Forests Ontario

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Seeing Toronto for its Trees

Posted: November 8, 2016

by Viktoria Nëuhaus

My name is Viktoria. I’m 18 years old and from Germany. I was born in Düsseldorf, one of the bigger cities in the west of

Viktoria (left) in the field collecting seed with Forests Ontario's Suzy Perry (center) and Stephanie Burns (right).

Viktoria (left) in the field collecting seed with Forests Ontario’s Suzy Perry (center) and Stephanie Burns (right).

Germany, but I grew up in Neuss, which is a small town. I finished high school this year and then had to deal with the big question what to do with my life. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to see the world, gain new experience, and leave my comfort zone after 18 years living in the same town. So I decided to leave Germany and go to Canada for six months to improve my English skills and get as much experience as possible.

After I spent three months in an international language school where I studied English with people from all around the world, I joined a volunteering program. My first choice was to do something related to environmental protection. Two years ago, I did an internship at a mental health center and gained experience in working with people so I decided that I wanted to try something different since I’m young I’m interested in nature and being outside. That’s why I was happy to join Forests Ontario as an intern. In my first two weeks I learned a lot about trees and Forests Ontario’s different projects.

At the end of my second week with Forests Ontario I went on a day trip with two of my coworkers. Our mission was to find seeds of the oak tree. We drove around Toronto with a rented car and stopped at different parks to find what we were looking for. The day was rainy and cold but I enjoyed being outside and discovering the nature of Toronto. Through this trip, I got an amazing view over the red and orange colored trees of the fall season.

The different parks were across Toronto, so I got the opportunity to see some parts of the city I’ve never been before. I was really surprised to see how “green” Toronto actually is. In the town where I am from we just have one park in the center of the city but Toronto has a large number of parks from really small to large. It was interesting for me to see how much knowledge my colleagues have about forestry. They could recognize the trees we were looking for immediately.

Unfortunately, we just found one single seed because most of the seeds had already fallen to the ground and were eaten by squirrels. We cracked the seed we found, took a picture and kept it to look at it later again to analyze it.

For me the day was a full success. I enjoyed doing outdoor work and it was really interesting for me to see for myself all the trees and seeds I was reading about before. I learned a lot about how to recognize different types of trees the and also about how to take care of trees that have a problem with infections.

All in all, it was a great new experience for me and I would love to do something like this again.