What is this program about?
October 12 – 14, 2017
The Forestry & Environmental Studies Camp has been hosted at the McQueen Lake Environmental Education Centre annually for the past 10 years. The learning takes place in the forest and aquatic ecosystems at the Centre or close proximity. The students learn about the diversity of various environments and the range of employment opportunities that could become careers or work experiences while taking further education.
Ecology – Silviculture – Aquatics – Soils
The Instructors are from Thompson Rivers University (TRU), BC Timber Sales (BCTS), Industry, and Volunteers. Instructors from TRU conduct lessons regarding; ecology, silviculture, aquatics and soils. The ecology and silviculture lesson include tree specie recognition, determine age and height of trees, plant collection and identification of indicator plants. During the aquatics lesson the students learn about aquatic ecosystems and how they relate to the forests. The students put on hip waders and collect aquatic samples. They study the samples under microscopes and catalogue the insects. Through the investigative work, they determine whether or not McQueen Lake has a healthy and diverse aquatic ecosystem (which it does). The soils lesson includes interpretation of the soil profile and discovers Earths most valuable resource and how it develops.
Tree Planting – Tree Harvesting
BC Timber Sales and West Fraser employees instruct the students about harvesting timber and tree planting. BCTS employees supplied tree seedlings and planting equipment for the students. The students then experienced tree planting and also learned about the growing of seedlings, different methods and reasons to tree plant and employment opportunities for the future. West Fraser employees hosted the students on an active logging site where the students learned about the different pieces of equipment used during harvesting, how and why the logs are cut to various lengths for various end uses of lumber.
Fire Management – Search and Rescue
A couple of other favourite activities are the Fire Management and Search and Rescue (SAR) lessons. Fire Management is instructed by the owners and employees of HIS Wildfire FS Incorporated of Kamloops. The students learn how to operate a water pump, how to connect hoses and ‘jewellery’ (the connector pieces) and then have a target competition using the equipment. The students also learn about the hand tools used during a fire, courses they could attend to gain certification and employment opportunities for the future. The night Search and Rescue activity is conducted by Kamloops Search and Rescue. The students learn about SAR and how to become a volunteer. They also have the opportunity to use skills of compassing, pacing and working as a group while searching for a ‘lost’ person in the dark. The students enjoy the challenge and success when they find the lost person.
A bonus activity is the campfire held on the last evening of the Camp. The campfire activity is hosted by Rob Dinwoody, a professional country singer and entertainer. Rob is also a Professional Agrologist for the Ministry of Natural Resources Operations. He has a host of stories and songs and is able to involve the students and get them to howl at the moon by the end of the evening, which is a nice wrap-up for a very busy three days.
Benefits to Students
Why should students take this program?
Students interested in a career in any of the following areas would be advised to attend the camp to learn more about the subject.
Students were instructed on the following topics:
- Ecology, Silviculture – ecosystems, soil pits, plant & tree identification
- Entomology – bark beetles, defoliators and other forest pests
- Air Photos & Mapping – reading of maps & air photos, use of stereoscope
- Search & Rescue – compassing, search plan & implementation
- Range Ecology & Management – Lac du Bois grasslands
- Tree Planting – BEC Zones, planting & restoration
- Fire Management – hand tools, fire pump operation, skills competition
- Aquatics – aquatic ecosystems, use of microscopes
- First Nations – edible plants, medicines, culture
- Forest Measurements – GPS, tree height, diameter, age & volume
School District 73 students must include a $75.00 cheque with their application.