A history of regional consultation

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Teachto inform and to make aware the regional population on the importance of forests and timber and sustainable forest management, that is how the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Forestry Association (AFSL) is rooted in its environment. The people of our region should understand the different forestry issues and be proud of their greatest wealth: the forest! Presentation of interactive educational workshops at schools, annual conference, training courses, knowledge transfer are just a few of the actions of your Association. From Petit-Saguenay to Chibougamau-Chapais, let’s rediscover a real forest culture together!


the base
To broaden its scope, the Quebec Forestry Association Inc. (AFQ), born March 18, 1939, to establish other representative centers throughout Quebec.

The goal that these organizations had to pursue: “to inform the population about the importance of protecting and using our forest resources, so that they are exploited as rationally as possible. To have a better dissemination of forestry notions among growers and settlers…”

These regional organizations will also have the mandate to “carry out propaganda and forest education campaigns launched in their territories”. Brief history of the AFQ, 40 years of dedication (1979).

In 1942, following the wishes of the directors of the AFQ, we witnessed the formation of the Cercle regional du Lac-Saint-Jean/Saguenay and of the youth movement, the 4-H clubs. The central office helps its regional Circles financially.

In the early 1950s, the Cercle Lac-Saint-Jean/Saguenay struggled to maintain its 100% activity; the Central Association paid her $2,500. From 1952 the activities of the Regional Association overflowed. At the same time, the Circle becomes an Association and is reorganized.

4-H, the pinnacle of the youth movement
In the early 1960s, Operation CP (Conservation and Protection) was born. The association presents parades, offers agroforestry days, invites the population to Canadian evenings and demonstrations on construction sites starring the bear “Smokey”.

On October 11, 1960, a large parade was organized to celebrate the forest festival with the image of the Forest Fairy. The Lac Brochet forestry camp, owned by the Ministry of Lands and Forests, is available for 4-H. Regional and provincial camps are held.

All these years, the Association has been organizing activities around the National Forest Week: wood carving competitions, visits to plantations and visits to factories. From 1968, in collaboration with the AFQ,
a forest rally is organized “to familiarize young urban residents with the forest environment by involving them in concrete activities, by discovering natural phenomena to motivate them to respect the tree and all other elements of nature”. Young people are invited to participate in this activity at Lac Brochet, Hébertville and Roberval. Over the years, the activity has seen its clientele grow from 1,000 to 5,000 young people. (Forest Conservation 1971).

The regional associations annually prepare their congress under a general theme. Since 1975, our Regional Association has been developing the content of its meetings itself, making this event more lively and instructive. That same year, a lease was signed for educational purposes for the occupation of the Lac Brochet camp. 1978 was dominated by the fire in the camp kitchen of Lac Brochet.

Looking to the future
It was in 1980 that the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Forestry Association became a cooperative organization with the Department of Energy and Resources. Its mandate will be to organize information, awareness and conservation activities for the forest environment and its ecosystems. These activities are aimed at primary school students and the general public in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Chibougamau-Chapais.

In order to facilitate the dissemination of its educational programs, the activity team welcomes school groups to Lac Brochet in the spring and then, in the fall, makes an educational tour of the schools on its territory. Educational programs and other interventions reach several thousand people every year.

At that time, all Forestry Association activities were financially supported by the Department of Energy and Resources. The association is part of the Ministry’s network of Forest Education Centers and benefits from the expertise developed there.

A big turning point
In 1984, the board of directors was restructured from 30 to 15 members appointed by their company or organisation, resulting in the involvement of the regional community. Each of them works on different committees with the goal of broadening the Forestry Association’s scope in their community.

In 1985 the Forestry Association acquired the facilities of Lac Brochet. In the course of 1987 the secretary-director resigned. The board of directors then decided to create a permanent position, that of general manager.

Always following its objective of promoting the tree, the forest and its ecosystems, various activities were proposed between 1987 and 1990.
• Tree and Forest Week, an event that will become an integral part of regional culture
• Construction of parks for the 150th
• Tree and Forest Fair
• Awareness among the general public
• Urban Forestry Competition

1990, towards regionalization
We are witnessing the closure of the Ministry’s Forest Education Centers. In addition, the Quebec Forestry Association has great financial difficulties. In 1996 it is the final closing of the AFQ.

