Changing Hardwood Perspectives

Wood adds warmth and style to any décor, while also being the most environmentally friendly flooring option available. As an industry, we have a wonderful story to tell about the beauty and desirability of our products; however, we must work together to tell it.

One unique way the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Hardwoods Development Council is sharing our story is through the use of a traveling exhibit called the Pennsylvania WoodMobile.

The Pennsylvania WoodMobile is a traveling exhibit that provides information on the state’s forest products industry. Since 2002, it has shared information about the beauty, desirability, and sustainability of hardwood to almost 2 million visitors.

Pennsylvania WoodMobile visitors see how the forests of Pennsylvania have shaped the history of the state and nation, learn how today’s forest differs from 100 years ago, touch the various hardwood species produced in Pennsylvania, and use touchscreen technology to interact with multiple threats to the forests. Visitors also learn about sustainability and experience how common and unusual forest products touch our lives every day.

“Our target audience is 4th, 5th and 6th-grade students. The Pennsylvania WoodMobile helps visitors understand the idea that the use of wood is a good thing. One side of the WoodMobile focuses on forestry issues, and the other side showcases the Pennsylvania forest products industry. We want them to know that using trees is part of the answer to environmental issues, rather than the cause of the problem. We talk about the sustainable forest and how forests grow,” explains Wayne Bender, Executive Director of the Hardwoods Development Council in the state of Pennsylvania.

The original Pennsylvania WoodMobile operated from 2002 to 2014. It retired with an estimated 250,000 miles on it. The WoodMobile was donated by Deer Park Lumber, Inc. of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, and is a 34-foot gooseneck trailer pulled by a dual axel truck. The updated Pennsylvania WoodMobile debuted in 2015; more than 60 companies provided funding for outfitting the trailer.

“The white oak and walnut flooring of the WoodMobile was designed so that coming in from either the right or left side of the trailer, it would look like you were walking down a curved trail in the woods,” says Bender.

“The floor has an oil finish, but it has worked out very well for us. It has been easy to maintain, and it goes through all sorts of weather conditions. It’s out in March, and there might be an inch of mud in it. It gets wet from rain, it’s out in the cold of winter and the heat of the summer,” explains Bender.

“The Pennsylvania Woodmobile has been a tremendous success. I think it has proven that we can change perspectives, and we can let people know that wood is good, and forestry is good. The wise use of forest resources is a benefit to the environment as well as to the population,” says Bender.

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