Endowment Announces Call for Speakers for FIRz 2020: A Forum for Innovation about Forests, Forest Products, and Forest-Rich Communities

Endowment Announces Call for Speakers for FIRz 2020: A Forum for Innovation about Forests, Forest Products, and Forest-Rich Communities

Deadline for Speaker Submissions is February 28, 2020

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Greenville, SC

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE (January 9, 2020)

Greenville, SC –  The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today announced a call for speaker nominations for the second annual Forest Innovation Reviews (FIRz) symposium to be hosted this Fall by Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. FIRz is a forum for innovative ideas to solve some of today’s most significant challenges and creates a space for presenting well-formed ideas about forests, forest management, forest products, and forest-rich communities, conveyed through short, powerful talks. The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2020, at 11:59 PM Eastern. 

Last year, innovative thinkers from every corner gathered for a day to discuss some of the biggest challenges — and potential solutions — that face forests and forest health. Topics included designing the future forest; the potential of blockchain to track sustainable sourcing; the use of unmanned aerial systems (drones) to better inform the past, present and future of forests; how trees can reverse the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone; a new wood product to replace plastic; and much, much more. Talks from the inaugural 2019 FIRz, as well as a summary video, can be found on the Endowment website. 

“The Endowment invests its time and resources in seven strategic areas: traditional markets, ecosystem markets, emerging markets, wood-to-energy, asset creation, forest health, and forest retention. We have found over the years, however, that current tools and practices are not enough to address some of our planet’s biggest challenges,” said Endowment President and CEO Carlton Owen. “Threats to forests, their health and productivity have never been greater, and those threats continue to outpace traditional solutions. FIRz is a forum for surfacing the best new ideas for the health and future of forests. It has emerged as the signature annual event for unearthing innovation and revolutionary thinking in all our focus areas.” 

Submissions should be sent by email to info@usendowment.org with the subject “FIRz Submission” and should include a written abstract or concept overview of not more than 500 words along with a short, 30-second video explaining the concept (videos do not need to be of high quality). Those asked to continue to the next step in the selection process will be notified no later than March 30, 2020. Selected speakers will share their ideas with an audience open to the new, innovative, and in some cases, utterly unheard-of thinking. Then those ideas will be shared around the world via video. The presentation voted by FIRz attendees as “most likely to make a lasting difference” will be awarded $10,000. For more information, visit www.usendowment.org or email info@usendowment.org. 

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For more information contact: Carlton N. Owen, President & CEO, 864-233-7646, carlton@usendowment.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

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