, 2015 -- Endowment Loan Aids Menominee Indian Tribe
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced that it has made a $250,000 Program-related Investment (loan) to Menominee Tribal Enterprises, the business operating unit of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. Funds will be used to replace the boiler at the tribe’s sawmill in Neopit, WI.
Norman Shawanokasic, President, CEO, and Chairman of the MTE Board of Directors states, “We are thankful that the Endowment Board of Directors agreed to provide some of their funds to allow us to make this investment in upgrading the boiler that will enhance our mill’s overall efficiency. The Endowment worked to bring the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and its affiliate Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC) to the table to ensure that we could move forward. We’ve had this project planned for many years because of the money that it will save on one hand and because of the enhancements it will make to the air quality for our people and all residents of the Menominee Community. We’re excited that it’s finally underway.”
“This project was a very good fit for the Indian Land Capital Company and its lending products focused on land and natural resources. The ILCC board of directors is happy that we could step in and help make the project happen sooner rather than later,” according to Cris Stainbrook, ILCC board chair.
“We are especially pleased to be able to work with Menominee Tribal Enterprises and the Menominee Tribe on this important project that will ensure that their sawmill that has been providing sustainably produced wood products and vitally important jobs for well over 100 years will continue,” said Endowment President and CEO Carlton Owen.
For more information contact:
Carlton N. Owen, President & CEO, 864-233-7646, firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities – www.usendowment.org
The Menominee Tribal Enterprises operates one of the best managed working forests in the nation on the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin’s nearly 250,000 acre reservation about 45 miles northwest of Green Bay. The first sawmill operation was approved in 1871 and began operating in 1886. The current mill which began in 1908 is the longest continuously running tribal sawmill in the U.S. It produces about 15,000,000 board feet of lumber annually and employs 160 people at its operational peak.
The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, community-based organization serving American Indian nations and people in the recovery and control of their rightful homelands. It works to promote education, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands.
February 4, 2015 -- Water Quality and Economic Benefits of Forested Watersheds: Request for Proposals
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, in partnership with the Water Research Foundation (www.waterrf.org), today announced a request for proposalsto plan and convene a workshop to assess the state of the science for forested watershed protection as it relates to water quality and the impact on drinking water costs.
“Two-thirds of the drinking water in the U.S. originates in a forest,” said Peter Stangel, the Endowment’s Senior Vice President. “We know that healthy, well-managed forests produce cleaner water. There is increasing evidence that good management and protection of forested watersheds may reduce drinking water treatment costs. This workshop will bring together diverse experts to improve our understanding of the link between forest management practices and drinking water costs. This will help water utilities, communities and forest managers invest more confidently in source water protection activities.”
The $12 million award will fund conservation easements on working forests in four southern states. RCPP is a new program of the 2014 Farm Bill administered by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“We are thrilled to be selected for funding in the inaugural Regional Conservation Partnership Program,” said Endowment President and CEO Carlton Owen. “This new USDA program is a bold approach to support locally-driven solutions for natural resource challenges. We commend Secretary Vilsack and NRCS Chief Jason Weller for their leadership in facilitating such an innovative, public-private partnership.”
January 20, 2015 -- E-Learning Course Launched to Protect Forest Product Safety and Forest Health
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) is pleased to announce the availability of a new e-learning course -- Trade in forest commodities and the role of phytosanitary measures - North-American edition. http://www.fao.org/forestry/foresthealthguide/76169/en/
“In a world where global trade in products is a reality, it is vitally important that we take every reasonable precaution to ensure that such trade does not exacerbate human or environmental health issues. Development of this product was led by the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada as a follow-up to the Canada/U.S. Forest Health Summits and serves as a good step toward enhancing forest health protection efforts in North America,” said Endowment President & CEO Carlton Owen.
November 25, 2014 -- Canada/U.S. Report Results of Enhanced Activity to Address Forest Health
On behalf of its partners in Canada and the United States the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today released the first report (2013/2014 Year End Report, English; 2013/2014 Year End Report, French) of results of enhanced cross-border collaboration to address forest health issues affecting the second greatest forest expanse in the world – the combined forest estate of Canada and the U.S.
