FEN Campaign Update

FEN/Vote No on 1 Lead Effort to Defeat Forest Compact

Although the paper corporations spent over $10 million to pass the Forest Compact over a fourteen month period, Maine voters rejected it by a 53 to 47% margin on November 5. The task of defeating the measure was daunting. A very popular Governor, as well as state officials working at significant taxpayer expense, lobbied for the Compact's passage. Every major newspaper and television station urged voters to pass it. Out spending opponents almost three to one, Compact supporters resorted to waging a campaign based on questioning the credibility Jonathan Carter, FEN, and the Vote No on 1 Campaign. They were deliberately vague when it came to explaining the details of the 27 page bill. Nevertheless, VN1 and other opponents of the Compact managed to get the truth out to the Maine voters.

The forest debate now returns to the state legislature. Reflecting on the challenges that lie ahead, Carter said, "The people of Maine made it clear that they will remain steadfast in the defense of our common heritage, and that any solution that threatens the long-term economic, ecological, and aesthetic integrity of the Maine Woods will remain no solution at all. Now that the Compact is behind us, we hope that all parties interested in the formation of sound forest policy can come together in a spirit of mutual cooperation."


FEN Cosponsors Forest Activist Workshop at Bowdoin

The sponsors of February 7th's day long workshop at Bowdoin include an impressive list of environmental organizations in Maine and from around the region. Along with FEN, they included the Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Audubon, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Chapter of the National Audubon Society, Western Maine Audubon Society, Northern Forest Alliance, RESTORE: The North Woods, Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Wilderness Society. This solidarity of groups and people is particularly encouraging considering that some were in disagreement over the Compact.

The event was hosted by the Bowdoin Environmental Studies Program. Activists discussed the North Woods Coalition's forest practices proposal, and were treated to informative sessions on clearcutting, stocking standards, audit programs, and public land acquisition. In the afternoon, focus was on the development and implementation of a citizen activist strategy to pass forest practices reform this session, with sessions on influencing legislators, grassroots organizing and media. The keynote address was given by citizen activist Barb Alexander of the Vermont Citizen's Forest Roundtable, the group that spearheaded the effort to persuade the Vermont legislature to enact into law a moratorium on forest spraying of herbicides. To be informed about future meetings of the coalition, contact FEN.


FEN Welcomes Legislative Consultant


FEN has hired Kevin Mattson to work with the North Woods Coalition to move substantive policy reform through the legislature this session. Kevin graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in Business Admin-istration. He also received a MBA from the University of Maine.

From 1994-1996 he was employed as the Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party where his responsibilities included fundraising, press relations, and staffing several committees. During his tenure as the director he developed working relationships with the Maine Legislature, the White House, and Maine's congressional delegation.

In 1996 he became the Chief of Staff for the Majority Office in the Maine House of Representatives. Kevin provided executive staff support for the majority leader which involved researching legislation, delivering testimony, writing guest columns for print media, and constituent relations. He participated in legislative leadership meetings which often determined the outcomes of major public policy directives.

FEN is really fortunate to have Kevin on board. We look forward to a productive and fruitful legislative session under Kevin's leadership.


FEN Calender of Events

The following field trips, workshops, and gatherings are scheduled or in the works. If you plan to attend, please let us know. We invite you to bring your family and friends. For more information call the FEN office at 623-7140.

February 7: Activist Workshop - Bowdoin College, Drunkenmiller Hall 9-4 p.m.

March 21: Equinox and Bonfire Gathering -Carter Farm in North New Portland 2-9 pm

April 4 : Alternative Paper Conference - Bates College 9-5:30

May 9: Low Impact Forestry; Canoe trip with Mel Ames - meet at FEN education center in Atkinson at 10 a.m.

June 11: Low Impact Forestry Slides and Discussion with Mitch Lanksy in Portland area (location to be announced).

July 19: Field trip to Maine's largest old growth stand: Big Reed Preserve. Limited to 12 people.

August: Field trip to Scientific Forestry Management Area in Baxter Park: Date to be determined.

September: National Audubon's Borestone Sanctuary in Monson Maine; Late Successional and Old Growth Forest Stands: Date to be determined.


FEN Members Testify at Legislative Hearings

Several members of the Forest Ecology Network, and Executive Director Jonathan Carter presented written and oral testimony to the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee on December 17 at the Elk's Lodge in Augusta. Their testimony could be summarized in two words: DO SOMETHING! The marathon hearing lasted all day, and almost 100 people testified in all. A bus load of vociferous property rights activists presented their arguments, but citizens that could be characterized as wanting environmental improvement in Maine's forest practices outnumbered them 43 to 37.

Speaker after speaker presenting the property rights argument said they should be allowed to do whatever they please on their land -- with no regard of the consequences to our common interests like wildlife or water quality -- not to mention the condition of their land when they pass it along to their heirs. Exactly zero of the 'environmental' advocates for reform said that we should not be harvesting forest products from Maine's forests. In fact, many calling for reform worked in the wood products industries themselves.

Records of the testimony can be obtained by contacting the clerk of the Ag. Committee at the State House.


