HEARTWOOD is a regional network that protects forests and supports community activism in the eastern United States through education, advocacy, and citizen empowerment.
Heartwood was founded in 1991, when concerned citizens from several midwestern states met and agreed to work together to protect the heartland hardwood forest. Today our network covers the region that reaches from the Ozarks to the Appalachians, grassroots communities united in our common struggle, “people helping people protect the places they love” in some eighteen states throughout the Eastern US.
This region was once blanketed with a majestic hardwood forest containing more than 120 species of hardwood trees in the canopy, and more than 1,200 herbaceous plants in the understory. It is said that a squirrel could roam from the Eastern Seaboard to the Mississippi River by going from tree to tree without ever touching the ground. Unfortunately, much of this forest has been cleared for farms and cities, and what remains is mostly isolated fragments of public land that nonetheless play a critical role in providing habitat for wildlife, purifying the air and water, moderating global climate change, and offering places of beauty and enjoyment.
Heartwood’s vision is to protect and restore this native forest. The onslaught of logging, roadbuilding, and the recent expansion of the oil and gas industry into our public lands has made land conservation largely a defensive game, as species continue to disappear into extinction and atmospheric carbon continues to climb. Through the dedication and commitment of our grassroots groups, Heartwood is able to stem this tide of destruction using tools ranging from lawsuits and litigation to civil disobedience and peaceful protest. Please support our work by becoming a member, or by donating to our Minigrant Fund.