Trees growing in Meewasin ParkIt’s hard to argue the importance that forests play in the world. Naturally, they help keep the air clear but they also provide habitats for an endless array of mammals, birds, and insects. Plus, research has shown they have a positive impact on our physical and mental health.

That’s why Canadians celebrate National Forest Week each year. In 2021, this incredibly important week of celebration runs from Sunday, September 19 to Saturday, September 25. And there will be events going on across the country.

In Saskatoon, that includes a massive tree planting event in Diefenbaker Park on Wednesday, September 22. Meewasin, the City of Saskatoon, and Tree Canada have partnered to plant 100 new trees in the park. The volunteer list is full for this event but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate forests in your area!

The history of National Forest Week

This week actually dates back to 1920 when it was known as Forest Fire Prevention Week. While the overall goal was to promote greater public awareness of Canada’s forests, there was still the specific message of reducing forest fires attached to the event.

As time has gone on, we have come to understand the importance fire plays in renewing our environment. That’s why Meewasin has an active prescribed fire program. At the same time, that doesn’t mean we don’t work against careless fires being set anywhere by humans.

After being renamed in 1967, Forest Fire Prevention Week became National Forest Week. This was the start of an evolution of bringing in more of the human and environmental aspects of Canada’s forest resources while still including fires. And Canada has a lot of forest resources.

Celebrating our forests

The forest in Meewasin Park

Part of what makes National Forest Week so special are the various events going on across Canada. In Saskatoon, we have the previously mentioned tree planting day, which actually falls on National Tree Day. But there is more happening in other regions of the country.

A big part of the week is actually getting outside and enjoying nature. National Forest Week is a call to action, both to protect and grow our forests but also to understand them better. The best way to do that is by spending time in the forest.

However you choose to enjoy National Forest Week, just take time to do it. Simply stepping out into the natural world and taking a breath can do wonders for you. It also reminds you of how beautiful, precious, and precarious this resource is.

Check out the Canadian Institute of Forestry.

Check out Tree Canada.

Meewasin Planting Day at Diefenbaker Park.

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