Welcome ME—an online customer service training video—is helping tourism workers sharpen their customer service skills, an essential element of strengthening the tourism sector so it can offer improved wages, benefits and job stability for employees.

Maine Woods Discovery received the “Originality Award” at the Maine Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Mike Wilson, senior program director for the Northern Forest Center, coordinates Maine Woods Discovery and had the vision for the Thoreau-Wabanaki Tour to celebrate the 150th anniversary of publication of Henry David Thoreau’s Maine Woods. Maine Guides, members of the Penobscot Nation, scholars, and others launched the 250-mile canoe trip to retrace the last of three adventures immortalized in Henry David Thoreau’s iconic book The Maine Woods. The trip was designed to draw national and regional media attention as the paddlers experienced a Maine Woods landscape that remains remarkably unchanged from what Thoreau and his Native Penobscot guide Joe Polis saw 150 years previously.

Financial and technical assistance is available to help Adirondack homeowners, municipalities and businesses switch to high-efficiency wood pellet heating through the Adirondack Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative.

With the launch of the Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative last week in the Adirondacks, the program is underway in every Northern Forest state. The Model Neighborhood Wood Heat Initiative is helping to build demand for local wood heat to replace oil and propane.