While New England Forestry Foundation staff members were out winning major USDA grants and publishing scientific reports, NEFF’s communications team has for more than a year now been hard at work on a new, compelling and beautiful website.
We are about a month out from launching the website, and in the more than a year of work it’s taken to reach this point, we at NEFF have learned a great deal about website development, and our web firm, 36creative, has learned even more about forestry, land conservation, and how challenging it is to explain the concept of leakage.*
NEFF’s expanding vision and exciting organizational growth has been the inspiration for a renewed website. NEFF’s current site simply wasn’t designed to accommodate the number of complex climate- and forestry-related programs NEFF has undertaken in the past decade. The new website will support the increasingly bold path NEFF is walking, and provide an appropriate platform for the organization as it gains greater visibility.
Convey the Scale of NEFF’s Conserved Lands
While this project was prompted by NEFF’s expanding climate initiatives, we also wanted to increase visibility and awareness of NEFF’s immense conservation footprint. NEFF’s new website places our conservation impact front and center, starting with the homepage, which clearly declares NEFF to be the, “Third Largest U.S. Land Trust.”
Order From (a Little Bit of) Chaos
NEFF’s initiatives are no longer buried three levels down in the menu! Users can now hop straight to our blog and trail maps rather than digging through multiple navigation levels. Head to our publications section, and discover a library of document covers that link to PDFs—all automatically sorted by topic!
One of our key goals is to make our website easier to use, even as the information it communicates to visitors grows in volume and complexity. As a result, a streamlined navigation menu will allow visitors to find important information quickly, while other design elements bring order and an intuitive structure to the website.
Give Initiatives and Forestry Room to Breathe
NEFF’s climate initiative and forest management pages will be easier to find and able to accommodate a great deal of complex information. In general, these pages and their content will no longer feel like they’ve been crammed into too little space.
The redesign of NEFF’s forestry section is well timed given the sharp increase in interest we can anticipate for this content as the new USDA-funded New England Climate-Smart Commodities Partnership project gains visibility. We’re preparing a larger and more diverse suite of content, including material that introduces general audiences to forest management, explains how climate-smart forestry works, offers resources for foresters and climate-mitigation experts, and explainer videos for all audiences.
Ramp up the Map
NEFF’s new online interactive map of its Community Forests will be powered by OpenStreetMap—an open-data service whose maps are generated by a host of volunteer mapping experts—rather than continuing with Google Maps. Despite what its name implies, OpenStreetMap doesn’t limit itself to streets, which means outdoor enthusiasts will be able to see NEFF’s trails and discover where they intersect with other nearby trail systems. Our web firm has also built custom features that will allow you to learn about NEFF’s Community Forests and even in some cases see photos of the properties while still using the map.
Coming Soon to a Screen Near You
We’re excited for you to see NEFF’s new website this September. Where should you check for updates? You guessed it—the NEFF website, at newenglandforestry.org.
*Leakage is the spillover of in-forest carbon sequestration gains and losses from one economic market to another, given that the wood products we all use have to come from somewhere. If the United States reduced the amount of wood it produced, any progress we claimed to make in reducing global atmospheric CO2 levels by storing more carbon in our unharvested trees would, in practice, be eclipsed by CO2 emissions from other forestry markets that increased harvesting to meet our unchanged demand for wood products.