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From left, Scott MacDougall, Irving Woodlands LLC; Elizabeth Farrell, American Forest Management; Gordon Gamble, Wagner Forest Management; Jim Contino, Verso; Pat Sirois, SFI Maine, and Jason Metnick, SFI Inc.

Ottawa, ON — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) announced today that the Maine SFI Implementation Committee is the winner of the 2017 SFI Implementation Committee Achievement Award. This award, announced at the  SFI Annual Conference, 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.

Pat Sirois, Maine SIC coordinator.

“Education and outreach have long been a strength of the Maine SFI Implementation Committee. Every year we hold multiple events and workshops that involve hundreds of people and benefit our communities. Having these efforts recognized with an SFI award is hugely gratifying,” said Pat Sirois, the Maine SFI Coordinator. “This award really belongs to the network of countless people who care about Maine’s forests. We all share the benefits of the healthy, productive forests that are such a significant part of the quality of life in our state.”

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.

“The Maine committee exemplifies SFI’s connection with environmental education, community engagement, and outdoor recreation for all,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

Education outreach highlights from 2017 included an expanded flume table program. The flume tables are sandboxes about the size and height of a kitchen table. They started out as a teaching aid to demonstrate natural stream functions. They have evolved into an effective SFI outreach tool to raise awareness of sustainable forest management, and best management practices for water quality.

The tables are used during Project Learning Tree (PLT) workshops. 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. PLT became an SFI program in July and this new relationship will strengthen SFI’s growing youth education efforts.

Support for Make-A-Wish Maine brightened the lives of two boys (watch the video). For 13-year old Kyan MacDonald, a cabin delivered to his home is a dream come true. “Kyan’s Kabin,” complete with two lofts, built-in storage and windows letting in plenty of light, was unveiled as a surprise on August 9. Kyan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and is now in remission.

On July 20, Four-year-old Derek Wilson got his own, one-of-a-kind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed playhouse. The main part of the playhouse is a two-floor block and it includes custom-made doors feature Derek’s name. Derek was diagnosed with leukemia almost three years ago and remains in treatment.

Supporting Make-A-Wish Maine is a powerful example of SFI’s innovative approach to community engagement, which focuses on working with a diverse group of partners. Both projects were made with donated materials certified to SFI from SFI Program Participants. Advantech subflooring came from Huber Engineered Woods. J.D. Irving provided spruce dimensional lumber. Laminated strand lumber came from Louisiana-Pacific. Weyerhauser supplied pressure treated lumber. The Seven Islands land company donated maple flooring.

The Maine committee continued to grow in 2017. Conservation Forestry joined SFI with its 359,000 acres managed by Huber Resources. Prentiss and Carlisle also brought their 748,000 acres into the SFI Program. SFI’s expanded footprint is also good news for outdoor enthusiasts — 98 percent 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.

About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Inc. (SFI)

SFI® Inc. is a sustainability leader that stands for future forests. We are an independent, non-profit organization that provides supply chain assurances, produces conservation outcomes, and supports education and community engagement. SFI works with the forest sector, brand owners, conservation groups, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous peoples, governments, and universities. SFI standards and on-product labels help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. Additionally, we oversee the SFI Forest Partners® Program, which aims to increase supply of certified forest products, the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program, which funds research and community building, and Project Learning Tree®, which educates teachers and youth about forests and the environment. SFI Inc. is governed by an independent three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social, and economic sectors equally. SFI believes caring for forests improves everyone’s quality of life. Learn more:  sfiprogram.org.

 

SIC Outreach Team Aug. 30: Front row, from left, John Starrett, Tim Richards; Middle row, Kevin Doran, Jack Witham, Scott Pease, Pat Sirois; Back row, Kevin McCarthy and Gordon Gamble.

SIC Outreach Team Aug. 30: Front row, from left, John Starrett, Tim Richards; Middle row, Kevin Doran, Jack Witham, Scott Pease, Pat Sirois; Back row, Kevin McCarthy and Gordon Gamble.

