We are just a few short and snowy days away from 2022! As a place-based organization, all our advocacy, fieldwork, and public education programs is focused on Mt. Hood National Forest and surrounding public lands. Founded as a forest conservation organization, we are working to dismantle white, settler-colonial supremacy in our approach so that we can center environmental justice and decolonize our work to defend and restore Mt. Hood.
Our Associate Director, Courtney Rae sat down with a few members of the Outreach Team to discuss stand-out moments while working at Bark.
CR: What is one day at Bark that you could live to do over and over again?
Benjamin Ayer: The final day of working to pass the PCEF.
Bark joined the coalition of groups working to secure the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF). If passed it would generate approximately “$30 million a year in new revenue for energy efficiency upgrades, home weatherization, rooftop solar, job training, local food production, and more green infrastructure.” The Fund had an EDI focus and planned on directing funds to low-income people and people of color who most impacted by climate change but who have been excluded from the emerging low-carbon economy. This was nn initiative long overdue that Bark nor any other non-profit could accomplish on its own.
This day was a great example of groups bringing some of their best skills and resources to the table. Bark dedicated its 10 skilled canvassers to “get out the vote” through door-to-door conversations. Once the polls closed the groups gathered together, schmoozing, while waiting. Waiting and nail biting. Then the news broke, it passed, the crowd hollered! Hugs were shared, feet and arms began to sway with the music as the success and work ahead sunk in. We all knew we would have work ahead, but now we dance.
CR: Would you tell me about a supporter who inspired you?
Stephen Madore: It’s hard to pick just one. I am inspired each time someone gifts me time out of a busy day to discuss species protection, the climate, and forest fires. When folks answer the phone and engage in a discussion that moves the conversation forward about national forest management on stolen lands. Each time I have a conversation that changes or reframes the conversation, I am inspired.
CR: Can you share something that you will always remember about Bark?
Colin Fisher: One thing that continues to impress me about the people at Bark is their tenacity, passion, and dedication. On a staff fun day some 4 years ago, I started to get to know my future partner. We shared stories, got muddy, and played pooh-sticks (from Winnie-the-Pooh) over the Clackamas River. Now we carry our little one on hikes. It’s a wonder to see the forest through his eyes. I will always remember the people I meet through Bark—supporters, volunteers, and coworkers, past and present.
Your gift means the continued restoration and protection of the forests, waters, and wildlife of Mt. Hood.
Courtney Rae, Bark Associate Director
P.P.S. We are seeking to grow our board to provide better support for staff and volunteers in the work of decolonizing forest advocacy. Please reach out to board (at) bark-out.org if you or someone you know would be interested in supporting these efforts.
Bark affirms that these are the rightful homelands of the Multnomah, Mollala, Kalapuya, Chinook, Wyam, Clackamas, Tenino, Wasco, Wishram, Tiah, Paiute, and the many other Native people who live here and who have always lived here, who have always belonged to and cared for this land and whose bold resistance to colonial oppression should guide us all.