Coinciding with what is shaping up to be the worst wildfire season on record, the United Nations declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness and strengthen sustainable forest management, conservation and development.
In an effort to inform and educate local and state forestry officials about Firewise principles and resources, Associate Project Manager Cheryl Blake hosted a Firewise exhibit at the 2011 Society of American Foresters National Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. Hawaii also happens to have one of the over 740 recognized Firewise sites in the U.S.: Kohala By The Sea, Kamuela, a recognized member since 2004.
Those working in forestry management at the federal, state and local level as well as researchers, educators and students took part in over 250 educational sessions on the topics of forest management, research, training, adaptive techniques and geospatial technologies. Keynote speakers included Nainoa Thompson, Chairman of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and Thomas Tidwell, Chief of the US Forest Service. Thompson spoke about Polynesian voyaging traditions and their connection to conservation in his address, “The Voyage Always Brings Us Home,” and Tidwell spoke about the importance of collaboration in tackling the climate change problem in national forests during his presentation, “International Year of Forests: Linking Local, Regional, and Global Solutions.”