But our Regional Association is still there and it is thanks to a government grant that it continues to provide educational services to its clients. To ensure its sustainability, it is developing a financing strategy aimed at increasing the involvement of the regional community.
• Fundraising campaign per cubic meter with subscriber member status
• Major self-financing activities
• Large congress, with between 40 and 60 exhibitors
• Sale of Tree and Forest Week sweaters
• Subsidy Component II of the CRD de la Baie-James and the CRCD-02 (for forestry education)

The involvement of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Forestry Association in its community has earned it two awards:
• She receives the Gold Leaf Award from the International Society of Arboriculture for the creation of the annual urban forestry competition
• On November 21, 1996, the recognition of the MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay for its activities to raise awareness of the management of residual materials.

Working together… to raise better
Over the years, community participation has been reinvigorated, allowing the Board of Directors to continue to focus on the Association’s educational mission and work to create new projects such as:
• Christmas tree campaign in collaboration with the four MRCs in the region and the Syndicat des producteurs de bois
• Coordination of forest worker courses with the Department of Human Resources Canada and Emploi Québec
• The Wood Innovation Gala with the Branché sur le bois group
• Involvement in the monitoring and control of Dutch elm disease with the MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay and Ville de Chicoutimi
• Awareness program according to the 3-RV principle with the MRC du Fjord-du Saguenay and Recyc-Québec

2004, the era of the Coulombe Commission
Over the past two decades, the portrait of forestry in Quebec has changed a lot. The forest regime has been adjusted, as have the rights and obligations of users. Gaining knowledge about our ecosystems, their dynamics and our relationship with the environment has therefore brought about major changes. Quebec forestry has taken a turn towards sustainable development, aiming to harmonize the notions of preserving ecological benefits with those of socio-economic benefits.

At the same time, Quebec residents want to be heard by the state about forest management choices. Faced with this new forest context, the Study Commission for the Management of Public Forests of Quebec, better known as the Coulombe Commission, is being established to empower the population to express themselves on forest management and key forest issues. The Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Forestry Association (AFSL) then submitted its brief, underscoring the importance of developing a forestry culture in Quebec.

In addition, the AFSL recommendation is directly related to the fourth issue of the Regional Conference of Elected Officials of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (CRÉ), presented to the Coulombe Commission, namely social acceptability. The goal: to rediscover our forestry culture, to promote wood as a real environmental material and to revive the crafts associated with the forest by developing a sense of pride.

2007, birth of the action plan: Forest and forest, a culture to rediscover…
In 2007, the Regional Conference of Elected Officers of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (CRÉ) awarded a budget envelope to allow the Association to develop an action plan. This project entitled “Forest and wood, a culture to be rediscovered…” is the result of three conferences: “Forest and wood, a culture to be rediscovered…” in 2005, “Forest and wood, social acceptability.. .” in the spring of 2006 and “Forest and timber, ecological value” in December 2006. The core of this action plan, which includes 12 general objectives, 19 specific objectives, 12 promotion actions and 30 development, aims to ensure that the Saguenéens , Jeannois and Innu of Lac-Saint -Jean understands the problems of the forest environment and its economic, social, ecological and cultural importance in a sustainable development perspective.

Memorandum law regarding the sustainable development of the forest area two requests:
1. That Chapter 1 of the bill adds to the section “OBJECT AND APPLICATION” a first objective, which would form the cornerstone of the proposed reform: to awaken the pride of Quebecers for their forests, for the , and see in this identity attachment a potential for growth for the whole community.

Answer: Law 57 – Preamble:
• whereas forests cover an immense territory and are a collective asset of inestimable value for present and future generations;
• Considering the importance of promoting forest culture in Quebec by raising public awareness about it so as to contribute to the sustainable development of forests and their management;
• Considering that forests have helped build Quebec’s identity and should remain a source of pride.

2. That, in the context of the implementation of the forestry regime, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is designated as a pilot region for the continuation of the implementation by the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Forestry Association of a regional information, education and awareness service on the social, environmental, cultural and economic importance of the forest environment and that this pilot project will be implemented for a period of five years through the conclusion of a specific agreement.

Response: March 2010, Minister accepts specific request for approval and appoints negotiator:
• New MRNF education support measure (December 2010);
• Specific agreement signed for 2011-2015.

Your Association is an organization well established in its community, a diverse board of directors, 6 permanent employees, educational activities from kindergarten to university.

All these actions are carried out with the financial support of the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs and that of community partners, including the forestry industry, MRCs, Pekuakamiulnuatsh, School Service Centers, UQAC, Cégeps, the Syndicat des producteurs de bois, forestry companies, service providers, not to mention the non-monetary contribution of other partners such as the media and other collaborators.

Consult the Revue à l’Arbre 2022

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