Join us for Forestry Awareness Day on February 2

Forestry Awareness Day (FAD) 2015 is coming up on February 2 in Albany. Please join us! Participation/Registration is free for NYSUFC members.

CFRO-logoFAD is sponsored by The Council of Forest Resource Organizations (CFRO), of which our NYS Urban Forestry Council is a member. (Among the other 14 organizations are The Nature Conservancy, SUNY ESF, New York Forest Owners Association, NY Farm Bureau, and the Empire State Forest Products Association).

FAD is a chance to educate our NYS legislators about key issues in Urban Forestry, Forestry Property Taxation, Wood Energy/Biomass Energy, Improving and Protecting Forest Health, and Sustainable Woodland Management and Conservation.

ESFPAFAD Event Planner Muriel Church, who is the Director of Member Services & Communication for the Empire State Forest Products Association (ESFPA), explains, “Forestry Awareness Day (FAD) was initially a lobby day organized by the ESFPA. However, more and more groups were getting involved and the event evolved into a team effort which was formally organized into the CFRO event, Forestry Awareness Day. All aspects of the day, from the actual day of the event, how the day is organized, and the issues the group seeks to pursue are all decided upon by consensus. It’s a true collaborative event.”

The day starts with a welcoming session by the CFRO chair and some invited legislators and is then followed by an Issue Briefing and Q & A session that helps prepare the volunteers for their meeting with legislators. There are also exhibits from all sponsoring organizations and various agencies at FAD. Every year the most important current state forestry issues are selected and issue sheets are prepared. In 2014, an issue sheet dedicated to urban-forestry was prepared for the first time.

Some of the 2014 Forestry Awareness Day participants; from left: Sally Kellogg, Andy Hillman, Nancy Needham, Mary Kramarchyk, Pat Tobin, Ann Stevens, and Betty Shimo


Fayetteville Tree Commission Chair Pat Tobin says, “We believe it is time well spent and would like to encourage more Council members to come. It really is an interesting, educational day. We know that some members are a bit intimidated by FAD—until they actually attend.

legislative office building
The New York Legislative Office Building in Albany

Muriel Church says that potential participants have misconceptions or fears that they will be put “on the spot” to speak one-on-one with a legislator. “That does not happen,” she says. “Our visits, which are prearranged, all have a group leader who is ready, willing, and able to carry on the conversation. If and when an individual would like to speak, all group leaders give that person preference. But just the fact that a person has taken the time to come to Albany and sit in on a meeting with a legislator is very important. It tells the legislator how important the issues are and how passionately this group of people feels about our Forests.”

Church says that the need this year and every year for member participation and attendance from all hosting organizations is crucial. She says, “Legislators want to hear from constituents. Nothing can replace that.  Nothing means more than that. Legislators are in business for constituents and want to do what they can to answer the concerns and questions that constituents present. No organization can do that; only individuals can.”

Participation in FAD is free for Council members. CFRO provides refreshments, lunch, paperwork, and a review of the issues—everything an individual needs to participate. You just need to register and show up! The tentative agenda for the day is below. Register online here or call Muriel Church to register at (518) 463-1297.

Forestry Awareness Day Event Schedule – tentative

February 2, 2015

9 am                                        Registration

Lobby of Legislative Office Building, LOB Concourse Level –  Empire State Plaza  

9:00 am – 3:00 pm            Forestry Exhibits

Lobby of Legislative Office Building, LOB Concourse Level  – Empire State Plaza

9:30 am – 10:45 am  Legislative Issue Brief  location within the LOB TBA- This session provides an overview of current legislation and proposals regarding forestry issues – preparing you for discussions during legislative visits. Topics include:

  • Forest Taxation
  • Urban Forestry
  • Wood Energy
  • Forest Health

10:45 am – 11:30 am  Legislative Discussion & Q & A Session – Representatives from both the NYS Senate and NYS Assembly have been invited to attend to speak on the current issues in Albany as well as how the forestry community’s agenda fits in the current atmosphere. There will be time for Q&A with legislators and/or their staff.

11:45 am – 4:30 pm Pre-Arranged Legislative Visits  – Participants will break into small groups on pre-arranged legislative visits. Visit sign-up sheets will be at the registration table and are on a first-come basis. Groups are limited to the number of slots available on each visit sheet.

11:30 – 2:00 pm Lunch – Boxed lunches are available for all pre-registered participants in the “Well” area of the LOB, directly opposite Registration Table, adjacent to exhibits.


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