UNBC Field Trip to Wells-Barkerville Community Forest

October 5-6, 2019 –

On October 5 and 6 the community forest hosted a field trip of students from the University of Northern BC (UNBC). The fourth year conservation studies class of 15 students were accompanied by graduate student Chris Morgan and professor Dr. Pamela Wright.

After a brief orientation meeting early Saturday afternoon the students travelled by vehicle to Nine Mile Lake and the north side of Cornish Mountain. Community Forest Directors Ian Macdonald and Rod Graham showed them an area selectively logged in the winter of 2017 – 2018 and areas of forest newly planted during the summer of 2018. Ian and Rod explained the planning, logging and silviculture activities that were involved, showed them the outcomes, and described the dynamics of the anticipated growth of the mature trees left in the selectively logged area and of the newly planted seedlings.

Continuing a short way down Big Valley Creek they examined a series of strip and diameter limit partial cut areas that were logged in the 1950s. They saw the legacy of this practice: ribbons of mature forest interspersed with ribbons of younger trees. Finally, Ian and Rod showed the students stands of dead lodgepole pine on the south slope of Two Sisters Mountain. They explained this was the result of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic of the past decade and discussed strategies for establishing new forest growth.

On Sunday morning, October 6, Ian and Rod took the class on a walking tour of the Learning Forest, that small part of the Community Forest closest to the Wells townsite in which educational programs will be the priority. Ian and Rod described some of the observations and simple experiments elementary school students could undertake in the Learning Forest, and the more advanced research that could be conducted by secondary school students. They also showed the UNBC students the place where a pedestrian bridge will cross the Willow River to provide a direct connection between the Wells-Barkerville School and the Learning Forest.

On Sunday afternoon the students concluded the field trip by serving as note takers at a community Open House.

As the Open House ended Professor Wright described it and the rest of the field trip as an exceptional learning experience for her students.