International Paper, Conservation Fund accepting award nominations

With a focus on watershed management, Conservation Partnership and Environmental Education Awards nominations open until April 15. Presentation set for June 23 in nation's capital...

STAMFORD, CT, March 10, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- International Paper and The Conservation Fund will provide national recognition and $10,000 cash grants to two conservation/environmental education leaders at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., this summer. IP, one of the world's largest paper and forest products company and the largest tree seedling grower worldwide, partners each year with The Conservation Fund, a non-profit organization seeking sustainable conservation solutions for the 21st century, to sponsor the International Paper Conservation Partnership Award and the International Paper Environmental Education Award. The $10,000 awards are unrestricted grants from the International Paper Company Foundation.

"International Paper is deeply committed to well-managed forests and environmental protection. As a steward of more than 10 million acres of forests worldwide, we place our commitment to sustainable forestry into action daily," said Dr. Sharon G. Haines, IP's director-sustainable forestry and forest policy. "The stewardship awards provide a great opportunity to recognize others who make a significant contribution to the environment."

Award nominations are being accepted through April 15. Nomination forms are available on International Paper's website, and at The Conservation Fund's website, Current or former employees of IP, its subsidiaries and acquired companies or The Conservation Fund are not eligible for consideration. A panel of independent judges will select the winners. The recipients will be recognized in an awards ceremony on June 23 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The International Paper Conservation Partnership Award, now in its 17th year, is presented annually to an individual who has achieved significant results in the protection of habitat through a cooperative relationship with a business or company. By demonstrating that a healthy environment and a healthy economy are not mutually exclusive, this person leads in a conservation effort benefiting the environment and encourages others to form similarly productive alliances with businesses. Nominees must have achieved significant results in the protection of terrestrial or wetland habitats in the United States and demonstrated the positive value of cooperative partnerships between business and the conservation community.

Last year's Conservation Partnership Award went to Camilla Herlevich, founder of the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. Beginning as a volunteer in 1992, Herlevich built Coastal Land Trust into a successful regional organization that has helped protect more than 28,000 acres of environmentally important habitat -- including a number of nationally significant areas -- in 21 counties. Her inspiring vision, skills and experience were keys to developing and implementing the group's North Carolina Coastal Land Conservation Initiative. In doing so, she has built partnerships with individual and company landowners, government agencies, business leaders, university faculty members and other local, regional and national conservation organizations. Safeguarding riparian systems along the state's rapidly developing coastline has been a high priority for the land trust. The 2004 recipient also worked with the Conservation Trust of North Carolina, to produce, "Conservation Easements: An Introduction for North Carolina Landowners." The publication is used throughout the state to help family forest owners protect the region's rich diversity of wildlife, forests and wetlands.

The International Paper Environmental Education Award is presented annually to an educator who has developed an innovative approach to environmental education that significantly improves student comprehension of environmental issues, fosters an understanding of the link between environmental protection and economic growth, demonstrates leadership and inspires achievement. Potential candidates are elementary or secondary school educators or university faculty or staff members.

Last year's Environmental Education Award went to co-recipients for the first time in the 9-year history of the award. Colorado high school teachers, Melanie Phelps of Colorado Springs and Joyce Webb of Monument, Colo., were the co-honorees. Phelps and Webb were recognized for their innovative "on the rivers" environmental training program for teachers using the Colorado River, Green River and the Yampa River. The two educators also created similar programs within the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek watersheds for their students in the Harrison School District where they teach. During the past five years, the 2004 recipients have guided scores of teachers from throughout the nation and overseas to wilderness areas, through whitewater rapids and into the desert. Participants enrolled in the river programs undertake environmental research projects as well as study water use issues and forestry management in the West. At the same time, the teachers and, subsequently, their students learn about balance between environmental protection and economic growth.

The Conservation Fund is the nation's foremost environmental non-profit dedicated to protecting America's land and water legacy for current and future generations. Seeking innovative conservation solutions for the 21st century, the Fund works to integrate economic and environmental goals. Since its founding in 1985, the Fund has helped its partners safeguard wildlife habitat, working landscapes, community "greenspace" and historic sites totaling 4 million acres. With 1% fundraising costs and 96% program allocation, The Conservation Fund is recognized as the nation's top rated environmental non-profit by the American Institute of Philanthropy.

International Paper businesses include paper, packaging and forest products. As one of the largest private landowners in the world, IP professional foresters and wildlife biologists manage the woods with great care in compliance with the rigorous standards of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program. The SFI program is an independent certification system that ensures the perpetual planting, growing and harvesting of trees while protecting biodiversity, wildlife, plants, soil, water and air quality. In the U.S. alone, IP protects more than 1.5 million acres of unique and environmentally important habitat on its forestlands through conservation agreements and land sales to environmental groups. And, the company has a long-standing policy of using no wood from endangered forests. Based in the United States, it has operations in over 40 countries and sells its products in more than 120 nations.


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