Katrina Van Osch-Saxon
Coordinator of the Arboriculture Co-op Program & Professor of Urban Forestry, Fleming College
Careers in Canadian forests are no longer limited to the traditional forest sector. Professor Katrina Van Osch-Saxon explains how Fleming College is preparing a diverse student population for a diverse range of career paths.
Fleming College’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences in Lindsay, ON hosts a unique cluster of forestry programs that prepare students for careers across the industry.
“There are careers managing trees in the traditional forestry sector, but we’re also starting to include managing trees in the urban and peri-urban forests. The increased awareness around climate change, as well as the myriad of other benefits trees provide, have led to this,” says Katrina Van Osch-Saxon, Coordinator of Fleming’s Arboriculture Co-op Program and a professor in the Urban Forestry and Forestry Technician programs.
Fleming offers a Forestry Technician program (the largest in Canada), as well as Arboriculture Co-op, Urban Forestry, and Urban Forestry Technician Co-op programs.
“Our programs are designed to meet the interests of all types of learners. Whether their career aspirations are to work in traditional forestry, or as an arborist, or urban forester, we have a program to suit their needs,” says Van Osch-Saxon.
One area of focus for Van Osch-Saxon has been encouraging more women to enter forestry careers. She has hosted three successful Women in Trees events at Fleming, where young women can come and try activities and develop skills related to careers in the forestry industry — everything from tree climbing to chainsaw maintenance. The events have been so popular that they’ve now expanded to include other careers in the natural resource sciences sector.
“The diversity of our student population is changing — it’s an exciting time,” says Van Osch-Saxon.