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.