By Sue Tiffin
Two decades after becoming the firstcompany in Canada to be certified as sustainable by the ForestStewardship Council Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve is stillcelebrating annual sustainability certification and now also aleadership award in recognition of their work.
Sixteen individuals and organizationswere honoured by the Forest Stewardship Council an independentnonprofit organization at a ceremony in Chicago last week. The FSCmade particular note of Haliburton Forest and WildlifeReserve for what SCS Global Services auditing company lauded as“earning the first FSC Forest Management certification in Canadaand maintaining it for 20 years not only for supplying forestproducts but also to sustain the land for nature lovers.”
Malcolm Cockwell Haliburton Forestmanaging director accepted the award with Tegan Legge the Forest’sgeneral manager tourism and recreation his brother Gareth Cockwelland his partner Mike Churchman from Limberlost Forest and WildlifeReserve and Timmins Forest and Wildlife Reserve at an award ceremonyheld Nov. 14.
The award ceremony annually recognizes“individuals and entities that have had an enduring influence inforest conservation and the production of wood and paper productsderived from responsibly managed forests” according to a pressrelease from SCS Global Services.
Cockwell said it was really special tobe in the same room with some of the other organizations beinghonoured at the event including World Wildlife Fund BurtonSnowboards and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department ofConservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry which hasachieved FSC certification for more than 20 years on 2.2 millionacres of forestland representing one of the largest expanses ofwildland in the eastern United States.
“It was really nice to be alongsidethem because those folks are doing some pretty great work too”said Cockwell.
To his knowledge Haliburton Forest wasthe only private land company recognized and the only company fromOntario. Haliburton Forest has been certified longer and moreconsistently than any other company in Canada according to Cockwell.
“That in part was the motivation forthe award” said Cockwell. “… It was basically in recognitionof the fact that we were the first to be certified the fact that weremain certified and therefore committed to uphold the standards ofthe Forest Stewardship Council so then also in addition to that ourefforts to go above and beyond in terms of generating ecologicalbenefits but also making efforts to share the land with other peoplerecreational users of the property.”
Cockwell acknowledged the longtime workof people at the Forest like Peter Schleifenbaum and Peter McElwain.
“It’s a recognition of a lot ofgood work that’s been done” said Cockwell. “Half of therecognition here is the fact that we’ve been certifiedfor 25 years. That means a lot because the management team that’sin place at Haliburton Forest we’re very very fortunate to havewhat we have. We’ve inherited incredible property so to speakfrom incredible people who put their lives into making it what it is.It’s very special to us to know that this isn’t an award sayinghey you guys have done a great job for the past two yearscongratulations. It’s saying you’ve done a great job for 25years … I think the most important thing it’s an indication forus to continue trying to set setting a high standard and trying to beamong the best alongside some of those other amazing companies thatwere recognized.”
Haliburton Forest Limberlost Forestand Wildlife Reserve near Huntsville and Timmins Forest and WildlifeReserve near Timmins are certified together under the samecertificate with the Forest Stewardship Council according toCockwell and accepted the award together.
“Haliburton Forest is finding it’spathway to sustained success but we have a lot of capacity and weare seizing the opportunity to deploy thatcapacity on other properties by working in partnership with the folksmanaging those properties” he told theEcho . “Working together will provide developmentopportunities for some of our staff and also allow us to grow a bitbeyond Haliburton County in a very positive way … By workingtogether that means that we are now managing a total of 250000acres in Ontario all of which is certified as sustainable by FSC –but the lead property with respect to forest stewardship and relatedoperations is definitely Haliburton Forest itself.”
Cockwell said the annual audit done bySCS Global Services is comprehensive.
“This isn’t an award that’srecognizing strictly the work of the chief forester at HaliburtonForest or the sawmill manager. It’s recognizing the work thateverybody has done along the way. Every one of the loggingcontractors that works at Haliburton Forest deserves this award.Every guy working at the sawmill deserves this award. The forestrycrew deserves this award. But also the people working at the tourismorganization.”
When SCS Global Services comes to auditthe company Cockwell said they “go right into the bush”interviewing loggers one-on-one as well as tourism staff andclients.
“They’re making sure we’reachieving our objectives with respect to social sustainabilityecological sustainability and economic sustainability” he said.“This award doesn’t just get handed to one person saying goodjob keep doing it. This one really goes right through the companyevery part of the operation.”
Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reservereceived a Sustainable Tourism Award at the Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala in Windsorlast month.