An exciting student video contest, Thru the Trees, is about to launch. It is designed to inspire students and promote the industry.
We are thrilled to announce that the website is now LIVE! Please check it out by clicking here: ThruTheTrees.
The contest is a culmination of many ideas over the years. As many know, workforce development has been an ongoing topic of discussion – sometimes concern – in the forest industry for many years. National, regional, and state associations have tried multiple things to assist members in finding new employees when they have open positions in their companies.
The Forest Resources Association began a pilot project in early 2019 in the West, called “Workforce Connections.” The main goal of this project is to connect industry companies and those individuals looking for employment. We wanted to be the “umbrella” to ensure all stakeholders were seeing as much information as possible to encourage more dialogue throughout the hiring process. A big part of this was interacting with educational institutions throughout the region. Students, graduates, and professors should be able to see what jobs are available currently and what the job markets will look like in the future. FRA’s job board was shared with educational representatives across the region. The expectation was that professors would share the details with students and alumni. Some of the schools shared the link directly to their websites.
To continue the dialogue on Workforce Connections, FRA shares pertinent information via social media each week. These included virtual learning opportunities, forestry professional profiles, leadership opportunities, and multiple videos that other organizations have produced on working in the industry. Click here for the link on the FRA website.
When the pandemic hit, and we knew things were not going to be the same for the next months, years, or longer, a few of us jumped on Zoom and discussed what we could do differently to continue the mission of promoting the industry – and the jobs within – to the generation who are now learning primarily in an online setting.
Many things were discussed on the call, but the one item that kept coming up was that we needed to get in front of younger and younger students to ensure the industry’s story was heard positively and EARLY! The fact that the “TikTok Generation” sees things very creatively and perhaps much differently than we who have already been in the workforce for years got us thinking that a video contest for high school students could open up an opportunity to tap into skills relatively unused in this arena to promote the forest industry. One goal is to bring more positive promotion to forestry from youth, with the primary audience being their peers. In addition, these videos will be watched by K-8 students, parents, and teachers.
At that point, we reached out to state and regional associations within a four-state region (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington) to see if there was any interest in collaborating to create a video contest to promote the forest industry. The response was tremendous. Since the end of June, we have been meeting via Zoom each week to discuss next steps, action items, timelines, etc. The following are those organizations which have representation on the planning team:
Associated Logging Contractors
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Forest Resources Association / 906.282.6752
Forests Today & Forever
Idaho Forest Group
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Idaho Forest Products Commission
Montana Logging Association
Oregon Forest Resources Institute
Oregon Logging Conference
Oregon Logging Conference Foundation
Oregon Women in Timber
Pacific Education Institute
Pacific Logging Conference
Project Learning Tree / Idaho
Sustainable Forestry Initiative/National Project Learning Tree
Washington, District of Columbia
A Few Details
- Theme / Title of 2020 contest: Thru the Trees: Today’s Forest Careers
- Residents of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, ages fourteen to eighteen will be eligible to participate.
- The timeline for the contest will center around 2020 Forest Products week (October 18-24). Video submissions will be accepted from October 1, 2020, through November 13, 2020. Winners will be announced on December 4, 2020.
- Twelve finalists will receive $100 each. These finalists will then be eligible to win the top prizes.
- $1000.00 grand prize
- $500 second prize
- $250 third prize
- A panel will judge each submission using these criteria (subject to change):
- Purpose – How well the video represents the contest purpose
- Accuracy of Content – Quality of the information presented
- Message Impact – The extent to which the video engages and excites
- Creativity – The extent to which the video is unique and original
- Research – How many sources were referenced
- The planning team envisions this as an annual event with a different theme each year. We hope to extend the age limits (to include middle school students) and widen the geographic areas.
We are also requesting sponsorship for this great effort. When you click on the website link above, check out the Sponsorship tab to check it out. Or just give me a call. Anytime!
Questions or Comments?
If you have any questions about the contest or would like to be a sponsor, please give me a call at 906.282.6752 or email me at: [email protected]Vickie Swanton, Western Region Manager