The Power of Giving – at Convention and Beyond

By Katya Harris

As a newer staff member of SAF, I am struck by the giving nature of the SAF community. One might say it comes with the position; as Development Manager, I track the donations coming into SAF’s various funds daily. However, the generosity I’m referring to goes beyond monetary contributions.

"Forestry: It’s in Our DNA" is the theme of this year’s Convention in Sacramento, CA. As Convention Program Chair Marcella Windmuller-Campione put it, this theme focuses on “the pride and passion members feel when they are asked, 'What’s your job?'." The pride and passion Marcella speaks of is evident in the conversations I’ve had with foresters since joining SAF, along with foresters’ propensity to give.

At Convention, you’ll find demonstrations of the giving nature of the forestry community. The Silent Auction, for example, directly raises funds for the Foresters Fund and Kurt Gottschalk Science Fund. Donating items to the Silent Auction or making cash donations are straightforward ways to give to the broader SAF community in support of SAF’s programs. Members also give back to SAF every time they make a donation while renewing their membership or when purchasing products from the SAF store. The generosity of SAF donors also brings attendees to Convention who otherwise may not be able to attend: donations to the Gregory Award Fund that allow international students or early career professionals to travel to Convention and explore and build opportunities.

But there is so much more “giving” on display at Convention – and all before the actual event kicks off in October!

Consider the gift of time by the 2023 Committee on National Convention Programs. The Committee begins meeting and planning for Convention a full two years in advance. The hours spent hammering out themes, coordinating programming, and engaging networks for a successful Convention are instrumental to developing a great annual event. The hosting state society of Convention, along with a slate of local and national volunteers, also give their time to work with local sponsors and publicity, plan robust technical field tours, run the Silent Auction, organize the much-anticipated Quiz Bowl, and much more.

Mentorship is another way Convention participants give to SAF. The Student Diversity Scholar Program awards students full scholarships to attend Convention, where they also meet with their program mentors in person and participate in a meet in greet. This year’s convention will also feature a student orientation and meet up, again offering more opportunities for connecting mentors to younger attendees. Imparting guidance and knowledge to younger generations is one of the biggest gifts a professional can offer, and seeing SAF members committed to mentorship demonstrates the value of this form of giving.

Engaging with your Society and profession by attending Convention to network, learn, teach, volunteer, lead, and catch up with friends and colleagues is a form of giving as well. When a community of peers can come together to grow and learn, those individuals are investing in each other, displaying shared goals and values, and, expressing care: care for their profession, care for their personal growth, and care for the communities in which they work and live.

I’m very proud to have found a professional home at SAF and have learned a lot about forestry in the last nine months. What’s left the most lasting impression on me is that foresters give. Whether it is donating to an SAF fund, giving time and expertise, or ensuring those entering the profession have the resources they need to succeed, the impact of your generosity is evident through all facets of SAF.

As we gear up to Convention, please accept a heartfelt thank you, in advance, for giving to your Society in so many ways.

For information on SAF’s giving program, visit To learn more about the SAF silent auction, visit the Silent Auction page

Katya Harris is the Development Manager at SAF. For more information about giving opportunities, please email [email protected].