Vital Forests/Vital Communities Redux: So What, Now What?

An invitation to join a conversation about opportunities to optimize the value of Minnesota’s forests for today and tomorrow


Event to be held on October 23rd at the Cloquet Forestry Center


(Mpls, MN) – Minnesota has more than 16 million acres of forestland and a proud and dynamic forest history.  On October 23rd, individuals and organizations with an interest in the past, present and future of Minnesota’s forests, forest economy and forest-dependent communities are invited to participate in a gathering hosted by Dovetail Partners and Blandin Foundation. The event will bring together past participants of Blandin Foundation’s Vital Forests/Vital Communities Initiative and interested stakeholders to review developments in Minnesota's forests and forestry since the initiative and  to take a look toward the future. The event, Vital Forests/Vital Communities Redux: So What? Now What?, supported in part by a Blandin Foundation grant, will take place on Wednesday October 23rd, 2013 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at the Cloquet Forestry Center.


“Blandin Foundation’s Vital Forests/Vital Communities Initiative stirred public interest in forests at a time when increased attention was very much needed – raising awareness of the role forests play in Minnesota’s culture and economy.  Blandin Foundation and VF/VC partners also were  key to establishment, on the upper Mississippi, of the largest conservation easement in Minnesota's history," states Jim Bowyer, Dovetail’s Director of Responsible Materials.


The Vital Forests/Vital Communities Initiative was created by Blandin Foundation to strengthen and diversify Minnesota’s forest-based economy and promote the long-term ecological health of the forest resource that supports it. The initiative, conducted between 2003 and  2009, involved hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations in developing and implementing strategies to promote the connections between strong forest-based economies, healthy forest ecosystems, and vital communities.   In support of this work Blandin Foundation invested $14.8 million in the form of grants and $1.9 million in additional program costs across 29 major projects, leveraging over $40 million of other public and private funds.


“Vital Forests/Vital Communities Initiative provided a framework for people who care about Minnesota’s forests and forest-dependent communities to work together for shared goals,” states Dr. Kathy Annette, Blandin Foundation CEO. “We commend Dovetail Partners for taking the initiative to rekindle the flame of these efforts and re-ask the question, ‘What can we do together that we can’t do alone?’ This is an important question at a critical time for Minnesota’s forest-based economies and communities.”


Kathryn Fernholz, Dovetail's Executive Director, states, "The impact of the VF/VC initiative is still being felt, and the goal of this event is to explore the question of where we go from here.  What were the most important lessons learned in recent years, what are shared priorities for moving forward, and how can we collaborate to ensure a vibrate forest sector in the state? Everyone who cares about the future of Minnesota’s forests is welcome to attend – whether or not they participated in the original Vital Forests/Vital Communities Initiative.  Attendees should  come prepared to share their own ideas and insights about these important and timely questions.”


If you haven’t yet RSVP-d to reserve your seat, please click here:


To access additional information regarding the event and the Vital Forests/Vital Communities Initiative, visit:




About Dovetail PartnersDovetail Partners provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives. Dovetail is a highly skilled team that fosters sustainability and responsible behaviors by collaborating to develop unique concepts, systems, models and programs. Dovetail Partners is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.


About Blandin Foundation
Blandin Foundation stands with rural Minnesota communities as they imagine and claim ambitious, vibrant futures. Based in Grand Rapids, Minn., it is one of only a handful of foundations in the U.S. focused exclusively on rural communities and the largest rural-based private foundation in Minnesota. Details of the Vital Forests/Vital Communities initiative can be found online at