Course Overview

Interior Field School (aka Fall Camp) – FRST 351

Saturday August 25 – Saturday September 1, 2018  (website updated January 30, 2018)
Notes for 2018:
Due to the large class size, we will likely divide Fall Camp registrants into two field schools, under SSC course numbers FRST 350 (run by Dr. Patrick Culbert), and FRST 351 (run by Dr. Lori Daniels). This website is for FRST 351.

Calendar Description:

351  (2) Interior Field School – Field study at an interior B.C. location concentrating on land use, management and silviculture. Fees will be assessed to meet expenses. Prerequisite(s): FRST 201.
  1. FRST 351 is a required course for all forestry students enrolled in the Forest Resources Management, Forest Operations, and Forest Science Major programs.
  2. FRST 351 is a prerequisite for FRST 305.
  3. Students in the Natural Resource Conservation programs and other sustainability programs at UBC are welcome to take this course as an elective. (You will be waitlisted until the students who require the course are registered – we’ll let you know if we have room by the end of May).


1.      To develop an understanding of the diversity of BC forests, forest management and conservation practices and community issues.

2.      To provide background and understanding for conservation and management courses taken during the 3rd and 4th year of the students’ academic program.

Dates and Duration:

We will begin camp after dinner at 7:00 pm on Saturday August 25 at the Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre camp BC, UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest, 1-hour east of William’s Lake BC. Field school finishes at 1 pm  on Saturday September 1, 2018, on the Alex Fraser Research Forest, near Gavin Lake. You will stay in cabins at Gavin Lake camp for the duration of camp, with breakfast and dinner in the dining hall, and lunch in the woods.

General Schedule and Daily Travel:

We will have a fleet of 15-passenger vans  and 24 seater buses at Gavin Lake. Here is the draft schedule, return times are approximate:

Saturday August 25        arrive and check-in at Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre  starting at 3 pm

Sunday August 26           Gavin Lake – Soil, Plant, Measurement Refresher, Walkabout

Monday August 27          Knife Creek – IDF zone ecology and management, mule deer, ranching

Tuesday August 28          Gavin Lake – ICH zone ecology and management, old forest structure exercise

Wednesday August 29   Gavin Lake – SBS zone ecology and management, silviculture exercise

Thursday August 30      Gavin Lake and William’s Lake – Harvesting operations, manufacturing

Friday August 31            William’s Lake – Community Forests, Recreation, First Nations

Saturday September 1   Gavin Lake – Silvicultural systems, finish by 1 pm and depart for home


The following topics will be presented by professors and local experts:

  • Ecology/Silvics
  • Entomology
  • Fire/Pathology
  • Silvics/Genetics
  • Silviculture
  • Wildlife
  • Operations
  • Community Forestry


Your grade for this course will be determined as follows:
Field Exams                                                         20%
Plant ID Quiz                                                      10%
Entomology/Pathology Specimen                  10%
Field Notebook                                                   25%
Silviculture Report                                             25%*
Professionalism                                                  10%
* Crew Grade, all other grades are individual

Please take the opportunity to interact with and ask questions of the numerous instructors and resource people available during this course. The relatively high “teacher-to-student” ratio should be to your advantage! We expect everyone to contribute to group discussions, and every individual has to present some element during the field examinations.

Your field notebook will be submitted for assessment by your classmates during camp and will be submitted to the TA for marking at the end of camp. Keep it neat, organized and complete. This is good practice in developing professionalism in structuring and recording your observations and activities. In particular, make sure your notes are organized by date and place, and that speakers are correctly identified. Indenting, sketching, and labels all help to make your notes more meaningful for future reference.  Write the answers to questions included in the daily exercises in your field notebook under that day’s entry.

You will be expected to collect some data during each day of the field school. The data collected on Day 5 will be the basis for your silviculture report, and this report is due by 8 am on the last morning of camp. Small teams of instructors will carry out oral field exams of individual students on Days 4 and 5 to test your level of observation and understanding. While a mark is assigned, this field exam is not intended to be intimidating. Field exams are a teaching tool to enhance your skills at site and stand diagnosis.

