SFI Conference – Recognizing Partnerships

One of my favorite parts of the SFI conference is our awards luncheon. The conference lets us reflect on all of our shared successes from the last year – and the awards lunch lets us recognize some of the outstanding achievements of our program participants and partners.

This year I presented three awards, all showing the power of partnership in action. Winners each received a carving with symbols of Aboriginal culture created by Curtis Wilson (Muliszas), a First Nations artist and carver from northern Vancouver Island. I was pleased that Curtis was at our conference so delegates had a chance to appreciate more of his amazing work. In fact, I bought a piece for myself – it’s already hanging on my wall.

The SFI President’s Award went to five companies – Time Inc., Hearst Corporation, Verso Paper Corp., Sappi Fine Paper North America and NewPage Corporation – that acted on their commitment to responsible sourcing. They started a pilot project, in partnership with SFI Inc. and the American Tree Farm System, to make third-party forest certification more efficient and accessible to small- and medium-sized landowners and, as a result, increased the amount of certified land in Maine. It made sense to conduct the pilot in Maine because of the state’s strong commitment to all forest certification standards.

SFI Awards

Award recipients included:

  • Guy Gleysteen, Senior Vice President, Production, Time Inc.
  • David Schirmer, Vice President and General Manager of Hearst Enterprises
  • Monica Garvey, Sustainability Director, Verso Paper Corp.
  • Kevin McCarthy, Manager, Certification, Sappi Fine Paper North America
  • NewPage Corporation

Port Blakely Tree Farms received a Conservation Leadership Award for Biodiversity Research for its role in a cooperative project to reintroduce endangered Oregon spotted frogs to their historic range in Washington state. The project is led by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and also involves the Washington Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Oregon Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo, University of Washington, The Evergreen State College, Washington Department of Transportation and The Nature Conservancy of Washington.

Port Blakely’s Director of Wildlife and Fisheries, Blake Murden, accepted the award.

Alabama won the 12th SFI Implementation Committee Achievement Award for activities such as qualified logging professional training and outreach to landowners, legislators and educators. SFI Implementation Committees are such an important part of our program, and this kind of work shows why. They bring together loggers, teachers, biologists and public officials who meet the needs of communities across the United States and Canada.

This is the second time Alabama has won the achievement award. Chair Mike Griggs of International Paper, Vice-Chair Sam Hopkins of the Westervelt Company and Committee Coordinator Chris Erwin of the Alabama Forestry Association accepted it on behalf of all committee members, who include SFI program participants, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University and The Nature Conservancy.

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