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PLANT: An Intern’s Perspective

 

Being a part of the PLANT program has been an incredible experience so far

it has been a different experience for me, mainly because I had not heard about the program until the year following my graduation from college. Initially, finding work in the forestry sector in Ontario had been quite a challenge. I came across PLANT while in search of employment and thought it sounded like something I would enjoy. After I applied online I received a phone call regarding an interview at Forests Ontario as an Afforestation Program Technician, and accepted the position shortly after. Being given the opportunity to work at Forests Ontario under the PLANT program has allowed me to use skills acquired through my schooling and through previous jobs held in the public service sector.

I have had many opportunities to engage in all aspects of the 50 Million Tree Program. I have had the opportunity to engage landowners by promoting the program through various outreach efforts at events including the International Plowing Match held in Ivy, and campaigns in Renfrew County and Durham Region.

Working at Forests Ontario has been an eye-opener. I have been impressed by the wealth of knowledge and dedication displayed by my co-workers and everyone involved in Forests Ontario’s many initiatives. I have already learned so much in this short amount of time and each experience has been extremely valuable and appreciated as my knowledge continues to grow and shape my future.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a variety of conferences and courses including the Ontario Land Trust Alliance Conference held in Orillia, the Site Plan Development Course held in Cambridge, Somerville Nurseries’ Stock Viewing Day held in Everett, and many others. I also was given the opportunity to attend Intern Training at Somerville Nurseries over the span of three days. While there, I learned about many different aspects of production planning, seed storage, tree lifting and planting. The days I spent there are among the most memorable as they made me appreciate the high level of organization, dedication and effort put into each and every part of the nursery. Attending these events has allowed me to network with a variety of planting partners, conservation authorities, landowners and business owners. The relationships I have forged through these experiences are ones I would not have obtained if not for the program. I feel strongly that each connection made is irreplaceable and will assist in fine-tuning communication needed to promote tree planting across Ontario through the 50 Million Tree Program.

Overall, this has been one of my best experiences in the forestry sector. I have gained new skills and knowledge in such a short period of time and I am grateful for the wide array of opportunities I have been given. I have developed many traits and skills that make me more employable and I know that these will assist me in the future. The PLANT initiative is an amazing program focused on afforestation techniques connected to a variety of forestry related initiatives, and it is something I am fortunate enough to have experienced. If I had to say one thing to anyone who is thinking about applying for the program it would be to do so

I would not be on the path I am today without this program.

Editor’s Note: The Program for Local Afforestation Network Training (PLANT) provides professional training and mentorship to post-secondary graduates in forestry and related fields, supporting the future of forest management in Ontario. Every year, interns are hosted at planting agencies, conservation authorities, and stewardship councils across Ontario and receive hands-on training in afforestation and forest management. PLANT facilitates the succession of knowledge and skills to new professionals to ensure that capable and knowledgeable new professionals take on roles to continue building a greener and healthier future for Ontario. Support for PLANT comes from the RBC Foundation, Service Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Northern Heritage Development Fund.