Mission Statement

The Society is dedicated to celebrating Ontario's rich forest history and making it available for your enjoyment and use. The mission of the Society is to: "Further the knowledge, understanding and preservation of Ontario's forest history". There are five specific objectives: 1) To preserve forest and forest conservation history; 2) To encourage and further the development and recognition of forest history; 3) To support research and studies of forest history; 4) To support the archival preservation of records and materials relating to forest history; and 5) To promote the better understanding of forest history through public education.

The five objectives are achieved through:

DISCOVERY - locate published and unpublished written documents, photographs, archival holdings, art, music, and other historical artifacts about Ontario's forest history;

PRESERVATION - create and maintain databases of documents and archival holdings; support preservation of individual artifacts;

INFORMATION - provide a central avenue into Ontario's forest history to support education on our forest history, further forest history research, support future forest policy development, and facilitate access for general interest pleasure.

Background

Ontario's forests weave a rich thread through the fabric of our provincial, federal and local histories. From pre-settlement times to the present, our forests have variously intimidated us, challenged us, provided us with food and shelter, given us jobs and pleasure. Ecologically our forests have changed in response to variations in climate, geology, fire and human activity. Pre-settlement aboriginal communities were intimately linked to our forests, and continue to be; in the 1700's the new settlers were often intimidated by our forests and battled with them, removing them for agriculture and cutting them for local uses; in the 1800's world industrialization led to intense harvests of our provincial tree emblem, the magnificent white pine, to supply international markets; the 1900's saw the rise of modern, science-based forestry practices that support sustainable development and conservation; the 2000's will be known for the development of a stewardship ethic and the changes taking place in our far north.

Most rural Ontarians have a close link to our forests and forest history, and urbanites are connected to our forests through their personal landscapes, the trees on their streets and in their ravines and parks.

Significant political battles have been fought over our forests; they have been the centre of several large disasters; and they have made, and continue to make, a huge contribution to our economy.

It is the history associated with these different aspects of our forests that the Forest History Society of Ontario wants to discover, preserve and make available. Not only is this history interesting in its own right, what we know of the past can shape the future. You can help us achieve our goals by providing information on individual documents, repositories, photos, paintings and music that contribute to our forest history. You can also help by interviewing local people to document their historical perspectives; by writing articles of interest for the Society's newsletter; or by visiting your local library or museum or other places to search out treasures of Ontario's forest history.

Please join us in celebrating Ontario's forest history!

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