EMMAUS, Pa. & NEW YORK -- Rodale Inc., NewPage Corp. and the Rodale Institute today announced the 'Tree as a Crop' environmental initiative designed to educate farmers and small forest landowners about the environmental, social, and economic rewards of properly growing and harvesting trees.



This partnership will encourage the natural cycle of planting, harvesting, and replanting trees to be as routine a practice as is the production of other crops -- and one that achieves bio-diversity, economic returns, and positive environmental change.



Rodale Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization founded by J.I. Rodale that focuses on regenerative agriculture and its impact on health and the environment, will plant approximately 500 trees, varying in age, on its grounds in Kutztown, Pennsylvania to establish a training ground for local farmers and landowners to visit and learn about tree maintenance and organic growing methods. Print and electronic media, including fact sheets, brochures, and Web site links, will be used to educate and train farmers, landowners, and the general public on the importance of trees as crops.



"Sometimes the most basic--and effective--solutions to complex problems get overlooked," said Anita Patterson, Vice President, Environmental Initiatives at Rodale. "This program is all about educating people about one of the most fundamental solutions to help offset the global climate crisis. If we can teach farmers and landowners to manage trees as they would any other crop, rather than just react to how they grow on their own, we can maximize the potential of trees. It's a win that will improve land bio-diversity, reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and add revenue streams for communities and farmers who sustainably harvest the wood. It's a solution truly rooted in nature."



The "Tree as a Crop" initiative is the first partnership for Rodale, NewPage Corporation, and the Rodale Institute toward their collective goal to measure the myriad benefits of planting trees and routinely harvesting them. The partnership also hopes to encourage and spread the practice of organically growing and managing trees among more farmers and small forest landowners in local communities across the United States and abroad.



Rodale recently announced its partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders, a public-private partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies. As a member of EPA Climate Leaders, Rodale commits to the development of comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction goals over the next decade by working in tandem with industry to solve the climate crisis.



"Rodale has been at the forefront of environmental protection since its inception," continued Patterson. "We remain steadfast in our commitment to offset carbon generation resulting from paper production while taking as many steps as we can to help the environment."



Rodale is a global multi-platform media company with a mission dedicated to the health and wellness of the individual, community and planet. The company, which reaches more than 70 million people worldwide, publishes some of the best-known health and wellness lifestyle magazines, including Men's Health, Prevention, Women's Health, Runner's World, Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Running Times, and Organic Gardening, and is also the largest independent book publisher in America with a collection of international titles, including The South Beach Diet, An Inconvenient Truth, Flat Belly Diet!, and Eat This, Not That! Rodale's broad range of media platforms includes magazines, books, video, and extensive Web sites. The company is also a leader in direct-response marketing and has more than 25 million active customers in its database.



Headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio, NewPage Corp. is the largest coated paper manufacturer in North America, based on production capacity, with $4.4 billion in net sales for the year ended December 31, 2008 . The company's product portfolio is the broadest in North America and includes coated freesheet, coated groundwood, supercalendered, newsprint and specialty papers. These papers are used for corporate collateral, commercial printing, magazines, catalogs, books, coupons, inserts, newspapers, packaging applications and direct mail advertising.



NewPage owns paper mills in Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nova Scotia, Canada. These mills have a total annual production capacity of approximately 4.4 million tons of paper, including approximately: 3.2 million tons of coated paper, 1.0 million tons of uncoated paper and 200,000 tons of specialty paper.



Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates global solutions from the ground up. The Institute's soil scientists and a cooperating network of researchers have documented that organic farming techniques offer the best solution to global warming and famine. Founded in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, in 1947 by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale, Rodale Institute's Farming Systems Trial(R) is the longest-running U.S. study comparing organic and conventional farming techniques, and is the basis for practical training of farmers in Africa, Asia and the Americas.



Rodale Institute's findings are clear: A global organic transformation will mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and restore soil fertility. Our mission: We improve the health and well-being of people and the planet.



SOURCE: Rodale Inc.