Wilsonart Escalates Commitment to Educate Architects and Designers about Endangered Woods and Protected Forests

Company Announces Second National Day of Learning and a New Grant to Interlochen Arts Academy

TEMPLE, TX (August 28, 2018) – A year after launching its educational initiative, Understanding Wood: Sourcing Against the Grain, Wilsonart announces a renewed commitment to help educate architects and designers (A&D) about using responsibly sourced wood materials. To further support the A&D community, Wilsonart is conducting a second National Day of Learning event, launching a cross country education tour, adding new content to its educational hub, and renewing its grant to Interlochen Arts Academy – reaching tomorrow’s designers, today.

“We learned from our outreach last year that professionals in the industry are eager to be more informed about the materials they specify,” noted Tammy Weadock, Communications Manager at Wilsonart. “We know from visits to our online educational hub, downloads of Design for Global Forestry, a white paper Wilsonart commissioned on the issue, to the 1,100 + architects and designers who attended the first National Day of Learning, the importance of this issue to them. We will continue to escalate awareness around global forestry issues and help end the use of endangered woods in architecture and design.”

Highlights of Understanding Wood: Sourcing Against the Grain for architects and designers in 2018 – 2019 include:

  • A National Day of Learning – Oct. 3, 2018

Professionals are invited to join in person or online for the second, annual National Day of Learning on the topic of Global Forestry and what you need to know to protect your practice. Registration is required. All attendees will earn 1 CEU HSW: Sustainability Credit for IDCEC or AIA by attending. The CEU will take place October 3, 2018 at The Center for Architecture in NYC and will be livestreamed twice that day so participants outside of NYC can join. The Global Forestry CEU will be presented by Grace Jeffers, an American writer, historian and educator, who is known for an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to the study of materials. In 2018, Jeffers was named one of seven National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) ‘Insiders,’ a hand-selected group of thought leaders, chosen for their ability to push boundaries and infuse global knowledge and experience to positively impact the residential built environment. 

  • A Cross Country Education Tour

In addition to speaking at the National Day of Learning, Jeffers will be touring America and speaking with architectural firms, colleges and universities and industry organizations and leadership groups about Global Forestry. 

  • Educational Hub on Wilsonart.com

New content, including videos, photography, presentations and articles will continue to act as a resource for the A&D community on www.Wilsonart.com/understanding-wood. A gallery of Interlochen students’ perspectives on the subject will also be updated throughout the year. 

Wilsonart has renewed its support of Interlochen Arts Academy, a premiere arts educational institution for high school students located near Traverse City, Michigan, to educate students on material alternatives so that they can apply and share their learnings with others as they enter the workforce. New program highlights include:

  • Renewed Partnership with Interlochen Arts Academy

During the 2018-2019 school year at Interlochen, Wilsonart will be providing support for Lydia Hicks, a visual journalism fellow at Interlochen Public Radio and renowned wildlife photographer, to work with the students to learn the art of videography. Hicks will encourage the students to incorporate the issues of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems into their work. In addition, the ongoing transformation of the Red Pine Plantation Forest will be documented through video, photography and written content and shared on both Interlochen’s and Wilsonart’s websites. In the Spring 2019, the ‘Art of Ecology’ curriculum developed in 2017, including lesson plans, videos and key learnings, will be widely shared in an open source format with other high schools and educators nationwide.

“Last year we began the first stage of a long-term process to transform an aging Red Pine Plantation Forest on Interlochen’s campus into a thriving, native forest,” Weadock commented. “It is an enormous and important undertaking. The curriculum, called ‘The Art of Ecology,’ not only gave students an up close and personal view of the first phase of the forest transformation, but also helped them learn about biodiversity and the critical importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems.” The yearlong program provided the students with an opportunity to understand the role art can play in raising awareness of actions needed to keep our forests healthy.   

Understanding Wood was designed to fuel architects and designers with resources, support and educational opportunities. The program was established in 2017 in response to a national survey, conducted by SMS Research Advisors for Wilsonart, that discovered 70 percent of architects and designers place a priority on using responsibly sourced wood materials, but 99 percent of them could not correctly identify the majority of endangered woods from a list they were given. 

The findings of Wilsonart’s survey of architects and designers continue to impact the design community. Overwhelmingly, the research revealed that professionals lack awareness about the rules and regulations surrounding protected forests and the logging that happens there.

“We discovered that 42 percent of the professionals we surveyed did not know what makes a forest protected,” Weadock noted. “Only 24 percent were very familiar with the Lacey Act, which makes using responsibly harvested wood not only an ethical choice, but a legal responsibility. Wilsonart is working to provide materials and events to educate professionals with the knowledge they need to protect their practices.”




About Wilsonart
Wilsonart, a world leading engineered surfaces company, is driven by a mission to create surfaces people love, with service you can count on, delivered by people who care. The company manufactures and distributes High Pressure Laminate, Quartz, Solid Surface, Coordinated TFL and Edgebanding and other engineered surface options for use in the office, education, healthcare, residential, hospitality and retail markets. Operating under the Wilsonart®, Resopal®, Polyrey®, Arborite®, Laminart®, Bushboard™, Shore™, Mermaid™, Ralph Wilson®, KML®, Laminate Works® Dallas and Durcon® brands, the company continuously redefines decorative surfaces through improved performance and aesthetics. For more information, visit www.wilsonart.com or connect with us on Facebook, Houzz, PinterestInstagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

About Interlochen Center for the ArtsThe nonprofit Interlochen Center for the Arts is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the only organization in the world that brings together: a 2,500-student summer camp program; a 500-student fine arts boarding high school; opportunities for hundreds of adults to engage in fulfilling artistic and creative programs; two 24-hour listener-supported public radio services; more than 600 arts presentations annually by students, faculty and world-renowned guest artists; a global alumni base spanning nine decades, including leaders in the arts and other professional endeavors. For more information, visit www.interlochen.org.

Published at: 08-28-2018