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Black Belt Initiative
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The Alabama Forestry Foundation supports implementation of AMSTI in three south Alabama schools.








 Sponsored by the Alabama Forestry Foundation, the Black Belt Initiative was designed to increase forestry job  awareness and opportunities for students attending Black Belt Region schools. The objective is to encourage rural students to pursue education and training that would qualify them for employment in Alabama’s forest products companies.


Career Opportunities
The forest products industry is the single most important economic engine in rural Alabama and includes companies that manufacture sustainable products from Alabama’s renewable natural resource.  Alabama's forest industry includes pulp and paper mills, sawmills, wood panel mills, and renewable energy plants, as well as companies that supply raw material for these manufacturers (landowners, loggers, and land management companies). For career opportunities, visit  
Initiative Goals
By increasing the awareness of career opportunities in Alabama’s forest products industry, the Foundation plans to accomplish the following goals:
  • Increase the pool of qualified graduates available for employment in the forest products industry.
  • Provide Black Belt region students with a career path to obtain good jobs and remain in the region.
  • Motivate students to focus on math and science to grow their future career.
Initiative Activities and Contacts
In order to accomplish these goals, Foundation staff will be conducting the following activities:
  • Public Awareness
      In 2011 and 2012, the Foundation conducted a public awareness campaign to promote Alabama’s forest products industry and jobs. 
     The campaign provided information through radio and billboard advertisements and newspaper inserts. 
      For more information contact: Sam Duvall, Director of Communication (334) 481-2129 or
  • Elected / Education Officials Meetings
      In 2012, 10 meetings were held across the Black Belt Region to inform local elected and education officials about the Initiative and to solicit assistance. 
      For more information contact: Tom Saunders, Director of Governmental Affairs (334) 481-2126 or
  • Guidance Counselor Meetings
      In 2012, Foundation staff met with Guidance Counselors in every high school in the Black Belt Region to inform them about the Initiative and to provide material about forestry careers they can use with their students. 
  • Teacher Workshops
      Educator workshops provide professional development and training about Alabama’s forests. Register for an upcoming workshop by visiting the AFA calendar.
      For more information contact: Ashley Smith, Director of Education Programs (334) 614-5048 or


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