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Trees Ontario Supports Youth Ranger Program Which Benefits Environment and Helps Fight Climate Change

Ontario Stewardship Ranger Program Provides Resource Management Experience

August 20 – TORONTO – A partnership between the Ontario Stewardship Ranger program and a non-profit environmental organization is creating a healthier environment, fighting effects of climate change and providing young people with valuable work experience, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay said today.

“By sponsoring four Ontario Stewardship Ranger teams this summer, the Trees Ontario Foundation is giving young people an opportunity to make a positive difference to our natural environment as part of their summer jobs,” said Ramsay. “Through this and other provincial youth employment programs, Ontario is investing in a better future for our young people and providing them with skills and training to last a lifetime.”

Funded by the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Stewardship Ranger program provides 17-year-olds with an opportunity to work for eight weeks with local conservation groups, focusing on community-based environmental projects. This year there are 34 teams across the province, each made up of four rangers plus a team leader. Participants live at home and travel to their work locations daily.

Teams work with more than 300 community partners each year, including Conservation Authorities, local stewardship councils, municipal governments and not-for-profit organizations. Projects can include restoring streams and wetlands, building and erecting bird, bat and butterfly boxes, conducting research for species at risk and biodiversity projects, and helping to maintain trails by brushing and repairing boardwalks and small bridge crossings.

The four teams sponsored by the not-for-profit Trees Ontario Foundation are undertaking a variety of forestry-related projects including assessing tree planting sites and maintaining tree seed orchards. The foundation is providing $100,000 to fund four teams in 2007. In return, all 34 ranger teams will work to incorporate projects that enhance forest ecosystems across the province.

The Ontario Stewardship Ranger program also partners with Aboriginal groups. This year there are three First Nation ranger teams – the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan in the Pembroke area, Union of Ontario Indians in Espanola and Pic Mobert in the Wawa area.

The program is part of the Ontario government’s Ontario Summer Jobs Strategy. With an investment of more than $52 million in 2007, the strategy is helping more than 70,000 young people find jobs or start their own businesses this summer.