Grade 5 students from around Nelson spent some time out in the woods on Wednesday celebrating National Forestry Week.
The Kootenay Lake Forestry Centre partnered up with the Ministry of Environment and BC Parks to teach students a little bit about forestry, wildlife and trees.
“The Grade 5 students are taking natural resources as part of their school curriculum and we combine that with the celebration of National Forestry Week,” said Neil Bow with the Forestry Centre.
“The students have a field day at Kokanee Creek Park. They get to go and explore all the different facets of forestry and forestry management and particular some of the topical issues.”
The students wound their way through the woods as they stopped at eight different stations. The stations had themes like forest protection and protecting forests from fires, bugs, bark and art, and a scavenger hunt to identify attributes in the forest.
The Ministry of Environment and BC Parks also set up a few stations for the students.
“One is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the park, they also talk about wildlife and being bear aware,” said Bow. “BC Parks does some of the different aspects of wildlife where they match up footprints to the animal and antlers.”
The students also learn about caribou from a wildlife biologist.
“The kids get a sense of why it’s important to save different areas for these important animals,” said Bow.
About 180 kids from the Nelson area took part in the forestry day, and Bow said it’s something teachers and students enjoy every year.
“I’ve had the teachers tell me that throughout the whole year they reflect on this day because they go back to talk about different things that they learn a little bit more about in class and then they come back and think about what they did during forestry day,” said Bow.
One lesson that Bow has seen develop over the years is teaching the girls who participate that they could grow up to be part of the forestry industry.
“Forestry has always been a very male dominated industry and more and more so we have women entering the industry, so it’s important for me to ask and make sure that there’s women on the protection crews,” says Bow.
“I’ve seen within the years that I’ve done this, little girls watching these women who are on the protection crews who are starting up chainsaws and putting on all of the protective gear and you can see the light go on in their young minds that ‘hey, I could do that.’ That’s really important to me because that’s a big part of where that shift is happening. I think this is where those types of shifts happen and turn into reality.”