Planting trees seen in a different light by war zone photographer and former planter Rita Leistner.

Western Forestry Contractors’ Association Rumour Mill RoundUpDate Volume 17, Issue 22

November 10, 2017

Warning: Many of the facts here are used for promotional purposes and may reflect a bias to that effect.

Total Physiotherapy’s Injury Management System to be Featured at WFCA 2018 Conference

Total Physiotherapy’s Mike McAlonan can hold the rapt attention of planters and will speak at the WFCA conference.

The evolution of the BC silviculture sector’s understanding of hard work and its consequences has covered some ground over the last decade. Built on the early work of leaders like Dr. Delia Roberts, nutrition, hydration, rest, and training were the principal instruments for reducing injuries. They’ve proven to work well, but silviculture injury rates lately seem to have settled in refusing to drop lower. Now a change in focus from managing the general aspects of workers and their repetitive work to directly treating and protecting particular muscles and sinew is producing promising results. Total Physiotherapy’s Mike McAlonan and his staff have watched and mended tree planters over the last years. They have deconstructed the motions, torques and postures that can cause injury and now have developed therapeutic interventions. Their physiotherapy and injury management system has produced some remarkable results in the field reducing injuries and restoring workers’ productivity. McAlonan is an enthusiastic and natural communicator and will be at the WFCA 2018 conference on both February 7 and 8 along with his colleagues and staff. He will present research results and our BC SAFE Forestry specially commissioned training videos on MSI reduction along with instruction on taping. He will also introduce the Total Physiotherapy injury management system to those unfamiliar with their approach. Having this kind of resource available for two days is worth the price of admission in our modest opinion.

War Zone Photographer Learned Survival Planting Trees

Planting trees seen in a different light by war zone photographer and former planter Rita Leistner.

Seen for the first time by a novice tree planter a cut block might look like a disaster zone. Upended roots, severed stumps, and piled slash all suggest some recent havoc. To first-timers it might seem right to ask if anyone survived what they see in front of them. Then add to that first impression the isolation, the tendency of nature to conspire against your best efforts, and the growing realization few of your comrades have a better idea than you of what your all doing. For some this condition, typical of the wild side of planting trees, can amount to trauma. For others it calls up a kind of core resolve. We wonder if this is part of why we continue to hear of tree planters who are drawn to work for groups like Médecins Sans Frontières and other international relief organizations. What is the connection between disaster and the tree-planting sector? Another example of this attraction is the acclaimed war photographer Rita Leistner. A former planter with a decade spent in the woods in the 80s she returned recently from overseas including places like Pol Pot’s Cambodia and Iraq’s prisons to revisit planting in B.C. The result is a photo gallery exhibition in Toronto this fall of Canadian planters. To see some of her work and read her interview with VICE click here.

WFCA 2018 Conference Program Update

What does the future of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and forestry field reconnaissance look like?

Our WFCA 2018 Conference Program is an evolving thing as we get confirmations and clarifications. Here are the latest updates:

MFLNRORD Deputy Minister Tim Sheldan will speak to the morning plenary session Friday 9 February and assist us in a discussion about how the WFCA and its members can work with our government to meet its goals;

Both MFLNRORD and BCTS are keen to present in our timely Thursday 8 February UAV conference workshop to talk about the emerging use of drones in forestry field reconnaissance. The purpose of this workshop is to encourage collaboration between government and independent foresters and contractors in developing standards and best practices for this crucial new field of work;

Representatives from TEAAM Aeromedical will talk on Wednesday 7 February about their model for setting up helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) for remote work sites in the province. Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris will also be on hand to discuss developments regarding his forestry remote site emergency response report released at last year’s WFCA conference.

And Briefly Noted

The RoundUpDate is intended as a medley of what crosses our WFCA desk. Occasionally we include what crosses our mind. After struggling to type the hefty acronym MFLNRORD enough times we realized it’s actually a lot like the name of a character in one of those old Norse sagas. We quote (not particularly accurately):

“The utterly valiant and venturesome King Mflnrord*
Downed his boundless measure of mead and
Striding from the great timbered shield hall
Vaulted through the gap hole of the gathering murk
Sword flaying the slouching and cruel Moeccs… “

*pronounced in the ancient tongue with the M silent