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By Sydney Goward on August 8 2016
The past month, my role at West Fraser has included mostly silviculture work under an incredible forester named Sue. Silviculture is a type of forestry that relates to managing the landscape post-harvest in order to produce a healthy and merchantable forest stand for the future. I’ll be writing to you guys soon about what exactly the art of silviculture work entails and all the experiences I’ve had with that soon, but today I want to highlight one experience in particular.
A large part of forestry involves planting trees where we have harvested. The goal of planting is to produce a forest stand capable of economic harvest in the future. During the planting season, I was a part of everything from working with contractors, to doing planting checks, and generating reports. I even had my first experience planting trees which was so much more intricate than I had anticipated. This year, West Fraser Williams Lake planted about 1.65 million trees. Where and how does a company grow 1.65 million trees? Well, this past Wednesday, Sue took Erin and I to one of several nurseries growing our trees, where we were able to see how it all begins.
Roserim Forest Nursery is nestled about two hours south east of Williams Lake by beautiful Canim Lake on the edge of Wells Gray Provincial Park. When we arrived, we were greeted by the wonderful couple that has owned and operated the site for 24 years. After a quick introduction, we toured around the property where we saw many giant open air green houses, housing almost 2 million seedlings. Our seedlings for planting in summer 2017 have already been sown and we were able to see and touch all the delicate and soft little trees. Roserim is growing 5 species for us this year: pine, spruce, douglas-fir, larch, and western red cedar. The knowledge, passion, and innovation of the owners was a real treat to witness. They answered the flood of questions from Erin and I with ease and patience. There is actually a lot of technicality that goes into growing trees! The watering and heating systems that we saw alone are amazing, but then they have considerations on time of seed sowing and how to get the biggest, strongest root mass, along with many, many other things.
After our tour, we headed into their home for some freshly baked treats and coffee, where we had philosophical discussions on the forestry industry and growing trees. The couple expressed how they love growing for West Fraser and feel they are treated very well by the company. Sue likes to purchase seedlings each year from this company because of the high quality of product, as well as the satisfaction for supporting locals and the community. This is one value I really love seeing in action.
Before heading back to town, we decided to take a quick detour and walk into Mahood and Canim falls. I’ve been to these falls before and so had Sue, but neither Sue nor Erin had ever been right in the action, so I led us over to where Canim River comes crashing down over 25 meters of eroded lava flows. The river flows shallow and gently enough in safe spots to cross over to a rock landing where you can take in the view. Unfortunately I didn’t have any shorts but I wasn’t about to let getting my pants wet ruin an opportunity for adventure, so into the river pools I went, khakis and all. It was a breath taking view and a great way to cool off from the hot day.
My time with silviculture is quickly (and sadly!) wrapping up, so I’ll be writing soon to give you a summary glimpse into my life the past month, which has been nothing short of amazing. Erin is heading off for some well-deserved holidays during the next two weeks, and I’ll be shadowing some operations foresters. I have so much to share so keep in touch! Thank you guys for the support.