Up the Creek with a Paddle

Years ago, I was executive director of a non-profit organization. Early in that period we were struggling financially, as many non-profits do from time to time. By way of encouragement, I would counsel my staff that we must paddle and bail at the same time. If we ceased bailing, we would sink; but if we ceased paddling, we would never go anywhere. Thanks to their dedication, and probably with no help from my metaphor, they managed to do both vigorously enough to make progress, prevent us from sinking, and eventually even “patch the boat”. I always viewed the “bailing” as critical to our survival, but the “paddling” was vital to our spirit, and to our purpose.

The “paddle metaphor” seems to work in a lot of situations… presumably if one were “up the creek with a paddle…” all would be well. I like to think that, from the sustainability perspective, SFI is the paddle.

Certification to the sustainability standards of SFI can help provide focus for land managers, clarity and transparency to the public, and needed assurance to purchasers that their investment in forest products will render a positive and sustainable benefit to the forests from which they came. From landowner to brand owner, SFI represents progress and forward movement toward the future of our forests in the most meaningful and credible way.

Saturday afternoon at the IUFRO/SAF/CIF conference in Salt Lake City, SFI staff and some of our closest partners will host a presentation illustrating some of the projects that distinguish the work of SFI – from working with American Bird Conservancy to describe forest management practices that benefit key species, to ensuring the protection of cultural heritage resources in forests of the Heiltsuk Nation. These are just a couple examples of how SFI is advancing both species conservation and social aspects of sustainable forest management. If you’re at the conference, come by Room 155D at 1:30 pm to learn more.

It seems appropriate that SFI has chosen to give away two SFI certified paddles at this week’s conference in Salt Lake City. If you happen to be there, stop by booth 1102 and drop off your business card for a chance to win one of these beautiful western red cedar paddles – and consider the progress represented by a quarter billion acres of SFI certified land.

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