Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, ON—The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is proud to announce 16 new SFI Community Grants to support meaningful initiatives in communities across the United States and Canada while strengthening SFI’s mission of advancing sustainability through forest-focused collaboration.

SFI Community Grants are awarded for collaborative community-based projects, activities, and events that connect communities to forests. Since the SFI Community Grant Program started in 2010, SFI has awarded 118 grants totaling more than $1 million invested to foster community-building projects. The 16 new grants of the 2023 program represent a record-breaking number of projects supported and more than $215,000 in total funding announced.

“SFI is excited to invest in so many initiatives that promote collaboration and connect communities to forests, and I’m extremely proud to see the growth in this program,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI. “This year’s SFI Community Grant recipients allow us to live our mission to advance sustainability through forest-focused collaboration. We work with so many diverse partners and communities, and they are key to our success. That’s why we are so pleased to invest in community collaboration.”

These new grants will engage communities across North America to explore and connect with forests through the following:

  • Innovation in the application of the SFI Forest Management Standard and the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard, including conservation of biological diversity and fire resilience,
  • Connecting communities to forests through the new SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard and greener built environments,
  • Education and training to support sustainable forest management and Indigenous relationship building,
  • Building a diverse and resilient workforce through environmental education, forest literacy and career pathways in collaboration.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry will create a printed field guide and online fact sheets to help SFI‑certified organizations in the state meet SFI standards as part of the Promoting Pennsylvania’s Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value project.

The Georgia SFI Implementation Committee will leverage ongoing biodiversity conservation analysis to deliver recommendations for conservation measures that will benefit Georgia’s highest-priority forests with exceptional conservation value. Learn more about the project Influencing Biological Diversity Conservation in Georgia with Digital Outreach.

Dovetail Partners will develop and promote a five-minute professional video to educate and empower landowners to strengthen collaboration for active forest management with the Supporting Personal Choices in Caring for the Land to Increase Fire Resilience and Awareness in Northern Minnesotaproject.

The Alabama SFI Implementation Committee is creating opportunities for collaborative educational work on species biodiversity to meet the requirements of the SFI Forest Management Standard through their project Enhancing Forest Species Biodiversity Through Collaborative Education.

The University of Georgia Research Foundation will deliver a two-day workshop for a range of experienced people interested in urban forestry, as well as underrepresented groups and students, with the Brainstorming Implementation of the New SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard project.

The City of Surrey in British Columbia will develop a roadmap for its application for certification to the new SFI standard. Learn more about how the project is developing a Roadmap for the City of Surrey to Certify to the SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard.

The University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design will explore the feasibility of the university’s St. George campus becoming certified and how certification could be scaled up to include the university’s other campuses as part of efforts Assessing Certifying a U of T Campus to the SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard.

The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and the University of Miami School of Architecture are helping students to learn about and experience the various phases of sustainable timber production and manufacturing as part of their project Helping Underrepresented Architecture Students Become Leaders and Sustainable Forestry Advocates.

The Georgia Forestry Foundation will build the Phoenix, an educational mass timber display at Ponce City Market in Atlanta, to increase momentum for a thriving mass timber industry in Georgia. Learn more about the project Introducing Millions to Mass Timber and Helping Georgia’s Mass Timber Industry Thrive.

The CCI Group of Companies will collaborate with Tsuut’ina Nation members in Alberta to develop professional forestry skills, acquire equipment, employ forestry crews, and mitigate wildfire risk to homes, community assets, and infrastructure. Learn more about the project Providing Tangible, Transferable, Future-Facing Economic and Skills Development Opportunities for the Tsuut’ina Nation.

The 2024 Regenerate Youth Forest Leadership Summit, from the Inside Education Society of Alberta, will take a three-day deep dive exploring forest science, technology, innovation, and careers. Staff from SFI and PLT Canada will participate in the summit Supporting Underserved Youth in Rural, Urban, and Indigenous High Schools.

The Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America will develop a demonstration forest showcasing sustainable forest management practices that align with SFI’s mission and vision. Educators visiting the demonstration forest will participate in PLT activities. Learn more about the project Showcasing Sustainable Forest Management and Indigenous Awareness in a Demonstration Forest.

The Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment is increasing awareness of forestry career opportunities in the forest and conservation sector through a train-the-trainer model that focuses on a new one-of-a-kind resource—the SFI-PLT-MANRRS Black Faces in Green Spaces: The Journeys of Black Professionals in Green Careers. Learn more about how the project is Creating an Environment for Students from Diverse Backgrounds to Thrive in Natural Resources Careers.

Trees for Tomorrow will bring wood, paper, and forest management professionals together to support a workforce development program for high school students at an environmental education center using PLTresources as part of a Natural Resources Careers Exploration Week for Wisconsin High School Students.

Colorado’s Cal-Wood Education Center will host summer camps for Latino youth and multi-generational family groups to be immersed in activities and outdoor education in the mountain forest. PLT will help supply educational materials for the Latino Youth and Families Head to the Mountains for Forestry Education project.

The Howl Experience, through the Canadian Rockies Youth Network, will host a four-day Canadian Rockies Youth Summit for Alberta and British Columbia youth, featuring workshops for youth to form connections to the land, explore nature, and pursue green careers by drawing on PLT Canada resources. Learn more about how the project will be Connecting Youth in the Canadian Rockies to Discuss and Act on Environmental Issues.

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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development.

Christine Leduc
VP, Communications and Government Relations
Sustainable Forestry Initiative