Earth Day 2016 is just a week away on Friday, April 22.
As perhaps the world’s largest community of environmental supporters, Earth Day Network started Earth Day in 1970 and has made great progress in addressing sustainability & climate change. But there is much left to do in protecting our planet for future generations (of people, flora and fauna) and you can help. What can you do?
I’m super excited today because our friend Jose Luis Alvarez is coming to visit Vermont this summer to collaborate with us on a project to help save the Monarch butterfly. Jose Luis is a silviculturist in Mexico who has devoted his life to restoring the forested winter habitat of the Monarch. Last month I traveled to Michoacan, Mexico to meet Jose Luis & see his work. I love Monarchs & we’ve been conserving their summer habit here in Vermont for many years so I thought maybe we should collaborate and get some Vermont-Mexico synergy going!
Believe it or not that’s why our small business was born. We’re not a furniture company that “went green”. Vermont Woods Studios was actually a product of my mid-life crisis/desire to make a difference in this world. Weird, right? For some people it’s all about fast cars, loud motorcycles, sex, drugs or rock & roll. For me it was about forest conservation. It’s a long story (which I did tell to Laura Dunn of the Huffington Post, in the remote case you may be interested) but the point is:
The World Is Losing It’s Forests
Many people may not see it as a big deal but if you somehow found your way to this quirky green blog, there’s a good chance you’ll be concerned about these statistics:
More than half of the world’s 193 countries have already lost 90% or more of their forest cover
Rainforests that once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface now cover a mere 6%, yet they are home to over half the species of plants and animals in the world
We are losing the rainforest at the rate of 1.5 acres every second
Experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be gone from this earth before you are
So We’re Trying to Help
Last year we celebrated our 10th year in business. Since 2005 we’ve planted about 7500 trees, many of them through The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project. More importantly we’ve kept a similar number of rare rainforest trees out of the furniture market as we’ve used only sustainably harvested North American trees. Who is responsible for this progress? You… our customers, our readers and our partners. Your support enables us to throw our energy into environmental projects we think are important and for that we are immensely grateful.
Planting Trees in Mexico
Recently we’ve focused our support on a tree-planting project called the La Cruz Habitat Protection Program LCHPP in Michoacan Mexico. This is a reforestation initiative that I discovered during my efforts to help save the Monarch Butterfly, which is native to Vermont but it over-winters in sunny Mexico. I wrote about it recently and will be visiting LCHPP’s project in Mexico next week. Stay tuned for a full report. Anyway…
Conservation Matters To Our Customers, Partners & Staff
Does it matter to you? Post your thoughts on our Facebook or contact me directly at peggy@VermontWoodsStudios.com. I want to know what you think. Thanks for reading!
At 7am on Sunday morning I’ll be boarding a flight to Morelia, Mexico. Woohoo! The trip evolved out of my obsession with forest conservation and the Monarch Butterfly. If you’re a frequent flyer on this blog, you’ve probably noticed we love environmental projects like this.
The other day, Megan (our ace Marketing Maven) suggested I try to boil down some of my previous blogs and summarize why a Vermont furniture store would want to help save the Monarch Butterfly. So here goes… the Top 4 reasons are:
The Environment Is Important To Us
It’s not just me. At Vermont Woods Studios we are a community of nature lovers, idealists, world travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. Most of us grew up in rural places and have had much interaction with butterflies, birds and other critters throughout our lives. Monarchs are such a big, beautiful butterfly! They were everywhere in Vermont. It used to be practically a right of passage for kids to collect them and watch their metamorphosis every August. Now they are extremely rare and we worry about that.
The Environment Is Important To Our Customers
Our customers have many options as to where they buy their furniture. Often times they tell us that when it comes to the final decision, with all else being equal, they are looking for an environmentally responsible company. We are trying to live up to that.
We Want to Change the World
Getting a paycheck is not enough for all the hard work that goes into making this Vermont furniture store a success. We want to feel like our efforts matter. Like there’s a purpose behind our work.
Changing the world is a little hard to get our arms around though. But we can change a little part of it: like restoring habitat for the Monarchs. And that’s totally possible because in Vermont, Monarch habitat is primarily one plant, milkweed. It’s easy… we collect milkweed seeds in the Fall and plant them in the Spring. This year we’re hoping to have a sizable plot of milkweed habitat in the backyard here at Stonehurst.
We Believe Business Has a Responsibility to Make the World a Better Place
With our business behind us (founded on the mission of forest conservation) we don’t have to stop at planting milkweed in Vermont. We can extend our conservation efforts. We know that Monarchs don’t spend their winters here– they migrate to Mexico and roost in evergreen (oyamel) trees in the mountains of Michoacan. Those oyamel trees are being illegally logged and the Monarch’s habitat is disappearing.
What difference does it make if we restore their habitat here in Vermont? The species will still go extinct if they lose their winter habitat. So that brings me back to my trip to Mexico. I’ll be working with Jose Luis Alvarez of the La Cruz Habitat Protection Program to help conserve existing forest habitat and replant what’s been destroyed. You can find details here in last week’s blog. By the way, there’s still time to join me on this adventure!
I’d love to hear what you think about butterflies, business and changing the world. Please comment on Facebook or in the section below. Thanks for reading.
If you visited Vermont Woods Studios on this icy winter day, you would notice that the beautiful stone walkway leading to our furniture showroom is clear, dry & safe to walk on. That’s because Kyle Vinton, our new Facilities Manager was up at 3:00 this morning, snow-blowing, shoveling and meticulously sanding to keep everyone safe on their way into work.
A Man of Many Talents
Kyle comes to us with many years of experience in a wide variety of roles. He’s a graduate of Castleton University who holds a BS in Public Relations and a minor in Business. Kyle’s worked in areas such as event coordination, retail management, loss prevention, inventory control, landscaping, lean manufacturing, maintenance, and shipping & receiving.
As Facilities Manager, he puts this diverse set of skills to good use, as every day here at Stonehurst brings a new challenge. Our furniture showroom sits on 109 acres of managed woodlands and Kyle is in charge of maintaining it… winter, spring, summer and fall. We share our land with customers and neighbors so they can enjoy Vermont’s sustainable outdoor lifestyle and that involves lots of work. Not the least of which is weeding the forest garden and feeding the outdoor wood stove to keep us warm on this chilly day!
Kyle is the New Ken
Lucky for Ken… Kyle lives just down the road from Vermont Woods Studios and has graciously agreed to handle the inevitable emergencies that come up when maintaining any Vermont home (especially in the winter). This, I want to say, has made Ken a much more lovable person! For that ALL of us at Vermont Woods Studios say THANK YOU, Kyle.
A Bonafide Vermonter & Family Guy
Born and raised a Vermonter, Kyle grew up right here in Vernon. He is one of a small, elite group of Vermonters, who’ve achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He loves being outdoors and enjoys camping, backpacking and hiking (all prerequisites for this job).
Kyle and his beautiful wife, Jessica met as freshmen in college 14 years ago and have recently returned to Vernon to raise their family. Their 4 young sons are facilities managers in training at Stonehurst (word has it they will soon be welcoming a little sister into the crew so we’re excitedly anticipating that event). Help me extend a warm welcome to Kyle Vinton on Facebook or stop by Stonehurst, shake his hand and admire his work in person!