MFA Executive Director steps down after 16 1/2 years

Karin Miller
Leave a Legacy ~ 

       As I write to you for the last time, I find it fitting that this issue of THE CROSSCUT includes Champ’s address from this year’s Arbor Day celebrations.  When I look back over the 16 years that I have served as your Executive Director, and only staff for MFA, I see many parallels in my experience and that of a tree.  
        As a graduate forester (SUNY ESF ‘81), I remember enough from my silvics and silviculture courses to know that there is much more to a healthy tree and forest than just the planting ~ there is also the site selection, site prep, nurturing, pruning, thinning, harvest and succession.  The natural world is filled with cycles that begin over and over again.  Each of these have their counterparts in the world of association management.
       To sum up in just a few words what these years have meant to me is challenging.  As a former teacher I can state that  in many ways I’ve learned much more than I’ve taught.  I appreciate the many within MFA and associated groups that mentored me at various stages as my position with MFA evolved from an administrative assistant to that of Executive Director.  I thank the leadership and membership for their patience and encouragement as we’ve learned together along the way. 
MFA is a very diverse organization and the additional challenges which that creates can also strengthen it.  Through my recent time at the gym I’ve learned first-hand the adage “no pain ~ no gain”.  Change generally is difficult and maybe even painful, but growth won’t happen without it.
      My decision to resign was not an easy one, but one whose time had come.  As I reflect on the time that has passed since the unexpected death of our oldest son last spring, I know that there are other paths of service that God wants me to explore. He’s been pruning me and training me up for a new purpose.  I want to be able to give that, whatever it may be, my full attention and energy. 
I also wanted to be sure that there was a successful “succession” as I left.  I believe Jessika brings with her exactly the skills, talents and enthusiasm that MFA needs as it moves beyond celebrating its 35th year of service to the Maryland forest community.  As she and I complete the transition this week, I trust that you will give her your full support as she assists MFA’s leadership in the coming months.
May God be with You ‘til we meet again.
Karin E. Miller , MFA Executive Director
January 1995 to May 2011

SFI Applauds USDA Announcement Promoting Wood in Green Building

WASHINGTON – SFI praised Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s announcement last month promoting the use of wood as a green building material. Secretary Vilsack noted that “wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green building materials.”

SFI and a diverse coalition of organizations had called on USDA to adopt a more inclusive approach to green building, including recognizing multiple green building rating systems and encouraging the use of wood products from responsibly managed forests. “SFI has invested an enormous amount of energy into constructively raising awareness of the need for green building rating tools to recognize the contribution of wood as a natural and environmentally-responsible renewable resource.  We thank Secretary Vilsack for his leadership and for sending a message that the Administration is serious about the role wood can play in supporting green building initiatives, rural communities, and the overall sustainability of the forest sector.  The USDA strategy makes it clear that opportunities for wood and choice in green building rating tools are part of the solution,” stated SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative was honored to be a sponsor at the International Year of Forests celebration yesterday evening where Secretary Vilsack laid out a three-part plan addressing the Forest Service’s and USDA’s current green building practices. The plan includes the following parts:

1.       The U.S. Forest Service will preferentially select wood in new building construction while maintaining its commitment to certified green building standards. USDA will also make a commitment to using wood and other agricultural products as it fulfills President Obama's executive order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
2.       The Secretary has asked the U.S. Forest Service to examine ways to increase its already strong commitment to green building by reporting to him on ways to enhance the research and development being done around green building materials.
3.       The U.S. Forest Service will actively look for opportunities to demonstrate the innovative use of wood as a green building material for all new structures of 10,000 square feet or more using recognized green building standards such as LEED, Green Globes or the National Green Building Standard.

Abusow noted, “SFI is excited to see the explicit recognition of the Green Globes standard and the National Green Building Standard, both of which recognize multiple forest certification standards including SFI. Opening the door to other green building rating systems increases opportunities for third party certified wood to be used and recognized in green buildings.”

About SFI Inc.
SFI Inc. is an independent 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization, and is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program ( Across North America, more than 180 million acres/73 million hectares are certified to the SFI forest management standard, making it the largest single standard in the world. SFI chain-of-custody certification tells buyers how much certified, responsibly sourced and/or recycled content is in a product. The SFI program’s unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers’ lands. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally.

March is here and it’s time to think about spring planting!

Native trees can be ordered through Tree-Mendous Maryland for plantings on public lands.
The Spring Order Form is available by clicking here or by using this link:
(Trees are available until sold out)

Need larger sizes, other species or supplies?
The Special Order Form is available by clicking here or by using this link:
(Place your "Specials" order no later than 3/15)

Trees can be delivered to Greenbriar SP (Western), Tuckahoe SP (Eastern) or Cedarville SF (Southern) at no cost, but you must order before 4/4.

If you would like trees to plant in your yard, Marylanders Plant Trees is the program for you!
 Visit a participating nursery and use your $25 off coupon to purchase a tree from the recommended tree list valued at $50 or more. After you plant, don’t forget to register your trees for a chance to win some great prizes!

If you can't plant a tree, consider giving the Gift of Trees.

Lindsay Major
Maryland DNR Forest Service
Register all newly planted trees today!

Updating Forest Management Plans

The 2010 - 2015 AFF Standards have updated management plan requirements. Plans are required to address the following resource elements: forest health, soil, water, wood and fiber production, threatened and endangered species, special sites, invasive species, integrated pest management, and high conservation value forests. If a resource element is not present on the property or relevant to its management, plans should state that clearly.

 Example: The plan writer has checked the threatened and endangered species database available in their state and seen that there are no documented occurrences of a threatened or endangered species on the Tree Farm. The plan should include a brief statement on the results of the plan writer's research and the date completed.

ATFS has developed a management plan addendum to help update current management plans to the new Standards. Please visit for a copy of the addendum.
Landowners and plan writers are always encouraged to update plans frequently using informal notes and comments.