Davana Mahon (centre) accepts her graduation certificate for Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake’s Applied Sustainable Ranching Program from TRU Dean of Science Tom Dickinson and Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon Friday evening at the Tourism Discovery Centre.

Davana Mahon (centre) accepts her graduation certificate for Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake’s Applied Sustainable Ranching Program from TRU Dean of Science Tom Dickinson and Her Honour Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon Friday evening at the Tourism Discovery Centre.

SLIDESHOW: TRU celebrates first ranching graduates

Students in TRU's Applied Sustainable Ranching program in Williams Lake celebrated their graduation Friday at the Tourism Discovery Centre.

The first-ever students of Thompson Rivers University’s Applied Sustainable Ranching program in Williams Lake celebrated their graduation Friday at the Tourism Discovery Centre.

Likening themselves and fellow classmates to pioneers, valedictorians Angela Abrahao and Davana Mahon said their program builds on the Cariboo’s rich history of ranching, homesteading and agriculture.

“The ranching program aims to teach students the fundamentals needed to be successful in the industry while still allowing them to be here on the ranches while studying,” Mahon said.

It is common for operations to be passed on to the next generation and the program offers local ranchers and B.C. ranchers the crucial fundamentals of running a successful ranching business, she added.

Instead of an education based on textbooks, the students have been able to have hands-on direct education, Abrahao said.

“This not only provides us with up-to-date information and training, but to network within our own industry.”

Local rancher and former MLA David Zirnhelt, who chairs the program’s industry advisory committee, congratulated the students and thanked the local ranching industry for its support.

“This program has been about 36 operations giving their best to the students and instructors who have given their all,” Zirnhelt said. “It’s been fresh information, and believe me everyone I’ve sat in on has been rewarding to me.”

Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon launched the program last year at a similar celebration and returned to the lakecity for Friday’s graduation.

“I know for many this program has been a long cherished dream, but here we are tonight recognizing 14 graduates,” Guichon said.

As climate continues to change, she said, ranchers will be called on to produce more and feed great numbers.

“TRU Williams Lake campus is preparing for that day and the Applied Sustainable Ranching program will continue to prepare students to meet the growing need.”

Echoing Guichon, TRU Dean of Science Tom Dickinson said the program is about people, the environment and sustainability.

“On behalf of all of us who have had the privilege of being your instructors, we are very proud of your accomplishments,” Dickinson said.

For TRU Grit board member Mark Nairn, who also sat on the steering committee for the program,  the program is an example of what happens when an industry identifies an issue and the community and the university gets together and comes up with a solution, he said.

“We are thrilled to see the success of the program and hope it will go on for many years in the future.”

Since 2012, TRU Grit has raised $130,000 and all of it has gone into student awards.

“All of the money comes from the community from people who believe in the university and education,” Nairn said.

TRU Grit board member Brian Garland used the occasion as the opportunity to announce a new Cariboo Chevrolet bursary in the amount of $5,200 for a 4-H graduate wanting to take the ranching program.

Darlene Freding presented graduate Vicky Granberg with the Bill Freding Memorial Award for Resilience and Innovation, on behalf of her husband Bill who passed away in October.

“You are the lifeblood of our industry,” Freding told the graduates. “We want you and we need you. You are the seedstock of our future.”

Representing the Cattlemen Industry Development Council, Grant Huffman said the council is following the evolution of the program with interest and encouragement.

Grads and guests enjoyed a dinner featuring tastes of the Cariboo and the music of the Big Lake Symphony Orchestra.



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

Just Posted

Speed reader data collected between March 1 and April 28, 2021 indicated 94.68 per cent of vehicles traveling through kept below or to the 50 km hour speed limit. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City council agrees further speed restrictions not warranted for Westridge area of Williams Lake

Staff bases decision on speed reader data collected over six-week period

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking in the legislature Monday, May 10. (Video screen shot)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA calls for rural infrastructure renewal fund

Lorne Doerkson said central parts of rural B.C. devastated by flooding, crumbling infrastructure

(File photo)
Firearms offence at McLeese Lake tree planting camp under RCMP investigation

On May 10 Williams Lake RCMP were called to the camp, located at the 2200 block of Beaver Lake Rd.

Lil Mack has been a member of Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy since its inception. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Lil Mack of Williams Lake honoured with BC Achievement Community Award

Mack has been an ever-present, quietly powerful literacy force in Williams Lake for several decades

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

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

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read