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Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change

Change is upon us.

tionFrom the September 2020 Cornerstone Network Email

Change is upon us at a global scale – and at the Geos Institute.  

After 14 years of serving as Chief Scientist and Program Director for our Forest Legacies Initiative, we say goodbye to Dominick DellaSala. He will become the new Chief Scientist at Wild Heritage – a program of Earth Island Institute.

It is a bittersweet moment for us. Our roots are deep in forest conservation work. We began as Headwaters – a regional organization made up of grassroots forest advocacy organizations across the Pacific Northwest. It was in those early years that we engaged in timber sale tracking, policy advocacy, and litigation.

Forest conservation is part of our foundation

Headwaters was in the eye of the storm during the “spotted owl wars” leading up to the Northwest Forest Plan – a key tool for forest conservation in our region. I was a summer intern in the early 1990s. My task was analyzing the Forest Service’s database of the different alternatives to see which one protected the most old-growth forests. It’s humbling to think of how far we have come since those early days.

For many years, we hosted the annual Headwaters Forest Activists Conference in our hometown of Ashland. This event brought a wide swath of activists, from members of Congress to tree sitters, to Ashland in order to strategize, network, and imagine a world with vibrant, healthy forests. It was an honor to serve the larger movement for forest conservation in such a tangible way.

For the last 20 years, we have focused on the science aspect of forest conservation.  Working at the regional and national level to ensure that forest policy is based on the best available science and providing science-based tools to grassroots organizations.  

Working with our allies, we have seen many victories: enactment of the Northwest Forest Plan and Roadless Rule, designation of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, and protection of the Kalmiopsis from mining. All the hard work and dedication has paid off.  

And yet, with all we accomplished, we also know it is not enough. Which is why we are both sad to see Dominick go, and pleased that he will have a larger team to work with. He is a powerful, strategic advocate. We want him on the largest stage possible working on behalf of the forests we all cherish.

Moving Forward 

As we make this transition, we examining our role in regional forest conservation efforts going forward. If you have thoughts you would like us to consider as we move through this process, please let me know.

In the meantime, we are excited to announce that we are a partner in the Climate Ready Texas proposal to the Lone Star Prize program. Our team includes Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, the Houston Advanced Research Center, and several other organizations that are creating a path for communities to build climate resilience across the state of Texas.

If funded, all Texas communities that are ready to start building climate resilience will have access to our Climate Ready Communities program. Additionally, we’ll be supporting cohorts of ten communities each year over five years in completing their climate resilience plans. A short video about the project is here:

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place – including supporting the Geos Institute. 

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