Here we are, at the end of my summer contract with Weyerhaeuser. Time flew by so quick, and now I’m packing up for my move back to Thunder Bay. I was hired as a Woodlands intern with Weyerhaeuser Grande Prairie, which meant that I would be working within silviculture, operations, and planning in a split role. My summer was filled with all sorts of different jobs, such as boundary layout, block re-ribboning, drone flying, road maintenance, and many other jobs that continuously kept me on my toes. I had the pleasure of working with many fantastic supervisors throughout the summer that answered all my burning questions about the forestry industry and helped me grow as an individual. I was welcomed into the Grande Prairie office with open arms, and everyone was very welcoming. Oftentimes in the past I’ve experienced cold management and it was a pleasant change to have such a friendly staff. Robert, Don, Carleen, Tyler, Jason, Brandon, Callum, and many other supervisors were all a pleasure to work with and I’ll be looking forward to seeing where our futures will cross paths again!
I’ve learned many valuable skills this summer and experienced forestry in Alberta firsthand. From learning how to drive a skid steer to climbing mountains so I can fly Dan the drone offline, I was exposed to many sides of the forestry industry. I got to see firsthand how the forest is harvested and regenerated with a multi-age stand harvesting approach, aerial views of reclaimed roads and burnt slash piles, how harvested sites are prepared for planting the next season, and many other aspects.
Being out in Grande Prairie also gave me an opportunity to explore the surrounding area. My weekends were often spent camping and hiking, as I travelled to Grande Cache, Jasper, and Tumbler Ridge. I’ve hiked a few mountains, swam in a cold glacier-fed lake, and wandered amongst the lodgepole pines. I’ve found many moose skulls and sheds, picked some berries, and even foraged some wild mushrooms for dinner.
Forestry as a profession in my opinion gets a bad rap. The public is often unaware that we are all governed by strict regulations and forest regeneration is our top priority. Most often when having conversations with people they just assume all we do is clear-cut forests and do nothing about it. Foresters are stewards of the forest. We prioritize the health and protection of our forests so we can continue to use wood in many aspects of our lives. For the world to move forward to more sustainable means, we need a renewable resource such as forest products. Managing a forest stand is intricate, complicated and takes a significant amount of planning and teamwork. From harvesting seeds in an orchard/wild trees to deeming a stand free to grow takes years of effort and collaboration. The woodlands team at Weyerhaeuser runs a well-oiled machine, with all divisions coming together to ensure that our forests are managed the best way possible. From building and maintaining haul roads, to organizing harvesting operations, quality checks, planting trees, and evaluating tree regeneration, forestry is an exciting career that constantly keeps you on your toes. I’m proud to be a part of it and looking forward to where my career takes me. Who knows, maybe our paths will cross too!