Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Time: 3 pm
Leader(s): Jill Gottesman and Hugh Irwin, Wilderness Society
Location: Zoom digital presentation

View Slides here

Protecting our forests is in our mission statement, but what does it actually mean? And how can it be permanent?

Hugh Irwin and Jill Gottesman of The Wilderness Society will discuss various forms that national forest protection can take, through U.S. Forest Service project and land management planning, Congressional designations, and agency-wide rulemaking processes. We will cover the basics of each of these processes and tools, the interplay between them, how each type of protection contributes to permanence, and how ForestWatch members can actively participate to make a difference for the future of our national forests.

Hugh Irwin, Landscape Conservation Planner with The Wilderness Society, has worked on Southern Appalachian conservation issues for more than three decades. Hugh helped found the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition and worked as its conservation planner from 1995 until 2011 when he joined TWS. Hugh’s conservation interests have always included the protection of key natural areas in the Southern Appalachians. Increasingly this interest has focused on long-term biodiversity and climate issues and the development of conservation proposals to protect and restore the Southern Appalachian’s rich biological heritage. He was the principal author of the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition book, Return the Great Forest: A Conservation Vision for the Southern Appalachian Region. He has worked on numerous conservation efforts and advocated for protecting the biological diversity and conservation value of lands in the Southern Appalachians. Hugh received the Theodore Roosevelt Award for conservation efforts on Cherokee National Forest in 1990, being nominated and selected by conservation leaders in Tennessee and presented the award by President George W. Bush and Representative John Duncan Sr. In 2018 he received the Southeastern Stewardship Lifetime Achievement Award from Southern Environmental Law Center.

Jill Gottesman, Regional Conservation Specialist with The Wilderness Society, brings the skills of a diverse work history in nonprofit management, environmental education, wilderness therapy and social work to her role. Jill’s work has focused on outreach, field engagement, and collaboration around forest planning in North Carolina, broader engagement and network building in the southeast, fundraising and lobbying, and national defense of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Before joining The Wilderness Society in 2010, she was Outreach Director at Georgia ForestWatch. In 2016, Jill completed the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program, an international initiative that brings together emerging leaders in the wildlife conservation field for capacity building and intense training in campaign development and skills. Jill received her Bachelor degree in Recreation and Resource Management from the University of Georgia, and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but regards her years working and studying in the outdoors all across the country as the most valuable experiences of all.