Planter’s Zone

planters_zone

what-it-takes

Can anyone become a tree-planter? Yes.
Does everyone who goes tree planting become a tree planter?No.
What determines who will succeed? You do!

There is no secret that tree planting is one of the toughest jobs out there. But why is it so tough? It is different for each person. There is no specific formula that determines success. The only thing that stops an individual from succeeding at tree planting is the person themselves.

As a first year tree planter, the first two weeks of the season are often the hardest and most critical. It is during this time that you are going to learn how to plant properly and probably won’t be making much money doing it. To tree plant effectively takes time and practice. You won’t learn how to do it one day. However, like most things, the more you do it, the better you get at it; with tree planting, the better you do it, the more money you make. At the end of the season, first year planters should make $ 3000-$ 6000 after camp costs. Veteran planters can make over $ 10,000 in a single spring season.

Do you like to sleep in the cold? Do you like to eat black flies? Do you like mosquito bites? What about wearing cold,wet work boots? Probably not, but you might when you are making $200 or $300 or $400/day!!! What are your limits and are you willing to push past them?

Although there is no predetermined formula of who will succeed, there are some key characteristics that seem to be present in “hard core” tree planters:

  • Self-motivation
  • Competitive nature
  • Twisted sense of humour (an ability to laugh at a variety of unexpected situations)
  • Love of nature
  • Ability to ‘go with the flow’

Treeline will provide:

  • Meat and Vegetarian meals (please note that we cannot accommodate severe allergies or provide special meals)
  • A full bush camp including: a mess tent, kitchen, dry tent, hot showers, latrines
  • Information on acquiring planting bags and shovels will be provided to the planters upon hiring
  • Free transportation from New Liskeard, Kirkland Lake or Cochrane (depending on where the bush camps are located) at the start of the season and back at the finish
  • Transportation to and from the work site (to the bush camp) on a daily basis – included in the ‘camp cost’

Planters are responsible for:

  • Purchase of planting equipment - available through Treeline for approximately $130.00
  • A camp charge of twenty to twenty five dollars per working day covers the cost of the camp, and includes meals as well as transportation to and from the planting site. Camp charges will be deducted from your pay
  • Living quarters (i.e. tent, sleeping bag, etc.)
  • Appropriate work wear (hard hat, steel toed boots, proper clothing, etc.)
  • The ability to self-motivate, endure extreme weather conditions and biting insects while keeping a positive mental outlook and determination to make money
  • The will to be part of a winning team!

what-to-expect

After filling out the online application, we will be contacting you once our hiring season begins (usually starting sometime in January). Upon contact, we will set up a time to do a phone interview. Upon completion, successful candidates will receive a letter of offer (usually by email). Once the offer of employment is sent to the potential planter, it is the responsibility of the planter to accept or refuse the offer by a particular date.

Once the offer is accepted, more details are sent out to the planter (usually by email) including items such as:

  • Tentative meeting details (location, date)
  • Health and personal data sheet to be completed and returned
  • An employee agreement (which is filled out once the planter arrives)
  • Information and suggestions for preparation of the upcoming season

Because our start depends on the weather, employees are contacted around mid-April regarding final travel arrangements.

 

arrival

 

Day 1

- Our employees are provided with details about a specific meeting location, on a particular day. Our management team will meet planters with company buses, which will pick the planters up and transport them to the bush camp (which can take anywhere from one to three hours). Upon arrival in camp, planters are given an orientation and given time to set up their individual tents. Planters are introduced to the owners and management team and assigned a foreman. Following this, a detailed tour of the camp facilities is given and general organization for the rest of the season is taken care of. A brief “Welcome to Treeline" meeting is held, including an introduction to the management team and a chance for new employees to meet their fellow workers. No camp costs are charged for this day.

 

Day 2

- In the morning, all planters go through an extensive Health and Safety training program, as well as WHMIS training. In the afternoon, all inexperienced planters are given a comprehensive afternoon of instruction. It begins with the planters going through a series of stations teaching them the different aspects of planting. Once the stations are completed each foreman takes his/her crew to their section of the block (planting area) and goes through the instructions on planting once more.

