2013 Season Overview from Judi Tetro: Adventures in Eastern Canada

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2013 Season Overview from Judi Tetro: Adventures in Eastern Canada


By Judi Tetro, Eastern Canada Operations Manager

What is The East? Well, in Brinkman and Associates Reforestation terms, The East comprises the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Please, please don’t tell anyone who lives in Alberta or Saskatchewan that we include them in The East… we will be tarred and feathered – and likely shunned and booted out of those provinces!

That aside, The East has the most fun and is the best place to work of all the regions! Ok, maybe we shouldn’t tell people who plant in BC that [totally true fact] either.

The East planted a lot of trees in 2013, surveyed thousands of hectares, burned hundreds of slash piles, and ‘greened’ the highway right-of-ways of Southern Ontario.

Here is a quick synopsis: In Southern Ontario, under the guidance of Mike Hayes (22 years with B&A), the silviculture group plants and tends trees along the sides of highways, in farmer’s fields, in converted landfills and mines, and in community forests. This work has morphed from ‘early spring planting’ to work that lasts as long as the reforestation planting season up north. Many people who work on our traditional reforestation contracts also work with Mike in the early spring. This is a great way to extend their season and get warmed up and in shape for planting – while putting some money into their pockets! Mike also has a crew that sticks with him after the big April planting push is over. This work is interesting and it’s different all the time – some days planting along the side of the busiest highway in Canada, other days in a serene forest. Good stuff.

Our reforestation program in Northern Ontario is headed by Neil Whan (21 years with B&A). Neil has been busy for the past 21 years working for Resolute Forest Products in the Thunder Bay area (that’s right, same client every year since he started!). Ask him anything about the work there and he knows it (and, when his resolute work is done, Neil also runs projects across the country). This year in Ontario we had 3 camps: Neil with Resolute FP, Ben Bradford with Lake Nipigon FP and Nagagami FM, and Robin McCullough with Resolute FP. The regular planting season was around 40 work days and planters had the opportunity to add another 30-40 days to that number (the early work with Hayes was around 15 days; Chris Goetz ran a small plant in July for 11 days; Matty Brown ran another one in August for 5 days; and Shawn Driscoll ran one in September for 5 days). As if this was not already a ton of work, we also had a two month survey project this fall (run by Ben), and one month of slash pile burning (run by Neil). The season was ALMOST OVER in Ontario… by November 30!

Manitoba planting is short, but SWEET. Manitoba planting has some serious prairie topography happening – and to add to that, the area we typically plant in is called the Sandilands Provincial Forest. The planting is just as it sounds: flat and sandy (for the most part… there are a few pieces of slash!!). This year Robin’s crew planted for about one month in Manitoba before heading to Ontario to finish out the rest of the season.

Saskatchewan is also flat (who knew!), but the planting in Saskatchewan is a bit more challenging than Manitoba. Brian’s crew went into SK for a quick honeymoon plant in the middle of the season. It was a great gap filler and the planters did really well.

We have been working with most of our clients in Alberta for over 15 years. It’s a great place to work – amazing clients and incredible crews. All our work is within a few hours of Edmonton. Lots of helicopters and Hagglunds and yes, lots of mud! Alberta provides long, full planting seasons every year; we definitely send people home tired. This year we had Andy Cameron back doing his usual stellar job at Weyerhaeuser; we had Brian Bullock soar into Blue Ridge Lumber and ANC and do a great job; and Dawn Brinkman who slides in to perform her usual Hollywood class act July plant with Millar Western. 2013 was another great season in Alberta.

 2014? Well, more of the same… mostly! I am really happy to announce that we are in the end process of securing a very exciting new opportunity in our Ontario operations. Frontier, an Ontario tree planting company owned by PRT (the nursery company), has been operating in Ontario for over 20 years. They have good contracts and a strong staff team and planters. PRT has recently undergone an ownership change, and the new owners have decided that it’s important to focus on their nursery business and not tree planting.

Brinkman was approached with the opportunity to purchase PRT Frontier’s tree planting operations. We are very excited to be presented with this prospect. It will open up a new part of the Ontario market to Brinkman, it greatly increases the amount of work we will be doing, and it offers the chance to work with new people, and with new clients.

This is a very exciting development and we are looking forward to this new chapter and to welcome new people into our team.

We also have our Sandilands show back again in Manitoba. Saskatchewan will be a little bigger this year. And in Alberta, all the usual great contracts.

If you have any comments or questions, I’m always happy to hear from you. You can reach me at [email protected]