Posted: December 5, 2018
Join us for our Annual Conference on February 8th in Alliston, ON! This year’s theme is Natural Connections, where we will be exploring our relationship with Ontario’s forests.
For those of us that work in, own, or manage a forest, the many ways humans depend on and are connected to forests seems as obvious as the sun coming up every morning. Yet the sad reality is that we are in the minority in Ontario, a very small minority. If we take out the special interest groups with their passion for one aspect of the forest, our small population shrinks even further. This is clearly a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” scenario. For me, the glass is half full with a large and diverse population that’s interested in hearing more about all the different ways humans and nature are connected, and how forests are essential if we’re ever going to come close to a sustainable economy and lifestyle.
If there was ever a time to engage in understanding and appreciating forests of all kinds, it’s now. I believe the next decade will bring critical policy decisions concerning our forests and the essential role they’ll continue to play in moderating a changing climate and helping our province adapt to the changes that are already happening.
I work and live in a setting where few people have ever thought about the importance or value of forests. Often these are the people who say “we should not cut down trees” or “we should not use paper” and they say that because they have heard those messages—and no one corrects them. We know those messages are wrong, but the people hearing them do not. Time after time, when I have literally 30 seconds to explain why forests are so important to people in so many ways, the response every time is, “Interesting, I didn’t know that!”
Join Forests Ontario and more than 400 forest enthusiasts on February 8th and I guarantee you’ll learn things you didn’t know about forests, no matter how long you’ve been enjoying, managing, or working in the forest. Then, I ask you to share your knowledge. It could be with someone from your community, your place of worship, sports team, workplace, dinner table, local government, or local pub.
Seek out the people and groups that would benefit from hearing about all of the values of a forest and how we’re all connected to and dependent on healthy forests. Get out of your comfort zone and seek out new connections and opportunities. We all need to take the message of the many values of forests to the larger, broader population.
Peter Johnson, RPF
2019 Forests Ontario Annual Conference Chair
Forests Ontario Board Member