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Festival approaches fifty years of forestry education

[From an article that appeared in the Summer issue of The Log & Tally Magazine]

Launched in 1967 by veteran coastal-logger Bill Moore, this group of volunteers have focused their time and attention on taking urban teachers into rural forest-dependent communities. The impact on teachers is impressive, as one teacher told us; “This tour was an incredible learning experience for me. Coming from the city, I never realized all that went on to bring me my wood and paper”.

The Festival of Forestry is a non-profit organization committed to providing quality professional development experiences for school teachers. Our annual tours—accommodating up to 20 participants—provide an interactive learning experience to enhance teachers’ understanding of the complexities of sustainable forest management, and methods to integrate information into their classes. The best part for the teachers is that the entire three-day adventure is absolutely FREE!

This past summer, the forests of Vancouver Island became a classroom for sharing the many values that forests provide. Teachers learned that forestry is about much more than trees!

Day one included a tour of family run Headquarters Creek woodlot where non-timber forest products are harvested alongside about fifty logging trucks a year of timber. Next in the program was Sylvan Vale Nursery. A coastal production facility generating more than 8 million seedlings a year for a range of BC and US Pacific northwest clients.

The following day teachers visited actively managed forests where they learned about managing for Roosevelt elk, fish and riparian values, explored research trials in big tree forests, learned about visual and aesthetic management and tourism and saw how land managed for timber can also be used by the public for recreation. Along the way they learned about the Provincial Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification system used in BC, and participated in a tree identification activity and used some tools of the trade including a suunto and an increment borer.

Many tour participants are from the Vancouver area and often return from a tour asking how they can share the forest with their students. We all know you don’t have to go far from Vancouver to find a forest—so this summer the Festival of Forestry is hosting “A tour in your own backyard”. It’s still an adventure – but an adventure that is more accessible for teachers to return with their students.

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