A new Forestry Academy will be taking root in the North Island this fall.
According to North Island Secondary School Principal Jay Dixon, School District No. 85 is introducing a Forestry Academy that will involve between 10 and 15 students from both NISS and Port Hardy Secondary School spending two weeks each semester working in the forestry industry.
“The Academy will draw upon local expertise from related business and industry to expose students to the many facets of the sector,” said District No. 85 Superintendent of Schools Scott Benwell.
The students from both schools will be placed together on site where they will learning all sides of the forestry operation from forester, to faller, to machine operator, to office positions.
“The Forestry Academy has been designed to give students a relevant experience in this important local industry. Students will develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for successful careers in forestry,” said Benwell.
Port Hardy Secondary School Principal Lauren Deadman agrees.
“It’s (the Academy) going to give the students some skills that are going to allow them to be engaged in their learning. Their learning is very relevant to their lives,” Deadman said.
“Students all receive school credit in the Academy over and above their existing classes,” Dixon said.
This year the district will be focusing on Grade 10, 11 and 12 students, and so far, interest has been brisk at both schools.
“We’ve had a large number of students that have indicated they are interested, both male and female,” said Deadman.
“Hopefully it grows into an ongoing option for the North Island,” Dixon said, and that the students’ experience will lead them either into forestry jobs or post-secondary education once they graduate.
“The Forestry Academy is a way to support local business and retain some of our young people,” Dixon said.
“This is truly a community venture and we are proud to be offering it as part of our programs for the 2015/2016 school year,” Benwell said.
“The community has been very supportive of the concept,” Deadman said.
The school district managed to get the program up and running in under a year.
“We’re about action other than always talking about it,” Dixon said.
“There’s nothing to lose by trying.”