CALGARY – Two students from Ontario First Nations have received the Skills Awards for Aboriginal Youth from Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM).

The recipients are Isabelle Males of Temiskaming First Nation from New Liskeard, Ont., and Tristan Flood of Matachewan First Nation from North Bay, Ont. The awards were presented at the Conference Board of Canada’s National Summit on Indigenous Youth and Natural Resource Development in Calgary.

Congratulating the winners, the Honourable Margaret Miller, Minister of Natural Resources for Nova Scotia, and chair of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, said both winners have shown strong commitment to their communities and an impressive interest in their fields of study.”

Currently pursuing a Masters of Sustainable Forest Management at the University of British Columbia, Males intends on becoming a Registered Professional Forester (RPF). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences, majoring in Resource management from the University of Guelph. As part of her undergraduate studies, Males completed research with the Saugeen Ojibway First Nation Environment Department. Once certified as an RPF, Males intends on working as an Aboriginal liaison in rural communities in Northern Ontario.

Flood is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forest Operations with a minor in Commerce at the University of British Columbia. In 2016, Flood created his own small wood operation business, combining his interest in entrepreneurship and the forest industry. He has previously volunteered with the Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group and assists his community to plan Pow Wows. Upon graduation, Flood intends to continue operating his business in the forest sector.

“Ms. Males and Mr. Flood are both exceptional youth working to improve and support their communities and the forest sector,” says Derek Nighbor, CEO of FPAC. “The forest sector benefits greatly and relies on the enthusiasm and dedication of Aboriginal youth pursuing careers in the forest sector for its future success.”

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs.