Course Overview

Interior Field School – FORESTRY 351

Saturday August 26 – Saturday September 2, 2017
Note for 2017: Due to the expected class size, we may need to divide the group or reformat camp this year. We will make this decision in March once we have completed the Departmental registration. We will communicate with you using the email that you put on your Course Registration Form. Please check this website for periodic updates.

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 the BC central interior (Cariboo) 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 sign-in at camp at 3:00 pm on Saturday August 26 and dinner will be served at 6:00 pm. The course begins at 7:00 pm after dinner on Saturday August 26 at the Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre, and ends by 2:00 pm on Saturday September 2, 2017.

Location and Travel to Camp:

Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre on the UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest, 75 km northeast of Williams Lake, near Likely (see the Map page of this website).

Students are responsible for arranging and paying for their own transportation to and from camp. We will have several rental vans travelling up to camp from UBC on Saturday August 27, and returning to Vancouver on Saturday September 3. Seats may be available. Indicate your travel preference at the bottom of the course registration form. You will be wait-listed for a seat in the vans on a first come-first served basis according to the date you submit your registration form. A few seats will be reserved for incoming transfer students. We will let you know whether you have a seat by email in early August, and we will try and arrange car-pools for students who don’t have seats.

Contact Steve Mitchell by e-mail  if you have any questions about travelling to camp.

Students using public transportation to Williams Lake who require assistance getting from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake should correspond with Dawn Lowe, Office Administrator, 72 South 7th Ave., Williams Lake, B.C.  V2G 4N5.  Tel: (250) 392-2207, e-mail:  Kylie will arrange for a shuttle vehicle to camp.


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

  • Ecology/Silvics
  • Entomology
  • Harvesting
  • Fire/Pathology
  • Silvics/Genetics
  • Silviculture
  • Wildlife


Your grade for this course will be determined as follows:
Skills/Knowledge Tests/ Field Exams
Group Report
Field Notebook



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.

You will be expected to collect some data during each day of the field school, some of which may be the basis for written exercises which are submitted for grading. Small teams of instructors will carry out oral field exams of individuals or crews during field exercises to test your level of observation and understanding. While marks are assigned, these field tests are not intended to be intimidating. They are a teaching tool to enhance your skills at site and stand diagnosis.

A portion of your mark will be based on your ability to demonstrate the field diagnosis and measurement skills/knowledge detailed in the Skills Matrix, and during the Plant ID Quiz. TA’s, faculty and staff will assess your abilities during the daily exercises and at other scheduled times. If you are not able to complete the task the first time, we will hold tutorials in the evenings and it is up to you to ask for assistance and make arrangements for a re-test by the required date/time.

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.


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.


Gavin Lake Camp is on radio-telephone and is at least a one hour drive to the nearest hospital and pharmacy. Some of the field sites which we visit in the day during field school are very remote. 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 camp.  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.


We expect students to act responsibly at field school. Consumption of alcohol after work is allowed provided it is done in a civilized and reasonable manner. Destructive, abusive, or threatening behavior will result in immediate expulsion from the 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 a member of the teaching staff.


We will purchase Student Accident Insurance from UBC for each of you to cover the period from August 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018.  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, opened in April 1987, is an area of 9,802 ha. located near Williams Lake.  Composed of two separate units, the research forest contains three distinct biogeoclimatic zones:  Interior Douglas-fir; Sub-Boreal Spruce; and Interior Cedar-Hemlock.
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.  Tenure over the forest was issued in January 1990.  The document consists of two parts:  i)  a Special Use Permit designating the area as a research forest and requiring that it be managed under an approved Management and Working Plan; and ii) a License to Cut charging the UBC Faculty of Forestry with the management of the forests’ resources.  The forest is operated for a sustained yield of all resources.

Agencies involved in research projects on the forest include UBC Faculties of Forestry and Agriculture, UBC/Alex Fraser Research Forest, Simon Fraser University, B.C. Ministry of Forests, B.C. Ministry of Environment, Canadian Forest Service, Weldwood of Canada, and a variety of other private corporations and individuals.  To date, over 150 research projects have been initiated.


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 below freezing first thing in the morning, and sometimes it rains hard!
  • water bottle, plastic container to put your lunch in
  • day pack or cruisers vest
  • hard hat (if you have one, otherwise we will supply it)
  • school supplies (pencils, rulers, calculators, paper, etc.)
  • laptop computer if you want to bring one (there is no internet at camp)
  • sleeping bag, pillow, towel, toiletries, slippers or indoor shoes
  • flashlight or headlamp (it is dark around camp at night)
  • indoor shoes or slippers for the Dining hall
  • musical instruments (optional; small if you are travelling in a UBC van)

Download this document with Field Trip Clothing Tips and Suppliers.

Cultivating Forest Stewardship – Learning Resources Website


Gavin Lake Camp is owned and operated by the Gavin Lake Forest Education Society.  This non-profit society is dedicated to public education, and deserves your support.

You will be staying in cabins, sleeping in bunk beds with mattresses in dorm style rooms. Meals at camp will be provided in the cookhouse and you make up your own lunch from the supplies layed out before breakfast each morning. If you have any dietary issues, please indicate this on the registration form.

There is no cell phone coverage or internet at Gavin Lake camp. However, we will be travelling within cellphone range on the Monday and Friday of camp.

Please respect the camp property, and keep it clean.  Broken glass and damage to the camp will not be tolerated, and damages will be charged back to those responsible.

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