It was like a barn raising – only without the barn. Over three days this summer, volunteers from across Maine’s forest community helped create an outdoor classroom pavilion for the Maine TREE Foundation at the Holt Research Forest in Arrowsic.

“Maine TREE is excited about the opportunity to bring teachers, students and the community into closer contact with the research, data and hands-on experience at our own Holt Forest,” said Sherry Huber, executive director. “We are especially grateful to University of Maine resident scientist Jack Witham, Maine SFI Director Patrick Sirois and all the volunteers who pitched in and to those who donated materials to make our Outdoor Classroom a reality over this past summer.”

Squeezing in the outhouse Aug. 30, from left: Jack Witham, Al Cowperthwaite, Pat Sirois, Scott Pease and John Starrett.

Squeezing in the outhouse Aug. 30, from left: Jack Witham, Al Cowperthwaite, Pat Sirois, Scott Pease and John Starrett.

Al Cowperthwaite, director of North Maine Woods, drove four hours on August 30 to bring a high-quality outhouse to the site. He then had the skill to back his truck and the outhouse down a very narrow road – more like a path really – into the woods behind the worksite. He got plenty of good-natured advice from his fellow volunteers along the way.

“We may have had too many cooks at the beginning,” joked Kevin McCarthy, “but once we got focused we really were able to accomplish a lot together.”

McCarthy is a member of the Outreach Committee of the SFI Implementation Committee (SIC), and also president of the TREE Foundation Board. He and the rest of the crew worked hard, but also enjoyed the collaboration with old and new friends.

“It’s a very diverse group of people and they’re all volunteers – nobody had to be there,” McCarthy said. “We have fun, but we were there because it’s a great project.”

The first day of work was June 23, said Mike St. Peter, executive director of Certified Logging Professionals, who came from Jackman to help. CLP Board members brought their equipment and UMaine students also pitched in to clear trees from the site of the outdoor classroom, access road and off-road parking area.

UMaine students learning on the job June 23: CLP instructor John Cullen measures tree hinge length with UMaine students (L to R) Ethan Hill, Ryan Karroll, and Todd Douglass.

UMaine students learning on the job June 23: CLP instructor John Cullen measures tree hinge length with UMaine students (L to R) Ethan Hill, Ryan Karroll, and Todd Douglass.

“CLP instructor John Cullen incorporated directional felling instruction with the students while
clearing an area for the classroom,” St. Peter said. “Education played a part in the actual construction of the project. The day went well with a safe and productive crew, great weather, and no ticks! All merchantable wood was salvaged and skilled directional felling resulted in no damage to adjoining residual stand.”

For more than three decades, scientists from the University of Maine have been studying the tract of oak-pine forest, which was offered to the university for research by William and Winifred Holt. Their family endowed the Holt Woodland Research Foundation and donated funds to the university for its long-term forest ecosystem study until 2014, when the foundation merged with the Maine TREE Foundation.

The 100-acre study area, dominated by oak and pine, is within a tract of nearly 300 acres. Wetlands, primarily salt marsh, make up an additional 50 acres, Witham said. The property is bordered by the Back River, an estuarine branch of the Kennebec River, on the east.  Sewell Pond, the only Great Pond on Arrowsic Island, and Route 127 form the western boundary. The property is bisected by Old Stage Road with the eastern portion as the principal land base used for research. See A Long-Term Study of an Oak Pine Forest Ecosystem: A Brief Overview of the Holt Research Forest.

The SIC Outreach Committee thought building the outdoor classroom “was a worthwhile project to do and we wanted to be part of it,” Sirois said. “We’ve done similar projects with Habitat for Humanity in the past and we have sort of a trained crew who shows up when we take on one of these projects.”

Sirois also had a special interest in the project because he worked on the research forest at the beginning.

“We cut this wood lot for the research project,” Sirois said. “We harvested 50 acres out of the 100 acre research area. There were 2 ½ acre lots organized like a checkerboard and they randomly selected the blocks that they wanted to harvest versus the ones that were the controls. So for me it was fun to come back.”

