As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is seizing the opportunity to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence program. Today, FPAC and the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) are recognizing three accomplished individuals who are receiving the 2021 Skills Awards for Indigenous Youth.
Through the Skills Awards for Indigenous Youth, FPAC and CCFM are proud to jointly recognize Indigenous young people for their skills development and career aspirations in the forest products industry. These awards are given to individuals that exemplify the qualities of strong academic standing, commitment to the forest products industry, and a demonstrated commitment to Indigenous communities.
Kianna Bear-Hetherington, St. Mary’s First Nation, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Kianna Bear Hetherington is from St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She is in her fourth year of the Environment & Natural Resources program at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), with a major in Water Resource Management. In addition to advocating for environmental protection and forest stewardship, Kianna is a proud Wolastoqey woman and is passionate about advancing Indigenous rights. As a Stewardship Technician Intern with the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, Kianna draws on prior experience assisting the Sitansisk and the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick (WNNB) with treaty rights and consultation files. She also volunteers as the Indigenous Representative (Nuci Putuwasuwin) at UNB, focusing on improving the experiences of and opportunities for Indigenous students. Kianna’s activism reinforces the beliefs and values that she intends to bring forward in her chosen career path – to be a voice for communities facing injustices caused by environmental racism and to encourage Indigenous youth to use their voices.
Tristan Flood, Matachewan First Nation, Kirkland Lake, Ontario
Tristan Flood is from Matachewan First Nation, part of the James Bay Treaty (Treaty No. 9) in Ontario. This past summer, Tristan worked in his traditional territory with EACOM Timber Corporation’s Timmins woodlands team as a Woodlands Summer Student, a position he feels has given him knowledge and skills to help him succeed in the forest industry. This fall, Tristan will be in his final year at Lakehead University in the Forest Management program. Upon completing his Forestry degree, he plans to enter the forest sector to obtain his Registered Professional Forester (RPF) designation and continue advocating for the increased participation of First Nations in natural resources management. Tristan’s career goal is to work directly with First Nations communities to develop community-lead forest management plans and resource revenue-sharing agreements that ensure the long-term sustainability of natural resources.
Krystle Leigh-Anne Hill, Six Nations Reserve of Grand River, Brantford, Ontario
Krystle Leigh-Anne Hill is from Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, currently working as a Greenhouse Assistant at the Kayanase Ecological Restoration Center (Kayanase) near Brantford, Ontario. After an employment opportunity fell through due to the pandemic, Krystle was given the opportunity to work at Kayanase. She joined with little knowledge of plants, trees or native species, but rose to the challenge and has learned a great deal about seed collection, processing, planting and propagation, as well as monitoring and nurturing healthful biodiversity. Krystle has embraced the centre’s mission “to restore the health and beauty of Mother Earth using science-based approaches and Traditional Ecological Knowledge”. Working at Kayanase has inspired Krystle to continue her education and do her part in the fight against declining biodiversity and climate change. Currently she is enrolled in the Horticulture Certificate program at the University of Guelph. She continues to work at the greenhouse and recently received her Certified Seed Collector designation.
“Growing an inclusive green economy and the sustainable management of our most important renewable resource is centred in valuing the communities where forestry operates,” said FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor. “Our sector is seeing a growing number of Indigenous youth who are excited by opportunities in the forest products sector. As a sector, we are committed to providing opportunities where young leaders like Kianna, Tristan and Krystle can continue to develop their skills and take our sector into the future,” Nighbor added.
To learn more about FPAC’s Awards of Excellence recipients, please visit: https://www.fpac.ca/posts/fpac-awards-of-excellence
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $80B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.