SFI awards 15 community grants to 78 groups across Canada, U.S.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced 15 community grants today featuring collaboration between 78 partner 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 andIndigenous 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 Tree state 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.
For the full list of community projects SFI is funding in 2019, click here.