There are so many possibilities on how you can spend your summer break. Some choose to soak up the sunshine as much as possible; some indulge in reading books or going to music festivals. However, some embrace on a quite different journey. With an aim to test their stamina and to earn extra money they head over to Canada to plant trees.
Tree planting might be one of the toughest jobs on the planet; however it is also one of the most rewarding ones. With climate change, an increase of carbon dioxide emissions and massive deforestation happening around the globe, planting trees bring not only economical rewards, but also mental and emotional rewards. Tree planting is physically and mentally demanding job, as during tree planting season in Canada you will be out planting trees during any weather conditions, be it rain, sun or hail. So before you go ahead and become a tree planter, make sure that you know what you are signing up for.
According to National Geographic:
“More than 90 percent of Canada’s forests are publicly owned, and forestry laws requiring replanting were enacted in the mid-1980s out of concern that harvest practices at the time were unsustainable. Laws vary from province to province; in British Columbia, for example, three seedlings must be planted for each mature stem harvested.”
These replanted as well as naturally regenerated forests are left undisturbed for up to 120 years, or until the trees are mature enough to be harvested again. To comply with Canada’s reforestation laws woodcutters seek “contract with companies that specialize in a unique form of seasonal labor: summer planting camps”. As Luc Forsyth, who worked as a tree planter in Canada for six seasons, notes to National Geographic, “With all the technology we have, there still isn’t a more effective way to do this job than by giving a 22-year-old a shovel”. On average tree planters are usually between the age of 19 to 26, and they travel to Canada from as far as Australia, to earn some money while on the way also testing their mental and physical strength.
Planters have to get all their own supplies – shovel, tree planting bag, sleeping bag, and tent – not to mention they have to pay for their travel expenses. The day will be spent carrying around 20 kg heavy bag with seedlings and gear over clear-cut forests and broken landscapes. Pay is usually per tree; and it is worth to remember that the competition between the tree planters is fierce. As Forsyth notes, on his best day he planted 8100 trees, and over six seasons he estimates that he planted around half a million trees. National Geographic writes that:
“Planters like to equate the difficulty of their jobs to running a marathon, but one study found it’s actually harder: Elite marathoners have a higher working heart rate while running a standard race of 26.2 miles, but planters exert more effort overall – they’re maintaining elevated heart rates for nine hours a day, five to six days a week, for 16 weeks.”
Similarly enough to undertaking a marathon, it is not just about your physical capabilities, it is a lot more about your mental strength.
If you are craving a sense of accomplishment and challenge in this sedentary age and want to earn some money while doing good, then it might be worth looking into a tree planting job in Canada. Forsyth notes:
“Planting is for people who want to live in a different way, who thrive on pushing themselves in unusual ways. The day-to-day is miserable, but the whole is special.”
To find out more you can head over to Tree Planter homepage. Reduce your footprint and plant some trees.