As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is seizing the opportunity to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence program. Today, FPAC announced that Earth Rangers and Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) are being honoured with the FPAC Partnership Award.
“FPAC presents its Awards of Excellence to recognize the great work being done in our sector and to honour the achievements of partners like Earth Rangers and the Outland Youth Employment Program –both of which we consider to be an extended part of the Canadian forestry team, “said FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor. “Partnership is central to our work. Whether it’s managing our forests sustainably, supporting local ecosystems, or advancing opportunities for families in rural and northern Canada. Our industry is richer for these contributions and we are grateful to both Earth Rangers and OYEP for their commitment to doing good work,” Nighbor added.
Canada’s forest sector employs more than 230,000 people in over 600 communities, from rural and northern towns and Indigenous communities to our largest cities. The sector has forged many strong community alliances and partnerships that continue to make an impactful difference in Canada’s forest sector.
Earth Rangers is the kids’ conservation organization, dedicated to informing children and their families about biodiversity, inspiring them to adopt sustainable behaviours, and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats.
Tovah Barocas joined the Earth Rangers team in 2009 and assumed the roles of Development Director and Vice President of External Relations prior to being named President in 2019. During her tenure at Earth Rangers, Tovah has developed countless partnerships with the private sector and all levels of governments. But most importantly, she has led Earth Rangers’ growth into the largest youth conservation group in the world.
“Earth Rangers is honoured to be the recipient of FPAC’s Partnership Award. The role that forests and sustainable forest management have in maintaining biodiversity and fighting climate change cannot be understated,” said Barocas. “Our partnership with FPAC has enabled us to educate tens of thousands of kids and families across Canada about how critical forests are to the sustainability of our country and inspire them to plant trees in their own communities. In fact, in 2021 alone, we’ve seen over 3,800 members take part in our Just 1 Tree program.”
Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) provides a national network of land-based education, training and work opportunities for high school aged Indigenous youth. OYEP features a six-week work experience which provides training and education in a supportive space that replicates various work environments. The program takes an inclusive approach to Indigenous education, recruitment, and retention and provides a safe learning environment that can be tailored to meet the needs of local communities and partners.
Mark Kmill, OYEP National Manager, has over seventeen years of public and private-sector experience in natural resource management, silviculture operations, and project management. Through eight years of involvement with OYEP, Mark has overseen the organization’s expansion from one small program in Upsala, Ontario, to national delivery across multiple provinces in Canada. Mark’s focus now centres on replicating the success of the program with youth from coast to coast – planting trees and learning new skills.
“Working in forestry has been one of the highlights of more than half of my life,” said Kmill. “Now, working with Indigenous youth who are excited about the potential for their own educational and career paths in this industry makes it feel like I’m giving back something that has given so much to me. A huge thank you to FPAC for the recognition and help in creating an opportunity to realize that dream.”
To learn more about FPAC’s Awards of Excellence recipients, please visit: https://www.fpac.ca/posts/fpac-awards-of-excellence
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $80B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.