Forests Ontario

News & Events

Community Forest Managers and Tree By-Law Officers AGM

Posted: November 1, 2016

by Stephanie Burns

Phil Davies of Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority leads a field tour at Community Forest Manager/Tree By-law Officer AGM.

Phil Davies of Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority leads a field tour at Community Forest Manager/Tree By-law Officer AGM.

In 2015, Forests Ontario took over management of a specialized group of individuals fitting into the categories of Community Forest Managers and/or Tree By-Law officers.

Members of this group have access to specific information and resource sharing as well as news or website links of relevance to them. Each year, this group holds an annual general meeting over the span of two days, one day of presentations and discussions and a second day in the field with the location of the event changing every year.

This year’s AGM was held in Whitby, Ontario with a field tour at the Durham Regional Forest (DRF) led by Phil Davies of Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority. During the tour, Phil spoke about a variety of topics including trail management and development, ongoing maintenance and issue identification, and new and emerging trends with the local community use of the forest.

The Durham Mountain Biking Association also had a representative attend this tour to provide some information on “fat biking.” For those who may not know, fat bikes are off road bikes with oversized tires that measure approximately 3-4” or larger than the average road bike. The use of fat bikes in the forest has drastically increased in the past few years due to the popularity of the activity but also because the makeup of the bike allows for greater ease in navigating trails within the forest.

Ken Elliott from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) then provided an overview of the monitoring and research that has taken place within the Norton Tract of the DRF.

After the tour and a break 3 short presentations were given: Changing Landscape in a Changing Climate by Melissa Spearing from the Forest Gene Conservation Association; Seed Collection by Fraser Smith from the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority; and Rot Stop Use by Graeme Davis from the County of Simcoe.

The second day offered a private session for the By-Law Officers to discuss any issues they have been experiencing, share information relevant to the other officers and ask questions amongst each other.

After this session the full meeting began with 7 different speakers representing both private organizations and public with diverse topics such as forestry practices and selection, tree marking, upcoming invasive species, species at risk and tree planting programs available to landowners in the area.

During the two days over 50 people attended from all different areas of the province representing mostly conservation authorities and individuals as well as not for profit organizations.

If you are a Community Forest Manager or a Tree By-Law officer and are interested in being a part of the group please contact me at or call 416-646-1193 ext 222 for more information. We also have a LinkedIn group available for individuals fitting into these categories at the link available here.


Stephanie Burns is currently the Forest Operations Coordinator at Forests Ontario. Her main role is assisting with the delivery of the 50 Million Tree Program as well as landowner engagement, implementing a variety of different communication strategies and managing partner development and workshops. She graduated Sir Sanford Fleming College as a Forestry Technician in 2011 and completed the Urban Forestry certificate program in 2012.  In her spare time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, photography and music.