Forests Ontario

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120 students gather at the Royal Ontario Museum to test their forestry knowledge at the 2014 Tree Be

Toronto, November 17, 2014 – This past Saturday, 120 students gathered at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for the annual Tree Bee, a fun and friendly competition in which students in grades 4-6 test their knowledge of Ontario’s native tree species and forests. Over the course of the day, students worked in teams of three to identify native tree species based on images of key features and answer a series of questions on forestry.

Testing was based on a series of learning resources developed by Forests Ontario to assist teachers in bringing forestry into the classroom. Resources included fact-sheets, quizzes, and slideshows designed to guide students in identifying native tree species by features such as bark, leaves, seeds, and buds and develop a basic understanding of forests and forest management.

Tree Bee dates back to 1952, when it was first introduced by the Ontario Forestry Association (OFA) with the goal of encouraging elementary-aged students to appreciate the beauty, diversity, and importance of Ontario’s forests. Following the OFA’s merger with Trees Ontario in 2014, the newly formed Forests Ontario has carried on the Tree Bee tradition.

“Students have had an incredible enthusiasm for Tree Bee since the very beginning,” said Rob Keen, Forests Ontario CEO. “We’ve had students participate one year and volunteer to coach at their own schools the following year. When students can get excited about our forests, especially at such a young age, we’re laying the foundation for a future generation that will value and support the health of our ecosystem.”

Dave Ireland, Managing Director of Biodiversity at the ROM, echoed Keen’s sentiments. “If we don’t teach children to value the world around them early on, they may never start. That’s exactly what I love about Tree Bee,” Ireland remarked. “The ROM was more than happy to provide the winning teams with ROM memberships as a reward for their efforts and in hopes that students will join us at the ROM and continue nurturing their interest in the natural world.”

Forests Ontario would like to extend our gratitude to the ROM for hosting the 2014 Tree Bee and for their generosity in providing museum memberships to the winning Tree Bee team. We also wish to thank Toronto Field Naturalists for their support in making this year’s program possible. Finally, Forests Ontario wishes to thank and congratulate all the students who worked hard in the lead-up to the 2014 Tree Bee and brought such high levels of enthusiasm to this year’s competition.