Recently I returned from a meeting in Washington, D.C. with a broad range of people who are dedicated to conservation, including NGO staff, private impact investors, high-level Obama administration officials, and staff from the EPA and other agencies. Together we discussed how public programs can protect and restore more working farms and forests, recover endangered species, and scale up the use of green infrastructure to address stormwater issues.

Recent national election results were a sobering wakeup call of how critical our work will be under the new administration.

While the collaborative event filled me with inspiration, recent national election results were a sobering wakeup call of how critical our work will be under the new administration. Those of us who fight to protect forests in our state and across the nation must join together with courage and tenacity – but I know we can do it. Here’s why:

Amidst all the wonky discussions, the women and men who run our federal natural resources agencies showed themselves to be genuinely connected to the land and to grasp the massive and urgent need for – and challenges to – preventing the loss of private forests and farms. The depth of their commitment to and care for other people and critters was clear from the personal stories they told, like the farm they helped save from development in the Chesapeake Bay area that had been around since the late 1700s to the family forest in Georgia they helped restore for red cockaded woodpecker habitat. Plus, they clearly get the importance of saving and restoring these lands to absorb more CO2.

The other source of inspiration was the high amount of creativity and energy in the room and the degree of collaboration among many different groups all over the country to scale up investments in our natural and working landscapes. There was a palpable sense of creativity, energy, and desire to carry the momentum into the next administration, and even though results weren’t what we expected, I’m fully committed to ensuring our forests are managed sustainably for generations to come. Learn more about our forestry program and what you can do.