Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, ON —The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced 15 community grants today featuring collaboration between 78partner organizations. The grants will help communities across the United States and Canada grow their relationship with forests and improve their quality of life.
Through these grants, SFI is bringing together a diverse range of organizations to engage and educate youth; train and educate current and future practitioners; support and promote Indigenous, Tribal and Heritage values; and support underserved communities through forestry.
Grant project leaders include conservation organizations, environmental education providers, forest‑sector non‑profit organizations and community and Indigenous groups. The grants have a broad impact and involve organizations such as the North American Forest Partnership, Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and FPInnovations. Government agencies in Quebec, Vermont, Louisiana, Michigan, Arkansas, Georgia, and Ohio are also partners. SFI Program Participants, SFI Implementation Committees, and Project Learning Treestate networks are also involved.
“We are engaging in projects focused on strengthening communities where our SFI Program Participants operate, as well as working closely with our local grassroots network of SFI Implementation Committees and Project Learning Tree partners. Together, we are linking sustainably managed forests to community building,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.
SFI community grants are 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. These projects illustrate best practices and innovative approaches for partnerships focused on environmental sustainability and the quality of life in local communities.
“Support from SFI matters because it’s helping us create a chance for youth from West Coast communities to engage in local restoration efforts and learn about ecology and conservation. Stewardship and education opportunities for youth are a key component of healthy communities. By fostering a deeper connection to and understanding of local ecosystems and natural resources we are inspiring the next generation to take care of them,” said Tom Balfour, Project Manager, Central Westcoast Forest Society.
SFI is also supporting our community-building efforts directly through the SFI Community Engagement Fund, which directly supports the work of SFI Implementation Committees. SFI responds to local needs and issues across the U.S. and Canada through 34 SFI Implementation Committees at the state, provincial and regional level.
“The SFI community engagement fund has supported many of our new programs, like the Women Owning Woodlands (WOW) Network, that will be essential to educating our local forest landowner community. With the WOW Network, we will be able to both prepare women for active roles in managing family forests and inspire women to engage in sustainable forest management practices,” said Emily Oakman, South Carolina Forestry Association Director of Landowner Outreach, Education and Programs.
In addition to SFI’s Community Grants, Project Learning Tree’s (PLT) GreenWorks! grants funds education projects. PLT, an initiative of SFI, is funding 23 GreenWorks! grants for schools and youth organizations to support environmental service-learning projects involving more than 1,000 students, from kindergarten to high school.
Engaging and Educating youth
The Forest of Health/Bosque de Salud program, led by the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, educates underserved youth to encourage understanding, appreciation, and hands-on interaction with the natural world using Project Learning Tree (PLT) curriculum. By reaching youth, their parents, and their community, this program is a creative approach to exposing urban youth to trees and woodlands and encouraging their future care.
EdVentures for Educators supports teachers to help them develop understanding and expertise in environmental science education through an immersive two-day professional development education event, hosted by the Environmental Education Association of Illinois. The training will include academic instruction, field experience, leadership development, and it will incorporate PLT curriculum and activities.
Training and Educating Current and Future Practitioners
The National Knowledge Exchange Program, from the Canadian Institute of Forestry, provides an effective way to support ongoing training of forest professionals who in many cases work in remote areas with limited access to professional development. The program has a strong focus on engaging and educating youth given that many of the targeted forestry professionals are in the early stages of their careers.
Safe Driving on Forest Roads, led by Workplace Safety North, will help the forest products sector enhance the safety of Canada’s trucking industry. This program will design a set of best practices for driving as a framework for teaching in classrooms and online learning environments.
Supporting and Promoting Indigenous, Tribal and Heritage Values
The Sustainable Management of American Marten project, led by the Cree Trappers Association and the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, will create greater harmonization between traditional Cree trapping practices and sustainable forest development within the Cree territory. The program will also introduce Cree youth to scientific concepts and forestry career opportunities, and will provide opportunities to learn about their traditional way of life in a forest-based setting.
SFI®Inc. is a sustainability leader that stands for future forests. We are an independent, non-profit organization that provides supply chain assurances, delivers conservation leadership, and supports environmental education and community engagement. SFI works with the forest sector, brand owners, conservation groups, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous peoples, governments, and universities. SFI standards and on-product labels help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. Additionally, we oversee the SFI Forest Partners®Program, which aims to increase supply of certified forest products, the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program, which funds research and community building, and Project Learning Tree®, which educates teachers and youth about forests and the environment. SFI Inc. is governed by an independent three chamber board of directors representing environmental, social, and economic sectors equally. SFI believes caring for forests improves everyone’s quality of life. Learn more.
Senior Director, Communications Sustainable Forestry Initiative
About Project Learning Tree (PLT)
Project Learning Tree® is an initiative of SFI. PLT educates teachers and youth about forests and the environment. PLT encourages critical thinking to increase students’ understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it. Learn more.
Amy Doty, Senior Manager
About SFI Implementation Committees
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 unique grassroots network involves private landowners, independent loggers, forestry professionals, Indigenous people, local government agencies and conservationists. Logger and forester training, to reach the thousands of independent contractors that are the key to the quality of forest harvesting operations, is a major focus. Learn more.
SFI Implementation Committee Contact
Director, SFI Program Participant Relations