Bailey Brokenshire: Blog: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program

  |  
August 5, 2022

Hello Readers,

Firstly, I would like to express how grateful I am to be selected as a Green Dream Intern. Huge thank you to FPAC for providing me with an opportunity to share my experiences over the summer. Since over half the summer has already flown by, I would like to tell you about my first few weeks at Tolko High Prairie, what my job consists of, and what I like most about it.

Last fall while attending my second year of Forestry at the University of Alberta, I was intent on securing a summer student position on the operations side of forestry. I was absolutely thrilled when after a day of bowhunting, I heard a voicemail on my phone saying I got a job as a Woodlands Student at Tolko’s High Prairie OSB mill. The next six months was filled with nothing but anticipation to start working away in the bush and gain industry experience.

For the first few weeks at Tolko, my three coworkers and I spent our days meeting everyone in the Woodlands division, organizing equipment and going through various field and online training. The bear safety course was run by a very knowledgeable instructor, who answered our questions thoroughly and set straight exactly how to act during encounters with bears and other wildlife. For our ATV training we spent the day working through drills, obstacles, loading and unloading, then drove down some trails. In case of a fire, we learned how to run a Mark 3 pump, which I found to be the most informative training since I had never run one before. The defensive driving training was my favourite by a long shot. After a day of classroom training, we spent another day in a gravel pit performing emergency stops, hairpin turns, slaloms, and trailering. All the field training we received was informative, applicable and nothing but a good time.

The four of us riding down a trail

We also went through some training that isn’t specific to our job this summer but gave us a glimpse into other areas of forestry. Since we were going to perform operational duties, silviculture wasn’t something we would do at all, but our supervisor thought some exposure to it would be beneficial. We then took a two-day course to become qualified surveyors. Regeneration standards, reconnaissance surveys, intensive surveys, and reporting were some of the topics covered in the classroom. For the field portion we made our way out to a block and conducted an intensive survey that would be sent to the government. We also spent a day checking planters, where we sampled some plots to made sure seedlings were planted to proper densities and quality. Getting a small taste of silviculture was time well spent and broadened our knowledge of the industry, beyond the daily work we were to do this summer.

There are a few different responsibilities in our summer positions, but the main one is block layout. A typical day of layout starts with a drive to a specific compartment, then a quad ride as close to the block as we can get. Once in the block we use maps to navigate the entire area looking for key features. The purpose of layout is to identify the key features within a block that would affect harvesting operations and the environment or that have importance to various stakeholder groups. In a day of layout, we need to find and GPS wildlife points such as bird nests, bear dens, and mineral licks so they can be given a specific buffer. Watercourses and wetlands are the features we GPS and ribbon the most in a day. These also need buffers determined by their classification and they require different types of crossings, so they are not damaged by machinery. We also look for birch stands to be kept as retention, as the Chaga mushrooms found in these stands are used by local First Nations groups for medicinal purposes. At the end of the day, layout is essentially exploring the bush, which is something I would be doing anyway if it wasn’t my job. Now I get the added convenience of scouting for hunting spots, finding sheds and berry patches, or other interesting things, all while I work away. I can say with confidence that I absolutely love layout, and all the rose thorns in my knees and itchy mosquito bites are worth it just to be in the bush, all day every day

A gate with three ribbons indicates to a buncher operator the start and end of a watercourse.
A 2km dead walk out of the block was made a lot more difficult by the insane amount of beaver activity in the area.

Although layout is the meat and potatoes of the job, we also have a few other tasks. One of these is to inspect crossings such as culverts and bridges. Single culverts are the most common to inspect. For these we must check many things to ensure the culvert is in good condition and working as it should. Among other things we check that the culvert is structurally sound and level, that there are no blockages and water can flow freely, that there is no erosion around the culvert, and that there are delineators in place to indicate that the culvert exists. If the culvert is not working as it should, the quality of a watercourse, and the accessibility or safety of the road can be affected. Checking crossings is a lot more relaxed compared to layout, but the task still makes for a good adventure.

One of my favourite parts about my job is coming across interesting things, however simple they might be. A good view is always pleasurable to find, the best one we found so far was a high ground overlooking the bend of a beautiful river. Was it ever a surprise when overlooking such a nice view, I spotted the very first strawberries of the season.  Sheds are probably my favourite to find. So far, I’ve found three from whitetails, and I’m crossing my fingers that I find a moose or elk shed by the end of the season. I have also found many animals, trail signs, trappers cabins, and giant trees. These are all small things and may not seem that interesting to everyone, but they remind me how lucky I am to have the job I do.

One of the best views we have found so far.
First strawberries of the season.
An absolute monarch of a tree we found while doing crossing inspections.

