Forest Society Announces Budget Cuts
Prudent Business Decisions in Response to Economy
Concord, N.H., February 12, 2009—Facing a contracting economy and uncertain public spending during the current recession, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests announced today that it is cutting some programs and eliminating some staff positions.
“We believe that these are prudent business decisions that will allow us to focus on our core mission—land protection and forestry—while balancing our budget during tough economic times,” said Jane Difley, president/forester of the non-profit Forest Society. Founded in 1901, the Forest Society is New Hampshire’s largest and oldest land trust.
“Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of past and current donors as well as a diverse revenue stream, we are in a stable financial position with no debt and a solid balance sheet,” said Difley. “We had an outstanding year of conservation in 2008, protecting more than 6,000 acres of forests through 30 projects in 25 different New Hampshire communities.
“For the last few years we have been in growth mode, expanding to meet the need and opportunities for land conservation,” Difley said. “And while that need is still great, we are not immune to the current economy. Like other institutions, our endowment and invested assets have shrunk. It has become clear that in order to remain strong we needed to make some difficult choices to reduce expenses.
“Sadly, this means we are losing some incredibly dedicated and talented people who have given much of themselves to the accomplishment of our mission,” said Difley.
Six full-time and two part-time positions are being eliminated, and another five unfilled positions were eliminated or filled with existing staff. Forty-eight people worked full or part-time for the Forest Society prior to the layoffs, not including seasonal workers at the Forest Society’s Rocks Christmas Tree Farm in Bethlehem. In fiscal year 2008, which ended April 30, 2008, the Forest Society reported operating revenue and expenses of $4.9 million and net assets of $70 million.
Among the programs trimmed is the Center for Land Conservation Assistance (CLCA), which since 2001 has worked to provide support for groups and individuals seeking to conserve land in New Hampshire.
“The Forest Society has long been a resource for land conservation information and assistance and I believe that will continue to be the case,” said Paul Doscher, vice president of land conservation.
The Forest Society will no longer have a dedicated Research Department. Instead it will focus on conservation mapping more directly tied to land conservation planning and the accomplishment of New Hampshire Everlasting, the Forest Society’s 25-year strategic vision. Additional positions were eliminated in the land management and administration departments.
All press inquiries should be directed to Jack Savage, vp for commuications, 602-224-9945 ext. 330 or cell 603-724-5362.
Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (www.forestsociety.org) is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization.