By Guest Blogger
Nadine Block, Senior Director of Government Outreach
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made a major announcement this week, strongly promoting wood as a green building material and recognizing multiple green building rating systems, including Green Globes and the National Green Building Standard. The Secretary’s remarks came during the U.S. celebration of the International Year of Forests in Washington. We are excited to see Green Globes and the National Green Building Standard be part of the strategy, as they both recognize multiple forest certification standards, including SFI, and reward the use of wood.
The announcement was welcome news to all who attended the celebration, which was co-hosted by the American Forest Foundation, the National Association of State Foresters, and the USDA Forest Service. SFI was a proud sponsor of the event, which featured great turnout by Administration officials, Members of Congress and the forest and conservation community. Along with hearing Secretary Vilsack’s big announcement, we heard some great music from our friend Chuck Leavell, legendary keyboardist with the Rolling Stones and American Tree Farm System® Certified Tree Farmer, and the Second Amendments band, led by Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture. Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) – both of whom have been champions on the use of wood in green building and the need for green building rating systems to recognize all forest certification systems – also provided remarks at the event hailing the news from Secretary Vilsack.
I caught up with Chuck Leavell and Steve Koehn, Maryland State Forester and SFI Board Member, at the event. Take a look at some of their thoughts about the event in these videos:
Chuck Leavell Discusses IYOF & How Domestic Tree Farms Boost U.S. Economy
Steve Koehn Discusses USDA Announcement at IYOF U.S. Celebration
Visit the “Celebrate Life. Celebrate Forest.” campaign website to learn more about the official U.S. celebration and to see how you can participate in IYOF.