One of our most important resources, the Myths & Facts Booklet, has been updated for 2015 including two new facts on; the benefits of packaging and, consumers choice to receive paper communications. Paper has been around for almost 2000 years and, during this time, it has undoubtedly established itself as the most effective and versatile means of communication. However, for a long time the industry has tolerated misinformation about its environmental record. Commonly, that print and paper are considered a primary cause of deforestation, uses a lot of non-renewable energy and has a high carbon footprint. The reality is very different. European forests having grown by 30% since 1950 and are expanding by 1.5 million football pitches every year. Furthermore, the paper industry is Europe’s largest user of renewable, low carbon energy and 54% of the energy used in European paper making is biomass based. It is important not to forget that the digital alternatives also have impacts.
Earlier this month, a crew of Alberta Junior Forest Rangers (JFR) made a big contribution to forest health while learning about one of the most challenging jobs in our industry—tree planting. The Fox Creek JFR crew, composed of eight high school students and two leaders, spent a day planting 2000 pine seedlings at the Huestis Demonstration Forest. The tree planting was guided by one of Millar Western’s Woodlands summer interns, Garreth Carey, who is studying Forest Technology at NAIT.
The JFR program provides summer work experience for adventurous students interested in learning about careers in wildfire management, forestry, and ecology. One of the crew’s leaders, Hannah Lam, said the crew members had a day that was both fun and tiring, and that a couple of them are now interested in pursuing tree planting after high school. “They learned how to plant, and the standards that need to be followed,” Hannah said, adding that the teens “were really proud about contributing to sustainability and the future.”
Located within Millar Western’s Forest Management Agreement area, the Huestis Demonstration Forest is a few minutes’ drive northwest of Whitecourt. The site includes a seven-kilometre driving loop with interpretive signs, informing visitors about how a forest can offer recreational opportunities, sustain wildlife, and provide resources for wood products, all while continuing to grow and thrive. Huestis is a working forest, containing cutblocks of varying ages that have been successfully reforested in decades past or are currently being regenerated after recent harvest.
We would like to extend a big thank-you to the Fox Creek JFR crew for their help in keeping Huestis growing!