“While cooperation among our two countries and especially forest scientists and forest managers in both has a long-history, the enhanced collaboration and the positive results showcased in this report point to the importance and benefits to the forests and people of both nations when that cooperation is more strategic,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “As we’ve seen with recent cases involving Ebola, it is vitally important that people focus on cooperation and rapid sharing of information to effect positive results. The forests of North America are benefitting from just such collaboration.”
November 19, 2014 -- Endowment Elects New Board Members and Officers for 2015
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) this past week welcomed the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors -- Andrea Tuttle of Arcata, California, and John T. Cooper, Jr. of College Station, Texas.
In addition two members were re-elected for three-year terms – John Kulhavi of White Lake, Michigan, and Jim Hoolihan of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Officers being re-elected to terms for 2015 are Tamar Datan, Vice Chair of Leesburg, Virginia; and Jon Voigtman, Treasurer of Summit, New Jersey. John Weaver of Augusta, Georgia continues as the Board Chairman for the second year of a two-year term.
October 3, 2014 -- Survey Results Rank Priority Needs for Improving Forest Health and Creating New Markets for Low-Value Wood
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI (FPL), and the Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, Savannah, GA (Herty) today released the results of a survey designed to aid the Consortium for Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions (CAWES) in establishing its near-term work priorities.
“We asked experts in the wood-to-energy sector to rank the highest priority needs that must be addressed in research and development as well as emerging production facilities to advance market readiness and commercialization of torrefied wood -- a product with significant potential to create family-wage jobs, enhance forest health, and provide a new green energy product,” said Endowment President & CEO Carlton Owen. “This work is the first step in ensuring that we target our limited financial and human resources to those areas that offer the greatest benefit to advancing the objective.”
September 18, 2014 -- Nancy Natoli Élan Award for Innovation in Land Conservation Winners Announced
Bob Barnes works the hallways of Washington, DC, pressing the need for land conservation to help protect military readiness and training. Just southwest of Darien, Georgia, the Townsend Bombing Range Encroachment Partnering Team has helped conserve more than 30,000 acres essential for air training exercises for the Marines, Georgia Air National Guard, and America’s allies. Both are winners of the inaugural Nancy Natoli Élan Award for Innovation in Land Conservation.
September 17, 2014 -- Partnership Selects Cellulosic Nanomaterial Proposal
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today announced the selection of nine scientific proposals designed to advance the commercialization of Cellulosic Nanomaterials (CN). The projects are being funded through P3Nano – a public-private partnership founded by the Endowment and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) with federal matching funds being provided by the Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry and Research and Develop branches and work coordinated with the USFS Forest Products Laboratory. The initial projects total more than $3 million in partnership funding.
Through a review process that included experts in business, government, and academia with extensive experience in CN, proposals were selected from 65 submissions requesting more than $20 million.
Carlton Owen, Chair of the P3Nano Steering Committee and President of the Endowment stated, “Our partnership is committed to finding new high-value products that build on the renewability of the nation’s forests. Cellulosic nanomaterials offer the promise of not only advanced green products for a more sustainable future but they do so while putting Americans to work in family-wage jobs at the same time that we advance the health and vitality of forests.”
September 8, 2014 -- Torrefaction Report and Second Survey Available
The Consortium for Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions (CAWES) today released an Executive Summary report from the Consortium’s recent kick-off meeting in Atlanta. In addition, the CAWES Steering Committee asked for input on the second of two brief surveys designed to assess the state of torrefaction of woody biomass in the U.S.This surveywhich is open until September 18, will aid in determining the range of organizations, personnel, and specialized equipment dedicated to advancing torrefaction. The prior survey, which will be available until September 15, will help CAWES set priorities and work plans.
September 5, 2014 -- Identifying Priorities for Commercialization of Torrefied Wood Products
The Consortium for Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions (CAWES) today released a brief survey seeking input on challenges and knowledge gaps to commercialization of torrefied wood products. Those wishing to add their perspectives may do so using the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CAWES To be considered responses should be completed by noon EDST, September 15.
