MFPC Newsletter November 2020

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Updates on workforce, recovery, climate 

I want to give you a heads-up that some members will be hearing soon from Dr. Ryan Wallace, Director, Maine Center for Business and Economic Research, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine. You may remember him from his excellent presentation at MFPC’s 2019 annual meeting on A Workforce Overview of the Forest Product Sector in Maine.
 
Dr. Wallace has been commissioned to interview our members about their work force needs as part of the Forest Opportunity Roadmap (FOR/Me) effort. Developing a strategic plan for workforce development is one of our highest priorities.
 
Results from Dr. Wallace’s survey will define the industry’s current and future workforce needs and identify the skills and credentials the state should include as it seeks to modernize Maine’s career training programs. We also want to understand what workers now and in the future are looking for as we build outreach programs designed to attract young people into forest and wood manufacturing professions. This information will be used to build a public communications program that will attract workers now and build aspirations for young people who are seeking career paths. Read more.

An early look at the 130th Maine Legislature

Maine’s 130th Legislature will be sworn in on December 2 and is scheduled to convene Wednesday, January 6, for the first regular session, which normally would last through the third week in June. On Dec. 2., legislators also will vote on constitutional officers, including the secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and state auditor. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is termed out, but it’s likely the other current officers will be reelected.
 
Democrats kept control of the Senate with 22 seats, while Republicans have 13. Democrats also retained control of the House, even though they lost 11 seats. They have 80, while Republicans have 67 and there are four unenrolled (aka independents). That means Democrats will determine the makeup of legislative committees. Read more.
Huntress

A winning tradition for more 2 decades

For the last 20 years or so Fred Huntress (photo at left) has donated a white oak seedling to the MFPC to be sold to the high bidder at MFPC’s Annual Meeting.

“My goal has been to locate white oaks outside their natural range in Maine with the idea that as they mature and produce seeds the blue jays will scatter the seeds and start a new forest of white oaks,” Fred said. “White oaks are long lived and beautiful shade tree if given room to grow,
 
Since our annual meeting was virtual this year, Fred offered a white oak seedling to auction online to our members. The winning bid – and it wasn’t his first — came from John McNulty, who said,  “Looking forward to planting my 3rd Fred Huntress White Oak!”
 
Since it’s so late in the year, Fred and John agreed that they would leave the tree in the ground for now and plant it in the spring, to improve the odds of it thriving.
 
This is your chance to trim a very special tree
 
For the past 36 years, the Kennebec Garden Club has decorated the Blaine House for the holiday season, expertly making it festive and joyous. Sadly, due to COVID-19, this tradition must be put on hold this year. While the house may not be festooned, we saw it as an opportunity to create something new, to “pivot” as has so become our norm.
 
Working with DACF and the Maine Christmas Tree Organization, we have decided to “host” an outdoor Festival of Trees in the circle drive, directly across from the State House.The theme for this year is: A Celebration of Resilience – the beauty of the natural resources of our state from the Mountains to the Woods to the Rivers to the Sea to the Farmlands to the Maine People. Contact Blaine House Director, Leslie OsterRead more.

Standing Proud. from forestproud.

News from affiliated members

Stephen Shaler, Director, UMaine School of Forest Resources: As of August, the University of Maine has a new provost, a position second only to President Joan Ferrini-Mundy, and he has a background in forestry.

    John Volin

John Volin received a Ph.D. in forestry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also did a postdoctoral fellowship. He previously served as vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Connecticut, where he was a professor of Natural Resources and the environment. We hope to get him out on a tour of Maine’s forests as soon as possible.

We also are going to have a new dean of the College of Natural Sciences Forestry and Agriculture, with a start date of July 1, 2021. On Nov. 12, we had the first meeting of that search committee, which Peter Triandafillou of Huber is on to help represent your interests. We are also awaiting approval for the hiring of a silviculturist faculty position, which is a top priority.

