Karen Vanderwell holding the Gov’t of Alberta Commemorative Plaque with family.
On July 6, 2022 we celebrated planting our 100th million tree – a key part of our reforestation responsibilities. A remarkable feat considering that for every tree Vanderwell harvests, we plant three seedlings in its place.
All the hard work required to get us to the 100 million mark started in 1991-92 when the company took over its reforestation work from the Alberta Government. Founder Bob Vanderwell, the father of current CEO Ken Vanderwell, accepted the challenge of increasing the number of seedlings planted on company timberlands.
Back in the summer of 2003 Vanderwell reached and celebrated the planting of 35 million seedlings and now, 19 years later, we reached 100 million. By the end of July, we’ll have planted 102 million seedlings!
Alberta’s boreal forests are one of the most important natural resources in the province and throughout Canada. Forestry companies like Vanderwell that practice sustainable forest management are required to consider the immediate impact of their work and the implications for future generations. That means making sure we never harvest too much and that we ensure there is another forest actively growing.
“Many members of my family continue to live in the Slave Lake area,” said Vanderwell CEO Ken Vanderwell. “We love it here. The natural beauty and resources that surround us are something our children and their children can enjoy while also knowing future employment opportunities will continue to be available.”
A new economic report released by the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) shares that in 2020, Alberta’s forestry sector contributed and enabled about $13.6 billion in economic output, $2.7 billion in labour income, and more than 31,500 jobs across the Province.
Vanderwell is committed to the long-term health of Alberta’s forest industry not only on Government Crown land, but also on privately held land. Founder Bob Vanderwell showed that commitment starting in 1995 when he began determinedly buying private land to supplement the company’s Crown holdings. He invested money in establishing spruce and pine plantations on private land holdings which had been harvested, cleared, and left with no future forest on the land by its previous owners.
Of the 102 million seedlings planted by the end of July, just over 5 million of those trees have been planted on private land beginning in 1996. Today, we continue to manage, harvest and reforest our private lands the way we do Crown land.
“What we have achieved here is significant,” says Vanderwell Woodlands Manager Mike Haire, who leads the department responsible for the company’s reforestation. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done. It truly reflects our commitment to one of our core values of Sustainable Forest Management.”
At the July 6 celebration, many employees with a hand in delivering such a milestone, and several service providers, joined CEO Ken Vanderwell.
Municipal, provincial leaders and industry representatives were also present to recognize this achievement: Slave Lake Mayor, Tyler Warman and Councillors; Alberta Forestry and Rural Economic Development (AFRED) Deputy Minister, Shannon Marchand; Alberta Forest Products Association President, Jason Krips, AFRED Policy and Strategy Manager, Caitlin Schulz, and AFRED Strategic Forestry Initiatives Director, Ken Greenway.
“On behalf of the Government of Alberta, I want to thank Vanderwell for their responsible forest management,” said Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development Deputy Minister Shannon Marchand. “Vanderwell’s actions help ensure that our forests continue to benefit the environment and future generations while providing secure jobs for Albertans.”
Congratulations to everyone over the years that has had a part in us achieving this milestone!