Ducks Unlimited Canada Wins SFI President's Award for Excellence for Leadership in Forest Conservation and Community Objectives

MONTREAL, Sept. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - For consistently showing leadership on behalf of wetlands that support millions of ducks, geese and other wildlife, and partnering with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI), Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has won the SFI President's Award. DUC is demonstrating how to conserve wetlands while constructing resource roads, taking the initiative to promote the benefits of forest certification, encouraging community outreach, and providing valuable input into the SFI® Standard revision process. DUC accepted the award at SFI Inc.'s 2014 Annual Conference this week in Montreal.

"Canada's boreal forest is a vast and globally significant breeding area for birds. Working with SFI has helped advance our conservation efforts at Ducks Unlimited Canada, and we appreciate the chance to cooperatively advance SFI's important work," said Greg Siekaniec, Chief Executive Officer of Ducks Unlimited Canada. "Thank you for recognizing the hard working employees of Ducks Unlimited Canada and our many partners who share the goal of creating sustainable environments across the country with this award." Siekaniec also serves on the SFI Board of Directors' environmental chamber.

DUC biologists, wetland ecologists and GIS specialists are sharing their expertise with forestry professionals to plan and build roads in ways that conserve Canada's critical boreal forest wetland ecosystems. Starting with forest wetlands in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, DUC worked with engineers from FPInnovation and SFI Program Participants to come up with best practices for resource road wetland crossings. The research, which began in 2011, is now being expanded at a national level. It's poised to influence best practices on millions of acres of forestland certified to the SFI Standard across Canada.

DUC's support for SFI's sustainable forestry efforts extends beyond this one important wetland conservation project. They are also community builders through a range of education and outreach programs. In 2013, for example, DUC partnered with SFI and the Girl Guides to build duck nest boxes to promote habitat conservation.

"Ducks Unlimited Canada really gets this award for putting the "I" in initiative for years. Not only do they work on conservation and with communities, they also promote responsible sourcing of forest products by printing corporate materials like field guides, newsletters and calendars on SFI-labelled paper," said Kathy Abusow, SFI Inc. President and CEO.

DUC also played a key role in the revision process for the SFI 2015–2019 Standard, due for launch in January 2015. Through the Forest Management Task Group, DUC helped strengthen the standard by promoting the inclusion of wetland conservation measures.

"We were able to provide hands-on recommendations from biologists and others working directly in the field. Our community's voice was definitely heard and acted on. The new SFI Standard will do even more to help conserve boreal wetlands," said Chris Smith, Head of Boreal Conservation Programs for DUC.

DUC is a leader in wetland conservation. More than 400 staff and 9,557 on-the-ground projects help conserve more than 6.4 million acres of wetlands across Canada. Through policy work and other conservation measures, DUC has positively influenced the conservation of an additional 116 million acres. DUC's conservation programs include scientific research, education, fundraising and public policy. Established in 1938, DUC celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2013.

About Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI Inc.)

SFI Inc. is an independent, nonprofit organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative program. The SFI Conservation Leadership Award has been awarded annually since 2008. Across the United States and Canada, about 250 million acres/100 million hectares are certified to the SFI forest management standard. In addition, the SFI program's unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands. SFI chain-of-custody certification tracks the percentage of fiber from certified forests, certified sourcing and post-consumer recycled content. SFI on-product labels identify both certified sourcing and chain-of-custody claims to help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Learn more at www.sfiprogram.org and www.sfiprogram.org/Buy-SFI.

Image with caption: "Field Guide: Boreal Wetland Classes in the Boreal Plains-Ecozone of Canada (CNW Group/Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140917_C3229_PHOTO_EN_5706.jpg

SOURCE: Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)

For further information: Media Contact: Rebecca Peters, SFI Media Contact, Tel: 604-762-2098, rebecca.peters@sfiprogram.org

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