While many know of engineering graduates getting rings, few know of NRM’s highest honour
By: Brady Coyle, Staff Writer
It is well known that engineers receive a ring upon graduating from their undergrad. Bestowing the “Iron Ring” upon someone is a significant symbol in the engineering community, as it reminds them of their commitment to hold themselves to the highest professional standard.
It is surprising that no other faculties have a similar ritual, right? Well, actually, Natural Resource Management has an almost identical one, and while it may surprise many, this ritual has been happening for decades.
“We get a ring to signify we are going to follow this [Canadian Institute of Forestry] code of ethics as a forester,” said Natalie Dulude, a fourth-year forestry student and the Co-President of the Natural Resource Student Society (NRSS). “It goes to all of the accredited forestry schools in Canada.”
The NRM class of 2017 will be having their Silver Ring ceremony on April 1, at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel. While the rings do have distinct and separate commitments, imparting a ring on graduates of Natural Resource Management (NRM) schools was based on the idea of the Iron Ring from the engineering faculty.
“The idea came from the engineering ring ceremony,” said Julia Ieropoli, a fourth-year student and Co-President of NRSS. “We [Natural Resource Management] started as an engineering type faculty.”
This rite of passage has been happening in the Natural Resource field since 1953, when the University of British Columbia bestowed the honour upon its graduating forestry class. The Silver Ring has many of the same ideals as the Iron Ring does; however, due to NRM’s lower student body, it is much less recognized than the Iron Ring.
“There are less schools that offer forestry degrees in Ontario,” said Ieropoli. “There is only us [Lakehead] and U of T, both of whom offer rings at the end of the programs. It [Forestry] is not as well known.”
Within Lakehead University’s NRM Faculty, there are two programs: an Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry, and an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management. Both programs are accredited by the Canadian Institute of Forestry.
One interesting aspect of the Silver Ring is that, while it represents a commitment to uphold the Canadian Institute of Forestry’s Code of Ethics, those ethics are ever evolving. Humanity’s approach and policies towards sustainability and the environment has changed dramatically over the last number of decades. Commitments made by accredited Canadian forestry school graduates must be flexible.
“It [the ring’s meaning] has adapted with the industry, but it has always represented environmental stewardship,” said Mitchell Long, a proud ring owner and graduate of Confederation College’s forestry program. Long is also currently a forestry student at LU and the Canadian Institute of Forestry’s Student Representative.
The ceremony in April will also include guest speakers Doug Reid and Karen Saunders from the Canadian Institute of Forestry, as well as Laird Van Damme, Senior Partner at KBM Forestry Consultants, and Scott Wiebe, CEO of Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE).
Come April 1, the NRM classes of 2017 can look forward to wearing the Silver Ring proudly.