New England Forest Policy Group

The New England Forest Policy Group is an informal collaborative of two dozen conservation and forestry organizations seeking to improve conservation policies and funding. We work together and train to develop better communication tools, engage new and unexpected partners, and educate local, state, and federal decision-makers why forests are worth conserving.

In 2011, a series of strategic meetings following a public hearing on 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 forest 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 are now 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.

If you are interested in joining the New England Forest Policy Group and one or more working groups, please contact the group’s coordinator, Highstead Senior Conservationist Bill Labich at