Journée internationale des femmes 2022: Heather Fraser
Natural Resources Program Coordinator, Engineering and Environmental Department, City of Moncton
Atlantic Representative, Canadian Urban Forest Network (CUFN)
1. What are your proudest accomplishments?
The City of Moncton sugar bush operation. While cutting a road for a selection harvest operation, I found an old sugar camp that was operational when the city bought the land in the 1960’s to build the drinking water supply. It had been dormant for over 40 years and I pursued a pilot project to clear out all the softwood amongst the beautiful sugar and red maples. A local farmer wanted to build a new barn and I needed the softwood removed, so a deal was made to use his horses to remove the trees over the winter. That same spring, we tapped 35 trees of various diameters and boiled off the sap in the garage to produce what was the very first maple syrup from Moncton. That was over 25 years ago. Today, the city has a state-of-the-art oil-fired evaporator, over 20 miles of pipeline, and offers seasonal tours called “Pails to Pipeline.” The camp has seen thousands of visitors and is the only municipal-owned and operated sugar bush in Canada that provides value-added products from a managed hardwood forest.
2. How has the urban forestry field changed since you first entered the profession and what are the biggest opportunities ahead for women in your field?
Urban forestry has changed dramatically over the last 40 years. When I started there were only three other women in my forestry classes. Now, half the population upon graduation is female. I am happy to see this change as working in a male-dominated field my entire life has always made me work harder to find my place in the profession. Recognition came from working hard, building relationships, and developing new partners while gaining the respect of others in the field. I think for women entering the workforce now, the groundwork has been laid and the foundation is there to show what opportunities you have to make a difference in your community.
3. What is one piece of advice you have for young girls and women that want to get into the urban forestry field?
One piece of advice: if you love the outdoors, forests and/or the environment and want to leave a legacy that will live on in society, then investing in a career in urban forestry is where you should put the time and effort. The rewards are vast when working with trees, community organizations, urban planners, developers, road builders, utility companies and others. We all have a different perspective or lens on the value of trees, but by working together the success stories are endless. This can be seen by what is happening across Canada with the Canadian Urban Forest Network and how the increased offering of university and college courses is driving growth in the urban forestry sector . The need is there and the opportunity for more women in the profession is expanding.
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