The White Oak Initiative, a diverse coalition of partners committed to the long-term sustainability of America’s white oak forests, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Meyer as its first executive director. Meyer brings more than 20 years of experience in conservation and nonprofit management to the role.

“I’m thrilled to join the White Oak Initiative as its executive director,” said Jason Meyer. “The time has come for all of us to understand that forest management is key to ensuring that species like white oak, and all of the other species that depend on it, continue to thrive for generations to come.”

Building on the White Oak Initiative’s strong foundation and existing partnerships among forest products industries, universities, state and federal agencies, nonprofits, private landowners, conservation organizations and trade associations, Meyer will guide the organization strategically from its initial assessment and planning phase to on-the-ground implementation, education and advocacy.

In 2021, the White Oak Initiative released Restoring Sustainability for White Oak and Upland Oak Communities: An Assessment and Conservation Plan. This science-based report detailed the current state of America’s white oak forests and recommended a practical plan of action to avoid their decline. Without swift intervention today, the report cautioned, the American white oak population would begin to decline significantly within the next 10 to 15 years, with more extreme declines over the next several decades.

“The release of the assessment and conservation plan was a first step toward restoring the long-term sustainability of America’s white oak,” said Barbara Hurt, chair of the White Oak Initiative’s board of directors and executive director of the Dendrifund. “Now, the challenge is what are the second and third steps, and how do we move strategically from plan to action? With Jason’s extensive experience, knowledge and passion for the work, I feel confident he will successfully lead the White Oak Initiative into the next phase.”

Meyer was selected following a thorough recruitment process that began last year. Before the White Oak Initiative, he served as program manager for the Southern California Mountains Foundation and as a forester and public information officer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), where he helped landowners learn about forest management. He also has led two nature centers in Michigan, the Blandford Nature Center and the Fenner Conservancy, and is an avid fisherman and outdoor enthusiast. Meyer earned a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Purdue University.

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