CAWES is an open-platform collaborative of institutions in the public and private sectors representing green energy, forest management, research, philanthropy and private industry committed to advancing economically-viable, scalable, distributed wood-to-energy solutions that stimulate forest restoration and rural economic development through research and application of advanced wood-to-energy solutions.
Founding partners of CAWES include Georgia Southern University’s Herty Advanced Materials Development Center of Savannah, GA; the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory , Madison, WI; and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment). The Forest Service and the Endowment have committed $4 million to jump-start the initiative.
Torrefaction is a mild form of pyrolysis—a thermochemical process to decompose organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen. The process drives off water and volatile compounds from biomass leaving a more energy-dense product.
August 27, 2014 -- Raging Forest Fires Demand Breakthrough Solutions: Consortium to Seek Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions for Enhanced Forest Health and Job Growth in Rural America
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI (FPL) and the Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, Savannah, GA (Herty) meeting today in Atlanta with nearly three-dozen industry and university experts announced the launch of the Consortium for Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions (CAWES). The consortium’s goal is to spearhead development of commercially-viable, advanced wood-to-energy products that can be produced from low-value trees and forest residues that all-too-often compromise forest health and increase the frequency of wildfires.
The Endowment and the Forest Service, via its State & Private Forestry division, have “jump started” the consortium with a $4 million investment designed to identify and fill critical research, development, and deployment needs in launching successful commercial biomass-to-energy products operations.
August 5, 2014 -- Department of Defense Grants Protect Groundwater, Forests, Farmlands, and Wetlands
Two new grant awards will help protect compatible land uses around military installations and conserve at-risk species and natural resources in support of military readiness. The grants were awarded through the 2014 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Initiative Challenge (REPI) Program. The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) helped administer the 2014 REPI Challenge Program as a service to the Department of Defense.
The two REPI awards totaling $5 million will leverage an additional $14.17 million to help protect more than 8,100 acres. A $4 million award will permanently restrict development on 5,900 acres of ranchland near Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. This buffer will help protect more than 160,000 annual air operations, slow the proliferation of electromagnetic interference on an 800 square mile area, and prevent development of 1,400 new water wells, conserving scarce groundwater resources that benefit people and the environment.
The second grant, of $1 million, will help protect 2,259 acres of forests, wetlands, and farmlands near Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. This land is part of an 8,500 acre wildlife corridor along the Nanticoke River. Undeveloped areas at this site reduce noise and safety concerns, which can prevent costly restrictions and delays to training and testing at one of the Navy’s premiere testing and training facilities.
“The REPI team galvanizes an impressive array of contributors and partners and supports projects that provide great benefits to natural resources, the military, and tax-payers” noted Peter Stangel, Senior Vice President at the Endowment. “The 2014 REPI Challenge projects also reflect the spirit of the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership, which brings together the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to work with the Department of Defense on projects of mutual interest.”
July 7, 2014 -- Endowment Aids Next Generation of Timber Harvesters
A modest grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) is helping to ensure a brighter future timber harvesting and hauling. NCIF today announced a loan to help two brothers -- Will (age 26) and Wesley (age 24) Coleman of Richburg, SC -- buy equipment for their company. The loan to Coleman Brothers Logging, LLC is designed to enhance production and profitability.
June 23, 2014 -- New Award Memorializes Land Conservation Leader
Nancy Natoli’s job at the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI) was to support “…military sustainability by addressing and removing restrictions to allow commanders the greatest flexibility to ensure our military men and women can test, train, and operate now and into the future.” She did that with a passion and commitment that benefited not only America’s warfighters, but also those who work daily to protect our Nation’s conservation lands and natural resources. The Nancy Natoli Élan Award for Innovation in Land Conservation celebrates Nancy’s spirit, achievements, and impact on the land conservation community.
