SFI’s Annual Awards Luncheon

The value of diverse partnerships, achievements by colleagues and kudos for work well done was threaded throughout day two of our annual conference, The Future is Decided Now, in Milwaukee, WI.

Earlier today I blogged about welcoming Time Inc., The National Geographic Society, Macmillan and Pearson as Founding Partners of SFI’s Forest Partners Program, aimed at spurring the growth of forest certification and responsible sourcing.

Following the launch of the Forest Partners Program we moved onto the Annual Awards Luncheon where I started by recognizing several organizations who demonstrated their commitment to protecting and promoting wildlife habitat.   Rocky Mountain Elk had virtually disappeared from their historic ranges in eastern Kentucky, until partners including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources went to work at releasing elk and restoring elk habitat.  They were later joined by SFI Program Participant, Molpus Timberlands Management, which collaborated to restore the herds. Today all three received the SFI Leadership in Conservation Award for their efforts.

Our next award went to Capacity Forest Management which manages forestry operations for 17 First Nations in British Columbia, Canada, helping them balance cultural priorities with economically viable forestry operations. Capacity’s leadership is one of the reasons SFI has more lands held by or managed for Aboriginal communities certified to our standard than any other certification program in North America. It is only fitting that Capacity received the Sustainable Forestry Initiative President’s Award.

It’s always nice to recognize members of SFI’s grassroots network with the SFI Implementation Committee Achievement Award. This year, Virginia’s SIC received the award for architect and builder tours as well as logger training and landowner outreach.

Lastly, it was a poignant moment for me in awarding long-time friend, ally and SFI colleague Bill Banzhaf the Dr. Sharon Haines Memorial Award for Innovation and Leadership in Sustainability. We are all aware of Bill’s dedication and diplomacy in encouraging stakeholders to work together to achieve sustainable forest management.

Finding a secure supply of certified products can be a challenge when only 10 per cent of the world’s forests are certified. That topic was addressed in one of our afternoon panels, and was followed by presentations by Scouts Canada and Boy Scouts of America which got us thinking about how to reach out together the next generation.

In the meantime, we worked hard today and now intend to play hard at our Annual Reception and Dinner, this year at the Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden on the Milwaukee River!