 

Day 3

- In order that the importance of quality is stressed, all inexperienced planters are paid minimum wage for their first full day of planting. This ensures that planters concentrate on quality rather than quantity. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to learn to plant trees correctly, right from the beginning and to worry about quantity once this is accomplished. Planting a tree correctly does not take any longer than planting a tree incorrectly. The difference is that an incorrectly planted tree will have to be planted twice or more until it is planted correctly. Experienced planters continue with production based planting.

 

Day 4

- Experienced planters continue with production based planting. Inexperienced planters are paid minimum wage for this day as well. Quality remains the number one focus until it becomes second nature. Because of the repetitive nature of planting this should not take very long especially if the planter concentrates on quality as a first priority, quantity as a second.

 

Day 5

- All planters are paid on a per tree basis. Planters work on technique and speed. As each person takes different amounts of time to master the art of planting, individual productions will vary. It is still too early to determine whether tree planting is for you or not - this is where your mental fortitude will be tested.

 

Week 2

- Planting gets into full swing. Individual production levels should be increasing daily while quality should be second nature. The key is to increase daily production while maintaining the same high quality. By the end of the second week you should have a good idea whether or not planting is for you. Different people have different ideas as to what that means to them. Treeline will enforce a minimum standard that all its employees must attain by the end of the second week. This standard will be based on money rather than production because on the different prices per tree and will be low enough that it will not be an issue for anyone who is serious about making money. We want you to succeed!

 

Rest of season

- It usually takes a good three weeks for a rookie to get the hang of planting well, and making ‘good’ money. It is up to each individual planter, rookie or veteran, to take advantage of each day of planting. The really good planters or high ballers are aware that every minute of planting counts, in order to make the most money during a planting season. Consistency is the key. With the season being approximately fifty to sixty days in length, each tree planted counts in the overall amount made during a season. An extra ten dollars a day means very little extra effort during each day, but it means an extra six hundred dollars at the end of the season!

 

Nights off or Days off

The feeling of the first night off will be something you will remember the rest of your life! The first night off is spent in camp and allows planters to get to know one another better and discuss the challenges and victories of their first week. The next day, planters are transported into town to do laundry, pick up supplies and call home. Nights off are then rotated each week between ‘in camp’ and ‘in town’. Typically, our schedule is set at a 6 days on, 1 day off; but this can change throughout the season depending on a number of things. For example, a freak snowfall at the beginning of May, preventing workers from planting trees; we may decide to make this day an ‘official’ day off and go into town. Other things that can change when the day off is, would be a camp move or a week that is a bit more strenuous for planters – having a shorter work week would be beneficial to everyone (and revitalizing).

This is a summary of what you can expect when you go planting with Treeline Reforestation. As a rookie, it is very important to read and get as much information as possible from several sources (including from others who have planted in the past) before tree planting for the first time. As an experienced planter, it is important to realize that an incredible opportunity exists to make a lot of extra money compared to the previous rookie season of planting!

equipment-list

 

Living Gear

  • Tent - one that won't blow down or leak, large enough for you and your equipment
  • Tarp - large enough to cover your tent and leave extra room outside for storage
  • Ground Sheet - to waterproof the bottom of your tent (although many tents have built in ground sheets built in)
  • Sleeping bag - one good to -15°C recommended
  • Foam pad or air mattress

 