Student enrollment is down slightly (165 students total) while graduate student enrollment continues to climb (72 students total). Forestry courses have emphasized outdoor laboratory opportunities, including in Dendrology, Silviculture, Forest Ecology, Forest Operations, Woodlot Management, and Orienteering – even with on-line lecture instruction. No travel to field sites is allowed due to COVID restrictions, however we have been able to take advantage of the university forests adjacent to campus.

Eric Kingsley, FRA: The Forest Resource Association (FRA) just had our national annual meeting online. This year it was supposed to be in Portland, Maine and that obviously did not occur. So it will be in Portland, Maine, two years from now in October 2022. I hope by then, we’ll be able to see each other. We haven’t been doing forums because we haven’t been able to get together, but those will be starting online at least monthly. So if folks have issues or topics they want to hear about, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Also because FRA partners with the Northeast Region Council of Forest Engineers (NERCOFE) on occasion, I would like to say that the remnants of their spring program are now being conducted on Friday afternoons, I think at noon. So if folks are looking for credits or want to learn about any of those topics that’s ongoing I did one last week but I know they’re continuing. The next program is Friday, Nov. 20. The topic is Forest Technology Update with Tony Guay, who is the remote sensing technical specialist at Wheatland Geospatial Lab, School of Forest Resources, University of Maine. To register or for more information, contact Cynthia Paschal, cpaschal@maine.edu, 207-581-2841.

Mike St. Peter, director, Certified Logging Professional Program: CLP is chugging right along. We’ve done more than 200 virtual recertifications this year and about 25 new certifications in person. Despite everything that’s been going on, we’re still training and educating loggers.

Patrick Strauch, MFPC executive director, will be the keynote speaker at our virtual annual meeting Friday, Dec. 4. It will be for CLP members from 3-4 p.m. and for everyone from 4-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 is the last day to nominate someone for Logger of the Year. Register for the banquet here.

The CLP “Logger of the Year” award is sponsored by Huber Resources and Conservation Forestry Partners as an acknowledgement of safe work practices, environmental compliance and sound business practices. The recipients in each of the CLP categories – mechanical, conventional and supervisor /contractor, receive a cash award, jacket, and plaque, recognizing they met and exceeded industry standards.

We also will have a tribute to Eric Carlson of Edgecomb, owner of C and L Forestry. We are grateful for his service as the chair of the CLP’s Board of Directors for CLP for a number of years, only recently stepping down due to his health. He was a graduate of the University of Maine and had a career full service across Maine’s forest community.

Jonathan LaBonte, Executive Director, Maine TREE Foundation: Every year, Maine TREE selects a partner with the Maine Project Learning Tree program to be recognized with the Stewardship Award. This year, Barry Burgason (shown above with Keith Kanoti), a retired wildlife biologist from Huber Resources is being honored.

Barry Burgason and Keith Kanoti

Barry has been actively involved with Maine Project Learning Tree for over 30 years serving in various capacities, including chairing our steering committee over seven years. He has led many PLT professional development workshops across Maine for formal and non-formal educators. His knowledge of forestry, wildlife biology, and resource management connects PLT lessons in meaningful and engaging ways. 

Our well-known Forests of Maine Teachers’ Tours have also benefited from Barry’s skills in planning and facilitating the program. His knowledge of forestry resources, natural resource professionals, and local points of interest helped set a standard for high-quality professional development allowing educators to gain an in-depth understanding of the working Maine forest. 
 
In 2019, Barry retired from a long and successful career as a Wildlife Biologist for Huber Resources and prior to that the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for 17 years.
 
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 email it to Roberta Scruggs. Most recent posts:

With COVID-19 Cases Rising, Mills Administration Announces More Public Health and Safety Measures

As cases surge, Gov. Mills urges compliance: ‘If you love this country, wear a mask’

DHHS Partners With University of Maine System to Expand Public COVID-19 Testing in Washington County

Virtual 80th Annual Maine Agricultural Trade Show Plans and Dates Announced

Maine small businesses that won stimulus grants to start getting checks next week

Gov. Mills pushes back bar reopenings, reduces indoor gathering limits as Maine cases spike

Governor Mills, Boston Fed president announce collaborative effort to strengthen rural towns and small cities with $2.7 million in grants

Read more