I am sure it was extra hard for our Associates Jamie Hohalek, Martha Reyes, Richard Rivera, and Steve Walters to return to work after attending an amazing trip they won to visit The Garcia River Forest and the neat town of Healdsburg, CA last week.
The team spent three days enjoying great food and company in the eclectic town of Healdsburg known for offering up the finer things in life . . . food, wine, shopping, friends and fun. But the trips highlight was a 4-hour tour of the sustainably managed Garcia River Forest. It was there that The Conservation Fund's Scott Kelly (Timberland Manager) and Kayla Walker (Major Gifts Officer) showcased how American Licorice's donation to offset its carbon emissions is allowing The Conservation Fund to invest in forest infrastructure and sustainably manage the forest.
The Conservation Fund believes that well-managed forests can be both economically viable and ecologically sustainable. On California's North Coast, they are demonstrating a new approach to forest conservation that balances environmental restoration and stewardship with the economic imperatives of large scale forest ownership and the desire to sustain the local timber economy. The Conservation Fund uses light touch forestry. Their strategy at Garcia River Forest is to always harvest less than they grow, cutting one third of the trees in a harvest plan area and leaving two thirds or a "working forest" behind. Kelly said, "It's basically like weeding, you go in and find the trees you really like and you want to keep and you cut the trees that are growing crooked, have diseases, or are competing with more desirable trees."
Kelly also described in addition to their forest management, they are heavily focused on improving the ecological conditions of their forest, which includes stream work, habitat restoration for Coho salmon, and sediment reduction through investments in road infrastructure.
Community Manager Steve Walters was honored to lead the trip winners on the trip and had this to say, "It was amazing for our group to see in person the investment the company has made to offset its 10,000 metric tons or approximate annual Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions associated with our natural gas usage we have not been able to eliminate. I just wish our whole company could see the forest in person."
While reducing our direct energy, footprint is our priority, we were bothered we were still emitting a substantial amount of greenhouse gas, so we chose to partner with The Conservation Fund to offset our emissions.
Our partnership with The Conservation Fund hits close to home with a lot of our associates, like Martha and Richard, who work at our Union City, CA plant. We hope by partnering with The Conservation Fund that future generations of Californians and Americans will have beautiful forests to enjoy.
One of my favorite quotes came from Richard, "This forest is beautiful, one could get a nosebleed from all the time spent looking up at the Redwood trees". This is truly a trip the winners of the all-expense paid trip will never forget!