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Let's Talk Forests- Climate Change and Wildfires: Cause or Effect?


: 9-12
: 12.30 - 2.00PM ET (recording available 2 days after the event)
May 9, 2024
Teens in Forest

Forests, the lungs of our planet, are complex ecosystems that play a vital role in our environment. Join us as we explore the connections between forest management, wildfires, and the ongoing challenge of climate change. We will also unravel fascinating concepts such as “zombie fires” and cultural fires. Don't miss this opportunity to discover the enchanting beauty and delicate balance of nature.

Student Outcomes:

  • Identify natural phenomena and human activities that affect forest ecosystems.
  • Understand the relationship between wildfires and climate change.
  • Evaluate the ecological and societal impacts of wildfires.
  • Explore forestry practices and technologies applied in forest management.

Curriculum links: Ecology, climate change, technology, environmental sustainability

Let's Talk Forests - Panelists


Speaker: Kira Hoffman 

Dr. Kira Hoffman is a professional fire ecologist and former wildland firefighter. Hoffman's research focuses on how humans have used fire for millennia to manage and enhance their natural surroundings. Through support for Indigenous-led initiatives and local ecological knowledge, she uses western science to better understand how present-day forests have been shaped by stewardship techniques such as burning and how ongoing fire suppression has eroded the resiliency of ecological and human communities. From field sampling fire-scarred trees to using controlled fire to burn for multiple values, her methods integrate a range of disciplines including dendroecology, botany, and archaeology.

Speaker: Jennifer Baltzer 

Dr. Jennifer Baltzer is a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change at Wilfrid Laurier University, whose work focuses on the drivers of forest composition, structure and function and responses of these systems to global change. She currently leads an extensive boreal forest research program throughout the Northwest Territories. Her interdisciplinary research program examines the impacts of climate warming, including permafrost thaw, wildfire regimes, and biome shifts, on the distribution and function of high latitude boreal forests and its implications for northern communities. 

Speaker: Ellen Whitman 

Dr. Ellen Whitman is a forest fire research scientist with Natural Resources Canada, in the Canadian Forest Service. She conducts research on climate change and wildfire activity, the shifting ecological impacts of fire, and using remote sensing to map and understand fire in Canada. 

Moderator: Caitlyn Lyons 

Caitlyn Lyons is a PhD candidate in Biological and Chemical Sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University. With a background in Environmental Sciences and Biology, she works on understanding how climate change and wildfires impact trees in the Northwest Territories. 


  • Welcome (5 mins)
  • Talks by our panelists, (30-40 mins)
  • Our panelists answer YOUR questions! (40-50 mins)
  • Closing remarks (5 mins)

Automatically generated closed captioning will be provided for live and recorded webinars.

If you're out of the classroom at this time, simply register to receive a link to the recording to watch with your class when your schedule permits.