“From learning foundational map-and-compass skills to exploring the link between climate change and spruce bark beetles, students at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) spend a lot of time in the college’s 12,500 hectares of research forest.
The two-year Natural Resources and Environmental Technology (NRET) diploma program is the only one in British Columbia with access to that kind of asset, which Richard Reich, the school’s new Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Forest Health, says gives students a leg up when they’re ready to enter the workforce. “These guys are actually working on the highest-level research projects that exist,” he says. “They’re answering the most important or most urgent forest-health-related questions the forest sector is dealing with.”
Reich was appointed to the five-year position in September 2016 after more than 25 years working as a forest pathologist, identifying and managing tree diseases. “I envy the training these [students] have because they have so much practical knowledge,” says Reich, who, as an instructor at CNC, works directly with a handful of students on their research and teaches a class on forest health. This year, he was able to hire more than a quarter of the 22-student cohort as research assistants, an opportunity rarely afforded to students in a two-year diploma program.”
Read more in Maclean’s here.