This Women’s History Month, we are thrilled to highlight #AFFWomen – those that work tirelessly to improve our forests, support American landowners, and benefit our communities. They hail from different backgrounds and have unique stories to tell — but they all share the goal of leaving our planet better and healthier than we found it.
In our second edition of this series, we sat down with Sierra Giraud, AFF’s senior forestry manager in the Northeast for the Family Forest Carbon Program. Sierra reflects on how her love of the outdoors continued her family’s legacy of working in the woods and emphasizes the need for women representation to bring fresh ideas and energy into forest conservation.
1. How/why did you choose to work in forest conservation?
I've always had a strong connection to the outside world, most specifically the forests. Growing up, my family moved to various regions of New York State, but we always had a 'boot in the woods,' by means of a lakeside camp in the Adirondack wilderness. My father is a forest ranger, and on our forest walks and hikes he would teach me tree species and instill in me conservation values. These childhood memories stoked the desire to, first and foremost, work outside. Later, while I attended my father's alma mater, I narrowed my focus to forestry.
2. What’s your favorite part of your career/job?
Throughout my different professions in the forestry sector, I've particularly enjoyed being an advocate for trees and forests, through sustainable management and informed stewardship. Like the Lorax stated in my favorite childhood book, "I Speak for the Trees." Whether it was congratulating a tree on a successful life when reaching financial maturity, marking a silviculture treatment in a forest stand slated for a harvest (and seeing the successful results afterward), or delineating protection areas of special ecological characteristics, I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing. I love that each forest is unique, and you only find its' secrets by walking through it yourself.
3. Why is it important for women to be involved in forest conservation?
Women bring very important perspectives into forest conservation. Women are innately more empathetic and can determine and place values on characteristics that may not be noticeable at first. Women also bring fresh ideas and energy into forest conservation, likely due to the increase in representation, that has previously been lacking.
4. In your opinion what needs to change, or what needs to be done, to increase women's involvement in forest conservation work?
Showcasing women's success in leadership roles or projects definitely gives young women someone to look up to. Having networks or ways to engage aspiring natural resource specialists also helps immensely.
5. Do you have a woman role model in the forest, conservation, or environmental space? Who is it and why?
One of the women leaders in environmentalism that has stuck with me is Dr. Robin Kimmerer. I remember my feelings as I read one of her books, Gathering Moss, in high school. I really respect how her teachings and writings marry the objectivity of science and observation with the historical knowledge passed down from indigenous cultures. She is highly regarded in her field, I only wish I had the time to attend one of her classes while at school!
6. What advice would you give to women looking to pursue a career in forest conservation?
Be Bold. Go after what you wish to, even if you think it is a reach. Don't feel intimidated by louder voices in the crowd, what you have to say or do is also important.
7. What's your favorite tree?
Ulmus americana - American Elm: This tree has the most beautiful form – if you can find it. It has fallen prey to an invasive fungus that eventually infects and kills the tree. Maybe, with advances in biotechnology, we will once again find it lining our streets and pioneering fields.
March 14, 2023
#AFFWomen: Brittany VanderWall
Over the years, more and more women have entered forest-related fields and have made incredible strides in conservation, forestry, and climate change. This Women’s History Month, AFF will highlight #AFFWomen – those that work tirelessly to improve our forests, support American landowners, and benefit our communities.
March 21, 2023
#AFFWomen: Tatiana Height
This Women’s History Month, we are thrilled to highlight the #AFFWomen who have unique stories to tell — but they all share the goal of leaving our planet better and healthier than we found it. In our third edition of this series, we sat down with Tatiana Height, AFF’s director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Family Forest Carbon Program.
March 21, 2023
AFF CEO: IPCC Report Showcases Need to Activate All Climate Solutions Now
“The IPCC’s report makes it alarmingly clear that we must activate all tools, including natural climate solutions, to fight climate change. In order to limit the risks within 1.5-degrees of global warming, governments, companies, and organizations must include forest-based solutions and leverage carbon markets that invest in the health and productivity of America’s forests."