The Northeast Forest Network is a growing coalition of conservationists and advocates across New England and New York whose aim is to galvanize people and organizations in support of the concept that protecting forests from development and managing them well are the most important things we can do to mitigate the impacts of climate change while protecting clean water and air, enhancing our health, growing our economy, sustaining nature and natural systems, and building more resilient communities.
Our vision is of permanently protected and well-managed forests that connect and sustain nature and all communities throughout the Northeast—urban, suburban, and rural.
In 2011, a series of strategic meetings following a public hearing about President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative led to unprecedented region-wide consensus on a slate of federal funding recommendations to conserve lands and support working forests and communities. In the following years, the New England Forest Policy Group would co-author two policy agendas (2011-12) and letters of testimony (2012-2016) supported by up to 100 groups representing every state in the region.
In 2016, the group revisited and measured interest among the larger conservation community in continuing and in modifying their mission and activities. They collected survey responses from across New England and recorded input from meetings with state policy groups in VT, NH, CT, and RI. With the results in hand in 2017, members crafted and adopted their first organizational framework that included six goals. The three priority goals were the subject of new working groups focused on 1) Fostering greater cross-sector collaboration, 2) Developing a prism/set of principles to guide shared messaging, and 3) Training members in and engaging local, state, and federal government officials. From 2017-2020, members worked with two communication firms to rebrand their organization as the Northeast Forest Network, reach out to new stakeholders, and develop and fund their first shared messaging campaign focused on raising awareness of the value of forests to our health and the wellbeing of all communities in the region.
While our ultimate goal is to see policy changes that reflect the value of forests on the local, state and federal levels, our focus is on creating a network of like-minded individuals and organizations that have shared goals and shared messaging that they are empowered to advance through their existing networks.
If you are interested in joining the Northeast Forest Network and in participating in our upcoming messaging campaign, please contact the group’s coordinator, Highstead Senior Conservationist Bill Labich at firstname.lastname@example.org.