Sept. 29, 2017 - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced the 2017 SFI President's Award at the SFI Annual Conference today. Craig Blair, president and chief executive officer of Resource Management Service (RMS) LLC is this year's winner.
Blair is being recognized for providing the vision and strong leadership that helped Project Learning Tree (PLT) find a new home at SFI. Founded in 1976, PLT is an award-winning environmental education program that uses trees and forests as windows on the world to increase youth understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it.
Blair is a current SFI board member who previously served as chair of the SFI Board of Directors from April 2015 to April 2017. By providing leadership for PLT's move to SFI, Blair showed how much we should all value the role youth education can play in caring for forests.
"Craig was able to intuitively see the connection between environmental education and the long-term health and future of the forest sector. He also immediately understood what a strong fit Project Learning Tree would be for SFI's community engagement programs. When the decisions were being made about a shared future for PLT and SFI, Craig Blair was chairman of the SFI Board, and he led the way in helping both the PLT and SFI community envision a stronger future having both initiatives under one roof," said Kathy Abusow, president and chief executive officer of SFI Inc.
"I truly believe the future is brighter for both Project Learning Tree and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and most importantly for all those who benefit from their outreach and initiatives," Blair said. The decision to bring the PLT program under SFI's umbrella is furthering SFI's and PLT's reach. Together, SFI and PLT are working to ensure today's youth can be effective future leaders with a strong understanding of the value of responsibly managed forests, a commitment to sustainability, the natural world that we depend upon, and the skills to make responsible decisions about the environment.
PLT has consistently received prestigious awards and recognition from leading educational and community organizations. PLT state coordinators, workshop facilitators, and educators have won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. More than one quarter of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are PLT GreenSchools.
PLT's instructional materials are aligned with state and national academic standards and meet or exceed the North American Association for Environmental Education's Guidelines for Excellence. PLT's Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood curriculum won a Learning Magazine Teachers' Choice Award and PLT has also received straight A's in environmental education from the California Department of Education. More than 20,000 educators attend PLT workshops every year and becoming an SFI program is helping PLT grow and reach new audiences in Canada and across the globe in diverse ways.
"SFI sees environmental education and community engagement as mutually reinforcing in large part because of Craig's leadership at SFI and RMS. One of Craig's signature educational initiatives at RMS was to launch a scholarship program for African American students to study forestry," Abusow said. "On the economic front, Craig's global experience in investment management, business development and client relations enhances SFI's global perspective on emerging forestry and supply chain issues."
Blair became president and chief executive officer of RMS in October 2010, with responsibility for RMS's investments and operating businesses in the United States, Brazil, China, Australia and New Zealand. As president, he leads an experienced team of forestry and financial professionals that manage a global timberland portfolio of over $4 billion. Over a 35-year career he has held a variety of positions at RMS and in the forest products industry, with experience in acquisitions, resource planning, forest management and wood procurement. Blair is chair of the National Alliance of Forest Owners board of directors.
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