News & Updates

Is Tree Planting a World's Toughest Job?: BBC Reality TV in a Brinkman Camp

Mar
31
English

By Dawn Brinkman

It had been over a year of back and forth with the TV producers and their proposal of a tree planting reality documentary before the three British rookies hit the Prince George tarmac in mid-May of 2014. The premise of the show is how the unemployed youth (18-25) of Britain hold up in the BBC series World’s Toughest Jobs. During this “courtship period” we made it clear how difficult the job is, and outlined the qualities we look for in a rookie planter. We weren’t paid to host the show at our camp, but candidates with work visas could potentially learn how to carry out honest hard work and become fast, money-making returning planters, that is, if they were cut out for the job.

Tour of the Eastern Head Quarters: Tree-planting is Hard Work - a Gross Understatement

Mar
20
English

By Judi Tetro

Ottawa, Ontario. Home of Steve Harper, the Governor General, and the Government of Canada, but most importantly, the home of the Eastern Operations Headquarters of Brinkman & Associates Reforestation Ltd.. This impressive centre houses many members of the crack team (not to be confused with Rob Ford’s team – that’s in Toronto! – but rather the sharp witted team of Brinkman logisticians) that run our operations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The depth of the team is remarkable; on any given day you might call and be speaking with our Controller (Koan), our Computer Expert (Taiga), our Outings Coordinator (Juno), and our PR Specialist (Johnnie Walker), but perhaps you would speak most frequently with the Helper Monkey (Judi). The breadth of qualifications and capabilities is staggering, as are the facilities and grounds.

Here, the real work of tree-planting is carried out. Sure, some may find the work in the field exhausting and back-breaking (bending over 2-5,000 times a day, carrying 20-60 lbs of trees in your bags, clambering over slash and through mud, coordinating the ever-changing events of the day, muscling quads through muskeg and over slash and shuffling over a tonne of boxes daily), but here, here is where I look at my computer and do the really hard work.

But seriously, it is my privilege to coordinate the logistics that go into all the hard work that is carried out in the field. The work that goes into each tree being planted is impressive to say the least. Every year Brinkman has between 700 to 1,000 people who plant 40 to 50 million trees, each one by hand – one at a time. Those planters walk, on average, 16km per day over challenging terrain carrying more than 20 lbs of trees in their bags. They throw their shovel into the ground at least 2,000 times a day (meaning their arm is lifting around 5,000 shovel pounds daily) and burn as many calories as running a marathon. When hiring people for planting, I always say to new planters: “if you think you can run 50 marathons in 3 months, rain or shine, while sleeping in a tent… you’re hired!.” Planters do this arduous work and complete the task to 95% quality. An outstanding and extraordinary triumph each day, and most planters do it for between 40 and 100 days per year!

Our crew bosses are all tree-planters too. They have been through the 50 marathon summers and keep coming back for more. Only now they do all that work while coaching and managing their team. Many crew bosses plant and check trees all day long, drive both ways to the block, do their nightly paperwork and load the trucks and help out around camp. Their efforts are astonishing. In 1987 SFU prof Thomas Smith’ first Kinesiology study of planting found planters utilize between 45% and 95% (avg. 75%) of their cardiovascular capacity. This helped focus our culture of managing athletes.

Tree runners are no less impressive: in a camp that plants 100,000 trees daily (which is around 280, 20-lb boxes), the tree runner will often move each box 3 times: first to load the box into the truck, second to take it out of the truck and put it on the quad, and third to take it off the quad and put it on the ground, and this assumes they never have to shuffle boxes to other caches! Three lifts X 280 boxes X 20 lbs = lifting of 16,800 lbs daily. Not many other jobs require that kind of exertion, and that is just part of the job.

And it is our project managers who keep this whole machine running. These people often work toward a smooth plant all year round: they communicate with their teams, communicate with their regional managers and clients, and think about how to improve on last year and how to play out the next year. They work on logistical plans for months (even if it’s just while they sleep). They work on equipment needs and modifications, they take courses and certifications to upgrade their skills, and that’s only a fraction of their off-season commitments. During the season, they never stop thinking, planning, improving, and working to make everyone’s days as productive, lucrative, and smooth as possible. They commit themselves fully and selflessly to their teams and their contracts.

