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Saturday Science – A lad and his sticks

So, what does an 8-year-old lad and 50-year-old forest land restoration professional like to do on a Saturday afternoon? Answer: avoid chores and play with sticks.

As a lad, I would spend long durations outside, entertaining myself in an endless effort to avoid household tasks. During those days, I did not have electronic toys nor the means to participate in organized sports, so I would spend time exploring, usually with my trusted field tool, an old stick. As the years passed, I became creative with my time, and learned a lot during the associated adventures, frequently just in the survival of the should have… and could have… type of events. Nonetheless, one of the greatest gifts I developed during that time was my creativity, fostered when one had to make do with what one has.

And it was the resourceful lad inside the professional forester that re-emerged on a Saturday morning this past April. Once again playing with sticks – this time alive but dormant – I wanted them to grow. And because balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) tree clippings can sprout roots from the stem, this would be a rapid way to test my idea for a homemade growing medium. To be clear, I am not interested in developing a nursery business, garnering a plant collection project, or even tabulating and publishing the findings in a professional Journal. No, I am just curious.

So, how does this story link to the practice of forestland reclamation? Simple, yet complex. Canada’s Boreal Forest has a long list of environmental liabilities awaiting a solution. By attempting new ideas, with a vision that is held in proper tension with the risk of failure, land restoration breakthroughs will inevitably result. I discovered over the years that despite the risk of disappointment, some of the very best Reclaimit-led forestland reclamation solutions were born out of defeat. As a natural resource professional, I would rather face the consequences of defeat after an honest attempt, than settle for a status quo built upon a foundation of fear, complacency, and arrogance. And so, I will continue to play with sticks, staring failure in the face, for an opportunity to uncover more of the yet to be discovered.

 More themes remain for me to revisit, and many more new ideas await my discovery as I explore the exciting world of Reclaimit’s forest remediation and reclamation services, and travel across the provinces of Canada and around the world in project-related adventures. Have a question about my blog articles, reclamation services, or have a forestry-related question? Click here to drop me an email!

 

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