Prince George, BC – A unique log and timber building and classroom on a hilltop overlooking the Upper Fraser area and the McGregor Mountains opened its doors on Wednesday.
The Field Education Centre at UNBC’s Aleza Lake Research Forest, located 60 km east of Prince George, provides a great space for the university’s faculty and students, for outdoor learning, field courses and research in forest ecology, forest and ecosystem management and environmental studies.
The Aleza Field Education Centre is a 1,200 square-foot interpretive centre of log and timber construction, designed to host field courses, meetings, retreats, training, and community events.
The Aleza Lake Research Forest Society will operate the Centre as an environmental learning centre, gathering place, and hub for events at the 9,000-hectare (22,250 acre) research forest. The Centre can also provide some overnight accommodations for field researchers and crews, and community groups, from time to time.
The Centre is a valuable learning facility that’s available for elementary and high school classes, community groups, the forest sector, and local industry for educational and training events, on a cost-recovery rental basis (alrf.unbc.ca).
“The Field Education Centre will enhance the Aleza Lake Research Forest and make it even more relevant, rich and accessible to UNBC faculty, students and our community partners,” said UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. “Thank you to our donors Dunkley Lumber, Moss Rock Park Foundation, and Integris Credit Union for making this possible.”
“We are incredibly pleased to see the dream of this outdoor-oriented learning centre become a reality, so close to Prince George and all of our educational institutions in the Central Interior. It really fills an important need,” added Mike Jull, a Registered Professional Forester who is the Manager of the Aleza Lake Research Forest Society.
UNBC programs that have used the space so far this year include the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management program and Natural Resources and Environmental Science program.
Befitting its forest setting, the Aleza Field Education Centre strongly incorporates and highlights northern BC wood in almost all facets of its construction, with a high level of craftsmanship throughout. Its construction, spread over two years, included the expertise of eight local contractors, and materials and supplies from 13 additional local businesses.
The Aleza Lake Research Forest began as a B.C. Forest Service Experiment Station in 1924. It was the first experiment station of its kind in the province. Its history spans over nine decades.
In 2000, the non-profit Aleza Lake Research Forest Society was established to manage the forest, in collaboration with UNBC.