“This annual award recognizes individuals, teams, or organizations, which, in Nancy’s spirit, have taken existing, undersized land conservation opportunities and tweaked them for unexpected or outsized results, or identified and implemented new land conservation opportunities,” said Peter Stangel, Senior Vice President at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), one of several of Nancy’s colleagues who helped develop the award.
To read more and to submit a nomination, click here.
May 16, 2014 -- Hoolihan Elected to Endowment's Board of Directors
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) announced today that James “Jim” Hoolihan of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, has been elected to its Board of Directors. “As an institution approaching its eighth anniversary and a near 100% rotation from our inaugural Board, it is vitally important that we attract people with relevant skills and experience,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “To gain someone with Jim’s passion for of our mission and at the same time with deep experience in the rural philanthropic world is indeed a double blessing,” he continued.
“From my former position with the Blandin Foundation I have had the opportunity to watch the Endowment emerge and grow into an impactful player in the working forest conservation and rural economic development space and I am humbled to now play an active role in its continued evolution,” Hoolihan said. “This role will allow me to continue to engage in my passion for aiding rural, forest-rich places while reaching beyond my roots in the Lake States.”
May 15, 2014 --Ground-Breaking Program Launched to Aid Timber Harvesters and Haulers
One of the best-known names in tree-growing and forest stewardship is the first forest products company in America to participate in a new program that will boost the economic vitality and sustainability of the nation’s 10,000 independent timber harvesters and haulers. Weyerhaeuser has teamed up with the Southern Loggers Cooperative, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the Natural Capital Investment Fund to launch a program that will significantly improve access to cost-effective diesel fuel.
Under terms of the new program, Weyerhaeuser has agreed to provide a financial guarantee that will assist the Southern Loggers Cooperative in expanding its network of logger-owned and operated diesel fuel depots in areas where the company has a significant operating presence. The guarantee is designed to mitigate the cost risk associated with establishing fuel depots. It specifies that should any of Weyerhaeuser’s mills in an identified region close within seven years, the SLC would recoup all or part of its establishment costs. After the agreement is signed, the level of commitment will decline each year until the end of year seven, when the agreement sunsets.
“Our primary business is growing trees and providing raw materials to our converting mills and others in the forest products industry,” said Adrian Blocker, Weyerhaeuser’s senior vice president, Lumber. “But we’re totally dependent upon the network of mostly family-owned small businesses to get raw materials from forests to the mill. The SLC’s ten-year history of developing and servicing diesel fuel depots and passing significant financial savings on to its members is one of the most exciting and beneficial developments we’ve seen. We are happy to do our small part to help them advance their model, and we hope other companies also will consider participating in this innovative program.”
May 13, 2014 -- 2014 Special Projects Intern Joins Endowment
Coleman Allums, a recent graduate of Furman University, Greenville, SC, is the 2014-2015 Special Project Intern at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment). He will work with the Endowment for one year beginning immediately.
Allums graduated cum laude from Furman in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability Science and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. During his time at Furman, Allums was heavily involved with the Shi Center for Sustainability as a Mellon Fellow and Student Farm Manager. He has had significant roles in multiple long-term research initiatives at Furman, all of which sought to integrate analyses of conservation and resource use with sociopolitical and economic considerations. As an Endowment Intern, Allums will draw heavily upon this work, as well as previous work with the City of Decatur, GA, the City of Greenville, SC, and the Atlanta Local Food Initiative.
“Interns are an integral part of the Endowment’s work and function,” said Peter Stangel, Senior Vice President. “They bring fresh thinking, high energy, and new perspectives to our business. Each intern undertakes an independent project that advances some aspect of our work, while also sharpening their skills. We are delighted to have someone with Coleman’s experience as part of our team.”
About his work with the Endowment, Allums said, “I am excited and honored to have been selected as the new Intern at the Endowment. I am eager to put my skills and experience to work for an organization that demonstrates such commitment to practical sustainability and meaningful policy.”
Since the Endowment’s inception in late 2006, the formal internship program has played a vital role in retaining a lean staff model, while simultaneously offering hands-on experience to newly-minted professionals. Furman University has been the source of the largest number of interns to date.