Forestry students share their diverse learning hands-on experience working for the forest industry.
Vancouver, BC – TimberWest is once again a classroom to a group of excited summer students, eager to further their knowledge of the forest industry. A select group of students are receiving a hands-on experience in silviculture, forest engineering, and forest biology while assisting the company’s operations in Nanaimo and Campbell River locations. Benefitting from an exchange of knowledge and invaluable professional experience, students’ responsibilities are as varied as B.C.’s coastal biodiversity. From workshops in climate change to overseeing drone flights and monitoring artificial bear dens, TimberWest encourages participation in a variety of tasks.
Students learn about the environmental conditions of various plant species- why some thrive while others require maintenance, given ecological constraints. Reforestation is a keen area of interest among summer interns, and one that is of particular concern to the public. Planning and creating a forest to meet a complex set of requirements such as environmental needs, First Nations values and wildlife habitat is a challenge. At TimberWest, students learn about managing the forest for these values. “Hearing about all the learning opportunities available at TimberWest, I have no doubt that all of my questions, and more, will be answered,” says Breagh Kobayashi, summer student at the Campbell River location.”
The Coastal Silviculture Committee Summer Workshop, based out of Campbell River, provides insight into one of today’s most pressing questions – climate change, and how to ensure that the young stands adapt to the changing conditions. During his summer placement, Lyle Ahenakew learned that a “transitional shift from geographically based seed transfer to a climate-based seed transfer system” is a new tool for combatting global warming. “[Mitigating] climate change by moving seeds based on latitude, temperature, and precipitation so they are planted in climates where they are currently best adapted” is also a reforestation strategy that students learn about during their summer placement with TimberWest.
TimberWest’s summer program stretches beyond forestation as students get to monitor the habitats of species at risk, such as that of the Northern Goshawk, among other field responsibilities. “A number of ‘Goshawk Territories’ have been set aside from harvesting TimberWest and my job is to find nests and determine if the territory is still in use,” say Mack Hallworth, who is working as a member of the Environment and Resource Integration (ERI) team.
“I am pleased to be working in Nanaimo BC for a company that values sustainable forest development, environmental stewardship and, most importantly, building and maintaining relationships with people,” says Marino Somerville, whose work this summer is primarily focused on engineering and operations. Inspection of bridges designed as resource roads is another of the responsibilities of the team, as over time, the bridges wear down due to vehicle use and weathering. “During each inspection, we consistently look out for any signs of bridge failure and instability.” This is why TimberWest has implemented a long-standing bridge inspection program. “One of the best parts I have found about my job is that I can balance my work load between field days and office days. Getting the opportunity to be outdoors and apply newly acquired knowledge from school puts things into perspective of how sophisticated the forest industry is.”
To Meghan Hilborn, “it’s the little things” that matter: “People walk by [and] say hello to us, or happily exchange a few words in the coffee room. These small events make me feel like I’m more than an expendable, temporary employee, inspiring me to work harder every day.”
TimberWest is certified to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations program of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. The company is also third-party certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and has been operating on the BC Coast for over 100 years. TimberWest is a Canadian company owned by two major Canadian public service pension funds.
About Forestry Student Summer Work Opportunity
TimberWest recruits students from all over Canada to support daily operations in Nanaimo and Campbell River locations, assisting in office and field related work. Summer students share their existing knowledge with TimberWest staff and gain valuable on-the-job work experience in silviculture, forest engineering, and forest biology supplemented by coaching from experienced mentors. The company supports students’ interests in forestry by engaging them in yearly summer opportunities and offering several scholarships.
Monica Bailey| Director, Communications | T 250 716 3744 | Monica.Bailey@TimberWest.com