When people come together amazing things can happen!
In 2019, the Navajo Generating Station, the West’s largest coal plant, and nearby Kayenta Coal Mine ceased operations creating a home heating crisis for Hopi and Navajo communities. Many off-the-grid homes relied on coal from the plant as an energy source and in its absence, turned to wood for heat.
Meanwhile, National Forests in northern Arizona were struggling to find a way to remove low-value wood from forest restoration projects. Leaving piled wood on a restoration site poses fire and insect infestation risks.
Enter the National Forest Foundation (NFF), who convened several other partners, and “Wood for Life” was born. The initiative has grown from a small pilot program to an ongoing collaboration that has connected thousands of cords of wood from local restoration projects to tribal communities.
It’s a WIN-WIN for all!
A win for the land, win for the communities, win for tribal youth…and win for YOU, who along with over 27,000 others last year opted to make a $1 donation to the NFF’s Forest Stewardship Fund when you booked online. Through Pink Jeep’s support of the Northern Arizona Forest Fund, your contributions are making a difference!
Connecting Timber to Tribal Communities
A Win for the Land
Working with the Forest Service, Tribal governments and communities, Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, and other partners, the NFF is connecting small-diameter timber from restoration projects with Tribal partners who split the wood and provide it to elders and other community members in need of fuelwood for heating, cooking, and traditional uses.
Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps
A Win for Tribal Youth
The Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps (ALCC), one of many Wood for Life participants, is rooted in the culture and heritage of local tribal communities. ALCC is a program of Conservation Legacy, a national organization that cultivates local action to produce an enduring impact in communities, ecosystems and people.
Indigenous youth crews and interns work on a variety of projects. Ancestral Lands partners with local community organizations, agencies and institutes of higher learning to create paid service and career training opportunities, personal and professional development, and pathways to post-secondary education and employment
“Our vision is to lead our Nations back to ecological and cultural well-being by engaging underrepresented indigenous youth and young adults in conservation service programs that reconnect participants to the land, their cultural heritage and their traditions,” said Marshall Masayesva, Program Manager, Ancestral Lands. ALCC also aims to incorporate traditional culture and language as part of crew lifestyle and project work.
The Wood for Life initiative is helping to cultivate a new generation of local land stewards. In addition to forest management and overall people skills, chainsaw crews get Wilderness First Aid Certification and technical chainsaw certifications required for future employment.
The Power of Partnerships
A Win for the Community
Since its inception, the success of Wood for Life has been the power of its partnerships. Enduring relationships have been built at the local, state, regional and national levels. Tribal communities, local organizations and community businesses have pooled resources with the U.S. Forest Service and National Forest Foundation to leverage the impact of the program.
Pink Jeep Tours has partnered with the NFF’s Forest Stewardship program since 2015. During this time over $140,000 in guest contributions have been collected and leveraged through NFF and partner matches to achieve a total on-the-ground conservation value of over $375,000.
Funding has contributed to 12 partner-led projects to date, each benefiting the Forest and employing and involving local and regional individuals. By thinning forests, mitigating wildfire risks, warming tribal homes and training tomorrow’s conservation leaders, Wood for Life is one project where your contributions are making a difference!
Learn more about Wood for Life at NationalForests.org