Adventuring through the bush and finding cool things is great, but the most enjoyable part of my job is the people I get to work around. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students to work with. Each of us have different skills and that is part of what make us a good team. My days in the bush are only as good as they are because of my work mates. It was refreshing to meet everyone in the High Prairie and Slave Lake Woodlands division since its very clear that they are not only knowledgeable but also passionate about their jobs, and they genuinely enjoy what they do. I must say that I am fortunate to work with the supervisors and students I do, because they make the summer more enjoyable than it would otherwise be.

I hope this summary of my job as a Woodlands Student at Tolko High Prairie gave you a good idea of what it’s like working in forestry for the summer. Thanks for reading!

Bailey Brokenshire

For more information contact:
Kerry Patterson-Baker
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
kpatterson-baker@fpac.ca
(613) 563-1441 x 314
Follow FPAC on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC
September 22, 2022
Canada’s Forest Sector Announces Awards of Excellence Recipients, Celebrating Its Best and Brightest
As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is seizing the opportunity to announce the recipients of its annual Awards of Excellence program.
Read This
September 22, 2022
Canada’s Forest Sector Honours Ntityix Resources LP of West Kelowna, BC with Indigenous Business Leadership Award
As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) announced that Ntityix Resources LP of West Kelowna, BC is being honoured with the Indigenous Business Leadership Award.
Read This
September 22, 2022
Susan Yurkovich, Mark Tamas, and Joerg Goetsch Honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award from Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Susan Yurkovich of the BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) & BC Lumber Trade Council, Mark Tamas of Tolko Industries, and Joerg Goetsch of Mercer International have each been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Canada’s forest products sector.
Read This
September 22, 2022
Tom Ratz of Resolute Forest Products Honoured with Outstanding Member of the Year Award from Canada’s Forest Products Sector
Today, FPAC announced that Tom Ratz of Resolute Forest Products has been honoured with the Outstanding Member of the Year Award from Canada’s forest products sector.
Read This
September 21, 2020
Lisa Raitt Honoured As Community Champion By Canada's Forest Products Sector
Forest Products Association of Canada recognizes former minister Lisa Raitt's leadership in the forestry sector with Forestry Community Champion award
Read This
November 13, 2019
The Search for Canada's Greenest Workforce
Canada's forest industry is a top employer and global leader in sustainability, forest management, clean technology and innovation
Read This
March 21, 2019
Standing Tall with Canada's Forest Workers on International Day of Forests
Forest Products Association of Canada celebrates forestry communities, workers and world leading forestry management for International Day of Forests
Read This
February 20, 2019
Opinion | Workforce Diversity - Canada's Forest Sector Branches Out
Forest Products Association of Canada embraces diversity and encourages women and indigenous to join the forestry workforce
Read This
August 25, 2022
Aidan Starosta: Sharing my first experiences at Resolute: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
My name is Aidan, and I was born and raised in the Denver Metro Area of Colorado, USA. Although I lived in suburbia, I could see the Rocky Mountains from my bedroom window and got to spend a lot of time out in nature.
Read This
August 25, 2022
Aidan Starosta: Interview with Seth Kursman, VP, Corporate Communications, Sustainability, and Government Affairs: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
An important part of working in a corporate office is networking within the company. Resolute Forest Products promotes this practice and encourages us, interns, to interact with multiple departments.
Read This
August 25, 2022
Aidan Starosta: Interview with Maria Komourdjian, Logistics Director at Resolute: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
In my series of interviews, I decided to meet the director of Logistics, Maria Komourdjian. Maria has taken a step up within the Logistics department, while the vice president, Karen Roach, has taken a temporary relocation assignment to be the general manager of one of our mills!
Read This
August 25, 2022
Aidan Starosta: All about logistics: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
An important part of the forestry industry is logistics. Without the logistics department, mills would not be able to create new products, as the old ones would still be taking up space on the floor.
Read This
August 25, 2022
Aidan Starosta: Sharing my first experiences at Resolute: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
My name is Aidan, and I was born and raised in the Denver Metro Area of Colorado, USA. Although I lived in suburbia, I could see the Rocky Mountains from my bedroom window and got to spend a lot of time out in nature.
Read This
August 25, 2022
Aidan Starosta: Interview with Seth Kursman, VP, Corporate Communications, Sustainability, and Government Affairs: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
An important part of working in a corporate office is networking within the company. Resolute Forest Products promotes this practice and encourages us, interns, to interact with multiple departments.
Read This
August 25, 2022
Aidan Starosta: Interview with Maria Komourdjian, Logistics Director at Resolute: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
In my series of interviews, I decided to meet the director of Logistics, Maria Komourdjian. Maria has taken a step up within the Logistics department, while the vice president, Karen Roach, has taken a temporary relocation assignment to be the general manager of one of our mills!
Read This
August 25, 2022
Aidan Starosta: All about logistics: FPAC 2022 Green Dream Internship Program
An important part of the forestry industry is logistics. Without the logistics department, mills would not be able to create new products, as the old ones would still be taking up space on the floor.
Read This