It's baseball season again, and can't wait to see my Orioles in action. Did you know that most wooden baseball bats are made from ash trees? Unfortuntely for my fellow baseball fans, there's something nefarious lurking in America's trees and devastating our primary source of bat wood: the emerald ash borer.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
Maryland's General Assembly passed the Forest Preservation Act of 2013, exciting new legislation that establishes new and expands existing incentives and reforestation tools to help private landowners, local governments, and the state maintain its current tree canopy, improve water quality, and support community sustainability through forests and trees.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy Resources for Forest Landowners
The Supreme Court ruled today to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long-standing policy to not require Clean Water Act permits on Forest Roads. While this helps to ensure forest owners are not subject to additional regulations under the Clean Water Act, the issue is far from over.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy
Tick, tock. Congress’ sequestration deadline is 11:59 tonight. With so much disagreement, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to whether lawmakers will be able to come to an agreement on how to cut spending by the mandated $85 billion for this fiscal year. Read about how this will affect America's family forests.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
There’s certainly a lot of rhetoric flying around Washington about impending tax increases if Congress doesn’t act by the end of the year. All Americans need to know that the estate tax is not just about the 1%. It’s a forest conservation issue that could impact millions of acres of forestland if Congress doesn’t act.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
The federal estate tax can threaten rural lands when the families who own them are faced with the setback of having to sell their land and timber because they are land rich but cash poor, with few other assets. That's why we've introduced the Keep the Forest and Farm in the Family Act of 2012, to protect American farms, forests and ranches from the negative impacts of the estate tax.Read More >Categories: Policy
The 2012 wildfire season could soon be one of the worst on record. Family forest owners need all the conservation tools they can get, and yet resources for private forest owners have diminished steadily over the last decade. That's one reason why AFF launched MyLandPlan.org.
Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Opinion Policy Resources for Forest Landowners
Jacques Imperial, Constituent Services Liaison for Congressman Dave Reichert, contacted me about a week after returning from the second annual PLT Fly-In, July 17th and 18th, in Washington, DC. She was interested to see, firsthand, the outdoor classrooms that were motivating students to want to learn, classrooms that were improving test scores, and encouraging stewardship of natural spaces.Read More >Categories: Environmental Education Policy
On July 17th, 17 PLT educators and state coordinators from seven states (FL, ME, MN, SD/WY, VA, and WA) traveled to Washington, DC to meet with their Members of Congress and educate these decision-makers on the importance of environmental education for student learning.
Read More >Categories: Environmental Education Policy
Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, more commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, with a bipartisan 16-5 vote. After months of working with staff to make sure the Farm Bill works for forest owners, the American Forest Foundation is excited to see the committee take a big step forward.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy Resources for Forest Landowners
On Monday, Kathy McGlauflin (AFF Senior VP, Education) and Al Stenstrup (Director, Education Programs, PLT) and attended the first White House Summit on Environmental Education.
Read More >Categories: Environmental Education PLT GreenSchools! Policy
The 2012 Farm Bill reauthorization process has begun! Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a Farm Bill conservation hearing, which focused on strengthening conservation in the 2012 Farm Bill.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
What does the closing of 1,009 sawmills and the loss of 294,000 full-time jobs mean for the future of the forest products industry? the decline of the forest sector has serious implications for forest health and the future of America’s forests.Read More >Categories: News Opinion Policy
Congress wants to eliminate funding for the U.S. Forest Service’s conservation education program, which could mean we say farewell to Smokey Bear.Read More >Categories: Environmental Education News for Forest Landowners Opinion Policy
Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
Environmental Education was handed a “big win” yesterday when the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee reported the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) out of committee with a bi-partisan vote of 15-7.
Read More >Categories: Environmental Education News Policy
The U.S. Department of Education released their final plans for the new Green Ribbon Schools awards program last week. Through this program, the Department is seeking to recognize schools that save energy, reduce costs, and feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, as well as protect health, foster wellness and impart effective environmental education.Read More >Categories: Environmental Education PLT GreenSchools! Policy
A new Forest Service study confirms wood is the greenest of green building materials, particularly wood that is certified as sustainable by credible forest certification systems.Read More >Categories: News Policy
Invasive species present a major threat to America’s family forests. Nonnative insects and plants that migrate to non-indigenous forests can wreak havoc. More than 27 million acres of state, county and private forests are at risk in the United States. The Continental Dialogue on Non-Native Forest Insects and Diseases is a collaborative effort among hundreds of member organizations and concerned individuals to abate the threat of non-native pests and pathogens in North America.
