Shaping the forest of the future in partnership with communities and youth across North America

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif., May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) Inc. announced at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference today that it would provide eight community-based grant projects helping people — especially youth — get outside and reconnect with nature.  The Fortune Brainstorm Green conference is the premier conference on business, sustainability, and green investing.

"These grants are part of our longer-term efforts to bring communities together to shape a sustainable future for forests and themselves," said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc., while at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference held in Laguna Niguel. "Our kids' contact with nature keeps shrinking. Today's emphasis on screen time and indoor play is also linked to psychological and physical effects like obesity, loneliness, depression and attention problems. Getting kids into forests and helping them learn about sustainability is good for forests and good for kids."

One of the SFI community grants is helping the American Forest Foundation provide arts and environmental education to Michigan students. "We hope to provide a model that can be piloted at schools throughout the country," said Kathy McGlauflin, the foundation's Senior Vice-President of Education.

McGlauflin heads the American Forest Foundation's educational arm, Project Learning Tree. The SFI grant will help Michigan's Project Learning Tree develop an environmental curriculum that can be integrated into lesson plans for all grades and subject areas. SFI is also pleased to support Project Learning Tree through the Pacific Education Institute, which will provide a workshop for science professors and informal educators at environmental learning centers. The workshop will incorporate Project Learning Tree's Focus on Forests and Forests of the World modules.  The Northern California Society of American Foresters will host four sessions of the Forestry Institute for Teachers, an intensive six-day field workshop for K-12 grade teachers incorporating PLT curriculum and hands-on field trips.

In Canada, the Manitoba Forestry Association is repairing trails at the Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre and developing educational materials for students and the public about sustainable forestry after a devastating snow and wind storm. "We will have high-school-aged teams using hands-on training and learning along the trail. Our SFI grant will help us give students a better understanding of forest recovery and development over time," said Patricia Pohrebniuk, Executive Director of the Manitoba Forestry Association. 

In 2010, SFI made an initial investment of $400,000 to create the Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program. That investment is fostering partnerships and supporting conservation research to help the forest of the future thrive across North America.

"We are so pleased that by leveraging partner contributions, SFI has achieved a total investment of $7.1 million, supporting more than 50 SFI Conservation and Community Partnership Grants with over 150 partners across North America. All of these partnerships promote education and understanding about thriving, working forests and sustainable communities," said Abusow.

Project grants were also awarded to:

The Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, at the State University of New York in Syracuse, is developing an educational program for the Native Earth Environmental Youth Camp focusing on the sustainability of ecologically and culturally significant tree species.

The Greening of Detroit's Citizen Forester Program will recruit and train 50 new volunteer Citizen Foresters, prior to the spring and fall 2014 planting seasons.

The Greenwood Area Habitat for Humanity in South Carolina will build a family home using SFI-certified products and the support of many volunteers, including youth.

Tree Canada is developing a pocket-sized educational booklet describing Canada's provincial trees, their specific identifying characteristics and the various uses of wood.

About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
SFI Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program. Across the United States and Canada, 250 million acres (100 million hectares) are certified to the SFI forest management standard. In addition, the SFI program's unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands. SFI chain-of-custody (COC) certification tracks the percentage of fiber from certified forests, certified sourcing and post-consumer recycled content. SFI on-product labels identify both certified sourcing and chain-of-custody claims to help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Learn more at www.sfiprogram.org and www.sfiprogram.org/facts and get details about SFI's Community Grants at http://www.sfiprogram.org/community-conservation/conservation-community-partnerships-grant-program/community-based-grants/

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140519/88954

SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative



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