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Charlotte Gill planted her first tree at the age of nineteen. She had taken a summer job on a reforestation crew between her semesters at the University of Toronto. The work took her into the remote boreal forests of the north. She was instantly hooked on the outdoor exhilarations of the tree-planting life.
So began Charlotte’s professional silvicultural career, a two-decade long romance with an occupation defined by strangely addictive rigours – mud, stormy weather, clear-cuts so big they can be seen from space, and back-breaking labour amid swarms of carnivorous insects. It is a job known to attract adventurers, artists and eccentrics of all kinds. They make an unconventional life planting trees by hand, one of the world’s most ancient ecological pursuits.
In her seventeen seasons as a tree planter Charlotte has worked on the Canadian Shield, in foothills of the Albertan Rockies and in many parts of British Columbia. She has commuted to work in float planes, offshore tugboats, diesel trucks, helicopters, rowboats, all-terrain vehicles, inflatable dinghies, and amphibious military vehicles. She has crossed paths with whales, eagles, dolphins, weasels, flocks of migrating cranes, moose, newborn fawns, and grizzlies. She has planted more than a million trees.
Charlotte was born in London, England and raised in the United States and Canada. She is the author of the story collection Ladykiller, a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and winner of the Danuta Gleed Award and the B.C. Book Prize for fiction. Her work has appeared in Best Canadian Stories, The Journey Prize Stories, and many Canadian magazines, and has been broadcast on CBC Radio. Her non-fiction has been nominated for Western and National Magazine Awards. She lives in Powell River.