Township Students Join Domtar to “Plant Clean Air”

Fifty eleventh graders from the Triolet School in Sherbrooke, Quebec took part in the summer program, “Plant clean air: 10,000 trees in 2010”. André Gravel, Procurement and Fiber Sales Superintendent at Domtar’s Windsor Will, initiated and coordinated the innovative project along with his son, Philippe. The project, which took place on weekends throughout the month of May 2010, was also an opportunity to fund future school trips planned for 2011.

With the help of two other forestry engineers from the Windsor Mill – Patrick Cartier, Forestry and Inventories, and Eric Lapointe, Sylviculture Supervisor – they oversaw the young participants’ work and taught them reforestation techniques: spacing, protection and compaction.

The project provided Domtar with a great opportunity to help familiarize the students with nature and forest-related professions, as well as to contribute to a unifying, environmentally-focused educational initiative. The first step in the program was to create a student-run environmental services company. As soon as spring rolled around, the youngsters obtained and fulfilled four reforestation contracts totaling 10,000 trees of various species (hybrid poplars, maple, oak, white pine and spruce):

1. Reforestation, with 2,000 trees, of Windsor mill lands. The planting was completed on the site of the former plant and the objective was to stabilize a parcel of land bordering the Saint-François River.

2. Reforestation, with 4,000 trees, on seven local farms. The planting aimed to establish protective riverside barriers, wind-breaking hedges and anti-odor corridors.

3. Reforestation, with 3,000 trees, in the Bernier Stream basin. This body of water is an important influent for Aylmer Lake, and the new trees will help improve water quality and fish habitat.

4. Planting of 1,500 trees in Frontenac National Park. The planting will restore a section of the park on the shores of Saint-François Lake.

In total, over 10,500 trees were planted by the youth group under the supervision of Domtar’s foresters. It has been estimated that the addition of these trees alone will contribute to neutralizing the Greenhouse gas (GHG) equivalent of 525 cars for an entire year. Besides providing participants with a feeling of accountability towards the environment, “Plant Clean Air” and its coverage in the media garnered the students a number of regional awards.