The Ontario150 Partnership Program will provide $86,000 to the Eastern Ontario Model Forest to support the development of a three-part documentary project that engages youth and illustrates the many forest stewardship career opportunities that are available to young people. Trees, Youth, Our Future tells the story of forest stewardship in eastern Ontario – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“As we celebrate Ontario’s 150th anniversary this year, our government is investing in our youth, cultivating the next generation of leaders and charting a course to a successful future as a province,” says Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “I am proud that through the Ontario150 Partnership Program and the Ontario150 investment, we are supporting unique initiatives, like the Eastern Ontario Model Forest’s project, that engage and empower young people in their communities.”
The project brings together a professional production company (Pinegrove Productions), outdoor educators, environmental NGOs, a youth theatre group, forest industry companies, a First Nation, and others to create a three-part series that tells the story of the evolution of forest stewardship – past, present and future. The series will be filmed throughout the spring and summer months, and is set for release in December 2017.
“Good forest stewardship is a key driver of Ontario’s growth and prosperity, now and into the future. Well managed forests provide Ontarians with jobs, recreation and health,” explains Astrid Nielsen, registered professional forester and General Manager, Eastern Ontario Model Forest. “To maintain and grow this essential service, we need young people, the leaders of tomorrow, to learn about forest stewardship and to be inspired to step into the shoes of the people taking care of our forests today.”
Forestry is one of the key economic drivers in Ontario, yet youth are increasingly alienated from forest environments and fewer are choosing forestry careers. With this project, a diversity of youth will have the opportunity to learn about the colourful history of the timber trade, and gain hands-on experience in forest stewardship.
The goal is to empower Ontario youth with knowledge, passion and a sense of responsibility for our forests. Trees, Youth, Our Future will ensure the young leaders of tomorrow understand the importance of forests to their physical, mental and spiritual health, as well as their future economic well-being.
Additional funding for the project has been provided by the following partners: Algonquin Forestry Authority, Canadian Institute of Forestry, Forests Ontario, Forest Products Association of Canada, Lavern Heideman & Sons, Lanark County Stewardship Council, Mazinaw-Lanark Forest Inc., Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ontario Woodlot Association, Ottawa Valley Forest Inc., Renfrew Stewardship Council and Shaw Lumber.