These days, who doesn’t want to build green? Wood, especially wood from American Tree Farm System certified forests, is one of the greenest building materials out there.
Unfortunately, a new U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) rating system still leaves this green building material high and dry—proposed changes continue to discriminate against wood products compared to other materials.
“I’m just a bill, yeah, I’m only a bill, and I’m sittin’ here on Capitol Hill…” the old Schoolhouse Rock song was plunking its way through my brain as I walked up to the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. I was joined in the nation's capital by other educators to share the successes of Project Learning Tree’s GreenSchools! with our political leaders.Read More >Categories: Environmental Education PLT GreenSchools! Policy
On July 26th and 27th, PLT coordinators from several states met with our Representatives and Senators in Washington DC to report program successes, share best practices and above all, promote the importance of natural resources education inside AND outside the classroom.Read More >Categories: Environmental Education Policy
July 20th started typically early for Walt and Donna Lange—except with meetings on Capitol Hill in place of the usual planting and weed pulling. The Langes, who own 32 Ohio acres that help protect the watershed for Lake Erie, came to Washington to represent fellow Tree Farmers.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy Profile Resources for Forest Landowners
Environmental education is finally getting the attention it deserves – from Members of Congress at the federal level, to State Boards of Education at the local level.
Read More >Categories: Environmental Education News Policy
My family has owned woodlands in Wisconsin for three generations.
I spent my childhood surrounded by 200 acres of forests of maple, ash, oak and walnut trees, playing and learning in the woods. I love it in Wisconsin.
The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is co-hosting the 4th annual Ecosystem Markets Conference here this week because we think that environmental markets are key to the future of America's forests (and Wisconsin is the home of Aldo Leopold!).Read More >Categories: News Policy
On Tuesday, Maryland became the first state in the nation to require students be environmentally literate in order to graduate from high school.
“I am thrilled about the environmental literacy requirement for students to be able to graduate in Maryland,” said Dr. Sarah Haines, Director of the Center for Science & Mathematics Education in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University, and Maryland Project Learning Tree State Coordinator.Read More >Categories: Environmental Education News Policy
It’s usually next to impossible to get folks in Washington to agree on anything. And yet, when it comes to protecting our natural resources, you can bet that there is little to argue about. On June 21, the American Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the Land Trust Alliance and more than 350 other organizations released a letter to the Obama Administration and Congress to protect conservation programs in the federal budget.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has the authority to stop the importation of suspicious plants, but the current rules draw the process out for months and allow potentially harmful plants to continue to enter the country until a final decision is reached.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy Resources for Forest Landowners
USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced a plan to promote agroforestry to farmers, ranchers, and woodland owners to enhance their productivity, profitability, and environmental stewardship.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy
On May 31st, Karen Serfass testified before Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
Karen, a Tree Farmer from Dafter, Michigan, spoke for both the American Forest Foundation and the 95,000 Tree Farmers the foundation works with every day.
Karen reminded the Committee that most Americans don’t realize that forests provide tremendous public benefits: clean water, clean air, wood products, and wildlife habitat.
