A successful first "Forestry Day in Annapolis!"
On January 31st, MFA and the MD-DE Society of American Foresters held the first-ever "Forestry Day in Annapolis" to provide a means for the forest community to communicate with legislators and exchange ideas and information on emerging issues relevant to our sector.
The event was held at the Governor Calvert House. We had 100+ people in attendance. The audience included over 18 legislators, agency representatives, allied organizations, and staff from both the offices of Congressman Andy Harris and Senator Ben Cardin. The attendance and interaction far exceeded our expectations!
The day began with a legislative breakfast and a warm welcome from MFA's Executive Director, Beth Hill. Senator Jack Bailey (District 29) served as the keynote speaker giving remarks on the benefits of sustainable forestry management and the difference between conservation and preservation based on his own personal experience working in the woods. Following his speech, MFA recognized Former Delegate Jim Gilchrist (District 17) as Legislator of the Year, Donna Dear & Paulette Greene as Landowner of the Year, and Francis Smith with the Maryland Forest Service received the Above & Beyond Award.
The remainder of the day was filled with informative presentations. Gary Allen with the Maryland Forestry Foundation and Joe Hinson, MFA Board President, kicked it off with a policy and current issues update. Charlotte Davis, Executive Director of the Rural Maryland Council, then presented her tips for communicating and working with legislators. Forestry issues are truly bipartisan issues, as every Marylander benefits from the clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, and products our forests provide. Our vision states: The Maryland Forests Association envisions a future in which vibrant forests are maintained throughout the State, providing diverse economic and environmental benefits to all.
Following a break, Matt Hurd with SAF served as the "Opportunities, Challenges, and Technology" panel moderator. Maura Ross with the Maryland Clean Energy Center presented on the opportunity to utilize woody biomass as green energy. Tim O'Hara from the Forest Resource Association spoke about the potential challenges the sector could face with the listing of the Northern Long Eared Bat, and Professor "Bing" Hu, the founder of Inventwood, introduced the audience to a variety of sustainable wood products he's developed in his lab at the University of Maryland. All of the presentations can be found below.
We thank everyone who attended for taking the time out of their busy schedules to let their voice be heard! Remember, there is power in numbers in Annapolis, so we look forward to hosting similar events in the future and hope to see you there!
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