One of Vancouver Island’s local treasures is the BC Forest Discovery Centre (BCFDC) in Duncan. Every year, the centre welcomes close to 60,000 visitors from all over the world, Canada and the province to explore the history of forestry.

The BCFDC has an outside/inside exhibit on a 100-acres of land, which features a working steam train, an historic logging camp, a forest fire lookout tower and many historical artifacts once used in coastal logging.

Of course, the forest industry has changed significantly in the last 100 years.  In fact, today forestry is at the forefront of helping to reduce climate change impacts through innovative new uses in wood construction, and its renewable fibre is considered an amazing resource for bio-products like fuel, medicine, clothing and other every-day products. The BC industry is also considered the world leader in sustainable forest management practices, with countries looking to our Province to learn about how to manage habitats, water and sensitive ecosystems. We also pioneered forestry re-generation practices, with seed stocks that thrive in BC’s climatic conditions, and are more resistant to pest infestations – not to mention the amazing technologies now used to survey the land like drones, or harvest wood like tethered machines.

The list of innovations used today in a 200+ year old industry is impressive, and that is why the BCFDC chose to update its exhibit and feature the old industry next to the new Modern Innovations in Forestry.

The BCFDC is undergoing a $1.5million renovation, and updating the site to allow visitors an immersive, engaging experience to tell them the stories highlighted above. Guests will get to learn about re-generation, harvesting, and manufacturing in the 21st century forest industry.

Interactive simulations from drone flying, to laser scanning of trees, and different harvesting methods will be on display – and provide students, and tourists with the ultimate learning experience. Guests will learn about the environmental benefits of the renewable forest fibre, regulatory management, and social and economic considerations for forest communities. Finally, products and manufacturing will round out the exhibit, with interactive displays on creating pulp, paper and wood products.

The focus on current-day practices will dovetail perfectly into the centre’s existing historical exhibits where the working steam train will shuttle guests through the historic past of coastal logging.

“We are pleased to support this major improvement to the BC Forest Discovery Centre,” says Jeff Zweig President and CEO of TimberWest. “The upgrades at the Centre will give visitors a modern overview of the forest sector – highlighting how science and innovation are transforming the industry. Interactive tools and informative displays will help convey how forestry has evolved in the 21st century and the exciting future for this sector.”

The new exhibit will open in the summer of 2018, and it is expected that attendance will increase to over 100,000 visitors annually.

TimberWest’s donation will help tell the world that the forest industry is modern, innovative and cool.

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