The people of North Grenville know and appreciate Ferguson Forest Centre (FFC). We hike or ski the many kilometres of trails through the forest, take our dogs to the Dog Park, stroll the paths in the Arboretum, and launch kayaks at Anniversary Park. We admire Veterans Memorial Park and Veterans Way, and feel a sense of communal pride in the fields full of small trees clearly reflecting an active green farming operation.
Few people realize that the tree nursery is the financial engine that supports all other FFC activities on the Centre’s recreational lands that the community uses and cherishes.
In 1996, the Ontario Government closed the G. Howard Ferguson Forest Station and put the land up for sale, though retaining the forest management sector, known as Ferguson Forest. The former forest station land eventually came to be owned by the Municipality of North Grenville and a debate ensued between those wanting more strip malls and those wanting to retain the environmental and recreational benefits. It was a narrow decision, but the conservationists won!
Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation (FFCC), a registered not-for profit organization, was formed in 2000. The Municipality agreed to lease the land to FFCC, which resumed the business of growing trees and supporting the recreational lands, and assumed responsibility for the forest lands still owned by the province. These combined 1100 acres formed Ferguson Forest Centre (FFC).
Ferguson Tree Nursery (FTN), through FFCC, is overseen by a volunteer board of directors who ensure that, as a not-for-profit corporation, all monies available after meeting expenses are put back into the community. For example, when the FFCC board agreed to set aside land for a dog park, FTN staff and equipment helped with its construction. FFCC paid for construction of the parking lot that serves the dog park and Arboretum, and partnered with the Municipality to upgrade the access road. It is tree nursery staff, using tree nursery equipment, who maintain the trails and mow the grass in Veterans Memorial Park, Anniversary Park, the dog park, the Arboretum and the other public lands throughout the Centre.
Just as the Ferguson Tree Nursery is the backbone of Ferguson Forest Centre, corporate membership is the backbone of the corporation that governs it. Due to attrition in recent years, FFCC is currently in need of competent, capable and committed new members, to ensure the future of the nursery and the Centre so that the corporation can continue to serve afforestation initiatives that mitigate climate change and ensure that the community continues to benefit from the many natural recreational opportunities the Centre offers.
FFCC works though a number of standing committees, such as the Public Relations and Communications Committee, FEAC (Arboretum) Committee and Trails Committee. These committees need members to contribute to the vibrant health of the organization and potentially provide candidates for vacant positions on the board of directors.
A commitment of time and ability by interested and capable members of the community can keep Ferguson Forest Centre vibrant and growing
FFCC is seeking community minded individuals to become members of the corporation. Membership is limited, and only open to individuals willing to contribute their time to serve on various committees, attend meetings, volunteer at events and potentially be voted to a directorship on the board of directors. Knowledge of forestry is not required.
For a full description of the organization’s mandate, mission and structure, including committees, please see our web site at www.fergusonforestcentre.ca.