TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Trees Ontario has announced the launch of a new training program to address a severe
knowledge-transfer gap threatening Ontario's afforestation sector.
Thanks to a $112,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an
agency of the Government of Ontario, and support from RBC Foundation,
Trees Ontario will work collaboratively on the Program for Local Afforestation Network Training (PLANT), an innovative mentorship-based training model aimed at
students in post-secondary forestry programs.
"Restoration and conservation of our natural ecosystems through tree
planting efforts are important strategies for enhancing biodiversity
and reducing the impact and severity of climate change," said the Hon.
Michael Gravelle, MPP and Minister of Natural Resources. "PLANT, the
training program initiated by Trees Ontario, will ensure that the
province has an accessible supply of knowledgeable and skilled
professionals to accommodate Ontario's afforestation needs."
Due to the retirement of experienced forestry professionals and the lack
of knowledge transfer strategies, Ontario is at risk of losing decades'
worth of forestry knowledge. As well, the current forestry curriculum
offered by Ontario's Colleges needs to be augmented with focused,
supplemental training that's specific to southern Ontario's
environment. Trees Ontario will work collaboratively on PLANT with
Conservation Ontario, Stewardship Councils, Forest Gene Conservation
Association and Sir Sandford Fleming College, Rideau Valley
Conservation Authority and Conservation Halton.
"The delivery of large-scale tree planting is a complex undertaking that
is heavily dependent on the availability of and access to a strong
network of professionals who possess the required knowledge and
technical capacity," said Rob Keen, Trees Ontario's Chief Executive
Officer and a Registered Professional Forester. "PLANT is the first
province-wide program to proactively ensure that future forestry
professionals have the practical skills and competence needed to
address our forest restoration needs."
With Ontario's forests under constant pressure due to population growth,
urban sprawl and environmental degradation, enhancing the province's
tree planting infrastructure is timely and critical. Without adequate
succession planning, the pending retirement of Ontario's forestry
professionals will impact future planting initiatives, and ultimately
the health and integrity of local ecosystems and communities.
Don Pearson, Conservation Ontario's General Manager, further emphasized
the significance of this hands-on bridging program. "Skilled planters,
seed forecasters, nursery staff, and skilled forestry practitioners are
all necessary to sustain effective and efficiently managed tree
planting efforts across Ontario," he noted. "PLANT will expose aspiring
professionals to all facets of the industry, leading to more
experienced graduates with higher technical aptitude."
With the PLANT curriculum rolling out during the second half of the
2012-2013 academic year, Trees Ontario will work with graduating
forestry students attending Sir Sandford Fleming College. Students will
be provided with in-class technical training facilitated by Trees
Ontario's seasoned advisors and experts. A select group of students
will also rotate through a series of mentoring opportunities and
training placements with Trees Ontario's professional planting
"We are particularly pleased to collaborate with Trees Ontario on this
proactive initiative," said Gerald Guenkel, Forestry Program
Coordinator, Sir Sandford Fleming College. "This unique program will
serve as a complementary curriculum to current in-class modules which
will prepare our students with the technical training required to
successfully enter the workforce and become Ontario's future forest
With support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, RBC Foundation and
its planting partners, Trees Ontario's PLANT will play a major role in
bridging the existing knowledge gap in order to establish larger and
more contiguous forests through afforestation efforts across Ontario's
settled landscape. Connecting forest corridors and increasing forest
cover will not only enhance Ontario's resilience to climate change and
protect the province's rich biodiversity, but will also improve the
health of all Ontarians and create sustainable economic opportunities
for future generations.
Download the Program for Local Afforestation Network Training report.
About Trees Ontario
Trees Ontario, the largest not-for-profit tree planting partnership in
North America, is leading efforts to strengthen Ontario's tree planting
infrastructure by enhancing the capacity of its tree planting partners
through financial support and professional development expertise,
delivering landowner incentives through cost offsetting and educating
the public through awareness campaigns and community workshops. Trees
Ontario is the lead delivery agent for the government of Ontario's 50 Million Tree Program. The program significantly cuts landowners' costs of large-scale tree
planting and boosts the number of trees planted across the
province. Visit www.treesontario.ca.
SOURCE: Trees Ontario