College students and many others have likely planted millions of trees as part of the renewable and sustainable forest cycle.
"Hey Mom and Dad! I planted 70,000 trees!" This is what our son Alex proudly stated at the supper table last week. He had just returned from 8 weeks of tree planting in Nova Scotia (Canada) with three of his friends.
They spent their days planting trees in areas that had been harvested by the forest products industry, under the supervision of a specialized silviculture contractor. The wood coming from these operations is used to manufacture mostly lumber and pulp and paper products. Yes…PAPER.
It’s not easy work. The days start at 5 am with a hearty breakfast. They pack a lunch for the day, drive to the job site, and are given seedlings to plant. The small trees are packed in two shoulder bags that each person carries while walking and planting. Basically, they cram as many trees as they can in the bags and they make sure the whole thing is not too heavy.
Then they put on bug dope and a bug net, because at this time of year in the woods, the mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies are awful, really awful. On good days, it’s not raining and the weather is cool, but some days are very hot and humid. Add the bugs to that…and you get the picture!
They start planting, as fast as possible, but properly because their work is being checked. They do it fast because they are being paid by the tree, not by the hour.
Over eight weeks, Alex made a good chunk of money that will help pay for incidentals and part of his university tuition. Between the first week and last week he doubled his weekly income as he became better at planting. Although some days were difficult, he enjoyed the experience, especially being outdoors and being with friends.
Forest products such as paper are the reason many students, like Alex, can learn about tree planting, forestry, have a summer job and make some money that can then help with their education. This has been going on for decades throughout North America. College students and many others have likely planted millions of trees as part of the renewable and sustainable forest cycle.