“Our Roots, Our Future”
The International Forestry Students’ Symposium is the largest student conference of forestry and forest-related sciences, bringing together over 100 IFSA members from across the world. In 2014, the Symposium was hosted for the first time in 42 years in Western North America – in beautiful British Columbia.
This year the IFSS was collaboratively hosted by the Local Committees of UBC (University of British Columbia), TRU (Thompson Rivers University), and UNBC (University of Northern British Columbia). For two weeks IFSA students travelled around the province, exploring its varied ecosystems, its diverse forest industry, and its forestry research and education programs.
The approximately 120 students met on the 6th of August in Vancouver, BC to participate in the opening Ceremony at UBC. The first days of IFSS were organized at the university campus with an excursion to the city’s urban forests (Stanley Park), a Networking Night, a visit to the Museum of Anthropology, an evening on a Salsa Cruise and most important the International Night.
Next stop was Vancouver Island, where we visited the famous Old Growth Forests (Cathedral Growth) and Cowichan Lake Research Station to meet First Nation people and learn more about their culture.
At Williams Lake we learned more about the UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest and about First Nations Forestry.
In Price George we were invited to network with the industry and faculty members of UNBC. We learned about the mountain pine beetle epidemic and visited John Prince Research Forest were some members of our group also encountered black bears.
Last stop on our tour was Wells Gray Park, where we went camping for some days and the TRU campus in Kamloops.
Starting in Vancouver with the oceanic climate we were overtaken by the dry inland forests in Kamloops and learned all about these differences.
Passing by Kelowna and visiting a winery there we made our way back to Vancouver to have our farewell.
Throughout this amazing trip (Big thanks to the Organizing Committee), the IFSA General Assembly took place in 5 different sessions. In the end the new IFSA Officials for 2014/15 were elected and appointed.
IFSS is not just about travelling and learning more about forestry in the host country, it’s about meeting new people form all around the world and making friends for lifetime. It’s about connecting people and it broadens your horizon in international forestry and cultural understanding.