SPARTANSBUR, PA -- December 10, 2012 -- The Foundation for Sustainable Forests has purchased 85 acres of forested land along Caldwell Creek in Southwest Township, Warren County.
The parcel increases the Foundation’s footprint along Caldwell Creek, an important and popular Class A trout fishery, to nearly 800 acres. In addition to the recent purchase, the Foundation has committed bequests and/or agreements for approximately 700 acres around the stream.
Ownership of the land by the Foundation ensures it will forever remain forested, free from development and managed to the highest ecological standards, thereby protecting the stream in perpetuity.
“This is exciting to us,” said Tom Savko, president of the Caldwell Creek Chapter, Trout Unlimited. “This is a prime trout stream in Northwest Pennsylvania enjoyed by many and an extremely valuable resource that should be protected for future generations. It is exciting to see the Foundation doing that.”
Troy Firth, Foundation president, said the Foundation is pleased to be able to further its mission through its work in the Caldwell Creek corridor and protecting the stream.
The Foundation financed the purchase through a loan, with the intention of raising funds in the community and elsewhere to retire the debt.
This is the Foundation’s second purchase in Warren County. Last year it obtained 50.7 acres of forestland in Spring Creek Township.
The Foundation’s acquisitions in Warren County coincide with and support an emerging initiative of the National Audubon Society to identify, protect and improve management of forests in Western Pennsylvania that are critical for supporting populations of declining species of forest birds.
Based in Spartansburg, the Foundation for Sustainable Forests, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, was founded in 2004.
The Foundation achieves its mission through active management of land and by partnering with individuals, other land trusts, and conservation organizations promote working forests managed to the highest standard. The Foundation’s long-term relationship with the land ensures the sustainability of the ecosystem and the economies of the local communities we work within.
MEADVILLE, Pa. – Sept. 7, 2012 -- Allegheny College and the Foundation for Sustainable Forests have signed a groundbreaking agreement that will preserve and protect fragile ecosystems in Pennsylvania and southern New York while providing opportunities for landowners to support both nonprofit organizations.
Under terms of the agreement signed recently by Allegheny executive vice president and treasurer David W. McInally and Foundation for Sustainable Forests' president Troy Firth, both organizations will share equally in any proceeds derived from timber harvests and other earnings from land donated through the foundation’s shared gift program.
“We are thrilled with this partnership with Allegheny College and hope it can be a model for others in the region,” said Firth.
The foundation and the college agree to work together to protect and conserve forested land through a shared gift program. The foundation, based inSpartansburg, Pa., will protect and maintain donated land as working forest while providing long-term funding for the college.
For its part, Allegheny will make potential donors who are landowners in the area aware of the shared gift program and the potential to leave a land legacy while providing financial support for the college. Gifts of land made through the program will go to the foundation and become its property. Allegheny will be a beneficiary organization. Donors will be eligible for charitable deductions for the full market value of the properties.
“The foundation’s shared gift program is a unique opportunity to both protect forested land in perpetuity and provide a long-term income stream to community institutions and organizations such as Allegheny College,” said Firth.
Through the program the landowner gifts property to the Foundation for Sustainable Forests with a provision that 50 percent of the net earnings go to support a designated charitable organization in perpetuity. Under specific circumstances and based on the condition of the land, the Foundation may permit a larger percentage of the earnings after expenses to be assigned. The agreement is recorded in the deed.
The foundation and the college will jointly decide if a property is suitable for the program. Ideally, the minimum land donation will be 20 acres. The foundation will accept properties where the oil, gas and mineral rights are owned by the donor and where they have been severed from the land rights.
As a land trust, the foundation’s model is unique in Pennsylvania, if not the nation, said John Noel Bartlett, the foundation’s development director. The foundation owns the land that has been placed in its care and manages it as a working forest for ecosystem health and biodiversity. Earnings from the land support the work of the foundation, making conservation and land protection economically self-sustaining. In addition, the land remains on local tax rolls and management of it creates jobs in the forest-service industry, helping support rural communities.
“The need for the foundation’s work and preservation of forested land is great,” said Bartlett. “Pennsylvania is losing high-quality forested land at an alarming rate as a result of parcelization of forest ownership in the state, fragmentation of forested land, and development.”
The foundation uses timber-removal techniques that are forest friendly. “We attempt to minimize damage and disturbance,” Bartlett said. “For example, rather than removing logs with large machinery we normally use teams of horses to skid from the stump tithe loading site.”
Richard Bowden, professor of environmental science at Allegheny College, noted the importance of the foundation’s work.
