Vaagen Fibre Canada
OIB Summer Student Program – 2022 Forestry Internship
Dan Macmaster, RPF
Successful 2022 Program!
Our annual Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) Summer Student Program was back after pausing for a few years due to the pandemic. Three young OIB students signed up for our 6-week paid internship with the support of Vaagen Fibre, Weyerhaeuser, and BC Timber Sales.
Our program ran from July 11th – Aug 19th . The objectives of this internship were to introduce the students to a variety of forestry work, provide safe and meaningful opportunities each day with qualified foresters, and to give students a summer wage from forestry work. Most days were outside, while some were in the office for meetings, data input, and learning forestry software.
They were an important part of all our operations and counted on each day to be on time and work hard. It is our hope that from this program students found an area of forestry that interests them and may want to pursue further development – either through continued employment or post-secondary schooling. Each supporting company was responsible for creating a 2-week program full of variety of tasks, destinations, and individuals in the forest industry.
Vaagen Fibre: weeks 1 & 3
Weyerhaeuser: weeks 2 & 4
BCTS: weeks 5 & 6
Vaagen Fibre Sawmilling, logging, and forestry experience! We started the week by outfitting the students in forestry gear, drove up into the Nk’Mip wildfire area and stopped to talk about rehabilitation and recovery in the different areas. We then made our way to the Vaagen mill and toured the yard/mill to learn about logs and the milling process.
As the week went on, we visited Wilgress Lake and the West Boundary Community Forest Outdoor Education Centre, building hiking trails for the young kids to explore when they visit with their classes. They learned about Douglas-fir beetle traps and did some monitoring in the McKinney area.
We visited the OIB First Nation Woodland Licence and a nearby private logging job, as well as a contractor doing fuel mitigation on the Community Forest. The students were able to watch equipment at work, talk to the operators, climb up into machines, and help to check lengths and diameters. There was a healthy dose of safety scattered throughout the day. We talked about forest health and sustainability, different types of logging, and different sources of our wood (VFC managed permits, buying logs from private landowners, and woodlots). We were able to drive through and point out differences in stands that had been cut 20-30 years ago, more than 50 years ago and very recently.
Peter Flett took the students out to Beaverdell to view a harvester/forwarder operation that is completing wildfire risk reduction work around the community. We worked closely with the Penticton Indian Band for planning and implementation and it’s turning into an excellent project for fuel mitigation that they can learn from. Over in the Mica area we learned about the salvage blocks we have laid out in collaboration with Weyerhaeuser.
We toured the K&C Silviculture nursery in Oliver as well as a visit to the Enokwin Centre in Penticton to see some amazing forestry projects they have going on there. We went up to a logging show in Phoenix, viewed some old mines, and learned how forestry and mining work together on the landscape. A Vaagen employee appreciation BBQ was a great way to spend our Thursday lunch! We went out to do some silviculture surveys and see how recently planted block were doing in the hot summer. To wrap up the week we mapped out and made plans to removed fireguard decks from the Nk’Mip Wildfire efforts
Read the full report: