Nelson-area Grade 5 students learned about forest science and firefighting on Tuesday at Kokanee Creek Park.

Students help celebrate Forestry Day

Hundreds of Grade 5 students learned an abundance about forestry during a visit to Kokanee Creek Provincial Park this week.

On Tuesday under brilliant sunshine, in cooperation with Kalesnikoff Lumber, 287 Grade 5 students from Nelson area schools participated in a fun-filled Forestry Day. Located at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, the day was organized by Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations staff from the Kootenay Lake Forestry Centre with help from other staff in Nelson.

The students participate in a variety of stations including:

• Bugs, bark, and art, which involved forest professionals and scientists explaining the cycle of mountain pine beetle, digging in bucked up green attack pine for beetle, counting tree rings and painting pictures on small tree cookies.

• Wildfire, which involved an equipment demo from the initial attack crew and putting out a fire started with a drip torch. A cuddle or wrestle with Smoky the Bear was a popular activity at this station.

• Wildlife, which included looking at various real hooves of local ungulates, differentiating various antlers and animal skulls, a slide show and discussion on caribou as well as a discussion around species at risk.

• A scavenger hunt that required students to break into small groups and look through the forest for various plants and trees, identifying them as they went. A trivia contest finished this station where the prizes were treats for the kids.

• A Kalesnikoff Lumber presentation focusing on the final wood product, safety discussion and history of a multi-generational forestry family business that has deep community roots.

Kalesnikoff hosted the lunch, providing hot dogs and veggie snacks to all the students, teachers and helpers, where Ken Kalesnikoff personally barbecued 600 hot dogs.

The actual day was preceded by classroom visits where ministry staff talked about the upcoming field trip and what to expect. The kids all went home with seedlings courtesy of PRT-Harrop Nursery and a better understanding of the forest that surrounds them.

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