US Endowment for Forestry and Communities Announces Membership of the Forest and Wood Products Inclusion Council

SAF CEO Terry Baker Named Council Co-Chair

August 5, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The US Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) recently announced the membership of their newly formed Forest and Wood Products Inclusion Council, an initiative to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the forest sector. The Society of American Foresters (SAF) CEO Terry Baker was named council co-chair.

The Inclusion Council was formed to bring forest sector leaders together with DEI experts to address racial and gender inequities in the sector. The Council includes sector leaders from public, private, not-for-profit, academic, and Indigenous organizations. The Council will work collaboratively within their spheres of influence and develop a National Action Plan that aims to establish a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture in the US forest and wood products sector.

“A bright future for the US forest and wood products sector requires a diverse and inclusive workforce, said Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President at the Endowment and co-chair of the initiative. “This needed cultural shift will create long-lasting effects beyond the term of this project. When we foster the growth and professional development of underrepresented voices and perspectives, our sector can only strengthen and that, in turn, can benefit our people and our forests.”

Data from the US Census Bureau and its 2019 American Community survey states women account for just 21% of the US forest sector, which includes forestry, logging, and manufacturing. Four percent are Native American, three percent are Black, and two percent are Asian. These percentages are even lower at the executive levels. This Council will focus on collecting better data to understand DEI trends in the sector; attracting, retaining, and advancing underrepresented groups; and building awareness and access to create an equitable workforce and workplace.

“As our nation’s population grows and changes, we have the responsibility to engage broader communities about the ways they benefit from and can tend forests and natural areas into the future,” said Baker. “It’s an honor to serve on the Forest and Wood Products Inclusion Council to work towards that future in the forest sector at large and within our respective organizations.”

In 2017, SAF’s Board of Directors adopted a Diversity and Inclusion Policy, which serves as a guidepost and impetus for SAF diversity and inclusion programs and activities. SAF has implemented measures that actively promote diversity and inclusion within SAF’s leadership, membership, programs, and activities—such as expanding the Student Diversity Scholar Program, adopting an Anti-Harassment Policy, and launching a DEI Working Group. The Society continues to identify opportunities and implement actions to create a diverse and inclusive organization.

"Studies have proven the simple fact that we are better together with representation, experiences, and perspectives from varied backgrounds," said Baker. "We won’t attract or retain the brightest and most talented thinkers and implementers without intentional investment of time to better develop our understanding and dollars to build bridges through opportunity. We have always stewarded our resources and developed products for the greatest good and largest number over the long run. We now need to steward our professional spaces for members of the largest number to engage in this important work."

Members of the Inclusion Council
Terry Baker, Society of American Foresters (Council co-chair)
Alicia Cramer, US Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Council co-chair)
Don Calloway, Enviva
Angela Coleman, USDA Forest Service
Sam Cook, North Carolina State University
Asia Dowtin, Michigan State University
Cody Desautel, Intertribal Timber Council
Kate Gatto, National Alliance of Forest Owners
Deb Hawkinson, Forest Resources Association
Rita Hite, American Forest Foundation
Jennifer Jenkins, NCX
Shannon McCabe, Association of Consulting Foresters of America
Colin Moseley, Green Diamond Resource Company
Tiffanie Starr, Timberland Investment Resources
Jennie Stephens, Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation
De’Etra Young, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS)