Forestry Education

Nature Connects & Forestry Day

Virginia DeCarle

Over the past 10 years Virginia has taken on the initiative as well as had the opportunity to create and facilitate a number of programs relating to nature connection and forest management, bringing some knowledge from her profession as a Forestry Technician and lover of nature to many people of all ages. There is a great team of people who worked together along the way, and none of this success would have been possible without this amazing dedicated group. 

Throughout these years Virginia has presented her Nature Connects and Forestry Education Programs at a number of schools, public libraries and other public facilities in Hastings County.  

She says, “The more I network the more I feel the need to continue on with these educational programs, not only in Hastings but across Ontario.”  

Nature Connects

With today’s influx of modern technology some of our children have been and are being deprived of connecting with their natural world. Some may never have been taught to simply listen to nature when it’s all around them. With her personal passion for nature and with a concern for the overall health of our children, she presents her Nature Connects Program to give the opportunity to experience nature while gaining knowledge about the environment that is crucial for the development of intellectual, physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing along with education on forest management and how important it is to manage our renewable resources through good stewardship in order to benefit from them in the future. 

This program gives young people the opportunity to look at forestry as a possible career choice after high school. There are a variety of jobs within the forest industry that are not necessarily known to many people. It can be a great choice for individuals who are interested in hands on work. 

To familiarize students with the field exercise she begins with an in-class PowerPoint presentation that will include a series of photos that identify tree species, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles indigenous to this area along with speaking about the environment, invasive species, some medicinal properties trees have and tree diseases. Virginia also provides students with information about her job as a Forest Technician and Tree Marker and Forest Educator. 

In the second portion of the program, participants will take a walk in a forested area to look, listen and relate to what was seen on the PowerPoint Presentation. The group will discuss the importance of managing our forests and caring for our environment so they will continue to provide for us and their inhabitants.

Virginia provides educational and informative resources for students to take home following the program. 

Forestry Day

Forestry day has impacted many students who have developed an interest in Ontario Forests and forest management and has introduced them to the various opportunities that exist for students to learn more about forestry in the comprehensive Outdoor Study programs offered at North Hastings High school. 

If you’re a private land owner, a teacher or a camp director/coordinator and you’re interested in the Nature Connects and Forestry Education program, please contact Virginia deCarle. 

About Forestry Day

In 2012 Virginia deCarle and Ernie Demuth founded “Forestry Day” and it has since become one of BAFIA’s flagship programs. It is a free bi-annual event designed for middle school children (grades 7 & 8) in the area. The main objective of the forestry day is to give students a clear picture of how forest management and sustainable harvest methods are performed in Ontario, particularly Hastings County. This is accomplished through hands-on activities that provide students opportunities to appreciate the science and diversity of forest ecosystems and wildlife and the efforts by the forest industry to extract resources while protecting and sustaining these systems.  There are also examples of local forest products and woodworkers to connect students to their use of forest products in everyday life.   

BAFIA has successfully carried out four Forestry Days to date: Three at Joy Bible Camp in Bancroft and one at O’Hara Mill in Madoc. Each year roughly 160 students attended the Bancroft Forestry Day and 260 students in Madoc. 

The group that planned and implemented this event were Virginia deCarle, Ernie Demuth, Colleen Drew-Baehre, Jennifer Card, Barry McGibbon, Lou Freymond, Gord Brown, Paul Devitt and Lacey Rose. North Hastings High School’s Northern Environmental Resource Development Studies class (aka NERDS) assisted by leading student groups throughout the day.