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Pennsylvania Forestry Association: Looking Back and Moving Forward

Posted: October 17, 2017

This is my final message to you as PFA President. It’s been a very fast paced two-year President’s term with lots of positive forward movement for our association.

We’ve moved from a decades-old antiquated office into a modern office in downtown Harrisburg close by the Capitol Complex. We’ve hired a professional association management firm, Versant Strategies, to manage the communications, computer database, legislative affairs, and other functions of our association. We are well into the successful consolidation of the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Committee under the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. We’ve developed and implemented a new embroidered PFA and Tree Farm clothing apparel service through a third-party clothing vendor.

In the communications arena, we’ve moved our quarterly magazine, Pennsylvania Forests, from a black-and-white publication to a first-class four-color magazine. We’ve launched and have already once upgraded a content-rich monthly Forestry News You Can Use e–newsletter. We’ve outgrown our website and have hired a website contractor to overhaul the PFA website’s graphics and information delivery capabilities. Our initial PFA Facebook page has grown from approximately 200 members to 1500+ followers today.

We’ve improved our pre-board meeting education services for board members and are reinvigorating our committee structure with more functioning and active committees than we had two years ago. Our By-Laws Committee worked hard to present a set of updated PFA by-laws that will improve the efficiency and productivity of our board and committee work.

On the “allied association” front, we reached out to the Pennsylvania Association of Consulting Foresters and the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and established very positive working relationships with both organizations. Working with the Pennsylvania’s Project Learning Tree youth education program, PFA conducted a “Walk in the Forest” workshop for 20 forest landowners in early summer.

We’ve joined hands with the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association to become a full co-sponsor of the Pennsylvania Log a Load for Kids program, and we are now fully engaged in raising Log a Load funds for seriously ill or injured children at Pennsylvania’s children’s hospitals.

Most recently, we’ve joined hands with five other PA organizations to launch a first ever “Walk in Penn’s Woods” program, with the goal of helping Pennsylvania forest owners and others conduct educational walks in the woods in every one of PA’s 67 counties on the first Sunday in October. As envisioned, Walk in Penn’s Woods may include children’s activities, highlight management for wildlife or watersheds, exhibit the results of harvesting or planting, demonstrate the results of urban tree cover, display riparian buffers, or reveal the fascinating workings of a local sawmill.

I want to thank each of you for helping us move the PFA needle in a positive direction over the past two years and to also let you know that I believe your newly-elected PFA Officers and Executive Committee are committed to continuing this path of positive forward movement.

Switching gears…. on recent trip to a Quebec fishing camp, I met two forest inventory crews that were being flown by helicopter to complete forest inventory plots on remote Provincial forest lands. Staying at the fishing camp for weeks at a time, they were going to great lengths and expense to obtain an accurate analysis of forest conditions and tree growth. I want to encourage all PA forest landowners to periodically make an effort to measure and understand the value of your family forests. I am sure you will find it an eye opener to see how Penn’s Woods are Working for You!

For more information about the Pennsylvania Forestry Association or about becoming a member, visit the website or call 800-835-8065.

Contact Information

Gene Odato
  • Pennsylvania Forestry Association President