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West Kootenay Forest Education Highlights
Darcee O'Hearn (Forest Educator)

The West Kootenay has had a busy fall.  We started by attending various Fall Fairs with the Interior Logging Association's forest education van. Rock Creek was the biggest event, with over 2000 visitors!!  

We then took the van to the Pass Creek Fall Fair, just outside Castlegar. It was a sunny, two-day event which had just over 500 visitors. We had a wide range of ages visit the van, from toddlers to retired groups.  Everyone was very excited about our program and had nothing but good things to say about its importance.

Roots of teh Forest trailer
A group of seniors pose with the forest
education van at the Pass Creek Fair.

b/w of kids

 The ILA van then travelled to Kokanee Glacier Park just outside of Nelson for a National Forest Week event. Grade Five classes from SD #8 took part in a one day event. The Castlegar FOR:EX team divided the students into small groups, which travelled from station to station, learning about the diversity of forestry. Everyone had a chance to blast a target made up of drinking cups, with the winning team being the first one to blast all their cups off the picnic table won!  They loved it!

Next, we went to Gyro Park in Trail for BC Rivers Day.  This is a very well-organized annual event which takes place on the last Sunday in September. This year, we had quite a bit of rain, so the attendance was rather low. We still managed to have over 200 people walk through the van.

Towards the end of the van tour, we visited MacLean Elementary School in Rossland, the French School in Rossland, and Fruitvale Elementary.  Combined, we reached just under 400 students.

girl with ballons

In October, I attended a three day "Intro to Forestry" camp at Silver Lake Forestry Centre, run by the Okanagan/Columbia forest education zone.  The goal was to bring students from grades 10 -12 and directly involve them in hands-on learning activities to get them thinking about choosing a career in forestry.  I would like to hold a similar event run here in the West Kootenay in the future.

I had an opportunity to make some new contacts when I hosted a teachers' professional day near Nancy Greene Lake. Each of the 11 teachers who attended experienced using cruising equipment to find out age, health, and volume of a tree. They also peeled the bark away from beetle-infested pine trees to uncover beetle larvae. Forest Health Officer, Rick Mazzocchi from Castlegar, impressed us all with his vast knowledge of the forest industry. Because we had such an active fire season in the Kootenays, Senior Protection Officer, Ron Kassion, was invited to bring his truck and equipment, so the teachers could learn more about Fire and Protection.

Overall, it was a very busy and successful Fall and I am looking forward to the Spring!! 

kids lookign at log


arrow Students at Kokanee Park event examine wood for signs of bark beetle infestation.

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