Tree Planters’ Stories
He told me all about tree planting and I was so set that this was exactly what I was looking for and the people I wanted to meet.
He told me that he had just finished his season working with Outland and that I should apply.
Many of the planters were concerned that I would pick up this guy who was known for his wild personality but it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
This summer, I fulfilled the urge for solitude that I was looking for and saved money to continue studying physics and astronomy in university; I even made enough to buy a new and better telescope.
I live in a small orchard town called Oyama and worked on my grandfather’s orchard most of my life until he became too ill to work. He was excited to hear about planting when I came home to him.
Outside of school, I am passionate about snowboarding and volunteering at the Kelowna General Hospital. I’m almost done a two-year project now to have cup holders put on all of the wheelchairs at the hospital.
This summer has helped me realize all that I am capable of.
Here, I met Imad and heard his crazy stories about his first experience in tree planting. I remember I thought that it’s only crazy people like him, who, full of inexhaustible energy and the craving for action, could do such a backbreaking job. I thought I would never ever do something like that in my life.
Oh well, “never say never” I guess. Two years later, he invited me to go with him to Alberta.
I always wanted to do something reasonable and valuable in my life and this looked like a good chance to do it. With a lot of doubts and fear in my knees I quit my job, bought a flight ticket and got the furthest north in Canada I’ve ever been.
It was definitely a challenging experience, and I guess I should admit I didn’t do the best job but I did my best for that particular time of my life. Of course, I read a lot before getting there and I heard that it’s more mentally than physically tiring. But how can you be prepared for that?
I was happy that I was not alone. I met a lot of nice people who were always friendly with me. And those with whom I had a connection helped and grounded me on my toughest and moodiest days. As I said before, I can say my productivity wasn’t great and I can list a lot of excuses why, but in the end, everyone has the same conditions so no excuses. I’m very happy I did it.
Right now there is a mini forest growing in Northern Alberta. Maybe it’s a tiny forest, but it’s my forest and no one can take it away from me!
For some people, motivation came from their pay check; for others it’s a competitive feeling; and for someone like me it’s planting trees and doing something good for the planet. I know that sounds cheesy but that was a main reason for me to go to Alberta.
For the past few years, I have become very interested in getting back to school to study ecological science or something involving renewable sources of energy. Climate change is more visible in Canada, with two recent examples being the High Level wildfire and the melting permafrost. Moreover, according to the Green Peace report from this year, Canada is heating up almost twice as fast as the rest of the world. So we need to fix the mess we create on this planet and I would like to be a part of those who are gonna do it.
Unfortunately, recent catastrophic fires in Brazil and Siberia shows us that everything is in the hands of politicians and corporations, so maybe I need to study political science instead.
So far, I’m back to Montreal and trying to get back to reality after the forest experience.
As a hobby, I love photography. I guess you figured that out.
The future is unclear and it’s probably the best part of it.
“I’m semi nomadic and live all over the place; I’m currently in Ontario. I work throughout the year, mostly in kitchen work – nothing permanent but always something enjoyable. I see tree planting as a time to unwind in the summer – haha.
“My hobbies include skateboarding, snowboarding, traveling and drawing action comics.”
Jimbo has traveled throughout Canada and plans to see Europe in the near future. The place he’d most like to see is France, and he’s studying French in preparation for his visit there.