As a logger, you don't just see trunks and branches when you stand in the woods — you see the opportunity to use one of nature's greatest gifts to contribute to the growth and development of our world. Responsible logging allows us to maximize the use of trees, but you've most likely encountered people who disagree.
In an industry that is often subject to scrutiny and disapproval, it's important to remember the purpose of forestry and share its benefits with others. While you can't please everyone, here are a few ways to change the perception of logging:
- Provide Education—People won't understand something if they don't know the facts. While it may be obvious to you, most people probably aren't aware of the cautious, strategic harvesting practices, as well as your replanting efforts. Communicating the many applications and new uses of wood and its byproducts can help rectify misconceptions. Local schools and universities or community organizations often welcome guest informational sessions, which make for great opportunities to educate and gain support. Reach out to these groups and find out how you can give a voice to forestry.
- Give Back—Teddy Roosevelt once said, "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." All the effort you devote to helping others understand the importance of logging will be useless if your audience doesn't believe in your passion for the work. There are countless ways to demonstrate your commitment to the betterment of society on a local, state, and national level. Join forces with the forestry industry's national philanthropy, Log A Load For Kids, support a local charity, or set up your own foundation for a cause that is meaningful to your business.
- Maintain Integrity—Don't talk the talk if you're not going to walk the walk. No matter how much time you spend advocating for logging and reversing the misconceptions, ultimately, people look at your actions. Although it may be frustrating to hear negative comments or false perceptions about logging, you get to choose your attitude. The attitude you display reflects your character, which reflects the foundation upon which your business is built. Staying committed to your values and to responsible logging will gradually have an effect on those with opposing views.
Brent Hickman, a young logger and owner of Brent Hickman Logging, LLC, from Wiggins, Mississippi, understands the importance of educating about forestry. He and his crew have visited elementary schools in attempt to shape kids' impression of logging early on. "In some way, shape, or form, we're very impacted by the forest and I want to share that with people. If we take care and look ahead into the future, we can have better forest, be a lot more proactive, have a lot less waste, and just be better stewards all around the land," said Hickman.
We see the forest through your eyes—because at John Deere, We're For Loggers.