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SFI Community Grants Feature Collaboration From 102 Different Groups Spanning the U.S. and Canada(March 01, 2018)
WASHINGTON and OTTAWA, March 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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.
2018 SFI COMMUNITY GRANT SUMMARIES
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.
2018 SFI COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT FUND GRANT SUMMARIES
Connecting SC Classrooms and Forests, led by the South Carolina SFI Implementation Committee, will provide an advanced weekend workshop to teachers, train landowners to deliver Project Learning Tree activities during tours of their property and connect teachers and landowners for ongoing programs on sustainable forestry.
The 2018 Teacher Workshop Series, from Trees For Tomorrow in Wisconsin, will offer teachers a workshop to learn new skills to incorporate hands-on field investigations, and a workshop designed to give students the opportunity to explore sustainable resource management and contribute to the broader science community by reporting the findings of their investigations. This project, supported by the Wisconsin SFI Implementation Committee, will incorporate Project Learning Tree (PLT) curriculum in partnership with the Wisconsin PLT.
Tangled Title and Timber: A Continuing Education Webinar on Heirs Property in Georgia, led by the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center and in partnership with the Georgia SFI Implementation Committee, will develop a free, publicly available webinar to help foresters engage low-income African American families in managing their forestland.
The Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program, led by Roanoke Economic Development and The Roanoke Center, will engage African American forest landowners in North Carolina in achieving a revenue stream from their forests while promoting successional planning and sustainable forestry practices. The North Carolina SFI Implementation Committee also supports this project.
The Sustainable Forests Project, led by the Lakes Environmental Association and supported by the Maine SFI Implementation Committee, will help Maine students get up close and personal with forests and critters through educational resources at three preserves, school curricula, and workshops designed to promote understanding of sustainable forestry.
The Supporting the Forest Carbon and Climate Program, to be developed by Michigan State University and supported by the Michigan SFI Implementation Committee, will offer robust e-learning content explicitly linking working certified forests with carbon management and associated climate benefits, and deliver the learning materials to a diverse pool of participants.
Forests and Forest Products — a Culture to be Rediscovered, from the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Forest Association (French only), aims to enrich the link to forests between Indigenous and non?Indigenous youth from forest communities, by stimulating student interest in science and technology studies related to forestry and forest products with support for the Quebec SFI Implementation Committee.
Kids in the Forest, led by the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center in Washington State, will provide teacher training, classroom workshops and forest field experiences for grades three to eight to learn about forest and wildfire ecology. Field trips will help kids understand what healthy and unhealthy forests look like and how wildfire and forest management play an important role in maintaining healthy watersheds. This project is also supported by the Washington State SFI Implementation Committee and will incorporate Project Learning Tree curriculum.
Online Invasive Species Training for Forest Professionals, led by the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia and jointly supported by the Western Canada SFI Implementation Committee and SFI Program Participants Interfor Corporation, BC Timber Sales, and TimberWest Corporation, will offer a creative approach to online invasives training that will engage current and future forest professionals in preventing the spread of invasives in BC’s forests, communities and beyond.
The Active River Area, led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (Atlantic Region) and supported by the Maritime SFI Implementation Committee, is a tool to measure the contribution of forests to freshwater ecosystem function and health, in partnership with individuals, corporations, and other non?profit organizations. It will bring an integrated approach to freshwater modelling, management, and climate change mitigation.
About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative®(SFI) is a sustainability leader that stands for future forests. SFI® is an independent, non-profit organization that provides supply chain assurances, produces conservation outcomes, and supports 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, SFI oversees 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.
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.
About SFI Implementation Committees
Senior Director, Communications
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
Senior Manager, Community Engagement
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/bb786eb9-dfa9-4c5f-8880-3958ef66da67