The College of New Caledonia received its largest-ever grant Thursday.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has given the college $1.88 million and the CNC Research Forestry Society has given $200,000 to research innovations in the forestry industry.
"Our goal is to help the forest industry become more innovative and competitive, while giving our students opportunities to work on cutting-edge technology and innovation opportunities facing the sector today," said Hardy Griesbauer, CNC's director of applied research and innovation.
The college will work with key players in the forest industry, including Canfor, Dunkley Lumber, BC Timber Sales and Lakeland Mills on industry advancements.
"Canfor relies on the skills training available through CNC," said Ralph Hausot, chair of the CNC Research Forest Society and Canfor planning supervisor. "Demand for skilled workers is growing in the forest sector, and our industry has a bright future. This significant funding from NSERC will provide critical support as the industry works with educational institutions to train the people we need to grow the economy in the North."
In support of good forest practices and to assist in student development, the college and Dunkley Lumber have a 10-year harvest and joint management agreement.
"We are excited to partner with CNC in the management of the research forest. The expanded research opportunities that this funding provides will help to explore and develop solutions for forest management issues relevant throughout the central and northern interior," said Doug Perdue, chief forester of Dunkley Lumber.
New opportunities will come as a result of the research into sustainable forest practices and the innovation that goes with it.
"This project is a perfect fit with our future forest stewardship objectives," said Frank Varga, BC Timber Sales practices forester. "The research these students are doing will provide valuable knowledge about the effects of climate change on northern B.C. forests and help us determine which tree species are best-suited to the region."
The college has a 12,500 hectare research forest near Prince George, where forest harvesting techniques will be conducting in such a way to protect streams and lakes while introducing new species in the region in keeping with climate change in the area.
"Students will have opportunities to work on teams made up of industry, government, and college experts, and look at a range of innovation and technology solutions that will help the forest industry," Griesbauer said. "These opportunities help our students develop important skills for today's workforce, such as critical thinking, effective communication, problem solving, and teamwork.