The 500-Year Forest Foundation mission is to bring privately owned parcels of potential old-growth forest under its auspices through outreach, public education, and state and federal conservation incentives. Establishing a consistent pace of adding acreage is the most immediate aim.
Through training, more disciplined delegating and better application of task management resources, the board intends to remove bottlenecks, streamline processes and add dedicated work hours to the essential functions of the organization. Fundraising to secure paid staff for administrative and program support operations will be key.
Through networking with like-minded organizations, The 500-Year Forest Foundation has amassed lists of potential board members, volunteers and part-time employees. Current board members from a state forestry agency and a local certified public accounting firm provide physical facilities for meetings, conferences and employee /intern workstations. Expanding and training the board has led to broader involvement in fundraising--with a focus on grant seeking--that should, in turn, provide the sustainable wherewithal for operations assistance.
The sole measure of success for The 500-Year Forest Foundation is adding acreage. The organization has set a goal of one new forest per fiscal year. Progress toward the organization's development will be evident when that goal is readily met or exceeded.
A forest was added in 2013, just as The 500-Year Forest Foundation underwent a transition from a one-man operation (the founder), to a "many hands" approach. That resulted in a four-year gap before another forest was added a forest in 2017. With the addition in 2018 of a forest that is triple the average size of earlier member forests, the organization is on track to make its goal.
In addition, The 500-Year Forest Foundation has initiated a "cooperating forests" program, which allows a less formal affiliation and participation in information-sharing, invasives control and other efforts.
The organization hopes soon to debut an annual stewardship, environmental and arts conference called ForestSEA aimed at fundraising, finding prospects and building public support for the organization's mission.