Starting off 2024 Strong at the Guild

Photo of the cover of the Guide

The cover of the Guide published in 2022.

Written by Zander Evans

The Guild is starting 2024 with positive momentum – thanks to you!
First a huge thanks to all of you who donated to the Guild last year. We were able to shatter our fundraising goals and match over $30,000 in donations! Every dime of these donations goes into our work to practice and promote forest stewardship.  

In 2024, you’ll hear about Guild members and staff working on a wide range of ambitious programs, each of which helps get us closer to our vision for ecologically, economically, and socially responsible stewardship as the standard from coast to coast. 

In the Northwest, as soon as possible, we will be announcing a job opportunity to join Guild staff and build on the momentum of the Forestry for the Birds: Western Oregon field guide. Look for more field tours for landowners, forest caretakers, and natural resource professionals to gather in the woods, make observations together, and practice using the wealth of information in the Guide. We’re also looking forward to the next installment of the Northwest Innovative Forestry Summit (stay tuned). 

A new Guild program is building a regional response to the Emerald Ash Borer, which threatens to functionally eliminate ash trees from our forests. The loss of ash is ecologically, economically, and culturally devastating, particularly for Indigenous Peoples for whom ash holds a key role in basketry and other traditions. The Guild’s project is focused on educating and engaging land managers in science-based, thoughtful treatment of ash, sharing stories of hope, and encouraging actions that will sustain ash across the landscape (e.g., see resources for ash management focused for landowners and foresters) 

Person measuring and old growth tree diameter

The Guild will be well represented at the Mature and Old Growth Science Summit: Climate-Informed Forestry to Foster Resilient Ecosystems March 4 to 6 in Washington, DC (the Guild is planning a get together during the conference, so let us know if you’ll be in DC March 4th). Guild members and staff are supporting the US Forest Service on their historic new effort to steward old-growth forests into the next century. Another important policy effort is the Wildfire Resilience Coalition. The Guild is coordinating the Coalition of thirty-five organizations committed foster the enabling conditions for systemic change to achieve landscape and community wildfire resilience – building on the Fire, Forest Management, and Communities Policy Statement. The Coalition is helping leverage change instigated by the extraordinary investments in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 

At the same time the Guild is working at the national level to advocate for wildfire resilience, we’re working directing in the woods and communities to make it a reality. The winter piles squad is out right now burning slash piles to make ponderosa pine forests more fire resilient. Guild staff secured funding through a Community Wildfire Defense Grant to help residents implement defensible space treatments in New Mexico. 

Summer FSYC Crews of 2023

Summer FSYC Crews of 2023

We’re already gearing up for the summer field work season. The Forest Stewards Youth Corps will begin recruiting a new cohort in March. Their goal will be to surpass the 2023 accomplishments that include: 

  • 21 miles of trail built, 
  • 27 acres of noxious species removal, 
  • 166 slash piles constructed, 
  • 40 acres thinned, 
  • 11 miles of fire line maintained, 
  • 11 acres of timber marked, 
  • 13 miles of fence line constructed, 
  • 328 fence structures established, 
  • 4 acres of recreation sites maintained, 
  • 316 acres burned, and 
  • 2,450 trees planted. 

We’re hiring three apprentices through the NextGen Forest Program, a partnership between the Forest Stewards Guild and The Nature Conservancy, to apply climate-smart forestry practices focused on developing a healthy understory of native tree species on several properties across the region. Our next Forestry and Wildlife Internship in South Carolina in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service is open for applications now too.   

Even as programs and projects are in full swing for 2024, we’re starting to plan for our 30th anniversary in 2025! We’re hoping to organize a national meeting where we can reconnect with friends, meet new colleagues, celebrate successes of the last three decades, and look forward to stewardship in the second half of 21st century. Thank you for your support and presence with all these efforts and results!