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.

rfiedler@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Pioneer life at Red Deer museum

Sunnybrook Farm Museum teaches students

Red Deer College student receives scholarship

Funding from Canadian Hearing Society

Central Alberta school districts are graded on their no-smoking policies

ASH wants them to tighten restrictions on tobacco, vaping, as well as cannabis

Free film shown in Red Deer Thursday to celebrate Recovery Day

A free film will be shown in Red Deer on Thursday about… Continue reading

Calder School takes shape in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum’s latest addition

Hushing my buzz: Alberta finance minister says cannabis warehouse will be secret

EDMONTON — Alberta is starting to stockpile marijuana but isn’t saying where… Continue reading

Relatives mourn death of Calgary-area woman killed by pet dog protecting child

CALGARY — Relatives of a Calgary-area woman killed by her own pet… Continue reading

Florence death toll climbs to 37; Trump visits stricken area

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at… Continue reading

Toronto election proceeding with 25 wards after court sides with province

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court has sided with the provincial government in… Continue reading

Scheer welcomes former Liberal MP Alleslev to Conservative caucus

OTTAWA — Andrew Scheer is trying to fire up his Conservative troops… Continue reading

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled today that Canada wants more… Continue reading

Uber driver suing Bucs’ QB Winston over groping incident

PHOENIX — A female Uber driver in Arizona is suing Tampa Bay… Continue reading

Thousands of fans request grand jury probe of Prince’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of Prince fans are asking federal authorities to open… Continue reading

Most Read