12/22/2011 08:52 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

North Bay forester shortlisted for United Nations award

A North Bay forester has been short-listed for a Forest Heroes Award by the United Nations.

Fred Pinto — a forester with several decades of experience working in northern Ontario — is one of three nominees shortlisted for the award in North America.

Pinto is founder of "Forests without Borders" and is the former president of the Canadian Insitute of Forestry.

He said the nomination came as a complete — and pleasant — surprise.

"I got a message from the United Nations during the climate change talks in Durban,” Pinto said.

“I was in North Bay here, when I got the message from them indicating I was shortlisted for the award. I tried to find out what I was being nominated for, and I spoke to a number of people, and I was able to piece together that people from across Canada had supported this nomination."

Pinto said he loves nature, spending time in the bush and sharing information with others, so the forestry profession has been a natural fit. Forestry is a science-based profession that not many people know a lot about, he said. He added that, because there is a shortage of forestry professionals in Canada right now, he encourages young people to take an interest in this line of work.

The UN will announce the award recipient in January at a special UN Ceremony in New York. This year is the UN's International Year of Forests.