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PLANTING SEEDS FOR THE WOOD INDUSTRY’S FUTURE BY ALLISON DEFORD

AS SOMEONE whose business is driven by wood—buying, selling, or processing—you understand the growth cycles involved in maintaining a supply of product and the life cycle of forestry. Trees must be planted, nurtured, then harvested.

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AS SOMEONE whose business is driven by wood—buying, selling, or processing—you understand the growth cycles involved in maintaining a supply of product and the life cycle of forestry. Trees must be planted, nurtured, then harvested.

At the North American Forest Foundation, a similar philosophy drives our mission to change hearts and minds about sustainable forestry and wood products, for good.

Education, promotion and advocacy are the primary ways the non-profit NAFF supports the forest products industry. Dispelling the myths and false messaging, and teaching science-based facts about sustainable forestry and the value of wood products are our main activities to help the next generation understand the benefits.

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Today’s kids—the consumers, industry leaders and talent of the future—need a generous dose of truth about wood, trees and forest products. That’s where NAFF comes in. We meet the kids where they are, bringing engaging curriculum and lessons into the classroom to help kids become #exTREEemelysmart.

Our Truth About Trees kits are designed to be age-appropriate and are provided free to classroom teachers of grades K-3. Teachers can use the program with more than one classroom and do so over multiple years. The lessons work together with the traveling Forever Forest children’s museum exhibit, in partnership with the Omaha Children’s Museum.

We have a goal to educate 1 million kids by 2030. Plans are in place and we are well on the way to accomplishing our goal. The Forever Forest exhibit saw 148,000 visitors in 2021 alone, with a cumulative attendance of over 630,000 people.

Teachers are thrilled with the kits. Bryan Haecker, a teacher from Texas, says: “Your amazing kit helps me teach my at-risk students all about hardwoods, softwoods, properties of wood, deforestation, reforestation, sustainable materials for constructing projects and buildings in a way that makes the learning more enjoyable and understandable.”

Building on the success of the elementary school program, we’re currently seeking corporate sponsorship for development of an interactive junior high smartphone/tablet app, scheduled to launch in 2024.

This critical age, grades 6-8, is a period when kids are often beginning to explore career and continuing education paths. The program’s curriculum, with an engaging game format, is intended to increase their awareness of the possibilities in the forest products industry and provide learning opportunities designed for their level.

Helping kids learn the truth about trees is a task that takes many hands and minds to accomplish. NAFF has more than 600 supporters and there are plenty of opportunities for you or your company to get involved:

  • Volunteer to help teach the kit in the classroom—a worthwhile experience, highly recommended by members of our board who have taken that opportunity.
  • Become a corporate sponsor of the Jr. High App and reach potentially 12 million students with the truth about trees
  • Help us reach 50,000 students through our Earth Month Kit Drive in April and Back to School Kit drive in August by making a donation today:

o $100 = educates 200 students

o $500 = educates 1,000 students

o $1,000 = educates 2,000 students

o $10,000 = Jr. High App Sponsor (12 million students)

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