August 30, 2016:
Before heading back to their classrooms, over 30 Atlantic Canadian educators became students for a three-day tour of forestry operations. It’s a part of the Forests Worth Knowing Teachers Tour, a program organized by the Canadian Woodlands Forum in partnership with J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) for the past 15 years. 31 educators from PEI, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick spent three days touring JDI forestry operations in central New Brunswick.
One of these educators is Chris Higginbothem, a high school science teacher in Summerside, PEI. “When you think of careers in forestry, you imagine harvesters - but there is really such a variety of careers in the field,” said Chris. “Biologists, plant scientists, managers, business, and marketing; the industry encompasses a broad range of careers that could appeal to a wide variety of students.” Chris says the tour will not only help enrich his classroom, but also extracurricular activities; he’s the coach of his school’s Envirothon team – an annual “hands-on” environmental science competition.
In addition to learning more about forestry in Atlantic Canada and related careers, teachers integrate forest knowledge into their lesson plans.
“We want to provide them with a hands-on experience,” said Canadian Woodlands Forum Director Peter Robichaud. “It’s important to bring teachers into the woods and the mills. We want to give them the opportunity to have a direct dialogue with experts and hear a variety of different perspectives and information first-hand.”
Experts on the tour included Department of Natural Resources Forester Todd Beach, JDI’s Chief Forester Blake Brunsdon, and JDI’s Director of Development and Tree Research Greg Adams.
Peter hopes the teacher tour can help challenge the notion that forestry is a sunset industry, “We want this sector to be sustainable. Part of that is inspiring educators, and their students, about the natural and economic values in forestry."
Dave Corbett, JDI Woodlands Manager of Human Resources appreciated the keen participants this year. “Across the organization, we’re forecasted to hire 7,900 people between 2016 and 2018. Many of those jobs are connected to forestry and forest products in Atlantic Canada. Whether it’s a summer job to support their post-secondary education, a co-op experience to enrich their learning, or a full-time career, we want educators, and their students, to be aware of the opportunities.”
Find out more about the Canadian Woodlands Forum.
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