Expanding Conservation and Community Partnerships

Those that know me have heard me talk a lot about the “Power of Partnerships” lately. It is simple, really – when we work together – sharing ideas, resources, and expertise – we have a greater positive impact on the world. So as we start a new year I am pleased that we’ve just launched a program that gets to the core of this “power of partnerships – SFI’s Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program. These grants are designed to strengthen landowner and community outreach, and bolster the conservation-based activities that mean so much to our program. Check out our website for more information and an application. The grants are just one more way we are connecting with the immense network of individuals and groups who, like us, are making a difference on the ground, in communities and in the marketplace.

We’re especially interested in projects that explore topics of current importance – like the role forest certification can play in the emerging bioenergy and carbon market, or how our program can help address illegal logging or improve wildlife habitat management. We are also keen to find more ways to benefit communities. Many program participants, led by SFI Implementation Committees, are already working with Habitat for Humanity affiliates to use wood from our communities to build our communities. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this kind of collaboration – especially when it leads to green homes for people with lower incomes or Aboriginal communities.

We’ve purposely kept the grant program as flexible as possible. Each project must have a non-profit organization with appropriate expertise as a principal partner, and each must demonstrate how it supports our new SFI 2010-2014 Standard. We’re also looking for activities with a regional or wider focus. The amount of each grant depends on the project – we’ve budgeted a total of up to $400,000 for 2010.

One of the things I truly value about the SFI program is our ability to reach out to landowners and communities – this lets us achieve results far beyond SFI-certified lands. At last count, there were over 2,500 people involved directly with the SFI program. These deep roots into communities across North America keep our program and our standard relevant and strong.

The deadline for applications for the Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program is March 1, 2010. If you want more information, you can register for an information webinar on Jan. 26, 2010 at 1 p.m., or contact Allison Welde, SFI Director of Conservation Partnerships and Communication.

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