Heartwood Heartbeat

Organization Name:
City & State:
Describe your creative piece – what is it and what has it been used for, and why is it innovative?
Heartbeat is the bi-annual publication of Heartwood, a cooperative network that works to protect and sustain healthy forests and vital human communities in the Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern United States. The Heartbeat provides a forum for our members to discuss their current work and serves as an outreach tool for the organization. We publish a Heartbeat in advance of each of our two large annual gatherings: the Heartwood Forest Council in May and the Heartwood Reunion in October. The Heartbeat is innovative because it reflects the cooperative and volunteer-driven nature of the Heartwood network itself. Heartwood members and allies submit the content, both written and visual, and a volunteer does the layout. This year, our volunteer laid out the Heartbeat using Adobe InDesign software that we purchased through TechSoup. Using this new software allowed us to publish our first issue in a tabloid format. The Heartbeat was printed on 100% post-consumer recycled newsprint.
What issue or problem were you working to address with this piece?
We produced this issue of the Heartbeat to build interest in our upcoming 20th annual Heartwood Forest Council, which will be held in southern Illinois at the site of the first Forest Council in 1991. Along with celebrating and reflecting on two decades of Heartwood’s work, the theme of this year’s Forest Council will be “Trust Nature.” To combine these two themes, we asked long-time Heartwood members to submit articles about their personal experience with Heartwood or about their thoughts on “trusting nature.” We also asked scheduled speakers for the Forest Council to submit pieces relating to their upcoming talks. We included the schedule for the Forest Council, information about the facility, and a mail-in registration form. The final product captures the history of the organization while showing the ongoing issues to be addressed at the Forest Council and makes it easy for those interested to register immediately for the event, either on the form or at the listed website.
How has your submission successfully impacted your organization’s ability to solve this issue/problem?
Our new tabloid-sized Heartbeat was an effective publicity tool because it looked professional and was easy to distribute. We mailed Heartbeats to all Heartwood members and those whose memberships had recently expired. Our volunteers, spanning at least seven states, distributed the remaining Heartbeats at Earth Day and other environmental events and at local businesses in the region of this year’s Forest Council site. In total, we distributed 1000 copies of the Heartbeat and posted a link to it on our website. Registration for the Forest Council is ongoing (the event takes place Memorial Day weekend), and we have already had dozens of people preregister for the event, many of whom mailed in the form from the Heartbeat. Forest Council attendees always make new connections, learn new strategies, and come away inspired. Publicizing our event to as many interested people as possible strengthens Heartwood’s ultimate aim: to be people helping people protect the places they love.
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