Plenary Sessions

PLENARY SESSION 1: Adapting to the Future

Our opening plenary will provide a welcome to the forests of Kentucky and Tennessee, and then speak to the continually evolving forest sector. Think the paper industry is dead? From more traditional printing, packaging, and specialty papers to dissolving wood pulp and casting release papers to nanocellulose to lignins and beyond, our first keynote speaker will give you renewed confidence that the paper industry is “manipulating cellulose” in ways you have never imagined to remain relevant in the computer age. This plenary will also highlight how our profession continually needs talent and innovation likewise to remain relevant in economic, ecological, and social contexts.

Donna Cassese, Government Relations Consultant, Sappi 

PLENARY SESSION 2: Forestry as a Vocation and the Responsibilities of a Calling

First, love wisdom. In this twofold gesture, Plato begins with love and encloses wisdom inside. A simple turn that invites us into a life governed by love and guided towards wisdom. For a forester in the 21st century, this ancient command signifies an approach that takes the world up whole, in an attitude of wonder and in such a way that is dedicated to ethical inquiry, right in the place where we stand. This is forestry as lifework, to be taken in hand and felt in the bones.

This talk will take us into a deeper consideration of right-doing than codes of conduct and rules of behavior can provide, addressing instead the radical necessity of respectful communion. In the process we are reminded that we have not merely fallen together for a shared professional purpose, but that we are gathered together with the expectation that we will stand attentively in relationship with the forest and the life that it sustains. We have seen a glad desire for this among foresters who live these questions in Jamesian fashion. They are at work within the soft horizons of the northern boreal forests, these deep and cool woodlands alight with the whimsy of birdsong, and in the open face of the high desert southwest with its smooth cliffs, their pintuck folds delicate, vast, and red. Just as Plato enfolded wisdom inside of love, we will consider forestry as a vocation enfolded within a geography of belonging, grounded in obligation, and enriched by the wisdom native to woodsmen and women.

Marianne Patinelli-Dubay, Environmental Philosophy Program, Huntington Wildlife Forest, SUNY-ESF