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COFI North Forest Education

Chris Lear- Forest Education Manager

High School Students Inspired by Trades in the Forest Industry

Twenty-seven students from five high schools in School District No. 57 (Prince George) recently spent two days learning from the experts as they participated in COFI’s Northern Operations’ forest education programs ‘Trades and Technologies in the Forest Industry Career Awareness Program’.  The students spent two intense days of on-the-job learning about forest product manufacturing and the many trades and technology careers available. On tour at Canfor’s PG Sawmill, Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership’s Northwood Pulp Mill and the College of New Caledonia’s Trades Department, the students gained invaluable insight and personal advice from the many trades people who took time to show and explain to the students what their trades entail.  As encouraging as the all trades people were about getting into the trades, what resonated most was their advice to the students to stay in school, make sure they get their math, sciences and computer skills, and be prepared for a career of continuous learning.  

“This is a great program”, noted Bruce Northrop, Career Coordinator for the Prince George school district.  “We cannot duplicate this program anywhere in our schools.  It provides an extension to what we try to teach students in school, but there is no substitute for real on- the-job learning.  Our schools need to continue to partner with COFI so that our best trades students get a chance to participate in this fabulous program.  A big thank you to all the companies and trades people who participated in the program.”

Paul Bergeron, Head Filer at Canfor’s PG Sawmill describes how band saw teeth are filed to exacting specifications.

Students visit the metal fabrication shop at Canfor’s PG Sawmill with Gordon Burgess, Maintenance Supervisor (center).

The Prince George Trades and Technologies in the Forest Industry Career Awareness Program is one of five similar programs offered in school districts across north central BC by COFI Northern Operations Forest Education Program.

New Secondary Teaching Resource:  BC Forest Products for the World

A new teacher resource kit designed to help educate secondary school students about the economic importance and international reach of British Columbia’s forest sector has been distributed throughout the fall to 400 secondary schools around the province.

Produced by Chris Lear with the Council of Forest Industries Forest Education Program in partnership with Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd., a B.C. Crown agency, the kits help students:

  • describe what happens to harvested timber;
  • demonstrate the importance of the forest industry to the provincial economy;
  • demonstrate the importance to the provincial economy of marketing wood products around the world;
  • identify and evaluate international markets for B.C.’s wood products; and
  • assess the opportunities and challenges in marketing of B.C.’s wood products internationally.

On hand to launch the new resource, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell said, “More than anything, the kits highlight the international opportunities and global reach of B.C.’s forest sector,” said Bell. “Whether it’s developing new markets in China or promoting the use of wood to fight climate change, the issues that students will explore in the classroom today are the real world opportunities that promise to transform the industry in the years ahead.” 

Chris Lear presents a copy of the new teaching kit at a Northern Interior school.

“Students can take pride in B.C.’s international reputation for producing world-class products from sustainably managed forests,” said Chris Lear, manager, Forest Education, Council of Forest Industries, Northern Operations. “Many are unaware of the forest sector’s size and economic importance. Not only do these kits help demystify the sector, we hope they’ll inspire the next generation to pursue careers in our industry and shape the future of forestry.”

The kits build on the success of the mountain pine beetle educational kits distributed in 2006 and 2007. The resource kit, one year in the making, was developed in accordance with identified Ministry of Education learning outcomes and has been endorsed by the Ministry of Education. 

For more information, contact Chris Lear, Manager, Forest Education, Council of Forest Industries, 250.614.4352 or e-mal [email protected] , or go to http://www.forest-education.info.


Lake District #91 Career and Trades Programs

From May 12th to 15th, 2008, the Lakes District Secondary School Career Centre in Burns Lake (School District No. 91 Nechako Lakes) hosted the eighth annual Project Forest Management.  Twenty students experienced hands-on instruction in GPS, timber cruising, brush saws, ecology, tree planting and fire protection.  The students also had classroom instruction covering wilderness survival, workers’ rights and responsibilities, bear awareness as well as post-secondary education in forestry before taking the Babine/Auger Forestry Circle Tour with Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd. CEO Alistair Schroff.

With the forestry sector being the number one employer in Northern BC, this project was organized for students that are considering careers in forestry.  Hundreds of workers plan the logging to maximize production and minimize the ecological impact; control the diseases and fires that threaten healthy forests; and replant and reclaim the logged areas to ensure forests for the future.  Our theme this year was: "Green, Red, Grey – A New Forest Starts Today".

We would like to thank everyone who assisted in making this project such a success:  Babine Forest Products, Burns Lake Ambulance, Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd., Burns Lake Fire Base, College of New Caledonia, Council of Forest Industries, Free Growing Forestry, Lakes District Stationery and Gifts, Lakewood Forest Ltd., Ministry of Forests, Panhandle Restaurant, Redfern’s Coffee House, School District No. 91, Tree to Tree Contracting and The Workers’ Compensation Board of BC.  Thank you to Gavin Edwards, Curtis Lobermayer and Melissa Rema, LDSS FoodSafe students, for serving lunch at the woodlot.  Thank you to Mrs. Dubé, Mrs. Ferguson, Ms. Havens and Mr. Hofer for all their hard work organizing Project Forest Management.

For more information please contact our Career Programs Centre at (250) 692-7347 or at [email protected]

Project Natural Resource Management 2008

Lake District #91 Career and Trades Programs

On October 7th, 8th and 9th, 2008, twenty-five students from secondary schools in School District No. 91 (Nechako Lakes) participated in the fifth annual Project Natural Resource Management.  The project is hosted by the Council of Forest Industries (Northern Operations) and School District No. 91.

The students attended sessions on topics such as: Bear Aware/Safety Orientation, Ecology, Forest Health, Wilderness Survival/Orienteering, Fisheries Management and Habitat, Archaeology, Block Layout and Engineering, Wildlife Management, Timber Cruising, Silviculture, Careers in Resource Management and Integrated Resource Management at the camp located north of Vanderhoof.

We would like to thank everyone who assisted in making this project such a success – Council of Forest Industries (Northern Operations), Canfor (Plateau Division), West Fraser (Fraser Lake), Nechako Lumber Co. Ltd., L & M Lumber Ltd., Ministry of Forests and Range and School District No. 91 (Nechako Lakes).


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