Wood products are good for jobs, particularly in rural economies, and strong markets for wood products help keep working forests as forests. Secretary Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently developed a new green building strategy to promote wood products as an environmentally preferable building material. AFF, along with 40 conservation, landowner and industry partners, want to thank USDA for its continuing leadership on this issue by becoming a cheerleader for wood products.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
By investing in ecosystem services, municipalities can cut their budgets for pollution remediation technologies and clean-up tremendously.Read More >Categories: News Policy
There’s no question that Congress is going to make cuts to programs in the 2012 federal budget, but will they maintain the programs that give Tree Farmers tools needed to keep their land healthy for future generations? Check out this new video.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy
In the fifth and final blog post of her Budget 101 series, Christine Cadigan highlights some stellar land grant university research programs.Read More >Categories: Policy Resources for Forest Landowners
To better highlight the various programs AFF hopes the Subcommittee will support as the FY 2012 budget process unwinds, AFF's Christine Cadigan identifys specific Farm Bill programs and their many benefits. Read Part 2 now.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy Resources for Forest Landowners
To better highlight the various programs AFF hopes the Subcommittee will support as the FY 2012 budget process unwinds, AFF's Christine Cadigan has written series of blog posts, identifying specific programs and their many benefits. Read Part 1 now.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy
At the U.S. celebration of the U.N.'s 2011 International Year of Forests, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA's new strategy to promote the use of wood as a green building material.Read More >Categories: News Policy
We had a terrific meeting with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White, their National Forester Bruce Wight, and the Director of Ecological Services Terrell Erickson on Tuesday, March 22. The purpose of the meeting was to sign a memorandum of understanding between NRCS and the American Forest Foundation with two key elements.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy Resources for Forest Landowners
The 2008 Farm Bill called on each state to complete a Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy by June 2010. Those assessments have now been published, and climate change is mentioned as a serious threat to forest health in all regions of the country.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
The estate tax has been a hot topic in Congress, becoming the main focus of debate over the past two weeks as Congress considered an extension of the Bush tax cuts. We are happy to say that the debate has been put to rest (for now).Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
Unfortunately, the majority of the wood from certified forests in the United States is not eligible for the Wood Certification credit under the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Forest Certification Benchmarks.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy
AFF continues to call on Congress to fix the estate tax for America’s family forests.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
Once Congress gets back to Washington after the Thanksgiving break, there will be more focus on what to do about the “Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.”Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Policy
Congress has done little this year to help address issues facing family forest owners. They failed to pass climate legislation that could create new market opportunities and other incentives for forest owners to sequester carbon and they have yet to address the estate tax, which is one of the biggest threats to America’s family forests. Gridlock and partisan battling have been the norm and solutions-focused legislation a rarity.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
Environmental education has received a good bit of attention this week in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Department of Education held its first ever Sustainability Education Summit, with the theme “Citizenship and Pathways for a Green Economy.” What began as an event mandated by the most recent Higher Education Act, quickly became an opportunity for a wide range of partners and stakeholders to come together and talk about the future of environmental education.Read More >Categories: Environmental Education Policy
Secretary Tom Vilsack released the USDA report, Private Forests, Public Benefits, that brings attention to the additional stress that our privately owned forests are facing from development, fragmentation and increased housing density. This is important to know since 56 percent of America’s forestland is privately owned by individuals and families.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
Earlier this week, I introduced a proposal along with my friend Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona to reform the federal estate tax. The proposal would permanently set the estate tax rate at 35 percent, with a $5 million exemption amount phased in over 10 years and indexed for inflation. It would also provide a “stepped up basis” for inherited assets. The proposal would be included in a package of other measures intended to provide economic relief for our small businesses.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Opinion Policy
In an opinion article published today in the Richmond Times Dispatch, Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, says the tremendous economic and environmental costs of the Gulf oil spill make more apparent than ever the need to make the president’s vision for a 21st century clean energy economy a reality. “America can no longer rely on energy sources that are growing increasingly difficult to find and utilize,” he writes.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
Yesterday, one of Project Learning Tree’s Iowa GreenSchools! families, the Isbells, along with AFF’s Melissa Harden (far right) and James McGirt (far left), were afforded the opportunity to meet with Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and his staff. The gathering, which was held to allow the Senator to connect with his constituents, had about 25 people inRead More >Categories: Environmental Education PLT GreenSchools! Policy
Today, the Forest Climate Working Group, a diverse coalition of forestry, conservation, industry, and carbon finance organizations let by AFF and the Trust for Public Land (TPL), weighed in with Senate leadership calling for a strong role for U.S. forests and harvested wood products in climate legislation.Read More >Categories: News News for Forest Landowners Policy
While we anticipated the unveiling today of a draft outline of the bipartisan climate and energy legislation spearheaded by Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman, the announcement has been delayed.Read More >Categories: News Policy
Lost in the growing climate change debate is an understanding about what the policy options will mean for the 504,000 people like me who manage forest land in the state of Georgia.Read More >Categories: News for Forest Landowners Opinion Policy