“Private forest landowners are critical to protection of the ecological services, aesthetic and recreational values, and economic input that forests provide regionally and nationally,” Bowden said. “The work of the foundation provides a vitally important mechanism, particularly in local communities, for private citizens and forest professionals to conserve our forest heritage.”
“The Foundation for Sustainable Forests is a natural partner for Allegheny College, based on its mission of educating the public and using our region’s resources in a sustainable way,” said Dave McInally. “We are pleased to join the foundation in its effort to preserve the health and beauty of our region for generations to come.”
The Loving the Land through Working Forests conference was a huge success.
It was standing room only in Allegheny College’s Vukovich Center Theatre on Friday, May 18 for the “Conversation with Wendell Berry.”
For nearly two hours Wendell engaged the panelists in discussions of sustainability, land and community ethics, localized economies and the place and role of man in the natural world. Serving as panelists were: Terry Bensel, chair of the Allegheny College Environmental Studies Department; Troy Firth, president and founder of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests; Sarah Galloway, sustainability coordinator for the City of Erie, and Jim Finley, , Troy Firth, Sarah Galloway and Jim Finley the Ibberson Chair in Forest Resource Management and Associate Director School of Forest Resources, Penn State University.
Saturday’s in-the-field sessions drew praise from participants, who found the sessions informative, thought-provoking and educational. One participant termed the conference “a real gift.” Another said “The lecture/hikes were highly informative. I learned quite a bit.”
Famed Author Wendell Berry to Open Forestry Conference
Meadville – Wendell Berry, renowned author and sustainability and land ethic advocate, will open the Foundation for Sustainable Forestry’s “Loving the Land through Working Forests” conference on May 18 and 19 with a program at Allegheny College.
The program, “A Conversation with Wendell Berry” will be held at 7 p.m., Friday, May 18 in the Vukovich Center Theatre. It is free and open to the public.
Joining in the conversation with Berry will be WQLN’s Tom Pysz; Sarah Galloway, sustainability coordinator for the City of Erie; James Finley, Ph.D., the Ibberson Chair in Forest Resource Management and Associate Director School of Forest Resources, Penn State University; and Troy Firth, founder and president of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests. The audience will also have the opportunity to enter the conversation.
Berry, recipient of the National Humanities Medal in 2010, is acknowledged by critics and scholars alike as a master of many genres; but whether writing poetry, fiction or non-fiction, his message is always one of living in harmony with nature.
Berry will also be participating in the conference’s in-the-field sessions at the Foundation’s Blooming Valley Forest north of Meadville on Saturday May 19.
Participation Saturday is without charge, however pre-registration is required since lunch will be provided. To register please e-mail Info@FoundationForSustainableForests.org with “conference registration” in the subject line and list the names and complete contact information for each participant in the body. Those who register will be sent detailed information including directions.
Saturday’s program opens with three concurrent sessions at 9:30 a.m.:
For the Birds, focusing on management techniques to benefit birds and other non-game wildlife and includes a bird walk;
Reading the Under Story, which takes a look at forest wildflowers and other understory plants and what they mean for forest health;
Taking Hints from Nature, focusing on the Foundation’s forestry techniques that use nature as the guide and minimal disturbance harvesting. There will be demonstrations of horse logging throughout the day.
Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m.
Forest Management as a Land Ethic is the afternoon session that opens at 1:30. This is a wide-ranging session from the practical to the philosophical that discusses a land ethic and the importance of managing forests to benefit the land.
Children’s programming throughout the day will be provided courtesy of Butterflies for Kids, an Erie-based nonprofit dedicated to environmental education and forestland protection.
In addition to Berry, speakers at Saturday’s sessions include: Charles Bier, Senior Director Conservation Science, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy; James Finley,, Ph.D.; Jim Shallow, Director of Conservation and Policy, Audubon Vermont; Sarah Sargent, Director of Important Bird Areas for Audubon Pennsylvania; Cecile Stelter, District Forester, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry; and Troy Firth.
Conference partners are Audubon Pennsylvania, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Allegheny College.
The Foundation for Sustainable Forests is a nonprofit land trust and sustainable forestry education and advocacy organization. The Foundation’s mission is to protect forested land and ecosystems and support rural communities through working forests; to raise awareness of the importance of preserving intact forested ecosystems; and to highlight sustainable forestry and practices for the benefit of the land.
As a land trust, the Foundation acquires forested land and manages it for ecosystem health and native biodiversity. Through careful harvesting of timber and other earnings from the land, the Foundation becomes operationally self-sustaining. By actively managing the land as a working forest, the foundation also supports rural jobs and communities.
More information can be found at the Foundation’s Web site: www.FoundationForSustainableForests.org.