Work Gear

  • Work boots* - must have steel toes and shanks
  • Hard Hat* - No hard hat = No work!
  • Whistle* - In case you get lost
  • Rubber boots - must have steel toes and shanks (not mandatory but recommended)
  • Cotton and Wool Work Socks - fresh socks for each work day.
  • Work Pants - (at least 2-3 pairs) Army or cargo pants work well - the extra pockets come in handy.
  • Thermal Underwear - It does snow in June sometimes!
  • Belt / Suspenders - you will loose weight!
  • T-shirts - enough for the work week and things you will never wear again!
  • Sweat Shirts - layering is key.
  • Winter Coat / Work Jacket
  • Rain Gear - Cheaper isn't always better. Rip resistant.
  • Bandannas - 1001 uses!
  • Winter hat and Sun Hat
  • Work Gloves - leather palms recommended
  • Waterproofing for work boots (dubbin, mink oil, silicone, bees wax, etc& )
  •  Permanent black markers (ink to initial flagging tape - we will explain)
  • 4 litre insulated water jug MINIMUM! - If you work, you sweat you need water.
  • Day Bag / Backpack to carry your daily things to the field (eg rain gear, lunch, etc.)Miscellaneous
  • Duct Tape - 1001 uses
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Bug Repellent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Plate, Bowl, Cup (Non - Breakable)
  • Fork, Knife, Spoon
  • Tupperware for lunches
  • First Aid Kit - should include band-aides, ointment
  • Sewing Kit
  • Bath Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal Care Items - Unscented soap, hand lotion, personal medication, stuff for sore muscles, headaches, colds
  • Watch(waterproof) and Alarm Clock*
  • Clean clothes for day off
  • Duffle bag to pack stuff in
  • Money for first day off - Planters WILL NOT be given an advance for the first day off. Bring some money to buy things you might forget.
  • Envelopes, stamps and phone cards to stay in touch with friends and family.

*Mandatory Items

There is a lot of gear that is needed to start tree-planting. It may be a substantial initial investment for some people and it should make you ask the question is it worth it? If you last the season, there is no question, it is worth it!

training

Treeline believes in providing a safe working environment for all employees.

The promotion of safe working conditions is fulfilled through a variety of means. We offer our employees proper training while keeping an ongoing balance of communication, correct work practices and accurate use of personal protective equipment. Treeline believes in creating a workplace that is safe and allows planters to meet their full potential.

Our training program involves a variety of elements, most of which take place within the first few days of the planting season and are implemented throughout the duration of the season. Planters go through a comprehensive Health & Safety training program (which includes WHMIS). Below are some of the elements covered (but are not limited to):

  1. General work place safety
  2. Environmental monitoring (insects, animals, plants, etc.)
  3. Weather (including hyperthermia and hypothermia)
  4. Prevention of slips, falls, strains and other basic injuries
  5. Basic first aid
  6. Evacuation procedures
  7. Fire safety and equipment
  8. Camp morale
  9. Personal Protective Equipment
  10. Special working conditions (such as transportation by helicopter)
  11. Workplace harassment

All planters go through a camp orientation as soon as they arrive at the bush camp. Planters are broken into their crews where they become familiar with their foreman and crew members. They also go on a camp tour to become familiar with their new home. Planters are also trained comprehensively by their individual foreman. Learning how to plant trees properly (and efficiently) is challenging and it is the responsibility of the foreman to help ease our new planters into doing this job. Training implemented by the foreman includes (but is not limited to):

  1. Step-by-step details on planting trees including demonstrations and side-by-side instructions
  2. Emphasis on producing quality and quantity as a tree planter
  3. Overall daily job expectations

Throughout the planting season, we have a health and safety committee (and health and safety representative) that have the special role of addresses health and safety concerns. It is vital, especially for new planters, to communicate needs, concerns, questions or anything health and safety related, to our health and safety representative; in doing so, we can make sure that any issues or problems are dealt with before they are amplified.

Workplace inspections regularly take place, to ensure everything is at the standards that they should be, according to the law.

 

Management Training:

All management go through an extensive training program a week before each planting season. This training involves some of the following: health and safety protocols, fire safety, evacuation procedures, emergency response procedures, vehicle & driving safety, incident investigations, occupational health and safety legislation and workplace inspections. Management are also required have a couple years of planting experience and they must possess current first aid certification.

Our management team are the key in ensuring that our operations run as smoothly as possible, and value the health and safety of all employees as the top priority above anything else.

Treeline is part of the Ontario Forestry Safe Workplace Association (OFSWA). Treeline is also SWO (Safe Workplace Ontario) certified.

faq

 

Planting begins as soon as the weather permits; usually in early May. The planting season will last as long as it lasts - it all depends on planter production (i.e. how many trees each individual plants each day) – and the planting contract itself is based on a specific number of trees. For most planting seasons, we strive to finish in the first week of July. However, in the past we have finished in late June and sometimes even in mid to late July. It really depends on the season.

