This Non-Profit Plants 200,000 Trees in 1 Hour and Sets New Record

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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) may be best known for setting standards through its forest certification program, but the nonprofit organization is branching out, setting a new world record for the most trees ever planted by small teams in one hour.

SFI, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is using this tree planting initiative to highlight the conservation and community building aspects of its mission, and to emphasize that reforestation is a key aspect of North American forestry.

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The record is for a new, very specific category: planting the most trees simultaneously in one hour by teams of 25 to 100 people, regardless of location. The SFI feat took place May 20 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST across four time zones. It included 1,072 tree planters organized into 28 teams from New York City to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Teams were comprised of school students, youth groups, conservation organizations, community organizations, government agencies and businesses. Many of the teams were led by local SFI implementation committees. Teams captured the attempt with videos and photos, some of which can be found on SFI’s website.

The minimum requirement to beat was 40,885 trees, which reflects the current world record for one location. SFI more than quadrupled this. Preliminary results put the number of trees planted at 202,331. One team of 100 people, led by SFI program participating company J.D. Irving Limited, beat the 2012 record on its own — planting 52,598 trees.

President and CEO of SFI Kathy Abusow said, “It was such a pleasure to personally participate in this event, which brought communities together to break a world record for a wonderful cause. It was a great feeling to be planting trees knowing that at the very same moment my shovel broke into the earth to help make the world a greener place, other communities were all doing the same thing to make a difference in the communities they serve.”

After the event, SFI submitted documentation for certification and the official result is expected within four to six weeks. Teams participating in the world record attempt included American Forests, Atco Wood Products, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks’ TreeBaltimore, City of Sumner, Washington, Coopérative Forestière des Hautes-Laurentides, Domtar, Fornebu Lumber Company, Interfor, Island Timberlands, J.D. Irving Limited, Massey-Vanier High School, Norbord Barwick (in conjunction with local schools), Norbord (Groupement forestier cooperatif Abitibi, Sylviculture La Vérendrye, Forêt d’enseignement et de recherche Harricana), New York Restoration Project, Parks & People Foundation, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee, ReEnergy Holdings, Resolute Forest Products (the Haveman Team – Dog River Matawin Forest, the Outland Team – Black Spruce Forest, the Brinkman Team – Crossroute Forest), Minnesota SFI Implementation Committee, St. Louis County’s Land & Minerals Department, the Sugar Pine Foundation, TD Bank, Forests Ontario (with partners Michael’s Hair Body Mind and Credit Valley Conservation), UPM Blandin, and Williams Lake Plywood – West Fraser. To find out more about SFI’s conservation and community work, click here.

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