Kayla Brock is working in West Fraser’s silviculture department this summer. Contributed photo

Forestry summer students blog about Quesnel industry

Students win scholarship and opportunity to promote forestry sector

Three forestry-sector summer students in Quesnel are promoting their industry and our city after winning the Forest Products Association of Canada 2018 Green Dream Internship contest.

West Fraser Mills summer students Ryan DaSilva, Alexander Davis and Kayla Brock have each begun blogging about their experiences at work and play in our area, as part of the program.

“I like social media and blogging, so I thought it was right up my alley. My family always asks me, ‘What do you actually do at work?’ So this was a good way to explain it as well as practise my writing skills,” says DaSilva, a Richmond, B.C. native and University of British Columbia Faculty of Forestry student.

Quesnel’s summer students were three of 10 winners around the country, who will receive a scholarship towards their ongoing schooling as well as an iPad Mini or GoPro camera to help them blog about their experiences in Canada’s forest products industry throughout the summer. The program aims to promote a wide variety of forest sector career opportunities.

“Canada’s forest products sector is only as strong as its people, and future success is greatly influenced by developing the leaders of tomorrow,” says Derek Nighbor, CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

“The FPAC Green Dream Program serves as a development opportunity for interns, but we also hope it will create interest and inspire young Canadians to explore the forest products sector as a career option,” he adds.

Quesnel’s three winners are working across West Fraser’s company for the summer, with DaSilva in quality control, Davis in planning and Brock in silviculture.

Davis – who is from the Sunshine Coast and has studied at Thompson Rivers University but is now transferring to UBC – says his job so far has been varied.

“Planning is so far a lot of site plan data collection. The cutting permit for the block has been obtained, so we go there to ensure there are no problems; we check the soil, we look for wildlife trees, riparian areas, archaeological sites… so within that, we identify streams and, depending on how we classify them, we need a certain buffer around them. We have been doing some GPSing of boundaries and laying out the boundaries, and a bit of road layout. We mark trees that have beetle infestation,” he explains.

Davis says he wrote one blog entry on his first six weeks of training, and has written another on a trip some of the summer students took to Groundhog Lake.

“I’ve always been a pretty good writer and enjoyed it, but have never really done a lot of it except for school. I might do a day in the life for my third blog post,” he says.

Brock says she hopes to blog about Quesnel tourism.

“I would like to do the top 10 places to eat in Quesnel, the top 10 things to do in Quesnel. Not being from here, I’m looking forward to exploring it.”

Brock is from Clearwater, B.C. and will finish her degree in natural resource sciences in Kamloops this coming school year.

She says she loves that her silviculture role allows her to be outside all day.

“I go out and check what the tree planters have done, that [the trees are] not competed by vegetation and that they don’t have diseases on them. I really like being outside all day.

“Even if its raining or snowing, the worst day in the bush is better than an office day.”

Winning the scholarship and being part of the Green Dream program is helping her fulfill her goals.

“It is emotional for me to be living away from my family and boyfriend, but getting [the Green Dream Internship] feels like I’m finally accomplishing something. I’ve never blogged before, but I keep my personal journal. It’s fun and I’m enjoying it.”

DaSilva says he’s enjoying Quesnel’s “community vibe” and his work in quality control.

“I’m in a program called wood products processing, and I’m in my third year of a four-year degree. I want to start my career in the forestry industry, but I’m interested in manufacturing in general. So it will be interesting to see where my career takes me,” he says.

The Green Dream blogs are posted bi-weekly and can be found at GreenestWorkforce.ca.

READ MORE: Correlieu Secondary students learn about careers in forestry


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