The face of forestry is changing in Canada. What was once a labour-intensive, male-dominated industry deeply rooted in tradition has shot up rapidly to incorporate modern technology and a diverse workforce. Full of growth opportunities in some of Canada’s most scenic landscapes, the sector has limitless potential.
That was not the case when Jennifer Tallman started her career in the early 90s. Female representation and opportunities were minimal in the forest industry. Regardless, she pursued the passion that took root when she was an Ontario MNRF Junior Ranger in northern Ontario and became a Registered Professional Forester. Her career kept her in the North and she made a name for herself working in both the public sector and private enterprises, building relationships with stakeholders and local communities.
Jennifer joined EACOM Timber Corporation in 2015 as a Planning Coordinator. She quickly showed field know-how, leadership and collaborative practices, making her the clear choice to succeed as the Chief Forester for Ontario upon the retirement of her predecessor in November 2017.
A trailblazer in field, Jennifer’s achievements were recognized by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) with the Award of Excellence for Women in Forestry for 2019.
“The award comes as both a surprise and honour. Over my career, I have had the privilege of being supported by great mentors, most of whom were male. They provided the opportunities and encouragement for me to grow and expand my horizon,” recalled Jennifer. “As more and more young women enter the field of forestry and natural resource management, I am excited to see a network of female mentors stepping up in the workplace and online to support this next generation of leaders.”
An accomplished angler, hunter and small business owner, Jennifer’s role at EACOM is an opportunity to help shape the environment she loves and enjoys. She understands firsthand the importance of carefully managing Canada’s forests for the economic, environmental, and recreational benefits they provide.
Deeply committed to being a part of the conversation, she sits on the North American SFI Resources Committee and acts as Chair for the Central Canada SFI Implementation Committee. Jennifer is the only woman sitting on the Board of Directors of the cooperative Sustainable Forest Licensees for Sudbury, Timiskaming and Northshore Forests, adding a different perspective to key decision-making platforms. She is also involved in strengthening the engagement between EACOM and the Ontario Professional Foresters Association, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and the made-in-Ontario initiative: Women In Wood. Finally, Jennifer volunteers with Forests Ontario’s Forestry in the classroom program to give presentations to students about her profession and forestry.
Jennifer is very optimistic about the future of women forestry. “While we haven’t assumed our fair share of the industry, women now outnumber the men in forestry school! There are peer groups that never existed years ago, such great resources and safe spaces. Not only are there more women entering the industry, they are working together, offering advice, encouraging and supporting each other along the way.”