Not Just Any Field School

Tiffeny, a forestry major at UNBC, has fun with a fungus while learning about stand dynamics at ALRF.

Doctors learn in teaching hospitals… natural resource managers learn in the woods.

Last week, ALRF hosted nine UNBC students enrolled in the Field Applications in  Resource Management course taught annually  by Roy Rea, Senior  Lab  Instructor,  UNBC Ecosystem Science and Management Program. This is by no means  your basic  field skills training.  It is an advanced level, 3rd year course where students  are pushed  to apply their university training to address real-life, diverse, complex, and sometimes contentious natural resource management problems.

Biologist Jesse LaFramboise
Biologist Jesse LaFramboise of DWB Consulting Services, Prince George, uses Hansard Creek to explain the importance of assessing and protecting stream habitat for sustainable forest management and road development.

Students are taught through hands-on  modules (from  2 to 4 per day)  led by  both faculty and  natural resource practitioners ranging from forestry to guide-outfitting to mining. And it’s not all about hard science either, students are taught soft skills including concepts in multi-stakholder consensus-building and the social and spiritual importance of the environment to First Nations people. The UNBC students themselves represent several disciplines including Forestry, Environmental Science and Biology Majors, which promotes peer-learning.

This week the students wrap up thier 2-week intensive educational journey at the John Prince Research Forest where they will assemble all their learning to address  year’s case study project  theme: “Boundary Issues”

ALRF Trail Bee

Volunteers from the community of Aleza Lake pose on the completed steps to the South Knolls Trailhead.

Last Friday, a  group of volunteers from the community of Aleza Lake  built steps to the entrance of the South Knolls Trail, and  prepared a great lunch for the group  after  our work  was done.   Many thanks to Lloyd, Jerry, Ann and Alva for donating their time, ideas and  building materials to the project!   The  wood  chips, used for surfacing, were  provided  by  a  brushing crew from the PG Youth Custody Services Forestry Program working along the Upper Fraser Road near Giscome.

ALRF  is holding  several  trail work bees  in August and September, every second Friday. If you are interested in  helping out,  please contact us!

An Alien Invasion

This clump of marsh plume thistle was found at the Research Forest along the South Knolls Trail. It has appeared within the last 12 months and currently measures more than 180cm tall.

Marsh plume thistle (Cirsium palustre), listed as a noxious weed in BC’s Central Interior by the Invasive Plant Council of BC,  is  showing it’s  presence in ALRF’s harvest areas. The plant grows in moist locations and competes with native plants and crop trees. A containment program for this purple-flowered plant is currently underway in the Central Interior aimed at preventing  its expansion. According to the IPCBC  the most effective way to  limit the spread of the species is  by  cutting the plants  down before they go to seed. Other methods such  as biological controls and herbicides are in development.

Last summer, several harvest areas on the Research Forest were surveyed for invasive plants and several  species were found in varying quantities. This provides excellent baseline information to help ALRF monitor increases and decreases in the diversity and abundance of invasive plants and to  implement  strategies for managing them.