By Courtney Jackson
A career in the forest products industry offers as many rewards and opportunities as it does challenges. That’s what participants in Resolute’s Engineering Graduate Program and Forest Products Association of Canada’s (FPAC) Green Dream Internship Program are discovering on the job at Resolute.
We are pleased to share a series of blogposts written by the new interns on their work experience and adventures.
Hello world, welcome back to my blog!
This week’s post is all about an exciting experience that I had when working in the field last week. It was something that wasn’t planned, and it required immediate attention. I’ll recapture my day for you.
It began in the early morning. I arrived at work, packed my truck with my gear, planned my route and head off to the field. My first destination was in to the small town of Kakabeka Falls. This unique place is north-west of Thunder Bay and approximately half an hour away. Kakabeka Falls is named after the gigantic waterfall located in town, on the Kaministiqua River. It is a must-see in north-western Ontario! If you’re around, you got to check it out!
Once in Kakabeka Falls, I met up with one of Resolute’s harvesting contractors to review a harvesting sign-off map. Reviewing the sign-off map consists of an explanation of the prescription and the areas of concern in the new harvest block. Once the review is complete, the contractor signs the map, which confirms their understanding of the new prescription. I obtained the signed copy of the map, and in return, I provided additional copies of the sign-off map to the contractor. The additional sign-off maps are distributed and reviewed amongst the harvesting team. These meetings are short, sweet and to the point and a whole lot of fun, for me! I’m always thrilled to meet the contractors, and any others that I get to meet along the way.
After our meeting, I was back on the road and on route to my next destination. My plan was to a conduct a log quality inspection in another contractor’s harvest block. When nearing my next destination, I could hear my inReach making noise and my cellphone beeping. In my mind, I thought “that was strange” and I wondered why both devices were ringing. I decided to pull off the highway, into an inspection station, to read my messages. When I opened the message on my inReach, I read “Can you go to Jason Rouillard? He discovered a nest.” At that moment, I felt surprised and a little nervous. I was surprised because I never expected a message like this and a little nervous because I didn’t know what to expect! I only hoped that when I got into the harvest block, that I would be able to accomplish this exciting-new task. With my mind full of wonder, I responded with a “Yes” and I headed off to go see Jason.
Once I arrived in the harvest block, Jason and I met up and spoke about the nest that was discovered. He mentioned that the bird, was a raptor of some species, and it was still present, flying high, orbiting the nest. We decided to gear up and walk into the harvest block to observe the tree nest. I was really hoping that this bird would still be present when we both arrived. As soon as we started walking into the forest, towards the nest, we could both hear the raptor calling. The shriek that it projected was loud and high-pitched and we could hear it from afar. We continued to walk closer.
As we both approached the tree nest, the loud-shrieking calls became more frequent. I looked up at a decaying jack pine, and observed a small nest, located in the lower canopy, at the first fork of the tree. I turned on my camera and started capturing photos of nest. I could now see that the nest was comprised of small-pencil sized twigs and fresh green lichen. This was a good sign, as it revealed that the nest was relatively fresh. As Jason and I stood at the base of the tree, we both used a stand and site guide dichotomous key to identify the raptors nest and we keyed out the nest to be occupied by a Broad-winged Hawk. This is a field tool that Resolute uses to narrow down raptor species nests. The size of bird’s nests varies, as well as where it is situated in the tree and what the nest is comprised of.
Jason and I stood still watching the large raptor, perched on a jack pine snag located in the middle of the harvest block. I was thrilled to finally see the species as well as capture photos of it. Once I had enough photos, I was quick to analyze them because I was eager to identify it! The first thing that I noticed was the colour of the raptors plumage. It had a dark-brown head, a dark-brown upper chest and lighter-brown-horizontal barred underparts. It also had a single-white band on its tail, its beak was a bit yellow and the raptors legs were yellow in colour. Having observed this raptor before, I knew that this species was a Broad-winged Hawk. It is a very common forest raptor in north-western Ontario and I have captured many photos and videos of them this summer. This was a great feeling to have been able to identify the raptor, and I couldn’t wait to inform the Woodlands Operations team!
When a nest is discovered in a harvest block, the contractor must stop all harvesting operations in the vicinity of the observed forest value, just as Jason did. A forest value is protected by the implementation of an area of concern prescription, which aims to protect site-specific values. The contractor would report their finding(s) to a Woodlands Operations staff member and he or she, will then be able to address the concern in a timely manner. Fortunately, when I was notified about the nest in Jason’s harvest block, I was able to address the report immediately. Accurate identification and effective communication is very important in forest management as it ensures proper protection of the forest values in the forest products industry.
Thank you for reading my latest blog! I hope you enjoyed getting the broader scope, of my exciting day!