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West Kootenay Forest Education Highlights

Toni Appleby (Forest Educator)

Intel(R) JPEG Library, version []West Kootenay Forest Educator, Darcee O'Hearn, is currently on leave for the current school year.  Replacing her in the WK Forest Education program is wildlife expert and back country guide, Toni Appleby, who has been busy delivering forest education around the region over the fall.

In September, the Interior Logging Association's forest education van was hosted by West Kootenay Forest Education, attending the Pass Creek Fall Fair along with a tour to several elementary and high schools. This is always a success with hundreds of people enjoying the tour as they learn about the history of logging and other aspects of forest education.   

During the fall, Toni spent her time liaising with school principals, career counsellors and key educators as well as distributing resource packages to the 53 schools in the West Kootenay forest education zone school districts, including the newly-reprinted "History of Logging" kit for Grade 3 classes, developed as a teacher resource by Okanagan-Columbia forest educators.

Aside from school presentations, Toni's strengths are definitely in the woods and her experience as a wildlife technician and tracker have been valuable with fall and winter field trips up to the Salmo-Creston summit, where she has conducted tours of various silviculture systems and discussed responsible harvesting in Caribou habitat. She has also educated group tours on topics such as MPB, tree ID and active logging sites in alpine zones, and has hosted mill tours and presentations on the history of logging, sustainability and practical harvesting.

Another current project for Toni includes working with SD 51 (Boundary) teachers to develop an outdoor forestry component for Grand Forks Secondary as part of their outdoor education curriculum.  This program will also be utilized for career development with students.


National Forestry Week Event Held at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park
Kootenay Lake Forest District, Southern Interior Region;
Protection Branch; BCTS;
Ministry of the Environment

Learning about Forest Resources is an element of the Grade 5 school curriculum and so, as part of National Forestry Week, the local Forest Service office once again organized a day of learning and fun for these students. On September 24, 2008 staff from the Kootenay Lake District, Southern Interior Region, Protection Branch, BCTS, Ministry of Environment, and one FS retiree hosted 249 Grade 5 students from SD 8 in the Nelson area. The event took place at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, where the creek was full of Kokanee salmon traveling up the spawning channel.  

The students were circulated through eight activities, organized in four different stations.  Station 1 was the Environment station where the local habitat biologist, situated right next to the spawning channel, explained how wildlife values are protected throughout resource development planning and operations.  The students were also guided through the ILA forest education van (Interior Logging Association), which helped them visually relate to the products that are extracted from forest lands and the values that are considered throughout the process.  At the last stop on this station, the students learned about wildlife use of the forest.

At Station 2, the fun kicked into high gear.  This was the Protection/C&E station, where the students had been warned that they might get wet!  The first activity involved small teams conducting a “mock” initial attack exercise, where hand tank pumps were used to put out a real fire and “check-ins” were radioed into the local fire centre.  The second activity involved a review of the vehicles, tools and equipment used by compliance and enforcement staff in conducting their field reviews. Lots of future inspectors will be checking up on Mom and Dad’s Christmas tree permit this winter!  The students were very engaged in both of these activities.

Station 3 was called Bugs, Bark and Art and is this where kids could warm up, and dry out a little, while they learned about forest health.  One of the activities at this station had kids use felt pens to colour a small tree cookie, which was subsequently spray lacquered, and the cookies were sent home at the end of the day as a personal souvenir.  At the second activity, the students used screwdrivers to work over sections of beetle infested lodgepole pine tree boles, looking for live beetles and observing the various galleries under the bark. 

At Station 4, the students completed a scavenger hunt where they discovered various forest attributes set up in a circular route through the park. Plants were identified, tree quality features were reviewed and the kids had a great time looking for all the items on their list. This station helped the students become more aware of the function and interrelationships of forest stand attributes and structure.

At the end of the day, each student received a spruce seedling from PRT (Pacific Regeneration Technologies) to take home with them, where they could watch it grow.  The weather co-operated and both the kids and the staff involved left with some very fond memories.

Kootenay Lake Forestry Centre staff would like to thank all the school kids, teachers, teaching assistants, the Interior Logging Association and Pacific Regeneration Technologies for making Forestry Day 2008 a success!

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