Talking Trees: Indigenous Walk a Hit with PEFC Members

An immersive experience of Indigenous culture

Wed 17 May 23


A ‘talking tree’ walk was an enriching side event to the big PEFC week for Aussie delegates in Vancouver, Canada, this week.

The day was part of the Sustainable Forest Initiative’s four-day conference, which wraps up today (May 18).

The walk offered a deep understanding of how indigenous trees and plants are vital to the survival of the First Nation peoples of southern British Columbia.

Footage courtesy of @talaysaytours6878

“Every tree and plant is deemed sacred, partly because they supported local Indigenous societies for generations,” said Candice Campo, one of the tour leaders.

Candice, who trained as an anthropologist and schoolteacher, brought the outdoor education and culture she learned while growing up to the forefront.

The tour also highlighted the practical and medicinal uses of the flora, including centuries-old red cedars, Douglas fir trees and berry bushes. These were historically harvested by the Coast Salish people for food, medicine, art, lodging, and canoe building. During the tour, participants were served a traditional tea from Indigenous ingredients.

Located in the park is a 600-year-old Douglas fir tree. Footage courtesy of @vancouversun674

Further, the tour emphasised the emergence of indigenous cultural tourism.

This was greatly spurred by the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, which significantly promoted Indigenous communities.

Image courtesy of PEFC International
Click here for Wood Central’s dedicated SFI Conference + PEFC Week coverage. (Image credit: PEFC International)

The joint PEFC and SFI meetings in Vancouver were the first time the event was hosted in British Columbia. In 2021, the provincial government announced its commitment to the “CleanBC” 2030 carbon roadmap, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40% in the next seven years. The provincial government has acknowledged the significance of low embodied timbers in accomplishing this objective.

The ‘talking trees’ tour was of significant interest to delegate Beth Welden, FWPA’s Forest Learning Program Manager, who was in Vancouver to learn more about SFI’s ‘Project Learning Tree. This program is committed to “advancing environmental literacy, stewardship, and green career pathways, using trees and forests as ‘windows on the world”.

Katie Fowden, is an FWPA board member and a director of Responsible Wood, Australia’s national governing body for PEFC.

Katie has been heavily involved in the PEFC marketing, communication, and advocacy task force.


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