HFF Branches Out with New Name and Advanced Mission

The Hardwood Forest Foundation (HFF) announced the next chapter in the organization’s evolution with an updated mission, new name, and modern look. The association’s new name, North American Forest Foundation (NAFF), highlights the comprehensive goals set out by the NAFF executive team and board members – to spread awareness of the lumber industry, while being inclusive of both hardwood and softwood sectors, so the public can become more conscious to the benefits of wood products and make informed choices.

Since its inception, the focus of HFF has been educating elementary-age children about the benefits of the hardwood industry. The award winning “Truth About Trees” educational kits provided by HFF have helped classrooms throughout the continent by delivering science-based lessons, and it will continue to be part of NAFF’s program. However, NAFF has plans to introduce a more age-inclusive curriculum that includes materials that relay the wealth of career opportunities for young adults in the hardwood and softwood industries.

“As an industry, we need to develop a unified front. We have the product that is the greenest in terms of carbon neutrality and renewable resources, but we don’t promote it as a whole,” noted NAFF Vice-President, Stephanie Van Dystadt. “Our new mission includes educating the public as a whole, to re-introduce them to benefits of the lumber industry, whether they’re a young adult seeking career inspiration, or a consumer looking for smarter choices.”

The NAFF’s updated mission is to support the Forest Products Industry through education, promotion, and advocacy of science-based facts about sustainable forestry, and revealing the truth about trees – our world’s most diverse, abundant, renewable natural resource.

Jeff Durst, NAFF’s President shared, “As an organization, we’ve been focused on education at the elementary level. That certainly remains an important part of what we do, but in realigning ourselves as the NAFF, we’ve expanded our mission to have a greater impact on more areas – allowing us to be better collaborative partners with other organizations that exist.”

In an effort to highlight the career paths available to young people, NAFF’s first goal is to create an educational video that can be distributed to various associations. The aim will be to share the opportunities within the forest industries – whether the viewer sees themselves working in the woods or sitting at a desk. Along with the more traditional roles, the video will showcase opportunities in a variety of settings, including accounting, sales, research and development, and others that may not seem obvious to young people seeking meaningful career paths.

Interested parties can learn more by contacting NAFF’s Executive Director, Jennifer Reith, at (901) 860-4131 or j.reith@hardwoodforest.org, or by visiting the organization’s updated website: https://northamericanforestfoundation.org

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