This week, MLA members will gather in Missoula for the annual MLA Membership Meeting and Convention. It is an opportunity to have fun, share experiences and lessons learned over the last year, discuss the state of the timber harvesting industry, and learn from industry leaders.
After the annual membership meeting in the afternoon, the traditional suspender reception will include The Log a Load for Kids Auction. The annual Log A Load For Kids fundraising program collects donations for the Shodair Children’s Hospital in Helena, Montana. Since its inception in 1997, the program has raised more than $500,000 for the hospital, proving that the generosity of the timber harvesting industry is as vast as the forests where they harvest.
Funds are raised through direct donations, auctions, and raffles at the MLA Annual Membership Meeting in May and the Christmas Party in December. A favorite item auctioned off annually at the May convention is a beautiful work of art by Ron Kelly of the Timber Heritage license plate.
Topics covered during this year’s educational program on Saturday include grant funding opportunities for fuels reduction projects, the Wildlife & Endangered Species Act, and State Legislative updates and rules. A featured speaker of the program is Nick Smith, Public Affairs Director for the American Forest Resources Association and founder of Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities, a non-profit, grassroots coalition that advocates for active forest management. Nick will be sharing ways timber harvesters can get engaged in promoting the industry.
Highlights planned for Saturday include an afternoon trip to Fort Missoula to experience the Montana Historic Equipment Area (MHEA), founded through a partnership between the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula and the Montana Society of American Foresters. During their visit, MLA members will experience live demonstrations and static exhibits of equipment central to the growth of Montana industries, including the timber and mining industries, such as antique steam engines.
Remember, you can get your own Timber Heritage License plate and at the same time support the Montana Timber Legacy Foundation and its great work by asking for the Timber Heritage license plate the next time you register your vehicle.