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US Forest Service to host 7th annual “Virtual Summit”

For the seventh year in a row, thinkers and leaders from the U.S. Forest Service will team up with partners across the country to discuss sustainable operations affecting the agency.

The 7th Annual Forest Service Sustainable Operations Summit will take place in Sacramento Feb. 14 – 16. Hosted by the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest region (California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands) and the agency’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, the summit will be attended virtually by 90 percent of the participants from around the country.

The goal of the “Virtual Summit,” which this year is themed, “Journey of Green Discovery,” is for the participants, who will be representatives of state, local and federal government sectors, to learn how they can establish “green” practices and maintain them as a regular part of business. Above all, the Forest Service’s aim is to support the agency’s mission of conservation with key partners on sustainable operations through conversations either in person or via online communication platforms such as blogs and discussion groups. Emerging technologies, climate change science, and national and international sustainability are some of the topics to be addressed.

By taking advantage of technologies such as video conferencing, webinars and social media platforms, each Virtual Summit since 2009 has saved about $300,000 in travel costs and at least $100,000 in conference facilities rentals. In that same time period the Virtual Summits have saved about 300 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by using video teleconferencing. These virtual efforts in sustainability support the notion that conservation can happen at one’s work station as well as in the field.

Prior Virtual Summit events have taken place in Madison, Wis. (2008), Portland, Ore. (2009) and Atlanta (2010).

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