Local man named among Top 10 ‘Champions of Change’- Nov. 2010

A local man from Sackville, Jeff Schnurr, has been named one of the top ten finalists in CBC’s Champions of Change Contest.

The contest, created to celebrate volunteerism and hosted by CBC, will announce the final winners on January 16th, where Manulife Financial will reward the two winners, international and national, with $25,000 each to be spent on their choice of charity.   

Jeff Schnurr says that being named one of the top ten has already raised the profile of his non-profit organization, Community Forest International.  He and his colleagues believe that planting trees is a simple act but one that is also “one of the most symbolic environmental acts” anyone can do.

When Schnurr graduated from Tantramar High School he decided to take a year off and travel, and for five years he fueled his world travels by tree planting in Ontario and British Columbia. His travels lead him to the island of Pemba, off the east coast of Africa in 2007, where locals asked him about repairing the damage that had been done to the forests.  Schnurr did not know how to grow trees in Pemba, but he wanted to help so he found a local man who had a forestry degree and the seeds of CFI took root.

The honor of being one of the ten top finalists comes with a cash award of $10.000 which will go directly to Community Forests International.  “We have been borrowing a vehicle in Tanzania, that is no longer available”, says Schnurr, “And I have been trying to figure out how we were going to raise the funds to purchase a vehicle, so this has really been good timing”.

Schnurr says that CFI is finding that there is an increasing demand for organized re-forestation, “We have had people contact us from Zambia and from all over the world, they have seen what we have been doing and they want to do something similar”.


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