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Editorial: Wow … things have changed

Back from maternity leave and taking stock of our evolving forest industry

November 2, 2021  By  Maria Church

My daughter and I. Photo courtesy Laura Scadding Photography.

Ah, my keyboard. It’s been a minute.

Luckily, as it turns out, typing is like riding a bike. After more than a year-and-a-half on maternity leave, I’m back to work, and it seems my fingers are still keeping up with my stream of consciousness. (Perhaps a few more backspaces than before.)

What a strange time it was to unplug from the forest industry. I went off work in April 2020, just as the initial pandemic lockdowns were underway. Confusion reigned.

While the forest industry was declared essential and allowed to continue operations, nothing could prevent the global market upheaval that followed. Mills closed, some permanently. Equipment sat idle. People stayed home.


As a first-time parent, home was the only place I wanted to be. But parenting in a pandemic, as any parent will tell you, wasn’t ideal.

If the pandemic has made anything clear, it’s that our health and the health of our family and friends is important. Maybe everything. Good health can mean very different things to different people. Physical health, mental health, financial heath – these all take priority at different times. But the pandemic seemed to test them all, sometimes all at once.

I was originally scheduled to return to work after a year, in April, but some physical health concerns and a lack of daycare seats prevented that from happening. So, after a year-and-a-half, I’m finally back at the helm, and with a new title to boot. As managing editor of Annex Business Media’s Forestry Group, I’ll be looking for synergies among our four forestry publications: Canadian Forest Industries, Canadian Biomass, Opérations Forestières, and Pulp & Paper Canada.

I’ve been working on the former three titles for four years now (prior to my leave), but my knowledge of the pulp and paper industry is limited. I’ll be leaning on industry experts, thought leaders, associations, and P&PC’s new editor, Sukanya Ray Ghosh, to bring me up to speed. I’m eager to dive in.

Editor Ellen Cools, and more recently Mike Jiggens, had the mammoth task of reinventing how we share stories in a pandemic world. I’ll certainly be drawing on their expertise going forward. While Mike will be handing Canadian Biomass back over to Ellen, she will continue as editor with CFI as well.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us in more ways than anyone could have expected, both at work and at home. We’re all a bit shaken up and looking for the fastest way to bounce back.

I’m certain most of us have interesting stories to share about how we have survived and, at times, thrived. As a storyteller with a platform, allow me and the team at Annex’s Forestry Group to tell your story. Together, let’s share best practices to navigate our industry out of these unusual times.

Have a story to share? Reach me at 226-931-1396 or mchurch@annexbusinessmedia.com

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