I had the great pleasure of working for AFF for 5+ years - mid 2000 through early 2006. While many of the players in the national office have changed, the strength of this organization continues to lie with its grass roots members and partners in the field. From its "salt of the earth" award winning Tree Farmers, to the state Tree Farm Committee volunteers, to the tried and true Tree Farm Inspectors, to the dedicated volunteers and professionals carrying out the Project Learning Tree program with our nation's youth. This is a proven program worthy of our (your) support.
I'm a licensed forester and landowner in Maine. Ten years ago I decided that we needed to seek third-party certification for our forests. During my professional career I have had the opportunity to experience first-hand several of the competing certification systems available to us and chose to work with AFF/ATFS. The results have been more than satisfying. The ATFS standards are sensible and the process for achieving certification, including periodic audits, is accessible and cost-effective for small landowners. This is a very important service for America's non-industrial private forests.
My husband and I own and manage 40 acres of forestland. We find the staff and the mission of the AFF to be excellent. Not only do they advocate for healthy forests but they've assisted us with how to better communicate the needs and desires of the forest landowner. We've learned how to communicate effectively with our congressmen and women so they understand our perspective. We want healthy, productive forests and the AFF is well equipped to help us achieve that.
I am a student of Forestry and Natural Resources and looking forward to a future career in the field. The American Forest Foundation has been a crucial part to helping me stay engaged and informed while I am studying abroad. Their use of blogging, Facebook and other web media give people the options they need to stay informed about the stewardship that is essential for enhancing our nation's forests. I have found them to be striving for that goal in America, but also successful in reaching a worldwide audience.
Thank you for your support, Valerie. Good luck as you work your way toward graduation!