Putting a Face on the Forest

Putting a Face on the Forest
As furniture makers we use wood. We are committed to not only harvesting trees sustainably but also reforesting vulnerable wildlife habitats where our competitors still harvest timber illegally.

Asian Elephants

Asian elephants are in danger due to unsustainable logging of their forest home. Stay tuned to learn how we'll partner with Trunks and Leaves to plant trees and help restore their habitat. In the meantime, you can help save Asian elephants from extinction by avoiding forest products (like lumber, furniture, flooring, coffee, chocolate, nuts, paper, etc) that are harvested unsustainably.

Putting a Face on the Forest

We've been promoting forest conservation for almost 20 years but I feel like we haven't really moved the needle when it comes to helping people understand why that's so important. Perhaps it's hard for people to relate to trees or climate change. Do you think our conservation message would have a better chance if it focused on the faces of animals who need a healthy forest to survive? We're going to give it a try.

Monarch Butterflies

Conserving monarch butterfly habitat in Mexican forests. Our first forest conservation campaign began in 2015, focusing on restoration of the Mexican forests that are home to monarch butterflies. Through that project we've planted over 100,000 trees. Using our monarch program as a model, we now seek to help restore habitat for other endangered species of the forest. Asian elephants are the next species we're going to plant trees for and they will be followed by others. Stay tuned.


Conserving Their Homes Starts in Our Homes

In 2015 we started our partnership with Jose Luis Alvarez, founder of Forests for Monarchs FFM. We were already working to conserve monarch butterfly habitat here in Vermont. We knew that monarchs fly from Vermont to Mexico every Fall where they spend the winter in an ancient forest. That forest is rapidly shrinking due to illegal logging. We've been raising awareness about that and helping FFM plant thousands of trees to restore monarch habitat. At the same time, we're asking consumers to consider the environmental impact of their choices as they furnish their homes.
Much of the furniture sold in America today is made with lumber that's been illegally and/or unsustainably harvested, causing the destruction of forests and wildlife habitat. Elephants and monarchs are just two of thousands of species that are disappearing along with our planet's forests. Each of us can make a difference when we purchase responsibly produced items for our homes.


Forest Conservation is our Mission at VWS

Ken and I started Vermont Woods Studios back in 2005. For Ken, it was a way to promote and sell the beautiful, handcrafted furniture he and his fellow Vermont woodworkers were making. My purpose was to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and persuade people to buy furniture that's made with sustainably harvested wood (because most of it isn't). I've written about it dozens of times on our blog:


Greenwashing is a Lucrative Industry

When we first started VWS we were big proponents of green-certified furniture. We maintained memberships with the major certification bodies. But we quickly realized that the global timber industry (being so large, loose and lucrative) had fallen under the control of organized crime. Counterfeiting of green certifications is rampant, as cited in this report: Environmental auditors approve green labels for products linked to deforestation and authoritarian regimes (under the umbrella of #DeforestationInc). Since we can't determine if "green-certified" imported wood is real or counterfeit, we decided to simply avoid using any wood that is imported from overseas. The wood in all of our furniture is sourced from well managed, North American forests. That is our best assurance of sustainability.


I Could Use Your Help

I feel like my message hasn't really gotten anywhere but I can't seem to give up on it. What do you think? How can we help spread this message that our everyday choices at the cash register determine the future of our planet? Contact me on Facebook, Instagram or the VWS website with your thoughts and advice. Thanks!

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Peggy Farabaugh

She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.

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    Years in Business

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    Trees Planted

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    Happy Customers