The Northern Forest Center invested in training for small businesses in Lancaster, NH, to help them greet residents and visitors who are looking for information. The training focused on how businesses can make it easy for residents and visitors to find them on their smart phones. Veronica Franics of Notch Net trained 15 businesses at a workshop on local search advertising, and produced an online webinar for mass distribution. Local Search advertising includes registering on popular local search platforms like Google My Business, and review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor.

nfc staff maura adamsMaura Adams, Program Director for the Northern Forest Center, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council. Maura will join the group of thermal biomass industry partners, advocates, and stakeholders in advancing the sustainable use of wood and agricultural biomass for clean, efficient heat and combined heat and power. 

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) is an association of biomass fuel producers, appliance manufacturers and distributors, supply chain companies and non-profit organizations that view biomass thermal energy as a renewable, responsible, clean and energy-efficient pathway to meeting America’s energy needs. BTEC engages in research, education, and public advocacy for the fast growing biomass thermal energy industry.

The Northern Forest Center is thrilled for Maura as she joins the board. Her experience, expertise and determination will serve BTEC and its members well.

Marilynn Mann trainingThe Northern Forest Center concluded a three-year project to provide technical and financial assistance to tourism businesses in the Maine Woods. The effort helped train 717 employees of just over 450 businesses on how to improve their bottom line and customer satisfaction. 33 microgrants were awarded to businesses to seek outside expertise to improve their marketing, leveraging $66,000 in private investment.

The tourism training initiative lays the groundwork for destination area development, a holistic, community-centered approach to creating high-amenity destinations that are attractive to live in and visit. We will work with tourism businesses and other stakeholders to use acquired skills from recent trainings to launch community training programs that offer series of intentional series of trainings that build necessary momentum behind destination development to tip the scale in starting positive change. Learn more of our takeaways from tourism training.

The Center is moving into its second full year of convening and facilitating the Rural Development Innovation Group, a network of rural development practitioners from across the country committed to highlighting inspiring examples of innovation in rural America, enhancing federal policy related to rural development, and engaging national philanthropic leaders to invest strategically in rural places.

We're thrilled that in December 2017, the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities committed funding to help sustain this effort for two more years!

The Rural Development Innovation Group, led by the Center, is talking with staff from multiple congressional offices, committees, and agencies to provide advice and insight on ways to improve rural development programs authorized through the upcoming Farm Bill.