Thursday, March 26, 2015

FNRM Awards Ceremony Farnsworth Lecture: Katie Fernholz speaks on: “The Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainable Forestry”

Trees are making a comeback from would-be extinction, changing rhetoric like “Save a Tree” to “Sustainable Trees,” according to Katie Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners.  She says, “land use has changed over time,” necessitating modern sustainable forestry practices and effective public policy which has turned trees into efficient, renewable, productive resources.  Fernholz was the Farnsworth Lecturer for the FNRM annual awards ceremony held March 26, 2015 on the SUNY-ESF campus. 

Ms. Fernholz spoke about improved forest use to include tall wood building, ecosystem services in terms of climate change, policy for implementing green building code, getting wood out of landfills, more stringent rules on illegal logging, and rebuilding public trust in forestry.  Fernholz states, “My work touches many areas such as urban forestry, recreation, and silviculture.”  Other issues surround private forest land ownership, one of America’s biggest challenges and the appropriate frequency of fire.  During the ceremony preceding the lecture, the C. Eugene Farnsworth Fellowship was granted to Ph.D. student, Matt Kelly, and M.S. student, Yang Yang.

Fernholz grew up on an organic farm in Western Minnesota.  After earning her degree in forestry from the University of Minnesota, Fernholz worked for an environmental services department and eventually Dovetail Partners.  She has also served on several committees, boards and societies and is a forest certification lead auditor.  Fernholz travels and lectures internationally and has worked with the U.N.  She credits her success to “creativity and expertise through certification” and adheres to a holistic lifestyle.

Dovetail Partners, Inc., is an environmental nonprofit that uses info about forestry in a historical context to envision a future of forests as a sustainable energy source, as well as diversity of forest products from paper to fuelwood, informed land use, and nonwasteful, stable forestry to fulfill their objectives but also to enhance the natural beauty and function of forests.  Initiatives toward educating youth through internships and mentoring programs are also goals.  Fernholz is collaborating with Prof. Bob Malmsheimer of FNRM toward policy aimed at effective management for trees grown for their use as carbon sinks but with a goal toward sustainable harvest practices.

The event was cross-listed as a Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions lecture.  For more information about the WiSE Professions Lecture Series, please visit:

As part of their class requirements, students share responsibility for reporting on speakers in the WiSE Professions Speaker Series.  The preceding was prepared by Julie Grinstead (EFB 2015).

CONTACT:  Ms. Katie Fernholz, Executive Director, Dovetail Partners, Inc., 528 Hennepin, Ave., Suite 703, Minneapolis, MN  55403, Tel. (612) 333-0430.  Website:

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