SFI Community Grants Support Collaboration on Education, Climate, Indigenous Relations, Urban Forestry, and Biodiversity

June 3rd, 2021|

June 3, 2021

“SFI’s commitment to making better choices for the planet also means better choices for its people,“ said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI. “Our grantees are leaders in their communities and we look forward to collaborating with them on so many important issues that will strengthen local communities and support solutions to important sustainability challenges.”

The grants address key themes across SFI’s work including urban and community forestry, forest literacy and education, building a diverse and resilient workforce, promoting Indigenous forest stewardship, and connecting communities to conservation.  

Urban and Community Forestry: SFI is elevating its role in this important issue with the development of a new SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard. Several SFI Community Grants help build on this effort:

  • Supporting Curriculum on Urban Forests, Carbon Storage, and a Changing Climate—The Michigan State University Department of Forestry, through its work with SFI, will expand course content on forest carbon to create case-study-based materials for foresters, planners, builders, and decision-makers in cities and municipalities. The climate benefits linked with sustainable forest products and green buildings will also be featured. (American Forests and International Society of Arboriculture Michigan)
  • Promoting Urban Forestry and Harvesting Waste Wood—This project is helping Waukesha County, Wisconsin, complete its urban forest management plans for wood that must be removed due to disease, pests, or other circumstances. This project is in collaboration with the Sustainable Resources Institute (SRI), who will help share this work so that other communities can benefit in their urban tree lifecycle planning processes. (Wisconsin SFI Implementation Committee)

Forest Literacy and Education: SFI is committed to helping all people better understand the values and benefits of sustainably managed forests. A key tool in this effort is Project Learning Tree’s (PLT) Forest Literacy Framework, which translates the complex language of forests, trees, forest practices, and sustainable forest management into accessible concepts that everyone should know and be able to integrate into their lives and careers. PLT is an initiative of SFI that provides activities for educators, community leaders, and families, including its flagship resource the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide. The guide engages kindergarten through grade 8 students in exploring their environment through 50 field-tested, hands-on activities that integrate investigations of nature with science, math, English language arts, and social studies. There are more than 800 workshops across the U.S. every year organized to train educators on implementing PLT, and contributing to building a lifetime of learning for youth to build a green career pathway. The SFI Community Grants advance SFI’s education work with projects targeted at both youth and adults:

  • Teacher Tours in New Hampshire—The New Hampshire SFI Implementation Committee is bringing teachers together for a four-day workshop featuring forest and mill tours in July. Teachers will learn about the PLT curriculum, sustainable forest management, and forest products manufacturing, in order to engage students in learning about the natural world. (New Hampshire Project Learning Tree and SFI‑certified company partner Nine Dragons Paper Company)
  • Creating Climate Training Module for Wood Producers—The Quebec SFI Implementation Committee will develop an interactive, user-friendly training module on climate change mitigation for wood producers that will align with the requirements of the SFI Sustainable Forest Management Standard which was launched on Earth Day this year. (Quebec SFI Implementation Committee)
  • Forest Literacy and Education on Forest Certification Standards—The Association forestière de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue will be engaged in learning opportunities focused on forest certification standards and the benefits of sustainable forest management, delivered to local schools and through in-person events at public libraries. Elevating forest literacy will help create better understanding around the connections of forests to solving sustainability challenges. (Quebec SFI Implementation Committee and SFI-certified company partners Norbord La Sarre, Resolute Forest Products, and Eacom Val-d’Or)
  • Sustainably Managed Forests Training for Architecture Students—Students at the University of Miami School of Architecture will experience timber harvesting in a sustainably managed forest. This will provide hands-on experience of the sustainable nature of forest-based supply chains and the emerging influence of forest products, such as mass timber, on climate-smart building design. (Florida SFI Implementation Committee)
  • Community Training to Enhance Wetland Conservation Through Sustainable Forest Management­—Ducks Unlimited Canada will provide training and resources to forestry students and Indigenous communities across Alberta to ensure better understanding of the role of sustainable forest management in effective wetland conservation. (Western Canada SFI Implementation Committee and SFI‑certified company partners Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd., and West Fraser)

