For over 20 years the Counsel of Forest Industries has been offering students in our region valuable forestry and career curriculum. This year was no exception, on Oct. 5-6th, thirty students from Smithers Secondary and Houston Secondary as well as students from two other schools participated in a two day COFI sponsored Natural Resource management camp hosted this year by the Houston Canfor mill and the Northwest Forest Fire base. On Wednesday we traveled to a cut block up the Granisle road and students participated in workshops involving block layout, soil science, forest health and tree planting. We finished up with a tour of the cut block getting to see all the harvesting machines in action. Presenters explained what their role is in the harvest and how students could educate/ train themselves for a career in the field if they thought the work was interesting.
On Thursday the activities were based out of the Northwest Forest Fire base in Telkwa. Students participated in challenges involving setting up a fire pump hose system, building a fire guard around a slash pile and then using a diesel/gas drip can to spark up the piles. In the afternoon students were mixed into teams to participate in 7 challenges covering everything from a version of the fire crew fitness test, to a “pee” can target shoot and building a shelter with a tarp, rope and found materials in the bush.
Each presenter that spoke talked enthusiastically about their area of expertise and how students could turn their education into a rewarding forestry career. The COFI organizers Chris Lear and Jim Costley did a masterful job of organizing a great lineup of speakers/activity leaders. They also turned out to be great bush cooks putting together BBQ lunches and snacks for forty plus people out of the back of their truck. Thanks to Jim and Chris, all the people from CANFOR and the Northwest Fire crew at the Telkwa base for your information, enthusiasm and a rich two day experience for the student participants. Thanks also to Mr. Grice and Michael Nelligan, EMAP instructor, for your help getting this organized at the school end.