NEFF Leadership, Support NEFF

A letter from Executive Director Bob Perschel

Apr. 13, 2023

Writing by Bob Perschel, photo of Bercé Forest in France by Romain Perrot

Spring: a season of hope. New growth, new possibilities. Rains promise bountiful harvests. Relationships emerge and blossom. Ideas bloom and perhaps become reality. Some say hope is not a plan, and I would agree. But at New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF), we have hope and a plan.

Hope isn’t as solid as the oak tree in my backyard. Hope is more like the little seedlings. Uncertain, we trust some of them will take root. Of course, some of them will not. However, it is the prospect of growth that sustains us. Hope helps to create a healthy balance in our lives, where, otherwise, there’d only be despair. It seems we could use a good dose of balance right about now.

Recently, I read the disappointing news from the IPCC’s latest climate assessment. But, also recently, I read that the wooden spire at Notre Dame cathedral is ready to be raised into the Parisian skyline this spring. I remember the lump in my throat when I watched the old spire burn four years ago. Back then, some said it couldn’t be rebuilt since the ancient forests from the 12th century were gone.

However, I knew they were wrong. Not long ago, I visited with a group of foresters in France. On our walk they showed me the 250-year-old oak trees they were growing for a moment just like this one. They located more than 1,000 of these oak trees from across France and brought them to the talented craftspeople to build a new and better tower. Now, that is Exemplary Forestry–NEFF style!

I want to thank you for giving all of us hope, for being the spire in the sky. Because of you we can continue our mission of promoting Exemplary Forestry, and we won’t stop until these practices are adopted across New England.

That isn’t just some frivolous hyperbole. Like I said, we have a plan to get there. After two years of work with the large commercial landowners in Maine we just released a report that outlines our plan for improving forestry on the broadest scale possible, and with astounding climate benefits. The best part? It can be accomplished at a very reasonable cost. This Forest Carbon for Commercial Landowners report is a key component in that it addresses roughly half of New England’s forests. That’s nearly 15 million acres! This is the path toward bringing improved forestry to the entire region, be it northern or southern New England, lands large or small.

I won’t sugarcoat it: we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. And there will be significant obstacles. But the path to our collective success is now clearly marked in front of us. With your help we’ll make it to our destination. This is the important work that the region, nation, and world need right now. We’ll be an example of how a small group of committed people changed the world by starting in their own backyard. That kind of hope can be a global game changer. Won’t you be a part of it?


Bob Perschel, Executive Director