Making Sure Your Holidays are Green



Wreaths from FSC-Certified Forests Available from Minnesota Cooperative



Minneapolis, Minn. Dec. 19, 2006. - With the holidays here and your shopping list slowly-but-surely getting crossed off, there is one thing some Minnesota families were able to put on that list and that might be on your list next year - environmentally friendly holiday decorations.



“The holiday season is a perfect time to think about how our purchases impact the environment,” says Kathryn Fernholz of Dovetail Partners, a sustainable forestry non-profit based in Minneapolis.



According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer plans to spend about $35 on holiday decorations. In 2002, Americans spent $62 million dollars on artificial trees imported from China.



“There are trade-offs between purchasing real trees and wreaths and buying ones made of plastic, wire and other manufactured materials,” says Dr. Jim Bowyer, Director of the Responsible Materials Program at Dovetail Partners. “There is a convenience factor to artificial decorations, but there are also negative impacts from their manufacture and from their eventual disposal.”



One option available to consumers is to buy locally grown decorations. A group of landowners is Northern Minnesota is helping consumers make the holidays a little greener with their wreaths made from boughs harvested from well managed family forests.



“We don't cut trees down for this, we just trim a few bottom branches and let the rest of the tree keep growing,….its all part of a ‘Firewise' fuel reduction effort ” says Mark Adams of the Cook County Sustainable Forestry Cooperative.



The Cook County Sustainable Forestry Cooperative (CCSFC) is a group of about 25 landowners near Grand Marais, Minnesota who have made a commitment to forest stewardship. For the second year in a row, they have been producing wreaths from boughs harvested from their forests.



“It is a project that everyone can participate in, and you don't need to know how to run a chainsaw or fell a tree in order to have something beautiful to decorate your house,” says John Peterson, a co-op member.


Most members of the cooperative have forest management plans and have had their management certified as meeting the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, an international organization that sets standards for responsible forestry.



“Sometimes when you buy a product it is hard to figure out where it was made, much less how the materials in the product were harvested or managed,” says Fernholz. “Products that are locally grown and certified provide a lot of information and a lot of assurances that they are a responsible choice.”



The cooperative is planning to produce wreaths again next year and can take pre-orders now.



For more information, contact John Peterson of the Cook County Sustainable Forestry Cooperative at , 218-475-2621 or Dovetail Partners at , 612-333-0430.