Meet Marissa Schmitz, Forestry Manager

October 11, 2021

1. What was one of your most exciting and rewarding achievements?

Getting my sourdough starter going from scratch. It’s a fun and easy way to add a little fermentation to your life.

2. What is one piece of advice you wish you had gotten or taken to heart earlier in life?

Learn to bloom where you are planted. I have a natural tendency to second guess my decisions and question whether I am in the right place geographically. I love the idea of finding ways to appreciate where I am and celebrating the things that make a place unique.

3. Beer, wine, or cocktail?

Hot coffee with extra cream, anytime of the day.

4. Do you have a personal story that ties in with one of the Reserve’s protocol sectors?

I live in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, where there are numerous Improved Forest Management offset projects. Seeing the direct impacts on the ground from these projects motivates me to do the kind of work that we do at the Reserve.

5. What is a tip you’d like to share for leading a more sustainable life?

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without.

6. If you could spend one week in a natural area in the U.S., where would it be?

Ashland, Oregon, hiking in the Southern Cascades, or watching a play at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

7. What is your favorite meal?

Can I give a top three? Fried eggs over toast, any meal with winter squash, and homemade pizza.

8. What emerging opportunities in climate / carbon excites you the most?

I am excited about carbon revenue being a viable revenue stream for forest landowners. This is particularly important given the uncertain demand for traditional wood products, which can be devastating for forest-dependent workers and communities. Carbon revenue also allows landowners to manage for multiple objectives and can create space for extractive and non-extractive forestry goals to coexist, with increased opportunities to local communities for things like recreation, the harvesting of non-timber forest products, and improved wildlife habitat. Forestry markets drive landowners’ management options, so anything that expands or diversifies market opportunities is a positive thing to me. I am especially excited to see municipal and county-owned forests finding ways to access carbon-based revenue, with direct economic benefits to low-income rural communities.

9. What is something you’d like to see change in compliance or voluntary carbon markets?

Reduced costs, both upfront and ongoing; more ‘mainstreaming’ of the idea of ecosystem markets as viable revenue tools for landowners; an improved awareness of the social and economic benefits of ecosystem markets for forest-dependent communities.

10. What are some of your favorite books/movies/tv shows/podcasts etc?

For novels, I enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction. I am an especial fan of Arthurian fantasy, such as Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy and Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle. I haven’t had as much time to read as I would like lately, but I hope to hunker-down this coming winter with some good books.

11. What are some of your favorite weekend activities (eg surfing, board games etc)

My favorite place to waste time on the weekends is in the kitchen. I enjoy meal-prep and making daily staples, such as bread. I get outside with snowshoeing in the winter, and with lake swimming, running, and riding my bike in the summer. When I get extended time off, I love to travel, both locally and farther afield.


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