Panel Discussion: The Art and Science behind The Tree Planters Exhibition

Gallery artist Rita Leistner will be joined by two of Canada’s leading experts on reforestation, Dr. Sandy Smith, Professor of Forestry, University of Toronto, and Mark Kuhlberg, Associate Professor of History at Laurentian University. Leistner met Smith in 2016 while doing research for "The Tree Planters", and Smith introduced her to Kuhlberg. Their respective passions for the forest were mutually contagious and friendship soon followed. In this informal, intimate panel, surrounded by Leistner's large-scale, heroic portraits of tree planters, the three forest aficionados - an artist, a scientist, and an historian - will ask the question, "How can art, science and history work together to advocate for a healthier planet?" They will share some of the discussions they've had over the past year including their strategies and optimism for the future of Canadian forests and the significance of Canada's role as the international leader of forest management.

Dr. Sandy Smith a Professor in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto, serving as Dean (2010-2012). She specializes in forest health, specifically using natural controls to address invasive species in urban forests. Professor Smith has published over 125 papers, served as a reviewer for numerous refereed journals, NSERC panels, and on scientific panels for managing invasive insects such as the Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALHB) and Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Her research focuses on biological control of forest pests including invasive forest insects, earthworms, and plants such as dog-strangling vine and Phragmites. Sandy is a Past President of the Entomological Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Strategic Advisor for LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) and serves on the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation Board and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council.

Mark Kuhlberg was born and raised in Toronto. After accepting that his hockey career was not going to be a paying proposition, he turned to tree planting for sustenance. It took only twenty seasons in the bush for him to realize that there were easier ways to make a living; he turned to academia. He is now an Associate Professor and Director of the MA History program at Laurentian University in Sudbury. His publications span many sub-fields of history, including the realms of business, environmental, political, education and Aboriginal History, and his fields of expertise are Ontario's forest history in particular and the history of Canada's woodlands in general. Mark has a wonderful family consisting of a wife, two children and Fernie the wonder-dog, and he remains a diehard fan of the Maple Leafs; he is still awaiting his call up to the team.

To RSVP please email or call the gallery at 416.504.0575