Annual Meeting, Conservation, Exemplary Forestry Investment Fund, Fun and Beautiful

New England Forestry Foundation Celebrates 80th Anniversary

Jun. 06, 2024

NEFF celebrated at our June 6 Annual Meeting with awards, a keynote speaker and catered lunch. Check out the selection of fun photos at the bottom of the blog post, with more coming soon!

A group of 10- and 30-plus-year donors accept awards at NEFF's 2024 Annual Meeting | Photo: Tinsley Hunsdorfer

Celebrating 80 years of protecting forests for future generations, the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) announced the recipients of its Forest Champion Awards, Outstanding Service Awards, and Forest Steward Award at NEFF’s Annual Meeting on June 6 at its headquarters in Littleton. The event’s keynote speaker was Dr. Habib Dagher, founder and Executive Director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

“Through their unwavering dedication to forest conservation and sustainable forest management, the recipients of the New England Forestry Foundation awards embody the ethos and mission of our organization,” said Robert Perschel, Executive Director at the New England Forestry Foundation. “Their tireless efforts serve as a beacon of inspiration, showcasing the profound impact that individuals and groups can have on preserving our natural landscapes for future generations. We are immensely grateful for their commitment and honored to recognize their invaluable contributions to the stewardship of New England’s forests.”

New England Forestry Foundation’s Forest Champion Award recognizes an individual or group who exemplifies excellence in their dedication to forest conservation and sustainable forest management.

This year’s awardees are Ray Lyons, longtime conservation attorney and counsel to NEFF, and the Exemplary Forestry Investment Fund coalition:

  • Jerry Bley, Founder & Principal of Creative Conservation LLC
  • Karin Tilberg, President & CEO of The Forest Society of Maine
  • Bryan Wentzell, Executive Director of Maine Mountain Collaborative
  • Quantified Ventures
  • Ropes & Gray LLP
  • Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research

Bryan Wentzell, Executive Director of Maine Mountain Collaborative, received an award from NEFF for his work on the Exemplary Forestry Investment Fund | Photo: Tinsley Hunsdorfer

The Outstanding Service Award recognizes staff and Board of Directors members who have made exceptional contributions to the work of New England Forestry Foundation for 10 or more years. Recipients have provided expert guidance and counsel that has helped shape the organization’s strategic direction and have been involved in key projects and programs. The awardees are:

  • Alec Giffen, NEFF Senior Forest Science and Policy Fellow, and former Maine Forest Service Director
  • G. Montgomery Lovejoy III, NEFF Board Member

Rick Findlay and Andrew Sammarco received the Forest Steward of the Year Awards for faithful volunteer service at Prouty Woods Community Forest.

As a world-leading advocate for developing sustainable infrastructure and energy systems, Dr. Dagher provided an interesting window into NEFF’s work with sustainable and climate-smart wood products. Under Dagher’s leadership, the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) has grown from four to more than 400 personnel and is now housed in a 100,000-square foot laboratory, the largest university-based research center in Maine. The ASCC is home to the largest polymer 3D printer in the world and has earned three Guinness World Records, including for the largest 3D printed boat in the world in 2019. In 2022, the world’s first 100 percent bio-based 3D printed home was produced in the lab.

Celebrating its 80th birthday in July 2024, NEFF has scaled up its programs over the last year. In January, NEFF and partners launched the Exemplary Forestry Investment Fund, aiming to eventually own 100,000 acres of Maine forest by raising approximately $90 million and managing them using the climate-smart forestry approach developed by NEFF to improve carbon storage, long-term forest health, wildlife habitat, and sustainable timber value and production in partnership with local communities. NEFF and partners have been awarded a $30 million USDA Climate-Smart Commodities award to increase carbon storage in New England’s forests. And in February, NEFF was awarded land trust accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance (LTA). With 1.21 million acres permanently conserved, NEFF is America’s 6th-largest land trust.

Watch the Live Stream Recording:

Keynote Presentation Slide Deck (PDF)