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.