Rob leads the only Canadian charity with sector-leading expertise in developing and managing large-scale afforestation and restoration projects, with a focus on growing a network of tree planting partners to increase forest cover on private land. Since Rob joined Forests Ontario, the organization has facilitated the planting of in excess of 39 million trees, closing in on 80% of the originally planned 50 Million Tree Program (50 MTP) recognized as the largest and most comprehensive afforestation program in Canada. In just the three years of Covid alone (2020-2022), the 50 MTP planted seven million trees, creating approximately 3,500 hectares of new forest across more than 1,900 Ontario sites. 83% of trees planted through the 50 MTP are thriving and will sequester significant amounts of carbon over the lifetime of these new forests, while the economic benefits of the program have been estimated to be valued at $82+ million in ecosystem services annually.
Forests Ontario’s afforestation and community-driven restoration programs have contributed to an estimated 600,000 tonnes of CO2 absorbed, whilst simultaneously creating 437,000 tonnes of oxygen generated.
Rob’s leadership has been demonstrated in other areas as well – the organization now manages a seed bank supply of 204+ million viable seeds for future planting projects. Each year, Forests Ontario hosts the Ontario Envirothon, a program that engages high schools from across the province to study four core topics (aquatics, forestry, soils, and wildlife), and compete against each other by completing a series of tests and delivering a presentation that addresses the annual environmental issue. The winning team goes on to represent Ontario in international competition. The Ontario Envirothon fosters enthusiasm for environmental education and has involved over 120 schools, and over 10,000 Envirothon alumni, since its establishment.