Thompson Forest Education Highlights
Susan Bondar (Forest Educator)
The forests are a prime topic in the Thompson Region lately, thanks to the Mountain Pine Beetle. More public awareness has been created due to the impact of the beetle on people’s yards, school grounds, public parks, and green spaces in around towns and cities. Because of this, teachers are requesting more forestry and environmental information for their students. Due to the Forest Education Program, we are able to accommodate most or all of the requests for the students.
Three elementary schools in Kamloops lost all the Ponderosa Pine trees in their school grounds and the green spaces around the area. The tree loss was approximately 30 trees in one school yard, 60 in another and over 100 in another. Some students became very proactive when they learned that the trees were to be removed during spring break. They initiated fund raisers to earn money to purchase replacement trees, they had a training session so they would be able to speak to other students about the Mountain Pine Beetle, and they also headed up a planting project of seedlings to replace the trees they had lost. The students were empowered to make a change in their environment, rather than accept the consequences.
Casey Macaulay, forester with Tolko Industries, assists with school ground planting project.
Classroom Forestry Presentations
Celebrating our forests in schools has become a hallmark for the spring in the Interior. Part of the celebration is to have forestry personnel deliver lessons in the classrooms. This year, requests came in from 3,800 students and teachers. Presentations took place in communities from Princeton up to Blue River and Chase over to Cache Creek. The topic this year was "A Tree’s Story- from Seed to Finished Product". The lesson had students participate in activities, learn about different types of mills, and test their knowledge of tree-based products that are used in every day life. The lessons were well-received, judging from comments by presenters and teachers.
Plans for 2007-2008
- The Interior Logging Association forest education van is booked for National Forest Week Celebrations in September and BC Timber Sales Staff will assist with the presentations.
- The second annual Forestry and Environmental Studies Camp is planned for October 21, 22 and 23 at McQueen Lake Environmental Education Centre north of Kamloops. The Camp will be attended by Secondary Students and lessons will be delivered by post- secondary instructors.
- A Career Fair is planned at TRU for early May and should see approximately 1000 Planning 10 students attend.
- Plans are also underway for September 2008 to start a Forestry and Environmental Studies Program at NorKam. The program has been written and approved by the local School Board in Kamloops and has received approval from Ministry of Education in Victoria. Discussions are now underway with post- secondary institutions regarding articulation with Forestry and Environmental Studies and related programs.
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