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As the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, it is my pleasure to wish Albertans a very happy Alberta Forest Week.
It’s a great chance to celebrate our healthy forests, educate people on how we properly manage invasive pests that attack them, and highlight actions that prevent and mitigate wildfires.
Alberta’s forests are on Crown land – which means they belong to Albertans. From camping trips to cutting down your own Christmas tree, and 2x4s to toilet paper, this past year has taught us more than ever how much we depend on our forests for our day-to-day lives.
Other forest values
Alberta’s forests are home to more than just trees. This year we’re excited to talk about some of the many other parts of Alberta’s 87 million acres of forested land.
We sustainably manage our forests for wildlife, water, recreation, traditional use, and more, to make sure they’ll be around for generations to come. In fact, more than 80% of Alberta’s managed forested lands are third-party certified for sustainability, showing the province and industry’s strong commitment to the long-term health of our forests.
Alberta’s forests also give us secure, well-paying jobs. As the province’s third-largest resource sector, the forest sector directly supports 722 small businesses with 51 medium-to-large businesses, and provides direct jobs for more than 18,000 Albertans in communities across the province. We’re home to the most competitive forest sector in the country, which is why forestry will be a key economic driver in Alberta’s recovery.
Grade One Seedling Program
I’m also excited to announce an update to this year’s Grade One Seedling Program.
For more than 60 years, the Government of Alberta has delivered close to 70,000 Lodgepole pine seedlings to Grade 1 students throughout the province during Alberta Forest Week. These seedlings teach the value of trees and their contribution to the Alberta way of life.
As students were learning remotely last spring, Alberta’s Junior Forest Rangers stepped up to plant the seedlings. This year, both Grade 1 and Grade 2 students will receive Lodgepole pine seedlings to keep the Alberta Forest Week tradition alive.
Take a moment to think about how you’d like to celebrate Alberta’s amazing forests this week. If you need activity ideas, visit the Alberta Forest Week page on Alberta.ca. You’ll find lots of great tips like downloading an activity sheet or going for a walk in your local forested area.