SFI Community Grants Feature Collaboration from 102 Different Groups Spanning the U.S. and Canada

March 1st, 2018|

March 01, 2018

Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, ON — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced 18 community grants today that will advance the quality of life in communities across the United States and Canada. SFI is bringing together a diverse range of people from 102 organizations to support community engagement projects. SFI engages local communities through a variety of initiatives including youth outreach, forest education programs, supporting tribal and Indigenous values, and green building projects for low-income families.

Grant project leaders include environmental education and forest-sector non-profit organizations like the Pacific Education Institute, the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center, Forests Ontario, Earth Rangers, the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, Michigan State University, the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Forest Association, and the Inside Education Society of Alberta. The grants have a wide impact and also involve organizations such as the University of California, Dalhousie University, the World Wildlife Fund, the Society of American Foresters, government agencies in North Carolina, Maine and Nova Scotia, SFI Program Participants, SFI Implementation Committees, and Project Learning Tree state networks.

SFI community grants were awarded through the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program, which is dedicated to improving forest conservation and strengthening the communities that depend on forests. “Every year our community grants reach more people. In 2017, we tapped a network of 50 organizations. This year we’ve doubled our reach and I’m confident we will continue to build on this momentum as we come together to strengthen our shared links to the people, communities and well-managed forests we all care so passionately about,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

These projects illustrate best practices and innovative approaches for partnerships focused on environmental sustainability and the quality of life in local communities. The projects serve to strengthen the link between responsible forest management and youth education, training forestry professionals through new and innovative methods, and enabling African American family landowners to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of their land.

This year, SFI is also supporting projects through a special SFI Community Engagement Fund. The goal of this new fund is to help support the work of SFI Implementation Committees in a more direct way. The SFI Program responds to local needs and issues across the U.S. and Canada through 34 SFI Implementation Committees at the state, provincial or regional level.

“This important new fund will engage our network to further innovative projects. These projects are meant to support the involvement of local communities and SFI Implementation Committees in SFI grants,” said Gordy Mouw, Director of SFI Program Participant Relations.

In addition, Project Learning Tree, an initiative of SFI, is funding 28 GreenWorks! grants for schools and youth organizations. This year’s grants are for environmental service-learning projects involving more than 5,000 students, from kindergarten to high school. Students will help design and lead these projects, in collaboration with local partners and community volunteers, to improve watersheds, wildlife habitat, forests, local parks, and farm-to-school programs in 20 U.S. states.

Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT) Field Education is an intensive six-day field workshop for K-12 grade teachers led by the California Society for American Foresters, it incorporates Project Learning Tree curriculum and includes hands-on fieldtrips to learn about forest science, management, and conservation.
Forestry Connections for K-12 Teachers, led by the Pacific Education Institute, Project Learning Tree’s Washington State sponsor, will deepen integration of forestry education for existing and in-training K-12 teachers through field-based STEM professional development, in partnership with SFI Program Participant Green Diamond Resources Company and the Washington State SFI Implementation Committee. 
The Earth Rangers’ School Assembly Program brings birds and other animals into schools to help Canadian students learn about sustainable forest management and the Boreal Avian Modeling Project, an SFI-supported conservation research grant helping forest managers understand which habitats birds need for breeding. 
Forestry Connects — Timmins, led by Forests Ontario, offers high school students the opportunity to visit forestry dependent communities and participate in workshops and tours that will highlight forest management in the boreal forest and how operations support social, economic and ecological benefits. This project is also supported by SFI Program Participant EACOM Timber Corporation and the Central Canada SFI Implementation Committee. 
The Forever Tree, from the Georgia Forestry Foundation, in partnership with the Office of the Governor and the Get Georgia Reading campaign, will help third graders learn to read through hands-on classroom activities about the importance of trees. 
The Mass Timber Technology Studio is a fourth-year architecture class at Mississippi State University. With support from the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, the studio will include programming and instruction from forest industry leaders as well as design work for a state-of-the-art wood structure. 
Student Forestry Field Trips, led by the Inside Education Society of Alberta, and supported by SFI Program Participant Millar Western Forest Products, will run forestry education field trips for Alberta students, teachers and parents at five field sites across Alberta to connect young people to the natural world and sustainable forest management. 
The Forestry Education Initiative, led by Sierra Nevada Journeys, will deliver two interrelated and complementary forestry education programs, Classrooms Unleashed and Next Generation Science Standards/Project Learning Tree Boot Camp, to improve access to science education and to foster natural resource stewardship. 
Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT) Field Education is an intensive six-day field workshop for K-12 grade teachers led by the California Society for American Foresters, it incorporates Project Learning Tree curriculum and includes hands-on fieldtrips to learn about forest science, management, and conservation.



About SFI

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is a sustainability leader that stands for future forests. SFI independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting forest sustainability and supporting the links between sustainable forests and communities through grant programs, carefully targeted research, direct leadership of critical initiatives, and partnerships that effectively contribute to multiple conservation objectives. Forests certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard cover 285 million acres/115 million hectares. Millions more acres benefit from the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard. SFI’s Forest Management, Fiber Sourcing and Chain of Custody Standards work to ensure the health and future of forests. Through application of these certification standards, SFI’s on-product labels help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. SFI Inc. is governed by an independent three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally.

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Daniel Pellegrom
Senior Director, Communications Sustainable Forestry Initiative


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