This pandemic has changed the way we all do business, and the Ontario Woodlot Association (OWA) is no exception to this. The OWA held its AGM and Conference virtually this past week and featured a variety of presentations by woodlands experts. There were 380 people who attended the conference which John Pineau, Executive Director, said received rave reviews.
The OWA was created in 1992 and has a history of navigating many changes over the decades, including the change to virtual conferencing.
The line-up of presentations was notable, including a presentation by Head Forester, Geraint Richards, who manages the Duchy of Cornwall woodlands in England.
The Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, John Yakabuski, offered congratulations to OWA on their conference and the 100th issue of the OWA publication, the Woodlander.
OWA President, Paul Robertson, said he was impressed and proud of the range and depth on issues that were offered in this year’s conference.
It was a, “stellar and solid lineup of presenters, and the themes are highly relevant to our membership’s diverse interests, and to what we are trying to accomplish with our on-going major projects,” said Paul.
The conference hosted three evenings of presentations and discussions. The theme of this year’s conference was -The Opportunities and Options our Woodlands Give.
The Keynote presentation was offered by Rob Keen, R.P.F and CEO of Forests Ontario. Rob spoke about the Two-Billion tree program, which is a major climate change mitigation initiative by the federal government. There was a special student event that was designed to promote careers in forestry.
The conference topics included science and technology in woodlands, and a discussion on the social benefits that woodlands offer to communities.
No conference would be complete without a bit of fun, so the Canadian Ecology Centre also hosted a live-broadcast wolf-howl and owl hoot. The live wolf howling and owl hooting took place over a half hour period from remote locations to try and attract a response from wolves and owls. Sadly the wolves and owls were unavailable to answer that evening.
“Our Association has remained steady and strong during the pandemic, and we have in fact grown and strengthened in some respects, despite so many challenges,” said Paul Robertson.
The OWA Executive Committee is comprised of President, Paul Robertson, Vice-President, Art Shannon, Kerry Coleman, Dave Ferguson, and Don Willis. The Board is comprised of 20 representatives from the various provincial chapters of OFA