Stephanie Ewen, manager of the Alex Fraser Research Forest, said Christmas came early with the news they have received funding from UBC for a planning project.

Stephanie Ewen, manager of the Alex Fraser Research Forest, said Christmas came early with the news they have received funding from UBC for a planning project.

Christmas arrives early for Alex Fraser Research Forest

Having a research institute would also expose some of the experiences gained through the wildfires

The Alex Fraser Research Forest has received an early Christmas gift from Santa.

Manager Stephanie Ewen said Dr. Santa Ono, president of the University of British Columbia recently announced the university is supporting the planning phase of developing Cariboo Fire and Ecology Centre in Williams Lake.

“He became the president of UBC at the end of 2016 and spent of most of 2017 putting together a strategic plan for all of UBC,” Ewen said. “I think he is changing the focus of the university overall to more collaborative and more involved in communities. Part of that is to invest in research infrastructure and support research and that is what we appealed to for some funding.”

The idea for the research centre came out of a focus group discussion for the Williams Lake economic development strategic planning process, Ewen said.

“I was in the group discussion about value-added forest products and it ended up turning toward education and having a better infrastructure here in town to host conferences and demonstrate some of the things we have learned and will be learning from the 2017 fires, such as looking at existing forests and how they burn through to processing wood from those fires in the future.”

Read more: Research forest opts for sustainable xeriscape garden

By developing an institute, Alex Fraser could provide a facility to improve opportunities for immersive education and allow for more collaboration amongst researchers, she added.

“There are some young professors on campus at UBC who are really interested in what some of the questions are from the community and industry up here that they can contribute to finding answers for,” Ewen said. “I thought that was pretty exciting.”

Ewen said they have an existing cabin at Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre that’s been maxed out in 2018 with researchers and there is more and more demand to host field schools across different programs at UBC.

Having a research institute would also expose some of the experiences gained through the wildfires.

“I think there has been a lot of great hard work and good innovation in the Cariboo in responding to those fires, cleaning up after them and trying to be proactive and manage for the future in this new normal,” Ewen said. “With the research institute we can bring academics into it as well so that we can have a bit more interaction between academia and industry.”

In its first phase of planning, Ewen will work with Randy Sunderman of Peak Solutions Consulting and Trevor Kier of Kier and Associates who recently completed an economic development strategy for the City of Williams Lake.

She said initially they will work on getting a better definition on what the institute will be and explore what sort of collaboration opportunities already exist in Williams Lake.

“We are open to a variety of ideas on what this facility could be and who we might be working with on it,” she added.

“Once we get some things more solidified from this scoping project we will hopefully move onto a feasibility study to make sure it is economically sustainable.”

Ewen became the manager in February 2018 when Ken Day retired after being in the position for 31 years.

Read more: UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest manager retiring after three decades



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Premier Horgan needs to work harder

There are lots of people out there who are in desperate need of assistance

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at editor@wltribune.com
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read