Climate-Smart Commodities, News Room

Senators Markey and Warren Honored as NEFF Forest Champions

Jun. 08, 2023

Photography by Lauren Owens Lambert. Top photo: Regional Director Huntoon of Senator Warrens office (left) and Regional Director Horsman of Senator Markeys office (right) accepted awards from NEFF's Andrea Colnes on behalf of their senators.

New England Forestry Foundation Representatives of Senator Warren and Senator Markey accept awards on their behalf from NEFF's Andrea Colnes

U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren were each honored with the New England Forestry Foundation’s Forest Champion award today for their outstanding support of sustainable and climate-smart forestry, conservation, and stewardship of our forest lands across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the New England region. The awards were accepted by Senate staff at NEFF’s annual meeting at its Prouty Woods headquarters in Littleton.

Senators Markey and Warren provided regional leadership in making the case for New England to play a prominent role in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) $3 billion Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. NEFF and more than 20 non-profit organizations, companies and institutions that represent forest-related industries were awarded $30 million by the USDA in September 2022 and are partnering to promote climate-smart forest practices. The pilot program funded by the award seeks to help forest landowners store more carbon on their land, while also expanding markets for climate-smart forest products.

“New England Forestry Foundation’s powerfully important work is critical to protecting wildlife habitat, bolstering our local economies, and tackling the climate crisis,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “I am honored to receive this wonderful recognition from NEFF, and I will keep fighting to ensure the federal government is a strong partner in NEFF’s climate-smart forest practices that protect ecosystem health and biodiversity.”

At NEFF’s 2023 Annual Meeting, Allyson Huntoon—Regional Director, Office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren—read Senator Warren’s prepared remarks after accepting Warren’s award

“I’m proud to accept this award from the New England Forestry Foundation as part of our ongoing work to build new models to sustain and grow our natural resources,” said Senator Markey. “Not only can these investments improve forest conservation and stewardship, but they also can support the economic sustainability of rural communities where people live, work, and visit – all while tackling the climate crisis.”

Massachusetts’ senators also worked to secure support for the Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts, a regional, multi-partner collaboration to promote conservation and natural resource-based recreation and economic development for 21 rural towns in the most forested corner of the Commonwealth. The Partnership is moving forward, in part, thanks to $540,000 in federal support for the “Action on Forest Climate Resilience” project, which will support towns and woodland owners to implement practices to support forest health and wildlife habitat that have been included in plans for their land.

New England’s forests contribute more than $13 billion annually to local and regional economies, sustaining over 50,000 jobs in the woods, mills, and supporting services. “The Commonwealth and all of New England continue to benefit from the outstanding leadership on climate from both Senators Warren and Markey. It is NEFF’s privilege to honor each of them with our Forest Champions Award and we look forward to working closely with both to address the challenges ahead,” said Robert Perschel, NEFF’s Executive Director.