The forest research plan emphasized two major goals, Witham said, to monitor long-term changes in the forest’s plant and animal populations and to document the effect of forest management on these populations.

“We did about a 40 percent removal and we’ve really been studying the response of those canopy gaps that we created by the harvest and what’s grown in,” he said. “It’s all natural regeneration. No tree planting at all. The pine is regenerating incredibly well; red maple is doing well. Red oak is very difficult to regenerate. The deer seem to munch it all up.”

Many groups have visited the research forest for educational programs, including landowners, natural resource professionals, foresters, loggers, and wildlife people, but the outdoor classroom will expand educational outreach.

“We’ve always thought it would be nice to have a place under cover,” Witham said. “This will enable Project Learning Tree workshops here and we’ve been setting up some meetings with some of the local schools. Teachers from Georgetown already have been here to do a workshop.”

McCarthy, who was working on Sept. 2, when the outdoor classroom was completed, is excited about the new opportunities for teaching children and adults about Maine’s forests.

“I think it’s got tremendous potential,” he said, “and the next step will be to promote its use.”

Many groups have visited the research forest for educational programs, including landowners, natural resource professionals, foresters, loggers, and wildlife people, but the outdoor classroom will expand educational outreach.

Many groups have visited the research forest for educational programs, including landowners, natural resource professionals, foresters, loggers, and wildlife people, but the outdoor classroom will expand educational outreach.

  • Volunteers: Pat Sirois, Dave Griswold, Jack Witham, Al Kimble, Scott Pease, Tim Richards, Gordon Gamble, Kevin Doran, Al Cowperthwaite, John Starrett, Kevin McCarthy, John Cullen,
    Mike St. Peter, Erik Carlson and Steve Laweryson. UMaine students Ethan Hill, Ryan Karroll, and Todd Douglass helped with the clearing as did Clarke Cooper, a UMaine employee at the Holt Forest for the summer.
  • Materials for the Outdoor Classroom Pavilion were donated by Hancock Lumber, Huber Engineered Woods, Viking Lumber and Mainely Trusses. Support also was received from Maine Forest Service Project Canopy, the Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust, the Elmina Sewall Foundation and the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust. Robbins Construction of Arrowsic loaned the staging that made the job much easier.
sic-work-crew-web

The hard-working SIC Outreach Team on Aug. 30: Front row, from left, John Starrett, Tim Richards; Middle row, Kevin Doran, Jack Witham, Scott Pease, Pat Sirois; Back row, Kevin McCarthy and Gordon Gamble.

It was like a barn raising – only without the barn. Over three days this summer, volunteers from across Maine’s forest community helped create an outdoor classroom pavilion for the Maine TREE Foundation at the Holt Research Forest in Arrowsic.

“Maine TREE is excited about the opportunity to bring teachers, students and the community into closer contact with the research, data and hands-on experience at our own Holt Forest,” said Sherry Huber, executive director. “We are especially grateful to University of Maine resident scientist Jack Witham, Maine SFI Director Patrick Sirois and all the volunteers who pitched in and to those who donated materials to make our Outdoor Classroom a reality over this past summer.”

The SIC Outreach Committee thought building the outdoor classroom “was a worthwhile project to do and we wanted to be part of it,” Sirois said. “We’ve done similar projects with Habitat for Humanity in the past and we have sort of a trained crew who shows up when we take on one of these projects.”

Sirois also had a special interest in the project because he worked on the research forest at the beginning.

“We cut this wood lot for the research project,” Sirois said. “We harvested 50 acres out of the 100 acre research area. There were 2 ½ acre lots organized like a checkerboard and they randomly selected the blocks that they wanted to harvest versus the ones that were the controls. So for me it was fun to come back.” Read more.

At SFI we believe the future of our forests and our shared quality of life depend on strengthening the vital links between healthy forests, responsible purchasing and sustainable communities. The U.S. Green Building Council’s move to recognize SFI for LEED credit underscores those links and validates and sustains the many communities and the millions of people who work every day to ensure responsibly managed forests provide the many benefits we cannot live without.

