About us


Who are we?


Black Locust Initiative is a non-profit organization teaching sustainable forestry through hands-on workshops open to the public. Forestry is an industry that can expand locally while improving the environment, if undertaken with an ecologically sound ethic.



Black Initiative is funded by a generous grant from:

With a grant from America-On-Line for equipment, we are developing an on-line curriculum to use in the schools. Area schools regularly participate in workshops covering forest conservation, soil analysis, conservation of watersheds, and ecological means to protect birds. Students are part of selecting trees for sawing and then building projects from the wood. Teachers will have Internet access in the classroom to prepare a responsible environmental lesson with their students. They will be provided with curricula, resources, and lists for materials and tools.


Additional funding provided by:



Dave Gell is a long-time forester and master woodworker who has spent many years researching and working with the black locust tree. He teaches sustainable forestry management to school groups and adults and has initiated experiments in vegetative propagation methods with black locust.


The overall mission of Black Locust Initiative is to provide educational opportunities, promote community awareness and foster a comprehensive respect for nature through workshops that advocate sustainable forestry.


Black Initiative supports ecological work in the community, focuses on propagation, management, sawing, harvesting, and building with black locust trees as an alternative to pressure treated lumber for green building practices. Currently the choice of durable wood is either chemically pressure-treated or old growth fir, redwood, cedar, or cypress. There is a need for a quality alternative source of lumber. Our organization is working to save the genetics of superior trees and start making them available in industrial quantities. We are making strides with Shipmast Locust and more recently, Catalpa.



The Goals of Black Locust Initiative:

  • Develop community skills required for the sustainable management of local forests.
  • Educate youth and families about the benefits of using black locust instead of the use of toxic pressure-treated lumber.
  • Planting, growing and harvesting superior, straight-growing black locust for local wood materials while improving the forest ecosystems.

  • Check out our workshops!