August 25, 2020 10:46 am 3 Comments
As my summer work with Tolko begins to wind down, so too does my blogging internship with FPAC. Fall is in the air and I am getting ready to head back to the University of Regina in September. Thankfully, fall is my favourite time of year because it means hunting season has arrived. For my final blog post, I’d like to reflect on the summer’s highlights and the things I learned on the job this field season.
The year 2020 has been a curveball for all of us and this was especially evident in the workplace. I am extremely grateful that Tolko chose to move forward with their summer student program, despite the unique situation we are facing. The policies that were put in place to protect employees, including us summer students, were second to none and for that I am very thankful. Working in the Tolko Woodlands division has been an adventure and a learning experience all wrapped into one. Every day seemed to offer something new and all the hands-on experience gained is something I will surely use throughout my career. As an example, I was lucky enough to be a part of a couple culvert installations. This is something that I had little experience with, and after this summer, I now have been involved with properly installing culverts at creek crossings in the forest. There is a lot more to it than just putting a pipe in the ground. Geotextile fabric, silt fences and brush mats are all part of the process to ensure that creeks are left in good condition.
The highlight of the summer for me was learning to fly drones. It was surprising to see how smoothly they glide through the air, even in windy conditions. The video that these drones are able to capture is so steady and clear, it is unbelievable. They are a valuable tool that can save a lot of time and I’m sure they will continue to gain popularity in many industries. Another highlight was being able to travel near and far around northern Saskatchewan. Exploring new places and seeing all sorts of different sights. I also enjoyed seeing various species of wildlife throughout the summer. We especially saw lots of black bears. Luckily, all at a safe distance. The high bear population often popped up as a subject of discussion in our safety meetings. Some people are probably not aware that, with the American border being closed this spring and fall, there are limited clients for outfitters across Canada. Having been a hunting guide a few years back, I am well aware that a good portion of outfitter clientele comes from the U.S. Less hunters led to reduced harvest of black bear in the spring and as a result, the population has likely grown. I have never read more articles and heard more stories about bear attacks and problem bears in campgrounds, hiking trails and around cabins than I did this summer. This is direct proof of just how important hunting really is for management of wildlife.
I believe that I have learned a lot about the forest industry over the past months and I hope to continue working in forestry, contributing to the successful management of this renewable resource.
Lastly, I would like to thank my coworkers, classmates (notably the feller-bunchers) and teachers, all of whom have helped me navigate any challenges I’ve faced with work and school. Also, thank you to my friends and family – especially my parents. They are my role models and without their encouragement and support, I would not be where I am today, both in my young career and academically.
Thank you to Tolko (specifically the Prince Albert/Meadow Lake crew) for providing me the chance to dive into the forest industry in Saskatchewan. I enjoyed meeting everyone and the work was awesome! Finally, an enormous thanks to FPAC for allowing me to blog throughout the summer. Having the opportunity to share my summer employment experiences has been a privilege.
Last, but not least, a special thank you to everyone who followed me throughout the summer. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
Until next time,