Alberta non-profit connects businesses with opportunities to fund local forests and capture carbon naturally

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Project Forest founder Mike Toffan inspects tree growth on site in the Ghost Public Land Use area. Photo credit: Rhonda Krause, Adventure Alberta.

Project Forest, a new Alberta non-profit, is creating opportunities for businesses to help capture carbon and rewild local landscapes close to home.

“Forests are arguably the most cost-effective means of capturing atmospheric carbon,” says Mike Toffan, General Manager of Reclamation and Forestry for Tree Time Services and founder of Project Forest. “They clean the air and water, support animal habitat and provide us with a natural playground.”

While there are a number of global initiatives working to combat climate change through tree planting, Toffan says it can be a challenge to find meaningful opportunities to support programs that benefit Canadian forests. “It can be even more challenging for businesses to get involved at a corporate level—which is one of the reasons we created Project Forest,” says Toffan.

Project Forest’s model is simple; they’ll connect with conservation groups and private landowners to identify and convert non-productive agriculture land or under-utilized land to forest. From there, they’ll share the opportunity to rewild that land with interested businesses.

“Essentially, we’re building a community of like-minded, environmentally-conscious companies, working together to plant forests where Albertans can enjoy them most—close to home,” says Toffan, adding every Project Forest location will be no further than an hour from a municipal centre.

With that goal in mind, Project Forest will leverage the team of Silviculture Foresters at Tree Time Services to use local seeds to produce the right trees and ensure their projects become mature forests that can contribute to Canada’s climate change commitments.

“Our foresters have been part of the deployment of over one billion seedlings and have the knowledge and skills to plant the right tree, in the right place, where it can last a lifetime,” says Toffan.

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The Project Forest – Golden Acres site shown here will see 110,000 trees planted on 55 hectares just 30 minutes east of Edmonton. Photo Credit: Supplied

A number of projects will be rolled out over the coming years, but the first initiative – Project Forest – Golden Ranches in South Cooking Lake, is already accepting partners. Project Forest – Golden Ranches has 55 hectares of land to be planted and is just 30 minutes east of Edmonton, which means Alberta businesses supporting the project can one day visit the forest they fund. It’s part of the appeal for partners; being able to support real, impactful change where it can make a difference for their community.

“The entire team at Tidewater is honoured to be part of this project. We’ve been searching for an opportunity like this for some time now,” says Tidewater Midstream vice president Scott McLean, Project Forest’s first official partner and founding member. “We bring solutions to our customers every day and now we can provide long-term, positive solutions for the environment that will have a lasting impact for generations to come.”

With four different levels of funding, interested businesses can join Project Forest and make a difference in a way that aligns with their resources.

For more information or to sign up as Project Forest partner, visit projectforest.ca.

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