Fifteen winters ago, Virginia Barlow and I were hatching the idea for this publication. We were busily meeting with foresters, industry associations, environmental groups, and government officials to let them in on our plans. Those discussions were productive, and before we had a publication, we had a core group of subscribers.
Ginny managed the database of subscribers, staying up much too late after days in the field with her forestry business. More than once, we came across a subscriber record with a long uninterrupted string of a single letter, indicating that Ginny had succumbed to sleep while typing in names and addresses.
I had my own challenges. Even though I’d never sold anything in my life, I found myself trying to convince sawmills, foresters, land trusts, and loggers that they should place ads in this new publication that was going to reach thousands of landowners. I couldn’t show them what it was going to look like because it didn’t yet exist. But sure, I said, I can design a nice ad for you.
Let’s just say those weren’t the prettiest ads that have ever graced our pages.
Together, Ginny and I put together the stories for the magazine, which, of course, was the point of it all. We wrote articles about pruning, wildlife habitat, and custom sawing and came up with the ideas for many of the shorter columns and departments that are still reader favorites today. All the efforts bore fruit with the publication of the first edition in June 1994, a no-nonsense, 28-page, black-and-white magazine that managed to strike a chord with a diverse group of people who love the woods.
Today we’re proud to say we have a paid circulation of more than 15,000 and an annual budget over $600,000. That growth is mirrored by the expansion of the community of people who make this magazine happen. Ginny and I still work together as co-editors, though the days are long gone when we wrote nearly every word in the magazine. Along the way, as we’ve built this publication and this organization, we’ve been able to spread the tasks out. We hired staff – Chuck Wooster has been with us for 10 years now, and all told, the staff has grown to six.
We’ve also attracted a fine cadre of writers, photographers, and artists whose work appears frequently in these pages. Those regular contributors are listed below the staff on page 5, but there are many more people whose work has appeared infrequently or just once. We depend on all these freelancers to keep our content fresh, timely, and compelling.
For a nonprofit to flourish, it needs a strong board of directors, and we’ve been blessed with a supportive and highly effective board. This group of people works diligently to make sure we remain fiscally sound and that we adhere to our mission and our long-term strategic plan. It’s not glamorous work, but it’s crucial to our success.
Our directors are listed on this page in the column on the left, as are those people who serve on our board of advisors. These are people we call upon for advice in their areas of expertise – sometimes it’s editorial advice, sometimes it’s business.
And on page 76 is a list of the people and organizations who make generous financial contributions to support our work. We print their names only once a year, but we thank them every day. Without their generosity, we would not be producing this magazine. It’s that simple.
At this time of year, it’s an honor to express our thanks to all the people in our community: staff, freelancers, directors, advisors, supporters, and readers. You all make this work meaningful, and I am so very grateful to be part of it.