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Holden Forests & Gardens Receives $1.8M to Expand Forest Landowner Support in the Great Lakes Region

March 15, 2024

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(CLEVELAND) March 15, 2024 – Holden Forests & Gardens today announced that it received $1.8 million from the USDA Forest Service as a part of the nearly $145 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in history—to connect forest landowners with emerging climate markets as part of the Investing in America agenda.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to President Biden, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Congresswoman Shontel Brown, and the U.S. Forest Service for their generous support of $1.8 million, the most significant grant of its kind in our organization’s history,” said Ed Moydell, president and CEO of Holden Forests & Gardens. “Together, we’re forging a brighter, more sustainable future for Northeast Ohio’s forests and communities.”

With this funding, the Holden Arboretum’s Community Forestry Team will create the ‘Growing Resilient Forests’ program, aimed at empowering landowners with small woodlots across the Lake Erie Allegheny Region. The program will offer landowners technical assistance, locally adapted native trees, and climate-smart forest management plans. 

“This generous funding allows us to expand our existing award-winning and nationally acclaimed Working Woods Learning Forest™ and Holden’s new Restoration Seed Bank to serve a much broader region at a pivotal time for our forests,” said Beck Swab, director of community forestry at Holden Forests & Gardens.

The expanded program will support resilient forests, promote forest management and advance market readiness for landowners with small woodlots in the Great Lakes region by offering:

Landowner assistance and outreach: The Growing Resilient Forests Program is committed to supporting landowners with small woodlots (ranging from 30 to 2000 acres) in the Great Lakes region. In the Lake Erie Allegheny ecoregion, we will provide essential assistance and outreach. Our team of consulting foresters will work closely with landowners to develop and execute climate-smart forest management plans tailored to their specific needs and goals. This personalized approach ensures that landowners receive the support they need to enhance the resilience of their forests.

A source for locally adapted trees: As part of our program, we will launch a seed bank initiative to address the crucial need for genetically diverse and locally adapted seeds and plants. By increasing the availability of these resources, we will empower landowners to engage in forest plantings that are better equipped to thrive in their specific environment. This initiative not only contributes to the resilience of individual forests but also supports the overall health and biodiversity of the Great Lakes region.

Forest management education: Education is key to empowering landowners and fostering resilient forests. We will provide comprehensive education on climate-smart forest management practices that equip landowners with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively manage their forests and also offer pathways for participation in carbon and non-timber forest product (NTFP) markets. By promoting sustainable forest management practices and facilitating market participation, we are creating a win-win scenario for landowners and the environment.

About Holden Forests & Gardens
Holden Forests & Gardens is made up of two of Northeast Ohio’s most important environmental and cultural institutions — the Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden — whose mission is to connect people with the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities. One of the largest public gardens in the country, Holden Forests & Gardens has over 22,000 member households and an annual attendance of over 350,000 for whom we strive to provide inspirational and educational visitor experiences. For more information, visit holdenfg.org.

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