ASSOCIATION FORESTIÉRE SAGUENAY-LAC-ST-JEAN
Helping Youth Rediscover Quebec’s Forestry Culture
Forests and Forest Products, a Culture to be Rediscovered
Why this project matters
The Forests and Forest Products, A Culture to be Rediscovered Program, from the Association forestière Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, has a track record of delivering tangible and measurable results when it comes to connecting youth to forests through education. Making these connections is good for youth because it can inspire a lifelong interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and open up rewarding career paths. Forests benefit too as youth enhance their understanding of the central role forests play when it comes to environmental, recreational and economic values.
The association tours elementary schools from September until June offering a half-day program that takes place in classrooms and in woodlots near schools for fourth-, fifth- and sixth‑grade students. The program reaches about 12,000 students every year. School-based forest education aims to educate youth about the social, economic, ecological and cultural importance of the forest environment and sustainable forest management. The association also wants to promote forestry and wood as an element of sustainable development and to interest young people in careers in forestry.
Why is SFI involved?
Connecting youth to forests is a key focus at SFI. Fostering an appreciation and understanding of the natural world is critical to healthy mental and physical development in youth. But today’s American and Canadian kids spend more time indoors than previous generations. That’s why a key component of SFI’s community engagement is educating youth and getting them outdoors, to ensure they can be effective future leaders and have a strong understanding of the value of responsibly managed forests.
Forests and Forest Products, A Culture to be Rediscovered gets kids outdoors and potentially opens up STEM-based career options. Workshops organized with college- and university‑level STEM and architecture technology students are designed to generate interest in forestry and forest products and related technical careers and professions.
The Quebec SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) will work to help ensure connections to forest products certified to SFI and Project Learning Tree materials. Project Learning Tree, an SFI program, is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. Forests and Forest Products, A Culture to be Rediscovered offers an opportunity to expand PLT Canada, an initiative of SFI, in Quebec.
How the Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
This is a great program to engage a variety of youth, from primary grades to technical schools that also include architectural students. The primary partner is the Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks but multiple schools, regional municipalities and Employment Quebec are also included. The support of the Quebec SIC will also build connections between SFI Program Participants, youth, educators, and government officials at the municipal and provincial levels.
This partnership includes SFI Program Participants, youth, educators, and government officials.
- Project lead: Association forestière Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Quebec SFI Implementation Committee
- Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks
- Employment Quebec
- Five regional municipalities
- Four CEGEPs
- Four school districts (Rives du Saguenay, Lac St. Jean, Pays de Bluets, de la Jonquiere)
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience Program
- Project Learning Tree, an SFI program, is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12.
- The Marten Monitoring and Youth Knowledge Transfer Program, led by the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi in Quebec, is evaluating the impact of wildlife management guidelines on marten populations and transferring knowledge to Cree youth.
- Funding from SFI helps the Earth Rangers School Assembly Program offer a curriculum-linked assembly presentation, for grades 1 to 6, that uses science-based information to educate students about the importance of conserving biodiversity across Canada.