Tree-planting is hard work – a gross understatement. Thanks to all of you who do the real work to achieve these unfathomable results.

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Cheakamus Community Forest Offset Project: Whistler's Improved Forest Management

Mar
16
English

By Joseph Pallant, Brinkman Climate Manager

In 2009, the 32,000 ha Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) was awarded to a partnership between the Municipality of Whistler, the Squamish First Nation and the Lil’Wat First Nation. Social enterprise non-profit Ecotrust Canada helped broker this new community forest. One of its first recommendations was that the principles of ecosystem-based management form the foundation for management of the licence, to meet a wide range of social and environmental goals, including maintaining long term carbon sequestration to address global warming. This is where Brinkman Earth Systems joined the project.

Scratching the Surface: Viewing in the Chilcotins

Mar
15
English

By Matt Robertson

In forestry we have the unique opportunity of traveling among some of our planet’s more exotic landscapes. Be it the Great Bear Rainforest of the central coast or the northern Boreal, each wilderness area has its own unique identity. These areas are part of the draw that brings 350 people back each year to work in our BC operations. Amongst these stunning landscapes are cultures whose histories range some 300 years ago from first contact with European and Asian settlers searching for resources and a new life, to the First Nations people who began to populate the Americas perhaps as much as 40,000 years ago.

Discovery with The Gitxsan: Tree-planting at Summer Camp

Mar
15
English

By Marley Meinzinger

The very first Gitxsan Career Discovery Forestry Camp took place outside of picturesque Hazleton, BC at the end of July, 2014. A group of 20 Gitxsan youth from the community high school challenged themselves to a weeklong experience of living in a bush camp and being immersed in the world of tree planting and other forestry careers.

Renewing Costa Rica's Rainforests: Growing and Planting Native Species

Mar
12
English

By Ricardo Luján

Hola mis amigos! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ricardo Lujan. Since 1996 I have had the honour of being the Chief Forester for BARCA, Brinkman’s Central American division. I live in the sunny and rainy South of Costa Rica (Perez Zeledón) and travel routinely between Costa Rica and Panama overseeing quality and silvicultural best practices throughout our suite of diverse projects.

 

Work or Play?: To Plant or Not to Plant

Mar
11
English

By Matt Brady

It’s generally in July that I attempt the same lie, year after year. Friends just shake their heads, knowing the truth behind the words. It might start as a mutter, a murmur or a muffled whisper, but eventually I’m telling everyone in a building crescendo – “this is it guys, my last season.” 

Migrating North: From Nicaragua to Terrace

Feb
12
Undefined

When my family and I moved up to Terrace from Nicaragua to work for Brinkman Forest Ltd, the forestry industry was at the lowest point of its downturn; the two existing pulp mills in the region were just shutting down and there was no other alternative forestry industry around.

I thought… hmm! This does not seem to be too promising up here. Willing to do whatever forestry work was there, I started helping with the layout and traversing of cutblocks and taught GIS to three of the forestry crew members. A few months later, Brinkman Forest  Ltd. and Coast Tsimshian Resources (CTR) managed to develop the Asian wood market and things became busier, so I became the forestry planner. We now have three people in the planning department. I have now been doing forestry planning for 3 ½ years, work that I enjoy doing, especially when I get out to the bush and get to see wildlife.

Brinkman Restoration Provides Living Infrastructure: Implementation of Sophisticated Landscape Development Methodologies, ie. "Make Things Green"

Jan
16
Undefined

Brinkman Restoration works with urban planners, public utilities, civil constructors, governments and land management agencies to enhance and reinforce living infrastructure. As human population intensifies the pressure on life support systems, the need to recognize and ameliorate the effects intensifies as well. Brinkman Restoration serves a key function in the ongoing effort to bring effective approaches balancing professional management and implementation experience to diverse and complicated restoration challenges.

Brinkman Forest Ltd. Contributes to SFU's Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business Leadership Program

Oct
27
English

For over a decade Brinkman Forest Ltd. has been fortunate enough to work with First Nations communities in northwest British Columbia, forming strong partnerships that create value and spur economic development in the region. Traditionally these partnerships focused on the management of forest resources, which remains the core of what Brinkman Forest Ltd. offers its clients today.

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