The Sugar Pine Foundation (SPF) is a Lake Tahoe-based organization that is fighting for the survival of sugar pines and western white pines in Sierra Nevada forests. An invasive disease called blister rust fungus has been decimating the populations of this iconic species for decades. SPF identifies trees that are genetically resistant to the disease and grows their progeny in controlled environments. Then they organize tree plantings with the help of local students, businesses, and community members to disperse the saplings where they are needed most. Since 2008, SPF has helped restore 2,439 acres by planting over 137,000 trees with the help of more than 10,000 volunteers.
In 2016, Bently Foundation made a three-year grant totaling $48,000 to the Sugar Pine Foundation to help them expand three of their projects: No Child Left Inside, Fire Restoration, and Western White Pine Restoration. In three years, through these three programs alone, Sugar Pine Foundation: introduced 1,450 children to forest health through hands-on restoration as they helped plant 3,700 saplings; planted 11,800 sugar pine saplings throughout hundreds of acres of burn scar sites; planted 2,200 western white pine saplings at Tahoe Donner, Northstar & Royal Gorge resorts; collected seeds from 103 western white pine trees to test for blister rust resistance; and collected 6,200 seeds from WWP trees that have already proven their resistance.