SAF – Taking the “First Step”
November 12, 2021
The most difficult part of a journey is taking the first step. Fortunately, the first step in founding our profession was taken 121 years ago in 1900 by Gifford Pinchot and seven fellow foresters. And, fortunately, there have been many more Society leaders since then who have continued this legacy and made the forestry profession what it is today. Networking is a key component of forming and retaining an organization, and regular meetings are key for networking.
Regular gatherings help maintain “esprit de corps” that is “a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by the members of a particular group.” (Oxford Languages Dictionary). SAF does this through its meetings, communications, and continued education. A great example of this, is the completion of our 2021 annual convention last week with a theme of “Forests for All.” This was our second virtual annual convention in a row due to COVID-19 restrictions and was a success just like our 2020 virtual meeting. There were over 1,000 attendees registered, 270 speakers present, 34 Society awards delivered, and up to 26 CFEs earned.
State societies have also been holding annual meetings virtually, in-person, and as hybrids to provide networking, continued education, and professional development opportunities. Our officers and staff have been attending these state meetings virtually and in-person. I have attended many such meetings over the past two years and found that we have an incredible, dedicated membership country-wide, and it has been a pleasure to meet so many members. In addition to meeting many long-time Society members, I have met many student members who are new to SAF and are about to start their careers. Their energy, intellect, and enthusiasm for forestry and the Society is impressive. And, I am so happy to see them helping with increasing total membership and reversing the decades-long decline. Membership has been increasing since July when the Together We Rise membership campaign started.
We have now taken that “First Step” in the journey to see SAF expand in membership and service and the esprit de corps needed to continue growing. To see and hear from two of our fantastic student members that I met from the University of Montana, please click this link.
SAF is the Founder and Face of Forestry!