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How To: Become A Tree Planter

A tree planter has one main concern; trees. In Canada alone, there are approximately 500 million trees planted each year. Areas in which have been harvested are the main targets, allowing for reforestation. There is no doubt that it is hard work, but it's highly rewarding. So, what does it take to become a tree planter?

An Average Day for a Tree Planter

A tree planter will generally wake up early and get ready for the day. Depending on location, they may be set up in a camp or have accommodation nearby. This job doesn't consist of your regular commute. Workers will generally get rides in together; either by trucks or even helicopters. There is a lot of walking involved, so workers tend to be fit.


In many areas, you'll be out in the open, mountain air. The main objective during the day is to plant as many trees as possible. Tree planters will be responsible for; 

  • Unloading seedings from trucks (which are young trees)
  • Watering the seedings to keep them healthy
  • Preparing sites where planting is needed
  • Physically planting the trees

What is Required to Become a Tree Planter?

Before you consider tree planting you need to;

  • Have a strong work ethic
  • Be able to work in a team environment
  • Enjoy the outdoors Learn quickly and be able to apply the information you've learnt
  • Deal with slight discomfort (possibility of sun burn, bug bites, etc.)
  • Be prepared to encounter lots of wildlife (anything from birds to grizzly bears)

Career Development

Firstly, applicants will have an idea of what they're getting into. If you have never camped or do not take part in outdoor hobbies, this job is probably not for you. If you love the outdoors and physical work, it is just a matter of applying.

Companies will interview you and will need to see a strong desire. This is not an easy job, they want to know that you're ready for hard work. This is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and see things that you would never see from the comfort of an office.

If you highly enjoy tree planting, there is room for advancement. You can manage other tree planters for instance; offering your experience, training and supervision.  

There is no specific education needed; tree planters will generally be athletic and enjoy the outdoors. Generally, employees will have at least a high school diploma and many employees in the field will have a background in forestry.

When it comes to recruiting, companies are more prone to look at the outdoor activities you're involved in, instead of what school you went to and grades you achieved.

Hiring Times

Most companies actually hire in January and February, so do not delay your application process. Look around, there are many companies recruiting tree planters in the UK and Canada especially. Some companies offer better accommodation and food, in comparison to the next so be aware of the benefits associated with the job when applying. 

Training

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The majority of tree planters will have some experience with trees. If not, there are courses you can take online to improve your knowledge. There will also be individuals in higher positions who look after new planters. There is definitely a technique when it comes to planting. Employees will be trained on the proper planting techniques and since the hiring process begins far before the season actually starts, planters will have ample time to learn the ropes and gain all the information before the time to plant comes. 

Once a planter has had all the proper training and experience, they may be planting anywhere from 1000 to 3000 trees in a day.

Salary 

Tree planters generally work May-August; making around $150-$200 per day. A first year planter will make approximately $9,000 in a four month span. This can go up to $20,000 for the top planters. It really depends on how many trees you plant and how long your season is.

Dangers

  • It is possible to encounter a falling tree; you need to aware of your surroundings and be alert on the job.
  • If planting in areas in which have been burnt, be aware of areas that may still be hot. Pits of ash may still be highly dangerous.
  • There will be insects. If you are allergic to wasps or bees, this is not the job for you. You also need to look out for wasp nests for example. 
  • Injury can occur, due to tripping or falling. The ground can be soft in some areas so be aware of your footing and wear sensible footwear.
  • Weather can be a danger in itself. Heat stroke can be common if you're not properly hydrated. Make sure to keep plenty of water on you.
  • Wildlife; remember that you will be in their environment. It is not uncommon to encounter a bear or even a cougar within British Columbia, Canada. People who are in this job, will already know how to prevent accidents (e.g. do not keep any food in your tent).

Best Work Locations

You may want to take part for one season, or continue every year. Seasons may also vary depending on location. Some of the places within the world where this profession is popular include; Canada, United States, Great Britain, Israel, Australia and New Zealand. If you are travelling to another country, a working visa may be required. Look into this ahead of time; processing times will vary.

This website offers some incredible pictures to give you a better understanding of what this adventurous job is all about: http://www.replant.ca/index.html

 

 

References

About Tree Planting. Retrieved on March 27, 2014, from http://www.tree-planter.com/?navigation_id=90

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/39108150@N05/3598029211