Norfolk County is joining other municipalities across Canada in recognizing National Forest Week, September 17-23.
An initiative of the Canadian Institute of Forestry, National Forest Week is an annual campaign to celebrate Canada’s forest heritage and to raise awareness about this valuable and renewable resource. This year’s theme is “supporting biological diversity.”
“Few municipalities can boast a unique and diverse forest landscape like Norfolk County,” said Mayor Amy Martin. “It’s essential not only to celebrate but also raise awareness for the forests of Norfolk, which cover 25 percent of our land — the highest percentage of forested land in Southwestern Ontario.”
Initially established in 1920 as Forest Fire Prevention Week and renamed National Forest Week in 1967, the focus has evolved to encompass the many and varied human and environmental aspects of Canada’s forest resources — past, present and future.
Close to home, Norfolk woodlands contain unique Carolinian species such as the Tulip Tree, American Chestnut, Cucumber Magnolia, Black Gum, and the symbol for our County, the Eastern Flowering Dogwood.
Norfolk’s Forestry team also wants to educate residents about new and emerging issues impacting local trees, including oak wilt, a destructive fungus-based disease. Oak wilt spreads from infected trees through underground root grafts or spores transported by wind or bark beetles to other trees.
Norfolk County is at high risk of being invaded by oak wilt, with local forests containing many oak species. The disease can potentially cause a significant disruption to local forest ecology, the forest industry, and Norfolk’s landscape.
Residents can take steps to limit the impacts of oak wilt, including not importing firewood from outside sources, avoiding cutting or pruning oak trees between April and October, and learning how to identify and report signs of oak wilt. Read more, including how to report oak wilt, at NorfolkCounty.ca/OakWilt.
Norfolk County staff are inviting residents and visitors to learn more about the forest sector and its significance to Canada’s culture, history, and future, while also supporting a greater recognition of forests as a valuable, renewable and green resource. For more, visit the National Forest Week website or check out the weekly posts on Norfolk County’s Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) accounts @NorfolkCounty.