By Scott Steen, CEO

Scott SteenDuring the past year, you may have noticed that American Forests has made several changes to the way we present ourselves to the world.

In June, we introduced our new logo. In July, we launched a totally re­designed and rewritten website. We have also cre­ated new promotional and educational materials and, with this issue, bring you the new look of American Forests magazine.

While all of this might seem like window dressing, there is actually a lot more to it than you might think.

First, these outward changes reflect the significant deeper changes we have undergone in the last year. These include a renewed commitment to ex­pand our conservation ef­forts to protect and restore forest ecosystems; en­hanced efforts to ground our work in sound science and to advance the science related to our mission; and a new commitment to raising public awareness about the importance of forests for the overall health of the planet.

Second, while American Forests has a long and storied history, our work is very much about creating a better future. Our public face needs to communicate that we are an organi­zation in step with the times. To ac­complish this, our logo, which had not been updated since our name change 20 years ago, was changed to the contemporary tree logo you see today. Similarly, our magazine has received a very modern makeover.

Third, these communications efforts help lay the groundwork for a big new goal of ours: to make people more aware of the significant environmental and social benefits of healthy forests, as well as the mounting threats they face. In the last six months, American Forests’ work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Outside magazine and on NPR, to name a few. In the coming year, we will be developing new videos and PSAs, educational volunteer experiences, a host of online resources and a new website for kids, all aimed at enhancing public awareness.

Snowy river in Yosemite National Park, California

Snowy river in Yosemite National Park, California. Credit: iStockPhotoLP

Creating a better American Forests magazine is an important part of these efforts. Over the last several issues, our editorial staff has made changes to enhance both the editorial content and the quality of photography in the magazine. Now that the redesign is complete, here are some of the changes you can expect in this issue and throughout the coming year:

  • Our three main feature articles in each issue are selected to appeal to the interests of three key segments of our core audience: tree lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and those who care about the environment.
  • Our news section has been re­vamped and renamed “Treelines.” It now features more highlights of our conservation work, interesting forest facts, great quotes and interviews with a host of fascinating people, including for­esters, ecologists and other scientists.
  • An expanded “Tree Doctor” section to help you care for your trees at home.
  • More eye-catching photography to showcase the beauty of forests and trees, including our new “Last Look” page.

Our hope for the new year is that our magazine and other 2012 com­munications initiatives will help you discover things you never knew about forests, capture your in­terest with compelling stories and interesting facts, and inspire you to join us in our efforts to protect and restore these vital bellwethers of the health of our planet.

From all of us here at American Forests, we wish you the very best for the new year.