Planting for Future Generations

This spring, community members from Opaskwayak weathered cold rain and just above freezing temperatures to replant trees in an area affected by wildfire.

Opaskwayak tree planters participated in Blue Green Planet Project, a nature-based sustainability initiative that works with Indigenous groups, rural communities, experienced tree planters and professional foresters to identify impacted land, select the right trees, and plant high quality trees that will grow into forests.

“As an organization that takes pride in our Indigenous relationships and community involvement, working with the people from Opaskwayak was an incredibly rewarding experience,” says Allison Johns, the lead for Communications and Public Relations at Blue Green Planet Project. “It gave us the opportunity to learn from the people of Opaskwayak, who are closely connected to the land, and allowed them to give back to their surrounding environment.”

Josh Brown, the Employment and Training Coordinator at Opaskwayak Education Services, says he’s glad to see Opaskwayak community members gain experience in the tree planting business.

“Tree Planting used to be a big industry in this region with an employer that would give work to many people from around the community,” says Brown.

But lately, planting in Manitoba has decreased and contracts are tendered out and bid on by businesses outside of the province.

Opaskwayak Education Services decided to look beyond their lands to give community members more opportunities for meaningful work experience. Opaskwayak tree planters joined tree planters from Summit Reforestation in a camp just north of Devils Lake.

Despite the physical demands of tree planting, Brown says that some of Opaskwayak’s tree planters continued working with Summit after their work with Blue Green Planet Project finished and some are interested in pursuing careers in forestry and forest management.

“It is a part of the economy that we would love to see our membership fall in love with,” says Brown. “Perhaps they will start a company and be able to bid on contracts in the region.”

Brown and Opaskwayak Education Services would like to thank some of the people and organizations who made this project possible:

  • Greg Brown, Blue Green Planet Project 
  • Tim Tchida, Summit Reforestation/Blue Green Planet Project
  • Andrew Forward, Nisokapawino Forest Management Corporation 
  • Jeanne Besaw, Nisokapawino Forest Management Corporation
  • Joannie Dumas, Opaskwayak Education Services 

Photos provided by Blue Green Planet Project: