August 12, 2019 3:05 pm 1 Comment
Here we are, approaching the end of the summer and I’m getting sentimental. I have learned a lot about what it really means to work in forestry, and its safe to say that I really enjoy it. I got to explore an area roughly the size of Latvia (I checked in Arcmap), and even though I didn’t see all of it, I got to appreciate a significant amount of its vastness and natural beauty. It would be hard to pick a favourite moment from the summer because there are so many moments that I hold so near to my heart.
I started out as a kid from Victoria who had very little bush experience and its safe to say that I am significantly more comfortable walking through dense forest than at the beginning of the summer. The season seemed like such a daunting task but now I can find my way around the bush with relative ease. That’s not to say that the season did not come without its difficulties however, I have sustained many light injuries over the season and have had to deal with unbelievable amounts of bugs.
I really enjoyed the camp shifts. There was something about being so isolated from the world that was particularly serene. Especially when I was out in the block, the feeling of disconnection from the world was very cathartic. In a world where we are constantly connected to one another, the opportunity to unplug was very welcome.
The learning I gained this summer was also invaluable. I learnt a significant amount about the ecosystem in which the Mackenzie forestry industry operates. Things such as trees, wetlands, shrubs, herbs, and grasses all play a part in the grand scheme of forestry and it’s incredible learning how they all coexist to create a healthy forest. I have the forestry industry to thank for the very different relationship I have with trees now. I find that everywhere I go I am now evaluating the forest and the trees within whichever bio geoclimatic zone that I am in at the time. I appreciate these trees both for their natural beauty and how they contribute to an ecosystem, and I can also appreciate their size and quality for what they represent in merchantable timber.
The amount of people employed by forestry also took me by surprise. From all the people who work in the power plant and the mill Conifex also employs a small army of administrative staff and woodlands staff who handle all sorts of things from accounting to managing our contractors. All the people I met also shared a similar love and sense of responsibility towards our forests which was very heartwarming to discover.
I also made a lot of friends this summer. Conifex hired several summer students and we all learned and grew together throughout the summer. Though we were often spread across different crews and different supervisors, we all shared a common camaraderie in the fact that we were all learning and adapting to the ever changing conditions of the job together. We learned a lot of thing about each other through long workdays and car rides, and a few things about ourselves too. We shared a lot of music, stories, work, sweat, and tears together and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
One of the lessons I learned is that although the job is tough, if you learn to enjoy every day and support the people you work with, you can learn to truly enjoy each and every day you spend out in the bush, even the really tough ones.
I can’t guarantee that this will be the last blog of the summer. But I have really enjoyed this journey of blogging and sharing my experience as it has allowed me to reflect on my summer in unique ways that I often may not. I hope all of my green dream colleagues had an excellent summer like myself, and I wish all you readers the best in the future.