MFPC Newsletter April 2020

Everyone wants to help Jay mill, but it will take time to assess options

I think I can speak for everyone in our closely connected industry, when I say, we are so happy no one was hurt during the explosion at the Pixelle mill in Jay on Wednesday. But the damage to the mill will certainly impact our entire industry since we have such an integrated supply chain. We all are talking and thinking about this, but there are no quick or easy solutions.

Pixelle, based in Pennsylvania, is a new member of the Council, completing its $400 million purchase of the mill in February. Everyone wants to help the workers and the mill, but right now we have to give management a chance to access the damage and their options.

Investigators are now working to determine what went wrong and that will take time, although the early view was that a ruptured pressure vessel ruptured in one of the mill’s two wood digesters. The paper machines were not affected by the explosion, according to Roxie Lassetter, Pixelle human resources manager, but “ we are not in a position to estimate the exact timing of restarting any part of the mill.”

Waiting for more information is hard, but at this point that is what we have do. Read more.

Covid-19 federal and state resources and guidance
MFPC has created a page on our website to list forest products industry resources and guidance documents that we hope will prove useful to members and others. We will be updating it daily. If you see something online that would be helpful to others, please send it to Roberta Scruggs to post on the MFPC website.


SFI invites participation in Standard Revision process

SFI’s mission is to advance sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. As part of the collaborative process, SFI invites all interested parties to participate in the SFI Standard Revision process. 
The first draft of the new SFI Standards will be available for public comment on May 1, 2020. This will launch a 60-day public comment period that will be open through June 30th. This draft will include recommendations by the Standards Revision Task Groups, the SFI Resources Committee and the SFI Board of Directors based on comments SFI received during the first public comment period last year.
SFI originally planned to conduct regional workshops throughout the U.S. and Canada, but due to COVID-19, the in-person workshops were cancelled. In order to present the major enhancements, as well as provide opportunity to comment on the proposed revisions and enhancements, SFI will conduct nine webinars .focused on specific themes and requirements in the Standards. See complete schedule and scope for the webinars. You will be able to click on the title of a webinar to link to the Zoom meeting.
Anyone who is unable to attend a webinar, can still submit comments online and SFI will record all workshop webinars and make them available after the meetings. Read more.
Spruce Budworm in Maine 2019 
According to the Maine Forest Service’s 2019 Spruce Budworm Report, large in-flights of migrating moths from outbreak areas in Canada into northern Maine were well-documented in 2019. The impacts of these migration events on Maine’s forests remain to be seen. Other information:
  • Light traps: In 2019, 17 light traps were operated statewide and we witnessed a dramatic increase in light trap catches, with 502 adult SBW moths caught at twelve sites, although not the same sites as in 2018 
  • Overwintering larvae: Just under six percent of sites were positive in 2018, with a combined total of 25 larvae recovered from 17 of 290 sites. Just over 10 percent of sites were positive in 2019, with a combined total of 70 larvae recovered from 30 of 271 sites.
  • Defoliation Surveys and Assessments: Although no defoliation was detected during aerial survey (feeding needs to be approaching a moderate level of damage before it is visible from the air.) Defoliation assessment indicated there was in fact a shift towards higher levels of defoliation severity, with fewer sites being categorized as trace and more sites now falling into the low and moderate categories.


Institutional Challenges to Workforce Development in Maine

By Thomas Remington, Harvard University, Maine Policy Review

The problem of workforce development in Maine has become acute. An important factor for understanding the issue of workforce development, in Maine and nationally, is rising economic inequality. High inequality impedes the working of labor markets, and over time, reduces opportunity and mobility. In Maine, as elsewhere, income gaps have widened between rich and poor while the middle class has been shrinking. Moreover, the gap between high-income and low-income counties has been growing. Meantime, many good-paying jobs are going unfilled. Comprehensive institutional solutions can help overcome these problems by matching supply and demand in the labor market, but they are not simple or cheap. Read more.

BPL announces Recreational Trail Program grants available
AUGUSTA – The Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) Grants and Community Recreation Program today announced the availability of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) funding. RTP funds are available to qualifying projects to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses. The RTP is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Read more.
Susan MacKay

Cerahelix founder leaves to manage UMaine’s 3D printer program

Susan MacKay, the co-founder and CEO of Cerahelix Inc., has resigned from the company to take the position of senior research and development program manager with the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center in Orono.

Alex Crowell, a Cerahelix board member and investor, has taken over as interim CEO at the Orono-based company, Maine Startups Insider reported on Monday.

At UMaine, MacKay will turn her attention to managing the Advanced Structures and Composites Center’s large-scale biobased additive manufacturing program, working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She will help research, develop and commercialize products that use the developing technology,  3D printing. Read more.

Interesting and engaging activities aimed at getting kids outdoors 
By Christine Anderson-Morehouse, Project Learning Tree Coordinator
In the video above, watch Maine PLT’s Laurie Haines as she explores rotting stumps in her backyard, then download a data sheet and head outdoors to find out who’s living on rotting stumps and logs in your own backyard! Here is the link to a page of family activities to accompany the video.
Nature at Home videos: A few PLT Facilitators chose their favorite PLT lesson and filmed a short video for parents and children at home, showing how to do the key learning steps in their own backyards. Each video has been viewed between 1,000-2,000+ times! When other state PLT coordinators learned of this project, some of them began making and adding their own PLT videos to the “library.” Even a demonstration about how to observe leaves that was filmed in the forests of Georgia can be useful to us here in Maine because the observation questions are universal regardless of cover type. 
To see more videos:
Maine PLT Website Home Page: Our landing page is now a “one stop (free) shopping” for all things PLT! 
  • Learn how to choose a PLT activity and then find a wealth of free resources for that activity online, both on national PLT’s website and beyond.
  • Read activity descriptions from the pK-8 EE Guide, from the Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood and from the high school guide, Monitoring Forest Health
  • Find links to other resources. 
SPECIAL KUDOS!: A huge shout-out and deep gratitude to PLT facilitator videographers Laurie Haines, Anita Smith and Joanne Alex who said “Yes!” (literally, they were that excited) and came up with these wonderful videos over the course of this past weekend. We’ve shared our videos with National PLT and now a few other states are making and sharing their own videos back with us!  
Questions? Contact Christine Anderson-Morehouse, Project Learning Tree Coordinator,
How about an uplifting music lesson?
By Catherine Strauch, Elementary Music Teacher, Wildwood Elementary School, Amherst, MA
About MFPC 

Since 1961, the Maine Forest Products Council has been the voice of Maine’s forest economy. MFPC’s members are landowners, loggers, truckers, paper mills, tree farmers, foresters, lumber processors and the owners of more than 8 million acres of commercial forestland, but they are also bankers, lawyers and insurance executives. The Council represents members at the Maine Legislature and across the state, in Washington D.C. and across the U.S.

Patrick Strauch, Executive Director;

Pat Sirois, SFI Coordinator

Roberta Scruggs, Communications Director

Sue McCarthy, Office Manager