The new LEED alternative compliance path (ACP) recognizes wood and paper products certified to SFI, ATFS, CSA and other PEFC endorsed standards. See SFI’s press release announcing the news.

 

Brochure – provides a list of all SFI Program Participants offering products certified to SFI

Technical Fact Sheet – walks through the LEED credit requirements

General Green Building and SFI Fact Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

Please join other SFI members in helping Pine Tree Camp build new cabins

By Erin Rice, Marketing and Development Director, Pine Tree Society

Pat Sirois invited me to attend a SFI meeting to share information about Pine Tree Camp, a summer camp for Maine children and adults with disabilities located on 285-acres in Rome. Just 20 minutes from the Maine Forest Products Council office, Pine Tree Camp transforms the lives of more than 600 Mainers each summer (watch video above). During their stay, their families benefit from a six-day respite. Often it is the only break they receive all year long.

The focus of my visit to SFI was to share Pine Tree Camp vision for the future and explore how the organization might be able to get involved.  I shared with the group that there were opportunities for donation of materials to benefit the construction.

Pine Tree Camp’s facility is aging and its buildings, many dating back to the 1950s, are poorly ventilated and lack the accessibility that our campers require. At the same time, our campers’ needs are increasing making our hot stuffy buildings not only uncomfortable but dangerous. In 2009, Pine Tree Camp embarked on a mission to transform its campus. A number of critical projects have been completed, in fact the project is nearly complete.

In July 2014, Pine Tree Camp officially opened the first of five new camper cabins. Two more are being constructed now.

The feedback from SFI members has been incredible. In fact, following the meeting both Huber Engineered Woods and Seven Islands made substantial generous donation of materials necessary for our projects. We invite SFI and Maine Forest Products Council members to join Huber and Seven Islands in support of Pine Tree Camp with a goal of having a cabin named for the organization.

“Seeing  the campers in the Pine Tree Camp environment is truly moving experience,” Sirois said. “Maine’s SFI committee is thrilled to be able to play a part in supporting the camp and the individuals who attend. SFI members have learned that PTC is a long standing member of the forestry community with their own working woodlot, certified to the American Tree Farm System. Proceeds from periodic harvests support the camp’s mission.  So when contemplating a donation, either of building materials or a cash contribution, please understand that Pine Tree Camp is not only an amazing place for the campers and families it serves, but an active member of our extended forest family.”

Please feel free to contact me or Pat Sirois for more information. Thank you!

Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison

The only prize K. Scott Morrison of New Sharon had ever won in a raffle was a bag of dog food. But Tuesday, his luck changed in a way he never dreamed.

“It was beyond my wildest,” said Morrison, who joined the Maine forest Products Council board this fall. “I’m really pleased to win this and I hope to put it to use somewhere in this great state of Maine.

Morrison, who is general sales manager of Anderson Equipment in Farmington, won the “Fish Friendly” ice shack (valued at $2,000) in a raffle sponsored by the Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA), in partnership with Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which supports the efforts of Maine’s Fisheries Improvement Network (FIN).

“This is a light-hearted effort to raise awareness of new stream crossing methods, which over time will greatly improve our state’s fisheries,” said Pat Sirois, SFI coordinator.  “We’d like to thank all who participated.”

Irving Woodlands, Huber Engineered Woods, Plum Creek and Hancock Lumber donated SFI-certified materials for the ice shack and to Hancock Lumber, Sappi Fine Paper and Wagner Forest Management for helping with the construction.

The proceeds of the raffle will be used to upgrade a snowmobile crossing so fish can have clear passage. The funds raised from the first raffle last year already were used to open up fish passage at a snowmobile crossing in Brownville.

“This was a great raffle for an even greater cause,” said Bob Meyers, executive director of the MSA. “We’ll get these stream crossings one at a time, and our clubs are pleased to know this is another way to help our landowners and fisheries habitat.”

To find out more about FIN, visit www.sfimaine.org, or contact Pat Sirois, SFI coordinator,  207-622-9288.