The Women in Wood network is growing! Since Women in Wood’s website, Facebook group and Twitter launched in 2015, the online community has grown in Canada, the US and around the world.
Our Facebook group now boasts over 600 women from around the world representing a diversity of fields including foresters, forest technicians, urban foresters, woodworkers, education, research and policy. Regardless of their background, it is clear that women are here to support other women. The conversations are genuine, curious, supportive, and informational - showing that there is a need and desire for a place for women to come together to support each other in this industry. Women have reported benefits both expected and not expected: job post sharing, technical advice on work gear, tips for each field season, advice and encouragement for women thinking about starting a career in forestry, and making connections in their geographic region and beyond. For young women entering in to this field, they have the opportunity to find a mentor, view job postings, or ask questions to build their career paths. Those women who have been in the industry for decades, have their chance to give back by providing their insight and experience. In addition to our active Facebook group, our blog contributions continue to grow. Most recently, we had the unique opportunity to hear from Ontario's first female forester, Marie Rauter. Marie paved the way for many of the women that currently are in this industry, and to read about her experience was inspiring.
The most recent event took place at the OPFA Annual Conference in Timmins, Ontario with help from the OPFA Conference Organizing Committee and EACOM. The “Fireside Chat” panel and networking event was attended by well over 60 people. Faye Johnson, RPF, Director of Forest Tenure and Economics for MNRF, Beth MacNeil, Assistant Deputy Minister, for CFS/NRCan and Jenny Tallman, RPF, Chief Forester for EACOM answered a variety of questions and provided insight to women and men in the audience. One theme was how to succeed early and mid-career, including encouraging people to do what they are passionate about, speak up about their career goals, not shy away from a challenge and secure a good mentor. Another interesting topic was how men can help women succeed in the forest sector – by “not seeing gender” and treating and mentoring men and women the same way, as well as acknowledging that men and women are equally capable of succeeding in all levels of the forest sector. Feedback after the event was excellent, and conversations on topics covered were discussed well into the evening. We are thankful to the panel members and everyone who helped put the event together.
Women in Wood also recently participated in the development of a video, Women Branching Out: A diversity of careers, focused on gathering stories of women’s experiences in arboriculture and urban forestry. The short film was produced in collaboration with Fleming College Frost Campus in Ontario, and showcased and celebrated women working in the diverse urban tree industry. You can check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8wdMseQaqI
We are seeking women from across Canada to look for opportunities to host their own Women in Wood events. Whether in conjunction with other events bringing together those in the industry, or a standalone event, it is a great way to bring together women in this field. If you are interested in learning more about hosting your own event, reach out!