TimberWest’s spring 2015 planting season concluded during Earth Week (April 20-24) with a final total of 5.35 million native species planted on Vancouver Island. On TimberWest lands the efforts of hundreds of tree planters added Douglas fir, yellow and red cedar, grand fir, hemlock, white pine and Sitka spruce to Vancouver Island forests. TimberWest’s tree seedlings are grown by Vancouver Island contracted nurseries, and many are from seed produced by TimberWest’s own Mt. Newton Seed Orchard in Saanich, B.C.
In conjunction with TimberWest’s spring planting efforts, Dave Kral, the company’s Timber Purchasing Manager, celebrated forty-two years with the organization in a most unique way. Dave replanted 42 trees on a recently-harvested block near Sooke, B.C. where he had originally planted seedlings in 1973 on his first day of work with TimberWest’s predecessor company, Pacific Forest Products.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to come back and see this,” Dave remarked during the recent re-planting event.
Today, tree-farming – logging as it is commonly known – employs a broad range of sustainability techniques and practices.
For TimberWest, the science of protecting the environment and forest assets is as critical as the actual logging itself, and the company invests heavily in people and knowledge to ensure that the land is protected. While conventional farming is based on annual crops, tree-farming on Vancouver Island uses native species with crop rotations between 40 and 100 years and requires a great commitment in the science of sustainability.
Kral was joined by his former Planting Foreman, Gary Haut and his former Chief Forester, Bruce Devitt. Both men are retired, but noted the significant changes in tree-farming techniques and technologies.
“People need to know just how renewable this resource really is, and that it is possible to farm the forest properly,” Devitt said.
Kral reflected on the significance of the day for him. “In my career this is no doubt my proudest moment. There’s nothing to compare to it. Hopefully more kids will get into the forestry program. It’s a great job.”
To bolster student and youth interest in forestry and tree-farming, TimberWest contributed over 500 new fir seedlings to local students for Earth Day activities. More than 350 seedlings made their way to the Nanoose Bay area as well as the Penelakut Island Learning Centre for school Earth Day planting activities.
An additional 150 of the donated student seedlings found homes with sixth grade students from six Nanaimo-Ladysmith District schools as participation awards for the Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society (NS3) 3rd annual Trash to Treasure Art Challenge held at Country Club Centre in Nanaimo. Trash to Treasure is a four-part program where students participate in local beach clean-up, work on local beach conservation and pollution projects, learn about local beach ecology, and work together to create public art. This program is inter-disciplinary, hands-on, connects students with local scientists, and promotes local conservation.
Through the planting program and various Earth Week activities, TimberWest has been able to continue to support a replanting ratio of three trees for each tree harvested. This ratio ensures the value and sustainability of Vancouver Island forests, and by replanting native species the company ensures a healthy and diverse forest environment. Protection of biodiversity is a key element of sustainable forest management and TimberWest continually strives to improve efforts to sustain key habitat for plants and wildlife.
TimberWest’s 2015 planting program will continue in late summer with a high elevation planting program. The target for the summer program will add an additional 1.75 million trees to the planting totals which will bring the final result to over 7 million new trees being planted on Vancouver Island this year.
The Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society (NS3) is a non-profit organization that inspires families and develops their interest in science and sustainability through hands-on learning. For more information, visit http://nanaimoscience.org/.