Forestry Connects Offers Behind the Scenes Look at Forestry in Ontario

Forests Ontario Invites High School Students to Explore Forestry Operations Firsthand

RENFREW COUNTY, ON, Sept. 29, 2015 /CNW/ - Since 2010, Forests Ontario's Forestry Connects program has provided high school students the opportunity to visit forestry dependent communities for a behind the scenes look at Ontario's forestry sector. This year, Forestry Connects kicked off on September 23rd in Renfrew County by welcoming 35 students from four schools both locally and outside of Renfrew County to take part in the program. The launch event, which coincided with National Tree Day, saw Warden Peter Emon welcome students and encourage them to learn more about Ontario's forest industry.

Students and educators then spent three days engaging with professionals and stakeholders in forest management and related industries. Students were able to see all steps in the forest management process including the planning, the harvesting, and manufacturing of the forest products. By interacting with a variety of stakeholders, students and teachers were able to better understand the complex nature of forest management in Ontario.

"Forestry is often thought of in a very narrow sense," said Rob Keen, Forests Ontario CEO. "The images of forestry that we're used to seeing typically involve the removal and harvesting of trees. What we hope to do with Forestry Connects is to put these images in context. Connecting students to the forestry sector allows them to see that trees are removed using systems that limit how many trees can be harvested and ensure that wildlife habitat, forest structure, and biodiversity are not disrupted. They also get to see how forest products are developed and the role this industry plays in growing Ontario's economy."

Forests Ontario will host a second edition of the program in Algonquin Park from October 5th-7th. 35 students and teachers from six high schools will have the opportunity to learn firsthand how forest resources are sustainably managed in Ontario.

In addition to learning how each of these fields contribute to sustainable forestry and growth in Ontario, engaging with a diverse group of professionals will create greater awareness of different careers in forestry and related fields.

Covering over 70 million hectares, Ontario's forests are the backbone of healthy communities. The sustainable management of these resources has made Ontario's forestry sector a world leader in balancing social, environmental, and economic prosperity. Our forestry sector supports more than 180,000 jobs across the province and sales from local forest products generate more than $10 billion in revenue every year for the provincial economy.

Forests Ontario would like to extend our thanks to the members of the forestry community in Algonquin Park and Renfrew County who make the Forestry Connects program possible. We also wish to thank the partners who provided additional support for this year's program including Ontario Wood, County of Renfrew, Algonquin Forestry Authority, Heideman Forest Services, Shaw Lumber, Hokum and Sons, Murray Brothers, Ottawa Valley Forest Inc., McRae Lumber Company, Pembroke MDF and Algonquin College.

About Forests Ontario
Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario's forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario.

SOURCE Forests Ontario

Image with caption: "Students at Forestry Connects in Renfrew County learn about forestry firsthand from resource professionals. (CNW Group/Forests Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150929_C4330_PHOTO_EN_509064.jpg

For further information: For more information, photos or to arrange an interview please contact: Alison Rutka, Communications Manager, Forests Ontario, e: arutka@forestsontario.ca, p: 416-646-1193 ext. 257

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www.forestsontario.ca

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