On October 2nd, students from Pine Glen Public School in Huntsville took part in Forests for Kids, a tree planting event run by Forests Ontario and sponsored by Algonquin Forestry Authority (AFA). During this event, twenty grade seven and eight students teamed up to enhance their recently redesigned outdoor learning centre by planting trees.

Grade seven students competed to design the layout of the outdoor learning centre as part of a school assignment. The winning layout was completed by a student named Shamis, who created his design based upon the trees which were planted during this event. The classroom was assembled by members of the school’s parent council.

Following a demonstration from experienced arborist and parent council member Steve Mann, the students independently planted red, white, and bur oak trees. These trees will grow to provide shade and act as windbreaks for the outdoor classroom for generations to come.

This event speaks not only to the importance of environmental education but also to the unique legacy of forestry in Huntsville. “Huntsville has a rich history of forestry dating back to the 1800s,” states Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario, “and the region’s sustainably managed forests continue to be a significant economic driver to this day. Through the Forests for the Kids event, we hope to spark a passion for trees and green spaces in these students as well as to promote local engagement and environmental awareness.”

“This rich history of forestry in the region includes Algonquin Park,” says AFA Chief Forester Gordon Cumming. “Algonquin Forestry Authority is proud to support Forest for Kids and all of the benefits that go along with healthy forests, including healthy communities.”

Several local dignitaries were in attendance, including Louise Montague, Chair of Westwind Forest Stewardship; Steve Munro, Operations Manager of Westwind Forest Stewardship; Gord Cumming, Chief Forester of AFA; and Gerald Kroes, General Manager of Rayonier Advanced Material’s Huntsville Sawmill.

Forests for Kids is a part of Forests Ontario’s Community Tree Plant (CTP) program, which brings together families, community members, and volunteers for tree planting events across Canada. To learn more about CTP, visit www.forestsontario.ca.