Author and Photos: Talking Forests for #forestproud
#forestproud is an organization that has come a long way since its inception. I first heard about it in 2015 and watched this organization grow from a professional society feel much like what we already have out there to this new and changing organization that fosters diversity in the forest sector. This hashtag, what does it really mean? Well, the organization that holds this hashtag is called the North American Forest Partnership (NAFP), they have been bringing people together from all areas of the forest products industry with this #forestproud hashtag. With my social media marketing expertise, I see this #forestproud as a brand. As I have worked to bring Talking Forests to relevance in our forest sector, they have done the same, with some branding that everyone, rightly so can relate to. The way I see it, if you work with forest products or recreate in the forest, you have a great responsibility to work together, collaborate, and be partners in this message we need to all give to our friends who will tell their friends and so on.
“NAFP is the most diverse coalition aligned to share our story, proactively positioning the sector as relevant, responsible, and innovative. By managing, conserving and sustainably harvesting forests, we provide large-scale solutions to pressing societal challenges.”
I really do agree that they are the most diverse organization right now ranging from small to corporate members from every part of the sector and bringing in new wings like outdoor recreation, Choose Outdoors, is a good example member. Societal challenges help us drive forward with a sense of action which we need right now in communities across the world.
On my favorite networking platform, #LinkedIn, I was talking about how Society of American Foresters published an article in the Journal of Forestry that discussed jobs in the forest sector being broken at the entry level. An obstacle I faced in 2013 after I received my BS: Natural Resources degree was getting a fulltime job in my own sector even though I started applying before I graduated and had two relevant internships. In 2013, I could not take seasonal, part-time, or non-permanent work as I lived in my own apartment and wanted to be independent of my single parent. I later used LinkedIn to get my dream job in the forest sector and learned a great deal in 2015 as a forest policy assistant. My take on what #forestproud is doing and will do is provide many more opportunities for everyone to be involved in our forest messaging and will provide a point of entry rather than the many challenges, obstacles, and major adversity I and many people face in the forest sector.
“Rather than obstacles to entry, we need opportunities to enter”. – W. Kevin Ward
#forestproud started gaining some traction at the event in Portland and has fully been branded to help resonate with everyone, I am proud!
Why am I proud?
The events bring people from many countries together to talk about important topics in our forest sector today. I am happy to have been a part of the two most recent events and will highlight them here:
2017 From Communications to Engagement in Portland, OR
This event encompassed how I was communicating as the voice for other people in the forest sector with Talking Forests. Upon entering the room at the reception, the vibes were high, I am slightly introverted so it was overwhelming at first, but a chance to hangout with new and interesting forest people!
The panel discussion with Russ Vaagen, Vaagen Timbers, Thomas Meth, Enviva Biomass, and Cathy Enright reminded us to get our heads out of the sand and talk openly about the issues that the forest sector is facing. Transparency is key here and we should be using our content to show what good we are doing. Content and storytelling are keys to providing information to an outside source that may not know our sector message.
Obama’s very own social media manager, Caleb Gardner came onto the stage, I was mesmerized and already knew some of the information that he was telling the group. He talked about the components of how to deploy an effective social media strategy and how to measure the return on investment.
2018 Rising to the Challenge in Atlanta, GA
I was honored to document this event and posted on social media during the event for the best live experience. The sharable #forestproud stickers, magnets, and t-shirts made me #forestproud. My favorite tour was at the Sweetwater Brewery and I loved the nice glasses to take home a souvenir. We went back to the Emory conference center and went to the in-house bowling center.
The next day, Will Novy-Hildesley, NAFP Executive Director, started us off with a great speech about our social media engagement numbers and how we strive to keep moving forward. Ideas started flowing and pens started animating. The elusive annual shiny #forestproud artifact was awarded to Craig Rawlings of Forest Business Network for his amazing communications work which I thought was well deserved. Although the vibe was more of a working meeting, this style of conference gave everyone a chance to be a part of the future of this bright organization.
For more on #forestproud and the great work they are doing go to the website: www.forestproud.org