As a first year planter you are required to plant for the entire contract. You will need all the time you can get to make it worthwhile in your first season. In subsequent seasons (as a Treeline Veteran) we will consider allowing veterans to plant a partial contract (with valid reasons).

Workers must be a minimum of 18 years of age when they begin employment.
No, there is no obligation to sign anything before employment commences. However, once the contract begins, and all employees have arrived in the bush camp, we do have a contract that both the planter and the company signs. Once a planter is officially hired for a planting season, he/she is provided the opportunity to review the contract before actually showing up for the job.
Yes! Please provide us with the information of the person or people that you wish to be placed with after you have accepted our offer for employment. While we cannot guarantee that you will be on the same crew as your friends, we are usually are able to get friends together in the same camp.
Although we do favour having dogs in the bush camp, we don’t recommend bringing one, especially as a first year planter; there are too many things to worry about as a first year planter. Adding the care of a dog might become overwhelming. It isn’t the safest place for a dog particularly if it is not used to being in the bush and our operations; there are trucks moving around, ATV’s and there is wildlife. Bears, porcupines, raccoons (YES, they are nasty little buggers!) skunks, wasps, and blackflies; all these things can make for a very unhappy/unhealthy (or worse…dead) pet.

We are not responsible for the safety of your animal. We are not responsible to provide transportation to vets or to pick up food or medication.

It changes from year to year. The bulk of our contracts for many years have been located around  Northeastern Ontario. Kirkland Lake, Elk Lake, Shining Tree, Timmins, Gowganda and Cochrane are towns that we are usually close to. However, we have also planted near Temagami, Sudbury, Powassan and North Bay.
We will provide you with meeting details as the season approaches. Usually, we tend to meet at thenearest or most logical bus or train station. In previous years, we have met our planters at the busstation in Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard or in North Bay.
Many people take public transportation – such as the bus (Ontario Northland operates north of North Bay), or commute with friends or family in a vehicle.
Yes – however, your vehicle, your responsibility! WE DO NOT provide mechanical support or fuel.
Yes. Keep in mind, however, that mail is brought out the bush camp when convenient for the operationof the tree plant; on average, mail tends to be brought out to camp once or twice a week.
If you need to send mail, you must do it when you go into town on your day off.
Tree planting is an exceptionally vigorous job that requires you to be in optional health and in good physical condition. It is important to keep in mind, that the bush camps are often located in remote locations, far from towns and hospitals. It is important to consider, very seriously, the physical requirements that are necessary for this type of job. If you have had an injury or surgery in the recent past, aggravation of this is highly likely with this type of job (and you should consider getting an ‘ok’ from a doctor before considering working as a tree planter).
Other conditions such as diabetes, asthma and severe allergies should be considered as well (to name afew). An allergy to bee stings is a serious health concern in such working conditions (we have hired individuals before serious allergies to bee stings, but such an individual is required to bring multiple epi pens for safety reasons).
We usually work 6 days on and one day off. This can change however throughout the season. There are times throughout the season when we must change the schedule depending on current operational situations (for example, a camp move) which may mean a shorter work week at certain times. We almost never try to work more than 6 days in a row; if there is a possibility of this happening, we would ask all workers in advance and plan accordingly depending on camp morale.
There is no available internet service in the bush camp. Also, you can expect not to have cell service in any of the bush camps (or locations where you are working). At times, you may obtain a signal, but it would be by chance.
In our camps and in the workplace, we have satellite phones – which are to be used for emergency purposes only.
We provide a fully functional bush camp. The bush camp is always located near a body of water (river or lake) whereby the water is drawn for use in the camp (it is treated and tested so that it is safe for consumption). There is a generator which supplies power to the company trailers, cube van and lights for the mess tent. Located in the camp is a cooks’ trailer, a shower trailer, a cube van (which has a walk-in fridge and freezer), a mess tent (for eating in), a dry tent (for drying wet clothes), and outhouses. Personal tents are set up around the bush camp, usually based on individual preference.