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Thompson Highlights
Susan Bondar (Forest Educator)

It’s been a very busy and rewarding year thus far.  The word is out now that the Forest Education program has been in the Thompson Zone for 2½ years.  Teachers and the general public are making many requests for the forest resources that are available to them.

Once again the Interior Logging Association (ILA) Forest Education Van has been a favourite for Elementary Schools.  Forestry personnel assisted with the visits to schools in Merritt and Kamloops.

Teachers receive instruction on
Integrated Resource Management
from Casey Macaulay of Tolko Industries.

Isobel Lake Interpretive Forest, north of Kamloops was the location for a Teacher Professional Development Day (Pro D) on October 20th.  The Pro D was attended by teachers from Lytton, Kamloops and area.  The teachers enjoyed the day, gleaning forestry knowledge from Casey Macaulay, Tolko Industries (Heffley), Vanessa Purves, Weyerhaeuser (Kamloops) and Brian Bondar, Bondar Forest Planning. The topics covered included ecology, range, forest health, harvesting, integrated resource management and forest measurements.  The teachers represented classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and gained a wide range of forest information to assist with topics pertaining to forestry curriculum in their classes.  The weather was perfect- we may even get a few of the teachers to go out in the forest again!


A highlight this fall was a three day camp October 22 – 24 for Grade 10, 11 and 12 students.  The Introduction to Forestry & Environmental Studies Camp was held at McQueen Lake Environmental Education Centre, north of Kamloops.  The students from Lytton, Logan Lake, Clearwater and Kamloops were fortunate to have instruction from Kelly Hatfull (BC Institute of Technology), Stu Deverney (Selkirk College) and John Karakatsoulis (Thompson Rivers University).  All of the instructors teach in the faculty of forestry or natural resource science in their respective post-secondary institutions.  Some activities the students experienced were: ecology, tree planting, search and rescue, forest measurements, fire management and viewing an active logging site. 

Kamloops Fire Centre Initial Attack
crew give instruction on fire
management to forestry camp students.

On the first day, tree planting was among the favourites.  The students had the opportunity to plant a few hundred trees in an area that has root rot and beetle-killed trees.  They learned how tough tree planting is, but also how financially rewarding the work can be.  Another highlight the first day was the night ‘search and rescue’.  The students were taught how to use a compass and pacing techniques and then conducted a mock search and rescue of two ‘lost’ comrades.  The situation became a spooky reality for the two lost students and supervisor teacher when they heard crashing in the bush and knew it was not the rescuers.  They turned on their head lamps and found a deer was the offending party, making the ‘mock’ situation more authentic.

One of the popular second day events was the Fire Management session, complete with an Initial Attack Crew and equipment from the Kamloops Fire Centre.  Brent and Natalie were the fire experts and brought a specially- equipped truck, hand tools, pumps and hoses.  The students heard real stories and were given hands-on experience setting up pumps and running the hoses.  Probably a bonus was the cooler weather, otherwise the students may have sprayed down more than the trees!! 

The other highlight for the second day was an evening with Rob Dinwoodie, Agroforester, Ministry of Forests (Vernon).  Rob uses his talents of guitar, singing and story telling to share his life story of dreaming of being a cowboy and his journey to becoming a full- time cowboy.  The evening stars, campfire and weather were the perfect setting for the event.

Students visit an active logging site
at the "Intro to Forestry" camp.

On the third day, the students had the chance to witness an active logging site.  John Morrison of Kamloops shared his expertise with the students.  They observed a skidder, excavator, processor, cat and feller-buncher at work.  Some of the students have experienced an active logging site because of family businesses, but most of the students had never seen any of the equipment at work.  They also learned how much knowledge, experience and passion for the forests it really takes to run a logging show effectively.  In all, the Introduction to Forestry and Environmental Studies Camp was a huge success and the plan is for it to become an annual event.  This event could not have happened without the support of School District #73, Forest Industry Companies, Ministry of Forests, Kamloops Fire Centre, Kamloops and District Woodlot Association, Woodlot Product Development Council and many other contributors.

A final forest education activity in the fall saw a group of School District # 73, Grade 5 teachers attending a workshop to learn about the teaching kit Our Living Resource – The Forest.  The teaching kit is directed at the grade 5 curriculum within the context of renewable and non-renewable resources.  The kit contains lessons on; human uses, reforestation, what is a forest, silviculture, meet a tree, fires, tree identification, careers and technology, wildlife and disease.  Each school represented at the workshop received one of the kits for their school. 


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