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Youth Helping to Fight Climate Change

Southern Ontario – May 5, 2008 – The Ministry of Natural Resource’ (MNR) Ontario Stewardship’s Youth Rangers are once again helping to fight the effects of climate change through their work in forested areas in Ontario, with funding support from Trees Ontario.

Trees Ontario, a not-for-profit tree planting organization, is providing $120,000 to fund four youth ranger teams, as part of the 2008 Ontario Stewardship ranger program. The teams will undertake a variety of forestry-related projects including assessing tree planting sites and maintaining tree seed orchards.

“Trees Ontario’s goal is to increase the forested landscape across Ontario and to promote sustainable forest management,” said Michael Scott, President and CEO, Trees Ontario. “Employing local youth is a valuable developmental opportunity for them that also helps us to achieve our goals. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.”

“We are excited to be able to provide employment opportunities to an additional 20 participants through this partnership,” said Sandy White, Manager of Youth Programs for the ministry. “These youth will potentially be our future environmental leaders.”

Funded by the MNR, the Ontario Stewardship Ranger Program provides 17-year-olds with an opportunity to work for eight weeks with local conservation groups, focusing on community-based environmental projects.

This year there will be 34 teams across the province, each made up of four rangers plus a team leader. Participants live at home and travel to their work locations daily. These teams operate primarily through the Ontario Stewardship network of community councils.

The MNR’s Ontario Stewardship Program is a community-based initiative that brings together landowners, associations, resource agencies and individuals who share an interest in responsible land care and sustainable resource use. The program advocates stewardship as a tool for land management.

“These Rangers plays a huge role in effectively forming partnerships with landowners, not for profit organizations and associations with environmental interests.” says Mitch Baldwin, Provincial Stewardship Coordinator. “The work these teams will do to support forested areas in Ontario likely would not get done without their support. Trees Ontario has made an investment in future environmental stewards.”

This partnership will support the increase of forested areas in Ontario, and ensure the quality of our air and water resources. Increasing the number of trees planted reduces the impacts of climate change, helps control erosion and flooding, and improves air and water quality. Overall tree planting and sustainable management will enhance the health and integrity of the environment for future generations.

For details on youth employment opportunities with the MNR visit www.ontario.ca/mnryouthprograms.