Jonathan Smyth is a BCIT instructor and woodlot manager who has been recognized by the province for his work. (BCIT/Special to The News)

Jonathan Smyth is a BCIT instructor and woodlot manager who has been recognized by the province for his work. (BCIT/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge home to award-winning woodlot

BCIT Forest Society, instructor receive minister’s award

Maple Ridge is home to an award-winning woodlot.

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Forest Society, led by instructor Jonathan Smyth, is being recognized by the province with the 2020 Minister’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in Woodlot Management for the Coast area.

“I am pleased to announce BCIT is a woodlot award recipient for its commitment to developing future forestry industry leaders,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests.

“The dedication and enthusiasm for embracing new sustainable forestry practices demonstrated by lead instructor Jonathan Smyth will ensure our province’s forests will benefit future generations.”

Woodlot licensees are small-scale forest managers who strive to take a hands-on approach to natural resource management. Timber is harvested in a manner consistent with principles of stewardship and sustainability. Each year, the ministry recognizes three woodlot licensees that exemplify excellence in woodlot management.

The BCIT Forest Society holds a woodlot licence in the 28000 block of Dewdney Trunk Road, which it operates as a non-profit society. It is 275 hectares of Crown land. All proceeds are used for bursaries and scholarships to educate forestry students, including the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations.

As an instructor at BCIT and president of the BCIT Forest Society, Smyth is forging the way for future sustainable approaches to forestry involving the entire community, said a ministry release. He has created synergies with local mills, operators, adjacent tenure holders and non-forest interest groups to create a community-based integrated plan for Blue Mountain while employing students and First Nations peoples.

Smyth is dedicated to continuously researching new approaches to forest management to educate the province’s future forest workers. As a long-time Scout volunteer, he gives kids hands-on experience in the woods, teaching them about natural history while hiking the area.

Some innovative uses for the woodlot fibre include First Nations harvesting of medicinal and ceremonial plants and bark stripping, cedar being used for bike and hiking trail features, and greenery used by movie crews.

There are three awards for the North, South and Coast areas, and award winners receive a signed, framed certificate of recognition from the minister, and a $2,500 prize.

The awards have been given out since 2010, funded by the province and administered by the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations.

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