Building a Diverse and Resilient Workforce: SFI is committed to helping create the next generation of forest and conservation leaders and is committed to using trees and forests as windows on the world to inspire action and grow future forest and conservation leaders. SFI green job programs and resources include the Green Jobs program, the Green MentorProgram, and a Green Jobs quiz. Several SFI Community Grants support this effort:

  • Using Forestry and Natural Resources to Educate and Empower Women—Clemson University is helping to address the future that women landowners will play in sustainable forest management through this project. The Women Owning Woodlands (WOW) network will facilitate specific skills development for women landowners including chainsaw and pesticide safety.
  • Creating Equity in the Mississippi Forest and Conservation Sector—Working with the Mississippi Forestry Foundation, this project will involve outreach to new workers, military veterans, and dislocated workers as a way to increase every Mississippian’s opportunity and ability to join the forest sector’s green job workforce. (Mississippi SFI Implementation Committee)

Promoting Indigenous Forest Stewardship: SFI is committed to building and promoting forest-focused collaborations rooted in recognition and respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge. A key element of this commitment is investing in innovative on-the-ground initiatives that support meaningful relationship building, cross-cultural learning, lasting collaborations, and lead to real and equitable benefits for Indigenous Peoples and communities. SFI Community Grants support this important work:

  • Promoting Understanding and Respect for Cultural and Medicinal Plants—The shíshálh Nation, SFI and other partners are building on an earlier grant to increase the cultural capacity of shíshálh members, support self-determination in the shishalh swiya (territory), and promote cross-cultural learning through providing cultural plant identification cards to local forest sector companies. (SFI‑certified company partners Capacity Forest Management, British Columbia Timber Sales, A&A Trading Ltd., and Interfor Corporation)
  • Creating Forest Career Pathways for Students—Friends of the Trinity County Resource Conservation District and Nor-Rel-Muk Wintu tribal members are working together to select locally tailored curriculum and produce high school field guide workbooks focused on Indigenous land stewardship, sustainable forestry, and related green career pathways to benefit the local workforce. (SFI‑certified company partner Sierra Pacific Industries)

Connecting Communities to Conservation: SFI’s work includes elevating conservation outcomes across SFI-certified forests. SFI Community Grants help connect and engage communities around the importance of conservation:

  • Engaging Citizen Scientists to Map the Birds of Newfoundland’s Sustainably Managed Forests—Birds Canada is engaging citizen scientists to deliver the province’s first breeding bird atlas to map the distribution and abundance of all breeding bird species in Newfoundland. Having solid baseline data about the distribution, abundance, and health of bird populations is essential for sound conservation and management decisions. (SFI‑certified company partner Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited)
  • Creating Youth Advocates for Community Greening and Climate Action—SFI will work with the Medway Community Forest Cooperative in Alberta to plant tree saplings and conduct tree‑health assessments over two years to engage younger generations as environmental champions who take local action on global issues. (Atlantic Canada SFI Implementation Committee)



About the SFI Community Grants Program

SFI Community Grants are awarded for collaborative community-based projects, activities, or events that support SFI’s efforts to connect communities to forests. Projects supported have included providing educators with tools to showcase green career pathways for students, incorporating Indigenous knowledge into forest management planning and education curriculum, and building youth engagement in outdoor education and conservation projects. Since the SFI Grants started in 2010, SFI has awarded 96 Community Grants totaling more than $900,000 to foster community-building projects. When leveraged with project partner contributions, that total investment is over $5 million. Learn more: forests.org/communitygrants.

About SFI

SFI advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, non profit 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. Learn more:   Learn more.

Media Contact

Daniel Pellegrom
Vice President, Communications
Sustainable Forestry Initiative


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