Simulators were available for anyone curious about the life of a logger on April 29, 2019 during Forestry Proud Day events at Spirit Square. At the controls of this Komatsu log processor is 11-year-old Nicholas Joyce, with his father Trevor Joyce, manager of economic partnerships and sustainability for Interfor’s B.C. operations. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Simulators give students a taste of logging at event in Campbell River

Forestry Proud Day organized by Forestry Friendly Communities, an industry group founded in 2016

At an event in Spirit Square on Monday, forestry students and children as young as 11 had a chance to test out heavy logging equipment… virtually.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) brought the trailer full of simulators to Campbell River for Forestry Proud Day, an event promoting the forestry sector.

Kevin Levins, an instructor in the heavy equipment operator program at VIU’s Nanaimo campus, said the simulators help students learn the basics before starting work in the bush.

“Once you have that mental ability to know what the controls do, it saves us about a week in industry… when you get into the real machines,” Levins said.

A dozen students from VIU’s fundamentals of forestry program in Woss travelled to Campbell River to try out the simulators and take part in Forestry Proud Day activities, said Kellie Spence, program assistant for trades and applied technology.

“Next week they’re actually heading out into the bush,” Spence said.

The forestry program covers a variety of skills meant to prepare students for jobs in the industry, ranging from safe work practices to chainsaw operation.

READ MORE: Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

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Young children also got a chance to test out the machines.

“It’s really fun… it’s sort of like hockey and baseball,” said Nicholas Joyce, 11, after trying out a Komatsu log processor simulator with his father, Trevor Joyce, a manager at Interfor.

Monday’s event in Campbell River was organized by Forestry Friendly Communities (FFC), an industry group that was founded in 2016, according to its website.

The forestry industry supports one in 16 jobs in B.C., contributes more than $12 billion to the provincial GDP and “injects $2.5 billion in taxes and fees to the three levels of government,” according to the FFC website.

The group provides scholarships worth up to $1,500 to students pursuing a career in forestry, and two of last year’s recipients, Jackson Locker and Makayla Berger, spoke at the event in Campbell River, according to a spokesperson for the group. The event also featured a BBQ and other activities.

Three scholarships will be awarded this year, and information about applying for the scholarships can be found at forestryfriendly.ca/scholarships.

The group sold toques at Monday’s event to raise money for the scholarships, and the toques can also purchase toques online at forestryfriendly.ca/toques-for-tuition.


@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

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Campbell River city councillor Kermit Dahl flipping burgers at Forestry Proud Day events at Spirit Square on April 29, 2019. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Interfor employees Julia Ieropoli, assistant forester (left), and Kristyn Stobbe, accountant, handed out prizes during Forestry Proud Day events at Spirit Square on April 29, 2019. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror