By: Asia Dowtin

When I first learned of plans for the Women’s Forest Congress (WFC), I was excited for all the obvious reasons. From its onset, WFC promised to provide a unique opportunity to convene leading women in forestry for the purpose of strategically moving the discipline forward. When I first learned of plans for WFC, it was December 2019. Needless to say, although it’s been only a few short months, the world has changed drastically since that time. And so has my motivation for partnering with this great group of women forestry professionals for WFC.

The onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic has completely shifted the ways in which we live our lives. We’re now practicing social distancing. Many of us have converted our homes into our offices, gyms, daycares, and favorite restaurant. For many of us (including myself), these times have also resulted in a great deal of reflections. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about past national and global-scale crises that led to paradigm shifts, and how women so often led the charge in creating the social, conceptual, and physical infrastructure required to usher society into a new era of resilience, stability, and success. The fight for women’s suffrage, World War II, and the Civil Rights Era admittedly came to mind. It is in these thoughts that I gained new excitement for the WFC. I believe that as this world, and truly, the forestry sector, begin to push through and reemerge beyond these times, it will be the women in forestry who will mastermind the creation of the new norms that help to advance our field.

I look forward to collaboratively convening the congress in such a time as this.