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Walnut Hollow: An Industry and Conservation Leader

The company went "green" long before it was popular.

by Staff Report, (August 4, 2008)

Walnut Hollow® has been a successful company since the earliest days of the modern craft industry. Decades of success are the result of quality products and service, fostering a safe work environment, and practicing a sensitive attitude toward natural resources. The Dodgeville, WI company is strongly committed to preserving the natural resources that allow the company to produce its products. It was "going green" long before most companies had heard of the idea.

Founder and President David Ladd was named the 2007 Conservationist Lifetime Achievement Award winner by Gathering Waters Conservancy for his dedication to environmental sustainability in business, as well as decades of untiring land stewardship in his native Iowa County, WI and across the state. Gathering Waters' awards recognize individuals and organizations whose achievements are making a notable impact on the future of Wisconsin's natural resources.

Since the inception of Walnut Hollow in 1972, Dave's family and employees have been strongly committed to preserving natural resources through its raw materials consumption practices, production processes, recycling activities, and community involvement. In 2006, the company received the John H. Brogan Environmental Achievement Award, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' highest form of environmental recognition. Walnut Hollow® shares this prestigious accomplishment with respected organizations including Trout Unlimited (Wisconsin Chapter), Snap-On Tools Corp., Green Bay Packaging, 3M Menomonie, and John Deere Horicon Works.

Why does Walnut Hollow win awards? Consider:

The Ladd's have planted more than 300,000 trees and shrubs on personal property in the surrounding area.

Whenever possible, raw material is harvested from plantation and managed woodlands for the manufacture of our home décor items and wood surfaces.

Walnut Hollow has a unique sawdust recovering system whereby sawdust and chips from the manufacturing process are vacuumed at each work station into a central silo storage system. As a result, the manufacturing operation is not detrimental to the health of the employees or the environment.

The manufacturing process is state-of-the-art "lean" manufacturing which allows for a minimum of waste and an increase in operating efficiencies. Wood waste and sawdust are recycled to produce steam to heat the rough mill facility and lumber drying kilns. The premium wood waste is separated and sold as livestock bedding. No wood waste ends up in landfills.

Shipping cartons are made from 50% recycled fiber and all packing material is biodegradable (cornstarch peanuts).

Employees of the company participate in the State of Wisconsin's Adopt-A-Highway Program. Each spring, company volunteers pick up litter along the designated Walnut Hollow highway section.

Dave has served on three Land Stewardship Councils formed by former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson for the purchase of natural resource and recreational lands. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Wisconsin's Natural Resource Foundation, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, and Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association.

Dave was instrumental in starting/financing Tree City USA for the City of Dodgeville, In addition, he has received distinguished service awards from the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council and the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Walnut Hollow supports and financially contributes to important conservation organizations such as Trees for Tomorrow, the National Arbor Day Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Whitetails Unlimited, and Trout Unlimited.

The company partners with Alliant Energy on shared savings programs that help to conserve energy. Grants have also been received from Wisconsin Focus on Energy for energy saving programs adopted by the company.

(Note: In addition to Dave's environmental work, he has made many valuable contributions to the growth of the craft industry. He served for many years on the ACCI board of directors and was responsible in large part for ACCI's two consumers shows.)



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