HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO                                Forest Friendly Communities’ Karen Brants speaks before Mayor Shirley Ackland and MP Rachel Blaney at the first Forestry Proud Day in Port McNeill.

HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO Forest Friendly Communities’ Karen Brants speaks before Mayor Shirley Ackland and MP Rachel Blaney at the first Forestry Proud Day in Port McNeill.

First Forestry Proud Day Flourishes

Forest Friendly Communities hosted the event in Port McNeill

Forestry workers, students, and community members gathered beneath the Town Clock in Port McNeill to celebrate the first annual Forestry Proud Day.

The May 16 event was hosted by the organization Forestry Friendly Communities (FCC), that works to celebrate the history and future of BC’s forest sector. The event was attended by the 12 Fundamentals of Forestry students in Woss as well as their teacher Dazy Weymar, and featured music, forestry displays, games, food, drinks, and the first forestry proud day flag raising.

“Community leaders had told us that they wanted to see more community engagement with the forestry sector and that along the way we had lost our way so we listened and responded,” said FFC’s Karen Brants about the development of the organization, adding, “Since then forestry friendly communities have been telling stories and paying homage to the dedicated folks in our sector who work hard every day to support their families and communities.”

Port McNeill Mayor Shirley Ackland and North Island-MP Rachel Blaney also gave speeches about the forestry sector.

“We have all heard the term ‘forestry feeds my family’ and that is certainly true for most of the communities on Northern Vancouver Island and it’s also true that forestry helped to build BC and feed BC,” said Ackland, adding, “Forestry has been the bread and butter resource of this province.”

Blaney said she was incredibly proud to celebrate the importance of forestry, noting the challenges of the boom and bust cycle in the sector.

“These communities are the ones that have built this country – what frustrates me is when we get forgotten when these changes happen, so I promise I am a strong advocate for remembering that,” said Blaney.

Two TimberWest summer students, Meghan Hilborn and Mariah Wittkamp, also spoke about beginning their careers in the forestry sector.

“This is one of the best decisions I have ever made and am proud and excited to be entering into the forestry industry,” said Hilborn, adding, “My interest, appreciation, and desire to contribute has left me hungry to experience, learn, and do more.”

FCC also has a campaign called Toques for Tuition where they donate the proceeds from the sale of Forestry Proud Toques to tuition for BC students taking forestry-related post-secondary education.

To learn more about forestry proud day or FFC visit forestfriendly.ca.