The Plant ID quiz will be held on the evening of Day 6. There will be 10 plant samples of species we have seen during our field days. You will identify each sample using the common or scientific name, and answer one question about the ecological or managerial significance of this species. This will be a timed exercise.

We expect all students at Fall Camp to demonstrate professionalism, by being punctual and prepared for the days activities (including wearing appropriate field clothing and footwear), by fully participating in activities and discussions, and by contributing to the well-being and educational experience of everyone at field school. Marks will be deducted for inappropriate conduct or lack of engagement.


Safety Information Form

To improve your safety while at field school and for you to benefit fully from the course, we ask that you read the following points and communicate any necessary information or concerns to the teaching staff. Disciplinary issues during field school will be decided by the head instructor.


Many of our field sites are at least a one hour drive to the nearest hospital. During field school you will be required to walk considerable distances in rough terrain. You need to bring clothing, rain gear and boots suitable for bush work. We will be touring harvesting and sawmilling operations which are inherently hazardous, be alert and follow instructions. Wear the personal protective equipment that is issued to you. Work with your crew, not alone, and make sure you are signed in at the end of each day. Inability to follow instructions or unsafe behavior may result in your expulsion from the field school.

There will be a first aid attendant present at field school. We will have standard first aid kits with us, but it is up to you to carry any specialized medication or equipment you may need. It is important that we know of any food allergies, allergies to bee and wasp stings, or other health conditions that you may affect you while at field school.  Please inform the Forest and Conservation Sciences Department when you register of any medical conditions which may affect your safety or ability to perform in this course. If you are unsure of your medical fitness to participate in field school please contact your doctor.

 Destructive, abusive or threatening behavior, or use of alcohol or drugs will result in immediate expulsion from the field school.

Smoking is not permitted in the bush, on worksites, or in UBC vehicles. If you are a smoker, check with an instructor before lighting up. Bring a metal container for any cigarette butts.

Please do not bring dogs (or other pets) to field school.


Only appointed drivers can drive the rented vehicles. If any student feels that a vehicle is being driven in an unsafe manner, this should be reported to an instructor.


We will purchase Student Accident Insurance from UBC for each of you to cover the period from August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019.  This coverage is specifically for students doing field work.  It provides a $50,000 maximum benefit for death or severe injury while doing course work.  It does NOT provide 24 hour coverage (e.g. if you go hiking on your own and fall off a cliff, you are not covered).  You MUST be covered under BC Medical Plan or another province’s plan.  For more information, contact UBC Treasury at 822-5850 or see the linked document.



The Alex Fraser Research Forest, established in 1987, is an area of 10,000 ha of public forest land in two blocks, the Knife Creek block located near William’s Lake and the Gavin block located near Gavin Lake (about 1 hour east of William’s Lake).
The general objective of the research forest is to manage its forest lands to provide an optimal environment for education, research, and demonstration in integrated forest resources management.

Agencies involved in research projects on the forest include UBC Faculties of Forestry and others, Simon Fraser University and others, B.C. Ministry of Forests, B.C. Ministry of Environment, Canadian Forest Service, and a variety of other private corporations and individuals.


Items Required for Forestry 351

  • field gear (waterproof boots with a good grip, work gloves that you can write with, rain jacket and rain pants etc.)
  • warm field clothes that you can layer, gloves for field work, it is often cold first thing in the morning, and sometimes it rains hard!
  • sleeping bag, pillow, towel and toiletries – you will be staying in shared male or female cabins in bunk-beds
  • water bottle, plastic container to put your lunch in, bring 2 lunches on Day 5
  • day pack or cruisers vest
  • hard hat (if you have one, otherwise we will supply it)
  • school supplies (pencils, rulers, calculators, paper, etc.)
  • if you have a phone or tablet with a GPS, please download the free Avenza Maps Mobile app
  • we will be in cell-phone range during the William’s Lake days, but there is no cell-phone coverage or land-line at Gavin Lake

Here is a document with Field Trip Clothing Tips and Suppliers.  

Here is the Cultivating Forest Stewardship – Learning Resources Website