Lumber Heritage Region, Pennsylvania – In the months since the initial release of the report on the Lumber Heritage Region’s Diversity Study, there has been a significant amount of feedback regarding the findings. For many years, the contents of this report were seldom found in the dialogue surrounding the lumber industry. So many stories like these have been left out of the standard narrative for so long that some believed that many of the men and women who contributed to the success of the lumber industry never participated at all.
Working with Historic Researcher Hilary Jebitsch, the Lumber Heritage Region prioritized the need to document these stories to tell and preserve a more complete and inclusive history of the region for generations to come. As there has been very little priority given to this topic until now, the Lumber Heritage Region is grateful that so many were willing to share their stories. As this is the first report of its kind in the region sponsored by DCNR, it seems prudent to share some of the feedback that has been received.
Genealogy is of high interest to many people, and some have reached out after coming across this report in their research. In respect to the Diversity Study, one who was researching a relative stated that the “paper shed light on what life must have been like for her and her children in those places during that time. Your research, in addition to being important in terms of diversity, really opened my eyes to an entire industry and way of life in north central Pennsylvania, where many of my ancestors lived. So, thank you!”.
There have been significant references to the study, as well. Bucks County Community College referred to the report in their Spring Newsletter and the study was even used in part of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ testimony during PA Senate Hearings.
The report is being used as a model for other organizational research and the findings are being used by a teacher, within the region, as part of the class curriculum. The Lumber Heritage Region shared some of the stories to their Facebook page, including a story about Rose Kocjancic Paar (one of many women in the report) which has been shared nearly 100 times and is approaching 30,000 views.
Requests of other researchers have been received to utilize these findings in their own efforts for historical preservation and accuracy, both for books and movies. Of course, there has also been the simple yet significant excitement that this study was conducted and published regarding its respective industry and region. The Lumber Heritage Region has received requests for presentations of the findings at symposiums, educational meetings, and workshops.
Many of these stories are deeply personal to the living relatives and descendants of those who were willing to share them, and it is with great appreciation and tact that these empowering stories were shared within the report. The Lumber Heritage Region is incredibly proud to have been a part of this research and is grateful that the contents of the report have been shared with so many already. Executive Director of LHR, Holly Komonczi, stated, “One of the tasks I take very seriously is using the past to educate the future. The forest products industry has many opportunities for our young people, right here in our backyards. We are striving to make everyone feel welcome to take advantage of a career in the forest products industry”.
While we utilize the past to encourage an inclusive future, let’s also take a moment to highlight heritage in the present; here is a list of some of the women who currently hold impactful roles within the Pennsylvania forest industry:
Ellen Schultzabarger – former PA State Forester for DCNR – Bureau of Forestry
currently an Associate Deputy Chief for the US Forest Service
Jamie Davidson – Supervisor of Allegheny National Forest
Cindy Adams Dunn – Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Rosa Yoo – Manager of Forest Health Division, Pennsylvania DCNR – Bureau of Forestry
Cecile Stelter – District Forester, Cornplanter State Forest (Warren County) – DCNR, Bureau of Forestry
Rita Hite – Executive Director, American Forest Foundation
Sarah Hall – Director of Forestry, American Forest Foundation
Alicia Cramer – VP, US Endowment for Forestry & Communities
Susan Stout – Forest Researcher, Northern Research Station – USDA Forest Service
Allyson Muth – Director, James C Finley Center For Private Forests
Lindsey Novosel – Operations Manager, Woodside Oils (doTERRA Birch essential oil production facility)
Nancy McCloskey – Senior Forester, Manulife Investment Management
Stephanie Philips Taggert – Executive Director, Keystone Wood Products Association
Amy Shields – Executive Director, Allegheny Hardwoods Utilization Group
Shelby Cordoba – Executive Director, Northern Tier Hardwoods Association
Jennifer Haines – Museum Educator, Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Holly Komonczi – Executive Director, Lumber Heritage Region
If you or someone you know has a story to share, please reach out to us using the form on our site, linked below. We would love to hear from you!
To read the full Diversity Report, scroll down to the bottom of the linked page on our site.
About the Lumber Heritage Region:
The Lumber Heritage Region is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and celebrating the rich history and heritage of the lumber industry in Pennsylvania. Established in 2001, the organization works tirelessly to educate the public about the contributions of the lumber industry to the region’s development.