2021 Big Stage Presentations

Forests For All: The 2021 SAF Convention will highlight the critical role that forests play in providing life-giving ecosystem services and serving as green infrastructure to our communities. Join us to equip yourself to navigate policy and market dynamics, forest health and disturbances, technological shifts, and cultural changes in turbulent times that call for an inclusive approach to forestry as a practice.

Convention Plenary Sessions

Plenary 1: The Secrets of an Adventurer - The Power of Insight

Ignite your spirit and reconnect with your peers at this year’s opening plenary! During this captivating session, we invite you to celebrate all that we have surmounted while continuing to push the limits for our next achievements. The opportunity we cherish of working outside in the forest has helped our communities persevere through the pandemic, and this session will rejuvenate and reaffirm our collective passion for forestry. Get ready to be inspired and imagine the remarkable discoveries, connections, and triumphs that are in store for us ahead.

Speaker: Brian O’Malley, Motivational Speaker, Adventurer, and Author
Today's ever-changing world requires you to go where you have never gone before. By applying the secrets of an adventurer, you will uncover a new perspective on your life. Come take a journey to explore your imagination and discover your true source of wisdom. Drawing from a career and life as diverse as expedition leader, paramedic firefighter, Mt. Everest climber, SWAT team officer, paragliding pilot, and Wish Grantor, Brian will guide you through your own Call to Adventure.

  • Discover the 5 Secrets of an Adventurer
  • Explore the Most Important Secret of All
  • Take a Journey on Your Own Call to Adventure

Plenary 2: Boots on The Ground - Connecting with Landowners from Varying Perspectives

For centuries, structural inequalities in the US land ownership system have contributed to stark and persistent disparities in wealth and financial well-being, especially among landowners of color, women, and indigenous communities. In the desire for growth, we find ourselves wondering what can be done to bridge this gap and how this history impacts the relationships among these landowner groups and forestry professionals. How can we ensure all landowners are treated equitably? In breaking down the barriers and challenges to land ownership and management, our panelists rely on their unique perspectives to share an inclusive framework with attendees on how to be a part of the solution.
  • Sam Cook, Executive Director of Forest Assets, North Carolina State University
  • Phil Rigdon, DNR Deputy Director, Yakama Nation
  • Cathy Dummer, Woodland Owner

Plenary 3: The Value of Forests

Join us as we call upon forestry professionals to launch into action during this closing keynote presentation. Gaze into potential markets and opportunities created through collaborative ventures with foresters, managers, entrepreneurs, and large organizations at the vanguard of establishing real markets for ecosystem services. Forest managers play a critical role in understanding, measuring, and quantifying the services that forests provide, and are uniquely positioned to connect landowners and working forests to programs that allow them to be paid for sustainable forest management to meet a range of goals beyond timber production.

Speaker: Zack Parisa, Co-Founder, NCX

Friday Focus On (FFO) Concurrent Sessions

FFO #1: Forestry Education in a Post-Pandemic World

COVID-19 brought sweeping changes to college forestry course operations. In the blink of an eye, faculty and administrators pivoted from teaching classes under the canopy of trees to in front of a webcam. The financial and logistical challenges affecting academic institutions created a lasting impact on a larger community. As forestry educators adapted, COVID-19 accelerated innovations in forestry education that otherwise may have taken years to implement. Engage with a variety of forestry educators and administrators as they reflect on the educational strategies that worked during the pandemic, the short- and long-term challenges that impacted their institutions, and the opportunities for forestry education in a post-pandemic world.
  • Jessica Leahy, Professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, University of Maine
  • Eli Sagor, Extension Specialist, Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative, University of Minnesota
  • Janaki Alavalapti, Dean, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University
  • Joshua Soderlund, Forestry Instructor, Reedley College (California)

FFO #2: Shifting the Discourse on Forest Health and Resilience

Critical and perhaps under-appreciated forest health concerns require us to shift the conversation on the health and resilience of our forests across the landscape. Significant disturbances, including climate change and extreme weather, market and regulatory shifts, and novel or exacerbated pests and pathogens continue to afflict our forestlands ownerships. The mountain pine beetle dramatically transformed the production forestry landscape across the Midwestern US and Canada. The American chestnut, once a major contributor to the economy of Appalachian mountain states, is nearing extinction. This panel engages in a lively discussion about these and other major forest health and resilience challenges and will explore where we may be headed in the coming years. Learn from our panelists about exciting efforts to change our approach from fundamentally reactive to proactive so we can better safeguard and sustain our forests and enhance the benefits they provide.
  • Pierluigi (Enrico) Bonello, Professor of Plant Pathology, Ohio State University
  • Jodi Axelson, Adjunct Professor, The University of British Columbia
  • Kier Klepzig, Director/Entomology and Microbiology, The Jones Center at Ichauway

FFO #3: The Many Dimensions of Ecosystem Services

Cultural values drive how we engage with forests, participate in forest management, and design forest policies and programs. This vibrant discussion centers on the nexus between forest ecosystem service values and the individuals and communities that influence, transform, and benefit from those services. Join our panelists as they showcase how forests truly are for all and tackle the challenges of incorporating these views into policy action.
  • Carolyn Finney, Author
  • John Jarvis, Retired, US Park Service Director
  • Megan Ybarra, University of Washington