Those who put their names to the campaign to establish a university in Prince George back in 1988 might want to take a quick trip east along Highway 16 following the 25th anniversary celebrations for the University of Northern British Columbia today.
A 25-minute drive will take them to where many of the 16,000 seedlings have been planted to honour all those who paid $5 to become members of the Interior University Society - a show of support that led to the campus on Cranbrook Hill.
They'll find 11,000 of them planted along the south side of the highway and, if they venture to the John Prince Research Forest, 50 kilometres north of Fort St. James, they'll find a further 5,000.
The project was the brainchild of UNBC's Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute and was both a gesture to supporters and a research project as it was used to explore carbon capture policy in B.C.
"We were trying to see if the current B.C. provincial government policies allowed us to designate the reforestation of these lands for carbon credits," NESRi's director Darwyn Coxson said.
"It didn't work out at the end of the day but we learned a lot about the process and I think our counterparts in the provincial government have learned a lot of ways to make these policies more accessible to community groups or groups who might try to use that as an additional way to get value from replanting deforested lands in the future."
A variety of species were planted and professional treeplanters were hired to do the work which took them three days in total. The planting along Highway 16 was a partnership with the B.C. government's Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, through its Forests for Tomorrow Program.
Finding the trees along Highway 16 might be a little difficult for the time being, Coxson warned, until signage is up in the late summer or early fall.
"It's obvious that it's a site that's been replanted although you'll have to get out of your car and look," Coxson said. "With the specifics of it, I think the signs will really help."
NRESi also organized and provided the resources for the planting of ceremonial trees at UNBC campuses in Terrace, Quesnel and Fort St. John as part of this year's convocation events, and at the Prince George campus during the 25th anniversary kick-off celebrations last September.
A tree was also planted at the Quesnel River Research Centre in honour of the anniversary.
The trees were planted in areas that otherwise would have remained deforested.
"They were sites that for reasons of past history of logging beetle-killed pine were not reforested so it is a real and tangible contribution to the environment here in the North," Coxson said.
The trees won't be the only way the 16,000 will be acknowledged. A display showing all their names will be unveiled in the Agora Courtyard at 4 p.m. - the culminating event in an afternoon of activities in the name of UNBC's 25 years.
It all begins at noon, when there will be an installation ceremony in the Rotunda Gallery for a cottonwood canoe built as part of a UNBC course.
Then, at 2:30 p.m., a community celebration will begin at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.
The Founding and the Future is the theme of the event and in keeping with that idea, UNBC president Daniel Weeks will give a speech that will provide a vision for the school's next 25 years.
Carver Ron Sebastien will also make an appearance during an interactive presentation about the creation of UNBC's ceremonial chairs and talking stick while 25th anniversary steering committee chair Dr. Tracy Summerville will provide the opening remarks.
A reception and reunion with a multimedia presentation about UNBC's history will be held at the Agora Dining Hall, starting at 4:45 p.m.
To browse the list and read the stories of many who contributed, go to www.unbc.ca/25/16000.