Did You Know it’s National Tree Day?

Celebrate the terrific world of trees today by reading an interview with a conservationist from Forests Ontario
National Tree Day Tree conservationist Jessica just hanging out. (Courtesy of Forests Ontario)

Oh, trees, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.

You filter air for us to breathe, make nice shady spots on hot summer (or fall) days, and give us paper, houses, and a million other useful items. You look beautiful on a mountain, in a park, or in our own backyard.

That's why we're happy to say there's a whole day—make that, a whole week—dedicated to celebrating trees. National Forest Week runs from Sunday, September 24 to Saturday, September 30. And National Tree Day is today, Wednesday, September 27.

OWLconnected caught up with Jessica Kaknevicius, a conservationist who works for Forests Ontario. Read on to learn more about forestry and how we can help keep Canadian trees healthy.

Meet a tree expert

Jessica Kaknevicius, Forests Ontario
Hey, Jessica! (Courtesy of Forests Ontario)

OWLconnected: How did your passion for trees and forests start?
JESSICA: I grew up playing in the forests in my backyard—but I never thought I would end up in a job in forestry. I was not very outdoorsy growing up just outside of the city, and only when I first started camping as an adult did I really fall in love with trees and wanted to learn more!

O: How did you get involved in the forestry industry?
J: My first experience was tree planting way up in northern Ontario—this was my first time ever camping. Tree planting is required by law in Ontario, to bring back the forests that were cut down. It was the hardest job I ever had—you spend long days outdoors in all sorts of weather planting trees. But it was such a unique experience and one that really grew me as a person!

O: What’s the most amazing thing you’ve seen on the job?
J: I think I am always amazed by the people I meet in this sector. They are some of the nicest and passionate people out there—they love their job and want to make sure they are doing a good job taking care of our forests so we have healthy forests for the future.

O: What’s your favourite tree or forest fact?
J: I love yellow birch. The seeds of this tree grows on top of fallen-down trees, and when those fallen trees start to break down and disappear, yellow birch roots look like they are floating in the air. It amazes me how resilient trees can be.

National Tree Day
Jessica takes part in media interviews for the installation of the Big Tree at the Toronto Christmas Market. (Courtesy of Forests Ontario)

O: Where is your favourite place to see nature in Canada?
J: I think you can find a bit of nature no matter where you go in Canada. Whether you live in downtown Toronto. or in the coastal rainforest, we are lucky to have lots of ways to connect with our forest. I have spent most of my life living in Ontario, and while I have seen some amazing places like Kakabeka Falls, Backus Woods, Tobermory and the Muskokas, there are still many hidden gems I cannot wait to explore.

O: What can kids do to help save Canadian forests?
J: You might be surprised to learn that it takes a forest to make your everyday life better. If you read books, live in a house, ride a skateboard or play outside, you are benefiting from what the forest can provide us. If we take care of the forest, it will take care of us and continue to provide.

O: What’s your advice for kids who want to work in the forestry industry one day?
J: If you want to work in forestry, I would recommend trying it out first. If you get a chance, go out for a day with your parents and someone who works in forestry. Ask them about their job, how they got there, and why they love it. I think the most interesting thing about this field is the type of jobs that are available. Whether you love the outdoors, are into computer games, want to be in business, or want to work with wood, there is a job for you.

National Tree Day
Jessica working with youth to help them learn and become passionate about trees and forests. (Courtesy of Forests Ontario)

Thanks, Jessica!

How do you help take care of our forests? Let us know in the comments.

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