"I directed four summer canvass offices for the Fund. Quite frankly, I never enjoyed canvassing and did not particularly excel at the art of it either! However, I developed relationships with people who started as activists in my offices and remain in contact with them as peers working towards social change to this day. While my job does not involve canvassing now, I know it has a valuable place in the overall movement."
I wouldn’t be qualified to be the Executive Director of the Dogwood Alliance without the skills I learned from Green Corps. Practically every day, I rely on the expertise Green Corps gave me. Dogwood Alliance and the Southeastern forests are better off because of Green Corps.
In Nov. 2002, office superstore chain Staples agreed to phase out paper products made from endangered species of trees, and committed to including 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper content in all paper products. The announcement was a long-awaited victory for me. My organization, the Dogwood Alliance, along with several other Green Corps graduates, had been working toward this goal for two years.
The Dogwood Alliance, a North Carolina-based coalition of more than 70 southern groups, works to preserve forests in the region. Kelly Sheehan, from the Class of 1999, and Robyn Williams Heeks, from the class of 2000, teamed up with ForestEthics' Liz Butler, (Class of 1996) and Bill Holland (Class of 2001) to determine how best to protect those forests.
Our campaign got to work mobilizing citizens to speak out. We delivered 20,000 postcards to Staples' corporate headquarters, and organized a day of action that saw protests in 45 states. We recruited more than 100 businesses to sign on to a letter encouraging the company to improve the environmental quality of their paper.
Our efforts were successful, and the campaign moved on to challenge other chains, including Office Max and Office Depot, to meet or beat Staples' new policy. Green Corps trainees worked to raise the visibility of the campaign, create groups to target the two companies and hold them accountable into the future, build grassroots pressure, and generate media. With just six weeks on the campaign, Green Corps trainees recruited 700 activists, held thirty protests in four key states, generated 500 phone calls, 1,000 postcards, and 228 personal letters into corporate headquarters. Due to the flood of consumer pressure, both Office Max and Office Depot have announced policies to phase out products made from endangered forests.