Tree planting is notorious as one of the most difficult summer jobs you can do, but it can also be one of the most rewarding. For some people, it’s the chance to control how much money they make—or don’t make—rather than be hemmed in by a set wage (the more trees you plant, the more money you make). For others, it’s the prospect of seeing some truly remote spaces in the great Canadian wilderness. For still others, it’s akin to embarking on a marathon or triathlon, an opportunity to put yourself to the test, to see if you have what it takes to last a season. To these reasons I would add the opportunity to forge potentially lifelong friendships, similar to those formed between soldiers in combat zones. Because, let’s be honest, if you take away the guns, the bullets, and the bombs from any war zone, what’s left is a situation akin to a typical day of tree planting—dazed individuals wandering across a desolate landscape poking holes in the ground, all the while praying an injury will finally allow them to escape their misery and beat a hasty retreat to the rear.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little—tree planters usually give on prayer after the first week—but before encouraging anyone to embark on this journey, I think it’s important that they have a clear idea of what they’re getting into, including the risks and the rewards. Hence my latest book, The Tree Planter’s Survival Guide: (Almost) Everything You Need to Know to Become a Tree Planter and Survive the Season. This book isn’t the last word on tree planting, but it’s definitely a great place to start in terms of understanding what the job entails, the equipment you’ll need to do it, who to contact to get a job, and how to keep yourself warm, safe, and dry (ha, just kidding) while pounding thousands of seedlings into the ground day after day after day after day after . . . Sorry, lapsed into PTPSD there (Post Tree Planting Stress Disorder), another hazard of the job.
Anyway, if you are considering hitting the bush this or any other year, pick up a copy of my book first (available in Kindle or hard copy). If you still want to go tree planting after reading it, who knows? You just may have what it takes.