Kathryn Fernholz



Kathryn (Katie) Fernholz is a dynamic and compelling expert addressing the environment and sustainability. She brings a unique combination of both a broad understanding of the complex interconnection between society and the environment, and the experience of her own personal journey from a family organic farm to forestry school to being a leader and international expert on the responsible management of forests and farms. Katie shares her knowledge and experience with diverse audiences and engages them in developing a clear understanding of natural systems within an historical context and an exploration of their own land ethic - the relationship each of us has with our environment and the personal values that define it. Her passion for the complexity and beauty of natural ecosystems blends with a pragmatic recognition of the challenges and choices that we are faced with, as well as the tools - heart and mind - that must be united if we are to move forward. Katie lives in Minnesota and works, travels, and speaks throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.


Kathryn is a forester by training and has worked on development and forest management issues in a range of roles. With a consulting firm, Kathryn was a member of the environmental services department where her work included natural resource inventories, comprehensive planning, environmental impact assessments and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). While working for the Community Forestry Resource Center, Kathryn developed and managed a group certification project for family forests and worked to increase local capacity to provide forest management and marketing services that are compatible with certification standards. Kathryn is also an experienced forest certification lead auditor. Kathryn has been a leader within the forestry community in the Upper Midwest through her service as Chair of the Minnesota Society of American Foresters and her appointment to the Minnesota Forest Resources Council. Kathryn served as a member of the Advisory Board for the Blandin Foundation's Vital Forests/Vital Communities Initiative, and currently serves on the Minnesota DNR's Stewardship Committee, Minnesota’s Forests for the Future Committee, and the Woodlands Committee for the American Forest Foundation. She is a past-member of the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Sustainable Furnishings Council, Renewing the Countryside, the Forest Stewards Guild, and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Alumni Society.  She is currently a board member for the North American Forest Partnership, the Minnesota Insititute for Sustainable Agriculture, and the American Forest Foundation. Kathryn is also a member of the SFI External Review Panel; served as a Technical Expert for the FSC-US Working Group charged with development of additional indicators for lands managed by the US Forest Service; served on the endorsement process working group for the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and was a member of the Technical Committee for the Sustainable Biomass Partnership. Kathryn also serves on the NSF Joint Committee on Dimensional Stone Sustainability. Kathryn has a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Minnesota, College of Natural Resources and also studied at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, MN and Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska.