The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced a number of awards at the SFI Annual Conference, recognizing excellence in advancing conservation, education and community engagement.
The SFI Leadership in Conservation Award: J.D. Irving, Limited. This award recognizes SFI Program Participants involved in strong partnerships focused on conservation. In 2016, SFI Program Participants reported on 420 different audited research projects with more than 500 unique partner organizations. J.D. Irving (JDI) participated in 68 forest research projects, the highest number of any SFI Program Participant.
“The SFI community is committed to supporting forest research. SFI requires participants to support research to improve forest health, conservation understanding, productivity and sustainable management of forest resources. J.D. Irving stands out as a research leader that engages universities and conservation partners year after year. As Canada marks its 150th anniversary we are pleased to recognize J.D. Irving, Limited, whose roots in forestry go back 135 years,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.
Project highlights include JDI’s award-winning Unique Areas Program, which has grown from 29 sites in the 1980s to more than 1,300 today. The program focuses on protecting unique elements in working forests. JDI also supports two large deer and moose studies, and it provided instrumental leadership as a founder of the Collaboration for Atlantic Salmon Tomorrow (CAST). Read the full release.
The SFI President’s Award: Craig Blair, President and CEO, Resource Management Service LLC. Craig 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.
Craig is an SFI board member who served as Chair of the SFI Board of Directors from April 2015 to April 2017. By providing leadership for PLT’s move to SFI, Craig 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 CEO of SFI Inc. Read the full release.
The SFI Implementation Committee Award: Maine SFI Committee. This award recognizes the exceptional work of the grassroots network of 34 SFI Implementation Committees across the U.S. and Canada. Groups ranging from Habitat for Humanity and Boy Scouts to universities and Ducks Unlimited Canada work with SFI Implementation Committees.
The Maine committee was selected based on education outreach efforts focused on water quality, a community partnership with Make-A-Wish Maine, which grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, and the growth of the SFI Program. SFI’s expanded footprint is also good news for outdoor enthusiasts – 98% of 285 million acres/115 million hectares is available for outdoor recreation.
“The Maine committee’s focus on environmental education, community engagement, and outdoor recreation is part of a long tradition of supporting SFI’s larger strategic goals and providing leadership for other SFI committees,” said Gordy Mouw, SFI’s Director of Program Participant Relations.