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Trees Ontario Commends Graduates of the Pilot PLANT Program

Alumni Eligible for Six-Month Mentorship to Further Develop Skills

TORONTO, ON, January 31, 2013 – Trees Ontario congratulates the 21 post-secondary students who successfully graduated from its Program for Local Afforestation Network Training (PLANT) program.

We congratulate both the students and the strong network of forestry professionals who, by participating in PLANT, are leading efforts to close this widening knowledge gap in the forestry sector,” said Rob Keen, Trees Ontario’s Chief Executive Officer and a Registered Professional Forester. “Without robust knowledge transfer strategies, Ontario is at risk of losing decades’ worth of forestry knowledge, which could further impact future planting initiatives, and ultimately the health and integrity of local ecosystems and communities.”

PLANT, launched in December 2012, is the first province-wide knowledge-transfer program that proactively ensures selected future forestry professionals have the practical skills and competence needed to address forest restoration needs in the face of climate change.

The two-day mentorship-based training was held at Sir Sanford Fleming College (SSFC) in Lindsay, Ontario, this past week in collaboration with The Forest Gene Conservation Association, Lands and Forests Consulting, Nottawasaga Conservation Authority, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and Conservation Halton.

“PLANT is a great opportunity for students to learn from southern Ontario experts,” said Barb Boysen, Coordinator at Forest Gene Conservation Association. “There is no substitute for working with those who do this complex job well – from helping landowners plan their new forest, to collecting high-quality seed to actually planting and tending the seedlings. Climate change and invasive species are making it more challenging than ever, but not much is more rewarding than creating a forest!”

Graduates received a Certificate of Training issued by Trees Ontario and are now eligible to further advance their forestry careers by applying to one of the organization’s three Afforestation Technician field positions. Starting in April, these six-month roles are financially supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and RBC Foundation, and are offered in partnership with SSFC and planting delivery agents.

Successful candidates will receive training facilitated by Trees Ontario’s seasoned advisors and experts who will share knowledge on seed collection and genetics as well as leading-edge afforestation techniques that enhance the health and integrity of the local environment and ensure survival. Students will also collaborate with host partners, landowners, municipalities, conservation authorities and the private sector.

Building on the success of this initial program, Trees Ontario will expand upon PLANT and partner with additional educational institutions and partners in the coming year.