Written by Alex Barrett, MPC Chair
Greetings and Happy New Year from the Membership and Policy Council. From where I sit here in southern Vermont, 2021 is off to a good start in the woods and I hope it is the same with you and where you practice. We have a cold crust of snow, forest contractors are settling into winter routines, and we are thinking about spring tree planting and forest management plan writing.
This is my first update as the MPC chair. I am taking over where Shane Hetzler so ably left off in December after a steady year at the helm on the tumultuous seas of the pandemic, the unprecedented wildfire season, and a forest economy that has been on a wild ride. Thank you for your leadership, Shane. I am looking forward to your continued contributions this year on the MPC.
Thanks to all of you for voting in the recent MPC Elections. Marianne Patinelli-Dubay and Mary Stuever join the MPC for their first terms and Mark Jacobs returns for another term. They each bring a unique background and set of professional expertise. We are fortunate to have them on the Membership and Policy Council along with the other returning members. We had a strong set of candidates this year. Thanks to all who ran- we are a member-driven organization and all of you make us what we are.
On Tuesday, January 12th, we will meet for the first time in 2021 to welcome new members, check in on the work from the year past, and plot a course for 2021. I am excited to be coordinating the MPC’s efforts as we continue to work on diversity, equity and inclusion, and student engagement, as well as work with the Board and staff on important policy statements around managing plantation forests and fire.
I am also excited for the MPC to engage this year with the broader membership. As past chair Robert
Turner put it to me once, and I’ll paraphrase here, “The Guild has been successful thanks to a deep pool of shared forest and community-based social capital. This is great, but the pool constantly needs replenishing.” So, I am looking forward to working on that this year with all of you. We will also collaborate with Guild staff on efforts to solicit member input and support our student members as we build the connections and strengthen the values that hold us all together in our work with forests and the people who rely on them.
Most importantly, we’ll need your help, so please be in touch and come to both digital, and we hope, in-person gatherings this year. In the meantime, please let us know what is going on in your favorite forested ecosystem, and let us know how the Guild and the MPC can better help you do what you do.