The Guild at SAF in Albuquerque

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) conference came to Albuquerque this October, and the Guild showcased our southwest region projects. More than ten Guild members presented their work at the conference, which was attended by hundreds of forestry professionals and students from across the country. The presentations added some progressive ideas, such as an investment fund that supports responsible forestry, advancing women-centered forestry programs, and sustainable biomass production in the Southeast. 

For the second year in a row, the conference was held on Guild home turf (last year SAF was held in Madison, WI). When this happens, it provides a special opportunity for the Guild to showcase region-specific projects to a broader audience. For instance, Eytan Krasilovsky Southwest Director for the Guild, along with city, federal, state and Tribal project partners, presented the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition to a group of conference attendees on an SAF conference field tour into the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. 

Feedback from the SAF group about the Coalition’s work was entirely positive and many people were amazed at the level of collaboration that the Coalition has achieved to make work in the Fireshed happen at the scale that it does. The conference location prompted a good deal of discussion about frequent fire forests and the need to advance new strategies in wildfire prevention, management, and response. For example, Zander Evans talked about the trend to manage wildfire to benefit the forest when and where possible.

The Guild held an evening reception that attracted about forty Guild members, partners, and explorers to meet or reconnect at a local brew pub. Attendees networked with other professionals and members and reflected on conference presentations from the day. Many new connections were forged over cold beers and cheese trays, and it gave southwest Guild staff an opportunity to meet Guild members from different parts of the country. 

The Guild’s booth in the exhibit hall attracted a steady flow of students interested in learning more about the Guild, and long-time members who shared news and ideas. Guild members and partners volunteered to help staff manage the booth and answer questions from on-lookers. Afterwards, the Guild received a number of qualified applicants for an open intern position from students who visited the SAF booth. Additionally, the Guild had a poster titled Increasing wildfire awareness and reducing human-caused ignitions in northern New Mexico that was featured in the poster symposium.

The Guild is always excited to be a part of the SAF national conference. This year was no different, with lots of opportunities to build awareness, engage in discussion, learn and teach new information, and share perspectives. Thank you to all who made our presence there a success, from Guild booth staffers, to presenters, to attendees at the reception, and new members and supporters who are excited about joining us toward our shared mission.