Minnesota State Fairgoers will stay cool and be cool during the hot, last days of summer by picking up free fans and shade trees at the Minnesota Forest Industries (MFI) booth in the Education Building, August 24 – Labor Day. While the hand-held, tree-shaped fans will come in handy immediately, it will take a few years before the free Red Pine seedlings grow to provide much shade.

“Since 1992 we’ve distributed nearly half a million free seedlings at the State Fair, making it possible for some pretty large shade trees to grow in yards all across Minnesota,” said Wayne Brandt, MFI’s executive vice president. “We hope everyone will stop by our booth to pick up their own free seedlings.”

In addition to the seedlings, which are sometimes called Pine Needles on a Stick, booth visitors will also receive free fans with “I’m a forest fan” printed on them.

“The only things cooler than well-managed Minnesota forests are the people who stop by our booth to learn more about them,” added Brandt.

Minnesota has 8.4 million acres of forestland (including all forestland managed by the Department of Natural Resources) that are certified as sustainable by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the Forest Stewardship Council or both. These two international organizations work independently to promote responsible forest management. Less than 1 percent of Minnesota’s forestland is harvested each year.

Twenty-eight thousand Minnesotans work in the forest products industry, which has an $8.2 billion economic impact that’s felt throughout the state. From Aitkin to Zumbro Falls, nearly 300 Minnesota cities are home to businesses from which the forest products industry purchases goods and services.

Minnesota Forest Industries is an association representing these state forest products companies: Bell Lumber & Pole Company; Hedstrom Lumber Company; Louisiana Pacific Corp.; Minnesota Power; Molpus Woodlands Group, LLC; Norbord Minnesota; Packaging Corporation of America; Potlatch Land and Lumber; Sappi North America; Savanna Pallets; UPM, Blandin Paper Mill; and Verso Corporation.

MFI members encourage conservation, proper forest management and industry development that foster sound environmental stewardship, multiple use of timber lands and sustainable, long-term timber supply. MFI’s web address is www.minnesotaforests.com.