The Tree Planters Have Arrived….and Left!

August 27, 2019 10:01 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Hey everyone,

For this post I’ll be sharing what I’ve been up to since the tree planters arrived on July 14th, 2019. Our last day of planting was August 7th, 2019.

I am a summer student for Sundre Forest Products, but my position is specific to silviculture (the growing and cultivation of trees). I have several duties being an assistant to the silviculture area supervisor and these include: supervising planters, communicating with foreman, auditing 10% of the pay plots completed and working with the pay plotter to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

I have to say that this season was A LOT of fun! The crew we worked with was Rhino Reforestation and they busted their butts to ensure that the quality of their work was more than adequate. This year we planted approximately 6.3 MILLION TREES in our entire Forest Management Area of Sundre Forest Products. This covered approximately 3, 834 hectares of area!

What can I tell you about the plant? Well I’ll give you a quick rundown on what my average day looked like.

man measuring tree bundles

Figure 1. Fraser Measuring trees in bundles.

I’d be at the mill for 6:00am to pick up my work truck and then I’d drive out to the planting camp that was located along the James River. The camp was spacious with forest surrounding. This provided shade for the cache (boxes and boxes of trees) as well as the crew had shade cloth over the cache. The crew set up tents, buses, campers and vehicles for where they’d be sleeping for the next 3.5 weeks. As well as their kitchen and other amenities they may need. They always have an eye for creating comfort wherever they go!

When I’d arrive, Fraser (Silviculture Area Supervisor) and I would consult with the foreman to ensure that everyone understands what the game plan is for the day and give them an opportunity to ask questions. Next, we measure treeees!! Every morning we’d measure 100 seedlings from the cache from different seedlots. This is done using a caliper for stem diameters and a measuring tape for heights. The reason we do this is to ensure that the quality of the seedlings we receive from the nurseries are meeting our company and the nursery requirements.

Once we are done measuring seedlings, we are ready to start our day!

We check on every block that the foremen and tree planters are in everyday. We go to areas of the block that has been planted to ensure that the trees are being planted properly.

tree growing diagram

Figure 2. Common planting faults that we look for when checking. (

We check on planters as they’re planting so that we’re able to catch mistakes early rather than when the entire block has been planted.

Once the block is planted and completed, a Rhino Reforestation employee then performs pay plots. These are plots thrown on a block (1 plot per hectare) to ensure that quality and density standards are being met in order for the company to be paid. Sundre Forest Products requires that the block passes by at least 92.6% in order for the planting company to be paid in full for that block. After the checker completes the block, my job was to check about 10% of the checkers work to ensure that our results are the same or similar.

2 girls posing with tree planting truck

Figure 3. Forman Rosalie (L) and Play Plotter Cynthia (R).

Box of baby trees to be planted

Figure 4. The trees are received from the nursery in boxes like these, wrapped in bundles.


Figure 5. An average day checking on planted seedlings in the block.

After ensuring that all foremen and planters have been checked on and that everything is running smoothly, that would be closer to 4 or 5pm already! We aimed to be home by 5pm and the planters would wrap up their days around 5:30.

That’s a quick look into my everyday life while the planters were here! I’ve included a video with this post of some more videos and photos from this year and even last summer working with Sundre Forest Products. There was just so much exciting stuff to share and not enough time!

I want to take the time to thank Sundre Forest Products for providing me with two very exciting summers of work! I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and experience these past two summers that I can take with me in my future endeavours.

I’d also like to thank The Greenest Workforce for such an incredible opportunity to blog my experiences this summer! Not only did I get to share these cool experiences with all of you, but I also learned that I love writing and it is something that I’d like to embrace more in my life.

And of course, thank you to my readers!! I loved the encouraging feedback I’ve received from some of you. Keep in mind that there will be more blogging from new people next summer, so stay tuned!

All the best and cheers,

Gabby Higney

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