Joe Duckworth recently came to American Forests as our new manager of urban forest programs. We’re excited for the experience, perspective and enthusiasm he’s bringing to the position and the organization — and we think you should be excited, too! From his favorite stories in the field to why he chose to work in conservation, read more about Joe.
- Why did you choose to go into conservation?
I believe that having a connection to the natural world is very important to a fulfilling life. But, as the world becomes more urbanized and developed, this connection can be harder to achieve. I chose to go in to the conservation field to help build, or maintain, this connection for all people regardless of where they live.
- What aspects of American Forests’ work are you most excited to be a part of?
I’m excited to work with our local partners to improve urban forests throughout the country. I’m looking forward to learning about the specific issues that are in their communities and working with them to figure out solutions to difficult problems. I’m also excited to work with them to inspire members of the community to play an active role in their local urban forest.
- What do you think are the most significant challenges facing forests today?
One of the greatest challenges in forestry is getting communities to realize the value of trees. The benefits of trees go far beyond aesthetics and can really improve the health, economy and overall quality of life of a community. If we can inspire more people to value and care about trees and forests, the easier it will be to put sound and sustainable management practices in to place.
- Do you have a favorite story from your years in the field?
It’s hard to single out just one story. I’ve been fortunate to have some great experiences in amazing places across the country. I’ve gotten to do a wide variety of forest conservation work- from non-native invasive species removal on the Mendocino Coast of California, to fighting fire in the Sierra Nevada, to doing an urban tree inventory in my native Prince George’s County, Md. All of these experiences — and everything in between — have given me great stories, and I look forward to collecting many more.
- What is your favorite tree and why?
This may be kind of cliché, but in the front yard of the house where I grew up there was a red maple that I was particularly fond of. It wasn’t the most exciting or unusual tree, but I spent plenty of time around and in it as a kid. I didn’t realize how much it meant to me until it was taken down.