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Expanding Our Roots
Johnson Ginger- Forest Resources Technology

I am of first people's descent, and for the past twenty years my goal in life has always been to work for my tribe one day as a forest practitioner. My tribe is located around the Bamfield area, on Vancouver Island, BC, and we are part of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council. Formally called Ohiaht First Nation, today we have adopted our non-colonialized name, Huu-ay-aht (sounds like, "who ate it").

My first start in forestry was as a tree planter in northern BC, planting ~279,000 seedlings into BC soil between 1986 and 1990. This experience gave me the ability to gain further work opportunities in silviculture and I was able to carry out planting quality checks, regeneration surveys, free-to grow surveys, plantability surveys and survival surveys. After ten years in silviculture, I was introduced to a forester who mentored me in other areas of forestry, specifically engineering. I take my hat off to Mr. Fred Phillpot, R.P.F., as he believed that I would make an excellent forest practitioner and so I chose to acquire some formal training and become a forest resources technologist.

I chose Malaspina University College 's forestry program, but first, I had to upgrade some of my grade 11 and 12 courses. I started that process in Terrace, BC, at Northwest Community College and later I took distance education courses from the UBC's Forestry Faculty, finally ending up at Malaspina.

Located in Nanaimo, BC, Malaspina is built on the sunny southwest slopes of Mount Benson, offering students a great view of the city as well as the Strait of Georgia . One can even see the outline of the Sunshine Coast or Vancouver on clear sunny days.

The forest resources program is very well put-together, with state-of-the-art equipment and experienced instructors who are either Registered Professional Foresters (R.P.F.) or Registered Forest Technologists (R.F.T.), or both. Since it is a very condensed program, those wishing to attend should come well-prepared to go through a battery of exams, quizzes and demanding professional report writing. This prepares the student for the responsibilities of practicing forestry in BC, elsewhere in Canada or abroad.

With the experience I have gained over the years in forestry at various institutions in BC, and with hands-on training as a field worker in forestry-related jobs, the Forest Resources Technology program has taught me more than I had ever imagined forestry to be. I would recommend Malaspina to any person that seeks a career as a forest resources technologist.

I encourage young people to stay in high school, as upgrading later in life as I did may not be an option. Education has given me more choices in life, and it will give those that complete high school more choices as well. High school graduates may not want to pursue post-secondary training right away, but completing graduation requirements will allow them to consider college or university down the road rather than having to upgrade first.

Forestry will always be a major industry in BC, so for those who choose this career, there will always be bread and butter on your tables. To those who become part of the forest industry, "May the forest be with you" © and to all the forest practitioners working today, "The forest is with you". ©

Many thanks to Johnson for providing a student's perspective on post-secondary training!!

©Coined phrase by J. Ginger, 2000


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