As you remember to wear green, don’t forget to also go green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day this year. Luckily, there are five easy ways to invite the planet to the party.
1. Find a four-leaf clover— or a whole forest!
Take a hike! There’s no better time than Spring to get outside, exploring nature and getting some exercise. About 86% of U.S. forestland – and 97% of forestlands certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standard – is available for recreation. In Canada, about 42% of the land mass is covered by forests. Healthy forests give everyone opportunities for hiking, camping, biking and more in the great, green outdoors. Make it a new St. Patrick’s Day tradition.
Planting trees helps support a critical resource that promotes clean air and water and helps green and beautify urban landscapes. SFI and its partners across North America set a new world record last year, planting 202,935 trees in one hour. SFI partnered with 29 teams of 25-100 people each to plant trees in locations from New York City to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. You might not be up for setting a world record, but you can certainly join in on tree planting in your local community.
3. Bring the lil’ leprechauns along“Screen time” is a constant battle for today’s parents and kids, and it can have serious consequences. Over the last 30 years, childhood obesity in the U.S. has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood obesity increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and lifelong health problems. Physical activity is critical to reversing this trend, and it’s easier when you get active together in a natural environment in fun ways that don’t even feel like exercise. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a family by turning off all the devices and getting outside.
4. Join in community efforts that help kids “see green”
The SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program has awarded 50 Conservation and 35 Community Partnership grants totaling nearly three million dollars since 2010. When added to project partner contributions, the total climbs to more than nine million dollars. In addition to SFI grants, many communities have sponsored opportunities for kids to engage in the great outdoors. Check out these recent examples of community programs supported by SFI Community Partnership Grants and commit to seeing what’s available near you this season:
- Cornell University is engaging at-risk youth to build bird nest boxes using SFI-sourced lumber to protect native birds, and they’re developing a free online curriculum to engage more youth in bird conservation.
- An SFI grant will help Earth Rangers deliver their School Assembly Program to over 200,000 students across Canada, bringing forest conservation to life with dynamic live animals and high quality content. They’ll educate students about the importance of protecting biodiversity while highlighting conservation initiatives across Canada.
- Baltimore's Parks & People Foundation is using an urban forest to teach inner-city youth the importance of environmental stewardship and help strengthen their connection to the forest, with help from SFI.
- With continued support from SFI and the Michigan SFI Implementation Committee, the Greening of Detroit’s Citizen Forester Program is recruiting and training 50 new volunteer foresters who will lead tree planting throughout urban Detroit.
5. Buy green, build green
Making a run for paper cups, plates and other party supplies? Looking for the SFI label is a simple way to make greener choices this St. Patrick’s Day. The SFI label means that the wood fiber used to make the product or packaging comes from responsibly managed forests. You’ll find SFI labels on hundreds of everyday products in the grocery store, from facial tissue and toilet paper, to cosmetics and school supplies, to milk and specialty health foods.
Keep up the good green work after the celebration is over. Considering a home improvement this spring? You’ll also find SFI labels on building materials at the home store. More and more green building materials are becoming available, including decking and replacement windows and doors. These labels help you, and builders and contractors, identify products that include wood sourced from forests that are responsibly managed. They can provide for us today and into the future. Forests certified to SFI meet rigorous, third-party requirements for clean air and water, biodiversity, healthy wildlife habitats, conversation research and responsible wood and fiber sourcing.
To find out more about sustainable forestry, the SFI label and how you can participate all-year-round, visit www.sfiprogram.org.