Last week the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) was buzzing with activity for three very full days. Twenty-two representatives from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario with an interest in forestry, and in particular, forest certification, gathered for an intensive Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Assessor Training Workshop.
The course was aimed at those interested in becoming FSC auditors or getting forest land certified. Hosted by MTRI, in Kempt, Queens County, the course was organised by Krista West, forest management associate for Western Canada and Maritimes, SmartWood Program. Keith Moore, FSC auditing consultant, with a wealth of auditing experience, was lead trainer.
The course covered an in-depth background of FSC and the certification process and what it takes to be an auditor. Participants took part in a mock audit, interviewing community volunteers to gain real insight into the complexities of a real-life situation.
“It was an excellent three-day introduction to forest management certification and its auditing systems,” said local forest technician Tom Berry. “Working groups of four to five participants worked cooperatively on a mock audit of a private woodlot management plan. All the people in my working group felt they learned a lot of material in a three-day period and enjoyed the process at the same time.”
Mix of participants
Participants included a mixture of forestry professionals with an interest in becoming FSC auditors. There were representatives from several non-profit organizations with an interest in FSC Forest Management Certification, UNB forestry students, and others with a professional interest in future forestry strategies in the Maritimes.
“The FSC assessor training was a well-balanced mix of the background, business, and understanding of the processes involved with becoming FSC certified,” said Carolyn Connolly, forest technician with Green Tree Forestry Consulting. “Going forward as a forest technician involved with the certification process, I now have an enhanced understanding as to what FSC auditor teams place utmost importance in regards to development of forest management plans.”
This was the first course of its kind in Nova Scotia. The unexpectedly high number of participants on this specialist course reflects current interest in the future of forestry in Nova Scotia.
“The training was well-attended and seemed to be well-received,” said West. “SmartWood looks forward to working with this group of auditors in the years to come.”