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    VFVC Newsletter - November 2005

    November 1, 2005

    Dear Friend of VF/VC:

    This is the fifth issue of volume two in a series of periodic updates on developments in Blandin Foundation's Vital Forests/Vital Communities initiative. If you would like to be removed from this mailing list, please send a reply email with a subject line UNSUBSCRIBE to vfvc@blandinfoundation.org.

    "Building the Capacity of Minnesota’s Wood Products Manufacturing Industry: Creating Our Edge” Conference Highlights

    Over 100 people attended the 2nd annual Building the Capacity of Minnesota’s Wood Products Manufacturing Industry Conference, August 16-17 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Participants included a wide range of professionals who care about Minnesota’s forest products industry and the forests on which the industry depends, including manufacturers, architects, policy makers, land managers, researchers and designers.

    Architect and best selling author Sarah Susanka kicked-off the conference with an engaging slideshow presentation about the importance of quality design and the untapped “Cultural Creative” market. Her “Not So Big” approach to building and design is having a major impact on consumer and development markets across the country.

    In a second keynote address Dan Rosen, principal with the New York City-based China Strategic Advisory and Columbia University professor, provided a big picture overview of the rapid urbanization of China. Informed by his decades-long personal experience in China’s big cities and back country, Rosen also explored the stark implications for the world economy, and Minnesota’s forest products industry in particular, of China’s explosive growth.

    Read more about the conference

    "Third-Party Certification of Minnesota’s Family Forests: Getting it Done" Conference Highlights

    Findings from University of Minnesota Professor Mike Kilgore’s research, “Developing a Certification Framework for Minnesota’s Family Forests,” was the subject of lively debate at the October 14th conference: Third-party Certification of Minnesota’s Family Forests: Getting it Done.

    Participants in the Grand Rapids meeting included over 60 family forest owners, industrial and public land managers, county and state officials, and environmentalists. The goal of Kilgore’s research effort was to explore strategies and develop recommendations for increasing the amount of certified family forest land in Minnesota. His work will inform implementation of a Third-Party Certification Pilot Project, funded by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources, (LCMR), in Aitkin, Cass, Itasca, and St. Louis counties.

    Read more about the conference

    Report Released: Reaching Woodland Owners Online: Current approaches and recommended future directions for Minnesota

    Over 40 percent of Minnesota’s forest land, totaling about 5.3 million acres, is owned and controlled by individuals and families. The land management decisions of the 140,000 family forest owners in Minnesota (Birch 1996) have important impacts on the state’s economy, ecosystems, and quality of life. With about 63 percent of Americans using the internet (Pew Internet and American Life Project 2005), the internet clearly has potential to become an important source of information for Minnesota’s family forest owners.

    The purpose of this study, conducted by a research team led by University of Minnesota Extension Educator Eli Sagor on behalf of the Blandin Foundation, was to learn from the experiences and insights of Minnesota’s forestry community and the managers of existing and developing websites targeting family forest owners. The study includes a series of recommendations for the development of Internet-based resources focused at family forest land owners in Minnesota. Read the study


    Report Released: Taking Care of Family Forests: Lessons for Minnesota

    This research study reviews 24 community-led private forest management education and outreach initiatives in order to identify ways to strengthen efforts underway to increase the number of acres of sustainably managed family forests in Minnesota.

    Besides identifying best practices, the report recommends setting a goal of doubling the number of acres of family forestland under sustainable management in Minnesota by 2015 – an increase from about 1 million to 2 million acres, and identifies specific strategies for goal implementation.

    Read the study

    In the News: The third annual Goods from the Woods Up North Marketplace draws record numbers

    The third annual Goods from the Woods 'Up North' Marketplace once again drew big crowds from across the region and throughout the state. Over 5,500 attended this year’s event, which featured 120 local and regional vendors showcasing products made from materials harvested in the Northwoods, hands-on demonstrations by mastercrafters from Sweden, Canada, Camroon, Africa and the United States, and cultural and music performances by Mission Lake Drum and Dance Troupe, Caleigh and the LaPlants.

    This year’s turnout was a substantial 10 percent gain from the event in the previous year. According to organizers, 60 % of surveyed visitors were from outside the Itasca County - a 15 % hike from 2005.

    Fifty-eight percent of out-of-the-area visitors (a 30 % increase from '05) were influenced by the marketplace to come to Grand Rapids. Evidently, the event is generating a growing interest among northwoods enthusiasts who are "looking for a market/demonstration for locally gathered/made goods, which pertains to Minnesota, arts and stewardship," a visitor remarked. "And provides families with special opportunities to make a trip to the Northwoods," another visitor added.

    As Goods from the Woods goes into its fourth year, the organizers promise "even more variety of unique artists, natural products, and creative ideas from the region in 2006," according to Allison Rajala, Steering Committee member. Rajala believes that "Goods from the Woods has become an iconic event in the state that is associated with the highest quality of Minnesota-grown forest-based work and artistry."

    Next year's event is planned for September 16-17. Remember to mark you calendars today!

    More information on Goods from the Woods 2005 Marketplace will be available soon at GoodsfromtheWoods.org

    Click here to read a series of articles in the local Grand Rapids Herald Rebiew covering the event.

    Thank you for your interest in the Vital Forests/Vital Communities initiative. For more information, or to share any comments, please feel free to call 218.327.8728 or email: brjoselyn@blandinfoundation.org.

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