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Northwestern Ontario foresters celebrate local industry contributions

Regional group earns national accolade from Canadian Institute of Forestry

The Northwestern Ontario arm of the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) celebrated the contributions of its members this fall, while also earning national accolades from its parent group.

The CIF named its Northwestern Ontario chapter as Section of the Year during its annual general meeting, which was held virtually in October.

CIF Northwestern Ontario followed that up with its own AGM, during which three members were singled out to receive Tree of Life Awards.

These recognize individuals who have made superior, dedicated or particularly effective contributions to sustainable forest resource management, forest renewal or sustained yield integrated management of the forest and its intrinsic resources.

Award winners include:

  • Jean MacIsaac, a forestry technician who graduated from Lakehead University and who has spent almost her entire career (35+ years) on the Lakehead Forest in northwestern Ontario, including having been employed since its inception by the company responsible for the management of the forest, Greenmantle Forest Inc. The Lakehead Forest is a forest management unit at the head of Lake Superior that surrounds the City of Thunder Bay. The forest management unit is unique due to its large percentage of private land as well as the First Nation reserves, provincial parks and protected areas within its boundary (which also includes the U.S. border to the south). MacIsaac has been responsible for all silviculture in the forest, including the planting of over 35 million trees. Arguably, there is nobody with an equal level of knowledge about that forest than MacIsaac, who is set to retire in November 2021.
  • Judy Hall, a registered professional forester who graduated from Lakehead University in 1981 and has had a diverse career that includes working for consultants, industry and government. Her career began as an operations supervisor (“strip boss”), after which she took some time off to raise two daughters. Hall proceeded to upgrade her skills so she could rejoin the workforce and has dedicated much of her time since then to forest management planning. Hall is an avid cross-country skier and volunteer, and has sat on and contributed meaningfully to the Northwestern Ontario section council of the CIF for many years.
  • Dr. M.A. (Peggy) Smith, R.P.F. (Ret.), a PhD graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry (2007) and Professor Emerita in Lakehead University’s Faculty of Natural Resources Management. Smith retired from Lakehead in 2017 as Interim Vice-Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives. Smith’s career focused on making meaningful contributions to community forestry, co-management, forest tenure, and the views and rights of Indigenous people in relation to forests. Most recently, Hall has contributed to the advancement of gender equity and meaningful diversity in the forest sector through her participation in the CIF Free to Grow initiative.

Established in 1908, the CIF is the oldest forest society in Canada, serving as the voice of forest practitioners representing foresters, forest technologists and technicians, ecologists, biologists, educators and many others with an interest in forests and forestry.

It aims to provide national leadership in forestry, promote competency among forestry professionals, and foster public awareness of forestry issues.