High school students watch a Sunpine Forest Products delimber clean trees at the Des Crossley Demonstration Forest southwest of Rocky Mountain House Tuesday.

Demonstration forest offers insights into industry

Where better to learn forestry, oilpatch development and woodland safety than in a West Country forest?

Where better to learn forestry, oilpatch development and woodland safety than in a West Country forest?

About 100 Rocky Mountain House and Sylvan Lake high school students spent a day at Des Crossley Demonstration Forest hearing firsthand about the industries’ responsibilities and opportunities.

Forestry and oilfield workers guided St. Dominic Catholic High and H.J. Cody Schools’ Grades 9 to 11 students on Tuesday as they scaled large machines, calculated tree measurements and ran fire hoses.

The Des Crossley forest, a quarter-section 25 km southwest of Rocky, is named for a pioneering forester whose 1950s research found clearcutting the most efficient way to regenerate tree growth. It’s free education events have drawn about 5,000 Alberta Grade 4 to 12 students since it began operation in 1999. It’s run as a partnership between Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Sunpine Forest Products, Devon Canada and Inside Education.

“It’s a unique way to learn, all these collaborators showing what we do in Alberta,” said Kathryn Wagner of Inside Education. Her organization combines government, industry, education and non-profit input for “bias-balanced” teaching about a healthy environment and productive economy.

Taylor Palechek, 15, appreciated that.

“How they plan everything is nice,” said the Sylvan Lake student.

“I’m a big wildlife person so I don’t like seeing the habitat ruined.”

Integrating curriculum with industry practices is vital for program success, said Tom Daniels, Sunpine Forest Products’ forestry superintendent.

The endorsement was echoed by Sylvan career and technologies teacher Linda Wagers.

“The hands-on experience is far beyond what I could do at the school. It brings a whole different perspective to the vastness of the forestry industry.”

Career choices are a major program focus. Devon Canada employees explained the road and site construction needed for hundreds of gas wells in the company’s surrounding Ferrier field. ESRD stations covered ranger duties, firefighting and bear identification and safety.

An Alberta Forest Products Association’s Work Wild instructor told students that running forestry machinery needs the same eye-hand co-ordination as playing video games — and can be just as much fun.

“I found it pretty fun, especially all the equipment they brought out. It was great today,” said Tyler Peterson, 14, of Rocky.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
COVID-19 death toll verges on 10,000 as second wave continues to surge

Nearly 10,000 Canadians have died due to COVID-19, a mark of the… Continue reading

The Red Deer RCMP has filed another set of charges after an alleged assault at an anti-racism rally on Sept. 20. (File photo by Advocate Staff)
More assault charges filed after Sept. 20 anti-racism rally in Red Deer

Trevor Lyle Roy faces a second set of charges stemming from the event

Your weather forecast for Thursday, August 1st, 2019. (Pixabay)
Expect a slightly windy day in Red Deer Tuesday

Expect a slightly windy day in Red Deer. Although as of noon… Continue reading

“We need to keep our hospitalization rate low. We need to keep our ICU beds open, and we need to keep people healthy and our case numbers low," says Karen Mann, Red Deer’s emergency management co-ordinator. (File photo by Advocate staff).
City says it is monitoring COVID around the clock

Following guidance from Alberta’s medical officer of health

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees were back on the job Tuesday after a provincewide wildcat strike on Monday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital workers back on the job

Red Deer hospital was one of 45 sites with picket lines

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (alberta.ca)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Red Deer Rebels forward Jayden Grubbe is one of three Rebels on the NHL Central Scouting players to watch list for the 2021 NHL Draft. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Three Rebels on 2021 NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch list

A trio of Red Deer Rebels has caught scouts’ eyes ahead of… Continue reading

Kathleen Finnigan, who was named superintendent of the Red Deer Regional Catholic School Board on Tuesday, has more than 30 years of experience as an educator. (Courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Kathleen Finnigan named Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools superintendent

The Red Deer Regional Catholic School Board will continue to be led… Continue reading

(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
Wreath laying ceremony held in Manfred, Alta.

Ceremony marks 64th anniversary of Hungarian revolution, honours settlers

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre could be affected by cuts to Alberta Health Services announced by the government Tuesday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
David Marsden: Yes, we know how to do laundry

Union leaders would have us believe there’s something special about their members:… Continue reading

Most Read