Our Summer Filming B.C.’s Forest Sector: A PLT Canada Green Jobs Spotlight

December 12, 2019

By Edward Lau and Duncan MacRae, PLT Canada Green Jobs Youth

The two authors posing for a picture.

Edward Lau and Duncan MacRae, Forest videographers

We knew we would be wowed by the natural beauty of our province when we got hired by the B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI) last summer. Our job was to produce videos for the forest sector but our actual experience once we got out there put all our expectations to shame. We were blown away by the beauty of our forests and how vibrant and diverse the sector is. At times, it was hard to believe we were getting paid to do this job.

A wooden path in a forest

Photo: Edward Lau

Our mission was to showcase how B.C.’s forests are a sustainably managed resource that are moving our province’s economy forward. We visited forests, mills, and other forestry-related operations, and learned a great deal along the way. Did you know that you can find a path into forestry from almost any degree? For example, we met technologists managing software, as well as lawyers and health scientists, in addition to others doing more obvious jobs like forestry and environmental sciences. Getting to meet and interact with all these different people was inspiring.

A man doing work

Photo: Edward Lau

The videos we produced covered a range of topics. Some of our videos were done to help kids in high school see themselves in forestry’s future, others tackled big issues that transcend forestry, like reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and gender diversity (see links to all our videos at the end of this article).

An important fact that kept coming up is the number of career opportunities available in the forest sector. Supposedly, over 50% of its current workforce will be retiring in the coming decade, so the job opportunities are just going to keep getting better. And, because the types of jobs are so varied, there are many different pathways that people can take into these careers. Another appealing factor is that many of these jobs are in smaller communities, which means shorter commutes into work, and greater affordability, which helps for a good work-life balance. Plus, the world is just so beautiful in our own backyard.

Living in Vancouver, we weren’t as connected to forestry as we are now (after finishing our work for COFI). The experience really opened our eyes. We learned just how much the industry cares about sustainable forest management, sustainable manufacturing, and sustainable building practices that are good for Canada and the wider world.

Looking back, it was an incredible way to spend the summer. We got to work with everyone from students to CEOs, we learned an astounding amount about the forestry sector, and we were able to create fantastic material to add to our portfolios. We are both grateful to COFI and to PLT Canada for giving us this incredible opportunity.

Hopefully, our videos will inspire other young Canadians to consider careers in the forest sector, as it really contains something interesting for everyone.

Duncan is in the third year of a communications degree at Simon Fraser University and Edward completed his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of British Columbia and is now working for a marketing agency in Vancouver as a Creative Specialist. PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program is supported in large part by strong employer networks at the Canadian Parks Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Videos by Edward Lau and Duncan MacRae, produced for the BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI):

Want to tell your Green Job story? Contact us.

PLT Canada’s Green Jobs program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy. PLT Canada is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.


From Sawmills to the Healthcare Frontline: Using Transferrable Skills for Nursing

By Mackenzie Kronemeyer Working weekend nights in a Canfor sawmill and wood pellet plant for the first time while I was in high school gave me confidence that I was cut out for a career in nursing. The night shifts, the teamwork, and the focus on safety at Canfor were…


Why a Grizzly Encounter Confirmed My Green Career Path

By Brennan Gow One of the things I appreciate about working in the forest is the chance to see wildlife in its natural habitat. In May 2019 alone, I saw 20 black bears and 11 grizzlies while working as a Field Operations Assistant for Canfor, an SFI-certified organization, in Fort…


Following my Passion into Community-Based Agroforestry

By Sean Larsen I’ve always wondered how to combine my passion for the environment with a possible career. For example, I often think about buying land and moving to northern B.C. There, I would be able to grow trees and mixed crops and raise animals (a practice called agroforestry) to…


Wildlife Experiences Up Close and Personal

Morgan Conrad is a Wildlife Research Assistant at Chuzghun Resources Corporation in British Columbia. Part of his work includes live capture and release of animals like this lynx. By Morgan Conrad The feeling of holding a live lynx in my arms will stay with me forever. I’m still blown away…