Lumby high school program earns B.C. honour

Lumby high school program earns B.C. honour

Charles Bloom Secondary’s forestry program earns Minister’s award for innovation and excellence

A fixture in the curriculum for four decades, Lumby’s Charles Bloom Secondary school is being recognized by the province through the Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Woodlot Management for the South.

The forestry program at the school has run for 45 years and acquired a woodlot in 2002. Revenues from the woodlot are used to fund the program, which offers a non-traditional learning environment where students can better equip themselves with skills to enter the forest sector workforce after graduation. The program works closely with local forest professionals to ensure economic and environmental sustainability for current and future generations.

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“I’m encouraged by the work that Charles Bloom Secondary school is doing to prepare the next generation of forestry workers,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

“This type of innovation is also an educational opportunity for the surrounding community. It’s a pleasure to name the school as this year’s provincial and South area award recipient for innovation and excellence in woodlot management.”

The program benefits the surrounding community by managing the long-term health and viability of the woodlot and area forest stands, including wildfire risk mitigation, reforestation with genetically improved stock, monitoring and evaluating regeneration, maintaining public access for non-timber forest products and a 2017 effort to reduce the spread of Douglas fir beetle.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work this year’s award winners are undertaking to provide benefits to the communities and forested areas around them,” said Jeff Beale, president of the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations.

“Award recipients continue to demonstrate the enhanced opportunity for additional local revenue streams, employment, education and sustainability when innovation and excellence in woodlot management are applied. Congratulations to Charles Bloom Secondary school for leading the pack, and kudos to Martin Tooms, the teacher who is the driving force behind the program.”

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The province is recognizing three woodlot licensees for innovation and excellence in woodlot management. This year’s recipients include:

* Charles Bloom Secondary school – provincial and South area;

* Todd Thompson and Joan Thompson – Coast area;

* Saulteau First Nations (John Stokmans) – North area.

Award winners not only receive a signed, framed certificate of recognition from the minister, but the recipients also take home $2,500 each for their area awards, with an additional $2,500 going to Charles Bloom for also being named the top performer provincially.

The recipients were presented their awards on the weekend while at the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations’ 31st and the Woodlot Product Development Council’s 21st annual general meetings in Williams Lake.

The awards are funded by the Province of British Columbia and administered by the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations. Since 2010, the annual awards recognize a woodlot licensee representing each of the Coast, South and North areas, along with an overall top performer. Award winners are nominated through official submissions received by the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations.

Woodlot licences are small, area-based tenures managed by individuals, groups or First Nations. British Columbia has 857 active woodlots. Each woodlot generates jobs in planning, harvesting, road construction and maintenance, reforestation, silviculture and small-scale timber processing.

Woodlots generate about $200 million of economic activity for the province every year.

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