Forests Ontario

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Six Year Old Isla Smith Celebrates her Love of Trees for Sixth Birthday

Posted: December 6, 2018

Fraser Smith is one of Forests Ontario’s planting partners and Field Advisors as well as the owner of F Smith Consulting

To celebrate daughter Isla’s sixth birthday this year, the family held a 5 and 5 party. The idea is simple: guests bring $5 that goes toward a gift and another $5 that goes to the child’s charity of choice. It’s an easy to implement idea and a great opportunity to get kids thinking about important causes. 

Forests Ontario is honoured that Isla choice us as her charity of choice (you can donate here!). We had the chance to talk to Fraser and Isla about how the idea came about and the love of trees that runs through the family. 

Budding tree lover, Isla Smith


How old are you?


Why did you want to give part of your birthday money to charity?

Because I wanted to! It’s good to give to charity because it helps people around the world.

Why did you want to donate to a “tree organization”?

Because then we can breathe.

Why are trees good for us/the environment?

Because they make air. When you plant one tree, before it dies it makes another tree, and before it dies it makes another one to infinity. When a tree dies or is sick it makes a home for other animals. Trees can make a fort. They give us food too.

Do you think that other people should help to protect and plant more trees like you did?


How can people help the trees?

By planting more trees. Love their trees.

What do you like about trees, and what is your favorite tree?

Favourite tree is a tie between oak and catalpa. Trees make air for us and they provide habitat for animals to survive. Trees even make garages and furniture.


How did you come up with the idea of the 5 and 5 party?

I wish I could take credit but like most great ideas on birthdays and family fun, this one came from my spouse, Jenny. Basically, each kid invited to the birthday party brings a $5 bill for the birthday kid and another $5 bill to hand in to a charity pot.

The birthday kid gets to use their share to by one or two gifts for themselves that they actually want and will keep, and they get to choose a charity where they will send half of their money.

Why was it important to you to do this?

We’ve been quite surprised to see the amount of waste that comes along with young kids’ birthdays and the ability to address that while also teaching them something meaningful about charity and giving seemed like a win all around. Showing them how giving can be more rewarding than keeping the money is a great lesson that I think we can all agree the world needs more of that.

Please share a short background about what you do, and how you know about Forests Ontario.

I’m a forester who does occasional and contract work for Forests Ontario. Despite this, the idea for donating to Forests Ontario was entirely a discussion between my daughter and my spouse. Isla wanted to donate to a “tree charity” and the connection to Forests Ontario was an easy one to make.

My business is called F Smith Consulting and we do work such as: inventories, prescriptions and tree marking, MFTIP plans, timber sales and contract management, legislative interpretation and stakeholder engagement, etc. for a range of charities, NGO’s, local and regional governments, and private landowners.

The business has been going full time for two years now and a major impetus in starting it was to have a better and more flexible connection with my two daughters, now aged 6 and 2. Isla has always been keenly interested in everything to do with trees and the natural world and makes my heart swell whenever she comes up with insightful questions and answers to tree and forest-related issues.