FEN at Phish: We Went!

August 16-17 saw an amazing trans-formation of a major military industrial complex in northern Maine into a camp of over 70,000 young people for a weekend of fun, art, revelry, education, art, and most of all music. 'Phishheads' had driven from as far away as Georgia and Indiana for the concert at Loring Air Force Base near Houlton. The band Phish, from Burlington VT, did a great job not only playing at 'The Great Went,' they pulled off an amazing logistical challenge by keeping everyone fed, entertained, and happy. The concert pumped over $7 million into the local economy, and the locals welcomed the Phish phenatics enthusiastically.

The Forest Ecology Network tabled the event to bring attention to the problems of clearcutting, overcutting, and herbicide spraying in Maine's North Woods. Hundreds of folks came by to learn and get involved with FEN's campaign. In addition to Phish, the Blue Hill Brass Quintet and the Beat Roots from Bar Harbor played. It was a great opportunity for FEN to tap into the amazing energy these kids have not just for their favorite band, but for environmental and social change causes. Look for FEN at future Phish shows and other events, like Earth Day in Portland and the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity.


"Maine Environmental News" Project Launched by FEN

Paul Donahue is a talented artist and committed environmentalist living in Machias. Among other natural history projects, Paul runs a hawk watch each fall near Harpswell. He is on the board of directors of FEN and a regular contributor to The Maine Woods. Paul's latest project is a collaboration with FEN to publish an independent environmental education newsletter to be titled Maine Environmental News.

The newsletter will contribute to FEN's goal of educating the public on environmental issues. Aimed primarily at junior high and high school students, the newsletter will focus on Maine environmental issues, particularly forest-related issues, and will attempt to relate those issues to the health and livelihood of the people of Maine in a concrete way.

The plan is to distribute the newsletter to the 1200 science teachers around the state, Maine newspapers and television and radio stations, as well as the membership of FEN. The publication will also be published on FEN's Web site. Educators who wish to receive the free publication can contact Paul by email at meenviro@nemaine.com, or by calling the FEN office.


FEN's Outreach Education Program

The Forest Ecology Network has developed and is implementing a forest education program available to schools, civic organizations, church groups, woods products manufacturers, forestry professionals and the public at large. The purpose of the program is to present our side of the story. The industry contantly bombards the public with 'greenwash' about how clearcutting and toxic herbicide spraying are good for the forest environment and essential to our employment base. We believe there is another way. Closed-canopy forestry techniques yield higher quality and volumes of wood over time, create more jobs, enhance species diversity, soil productivity, and water quality, while providing greater opportunities for true wilderness experience and outdoor recreation. We'd appreciate the opportunity to come and speak to your class, civic group, or other organization. To set up a presentation, contact FEN at 623-7140.


Alternative Fibers Conference at Bates

On April 4th, 1998 environmentalists, college students, business owners, farmers, paper producers and others concerned about environmentally friendly paper choices will meet at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine for the First Annual Alternative Paper Conference.

The conference will focus on the basics of alternative fibers: what they are, their benefits, and where they can be grown; what some the economic impact of some 'alternative' agricultural fibers (like flax) could mean for Maine/New England farmers; the importance and viability of totally chlorine-free fiber processing,; and how consumers can advocate for change and a transition in the paper market. Key-note speaker Andy Kerr, former Executive Director of the Oregon Natural Resources Council and current board member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council, will present an overview of alternative fibers and their importance to our environment and to a sustainable future.

In addition to informative discussion panels, there will be tables with information from various organizations, businesses, and paper companies. The goal is to provide hard to find resources and access to the network of 'alternative' paper producers.

Co-sponsors of the conference include FEN, Bates Environmental Coalition, Compassion Unlimited -- Respecting Everyone (CURE), Native Forest Network, Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club, INVERT, RESTORE: The North Woods, and the Katahdin Center.


FEN Initiates College Internship Program

Several interns from local colleges and the Audubon Expedition Institute have helped FEN over the past months, and the program is now expanding. FEN's internship program offers a valuable experience for environmental studies and forestry students. The program is flexible, and offers part time opportunities for students that are currently enrolled in local colleges and can work a few hours per week either in the FEN office or from school. Full-time, semester long resident internships are also available. In most cases academic credit can be received for this experience.

The interns will work on a variety of projects and campaigns. Duties will include filing, preparing mailings, answering phones, maintaining files, etc. More exciting responsibilities will include writing, researching, grassroots organizing, activist training, and educational outreach. The positions are unpaid but room and board arrangements may be available depending on need.

The internships will be based in Augusta, Maine in FEN's office near the State Capitol, with some time spent at the FEN North Woods Education Center, located on a forest preserve in Atkinson. Those interested please send a letter of interest, resume, and the name of three references to: Jonathan Carter, Executive Director, FEN, POB 2218, Augusta, Maine 04338.


283 Water Street, 3rd floor, P.O. Box 2118, Augusta, Maine 04338 phone: 207-628-6404 fax - 207-628-5741 email: fen@powerlink.net