The Arizona Lottery’s “Gives Back” program and the National Forest Foundation are teaming up to provide much-needed wood to families in Northern Arizona. A $50,000 Gives Back sponsorship will support the “Wood For Life” program, to process downed trees from forest health and restoration projects, providing much-needed fuelwood to Navajo and Hopi communities.
The unhealthy conditions of our Ponderosa pine forests in Northern Arizona are leading to severe fires that adversely impact forest health, community safety, and the water quality of downstream communities, including the Phoenix metro area. Forest restoration efforts are ramping up, but finding places to bring material from these projects can be challenging. Through Wood for Life, the National Forest Foundation works with the Forest Service, tribal governments and communities, Ancestral Lands conservation corps, and other nonprofits, to connect small diameter timber from restoration projects led by NFF and the Forest Service with Tribal partners who split the wood and provide it to elders and other community members who need firewood for home heating and traditional uses.
“Wood is at the heart and hearth of nearly everything in our lives. From the frame of your home to the paper you use at school or work, all the way to cooking a hot meal or keeping a cold home warm,” said Arizona Lottery Deputy Director Chris Rogers. “The Arizona Lottery is honored to support this program that touches the lives of so many indigenous people who need these resources to weather Northern Arizona’s cold winters, heat their water, and cook their food. Additionally, doing all this while also helping to mitigate our state’s extreme wildfire danger in 2023 is a win-win for us all!”
The National Forest Foundation is a non-profit 501(C)(3) that engages the entire country in community-based and national programs to promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million-acre National Forest System and administers private funds and land for the benefit of the National Forests.
The Arizona Lottery has historically funded qualified non-profit programs that benefit the public through higher education, environmental conservation, economic development, and health and human services. This partnership highlights the Arizona Lottery’s commitment to supporting environmental conservation.
“Getting wood from forest restoration projects to wood stoves truly takes all of us working together. This support will help us to scale up the Wood for Life program, increasing acres of forest treated, youth trained in forest health work, and homes warmed,” said Sasha Stortz, Southwest Program Senior Manager for the National Forest Foundation.
A key goal of the National Forest Foundation’s Wood for Life program is to improve Indigenous communities’ access to renewable energy and expand job opportunities. In addition, this program grows the National Forest Foundation and U.S. Forest Service’s capacity to address hazardous fuel and wood removal requirements on restoration and forest management projects.