Another Summer of Learning and New Experiences with the MCFC
Written by MCFC Summer Intern, Freya Clark
Originally published August, 2018
It’s crazy to think that my second summer working as a Summer Intern with the MCFC has come to a close! I am so thankful to have been given another season in (as I would call it) the best job in the world. It gives me so much satisfaction to work for a cause that I believe in, and, on particularly fun days, I find myself wondering about how amazing it is to get paid to do something I love.
I worked on such a wide variety of projects this summer that it is impossible to touch on all of them! Some of the main things I worked on this summer were; forest tours and workshops, creating and selling cutting boards, creating a mushroom map of the MCFC, and organizing the forest products market.
Forest Tours and Workshops:
This summer the MCFC had more tours and workshops than ever before! In helping to plan, and in attending the spring Wild Foods workshop in collaboration with Sarah from East Coast Wild Foods, I got the opportunity to expand my knowledge of edible and medicinal wild foods! I had one of those “I’m being paid for this?” moments when attending the wonderful workshop that Sarah put on and eating the delicious and beautiful meal that the chef prepared. Organizing the forest research tour allowed me to learn about how forest practices are tested to determine productivity and effectiveness before being put into practice. The Trail Building Day was such a fun experience. It was so exciting to work with such dedicated volunteers and watch a hiking trail come together before my eyes! The next event was the Old Growth Forest Tour that I organised. This tour went through an old growth hardwood stand and was led by Colin Gray from MTRI. Colin did an excellent job and there was some great conversation with the tour attendees! I have also helped plan future community forest events. I have helped to plan the two fall Wild Foods Workshops, and our Back-Country Camping Workshop in collaboration with Whynot Adventures. Although I won’t be able to attend the future workshops I look forward to hearing all about them after the fact.
Creating and Selling Cutting Boards:
Over the past two summers with the MCFC I have learned a great deal about the concept of community forestry and how its applied world wide. Some of the most successful community forests in Canada have a really varied base of products that they sell. Having a variety of value added products instead of simply cutting wood and selling the raw material allows community forests to create more profit, and allows the public to support the organisation more directly. At the beginning of the summer one of our board members suggested an excellent foray into value added products in our creating cutting boards to sell at markets. The trouble was that there was no one who had the ability and time to create this boards. I volunteered to learn on my own time, and with board member Don Kimball’s help I began producing cutting boards to sell! We are now looking at putting our cutting boards into craft shops. This aspect of my job taught me about establishing a new business branch, and allowed me to develop some basic carpentry skills which will be extremely useful in the future!
Creating a Mushroom Map of the MCFC
In keeping with the theme of expanding into value added products, a board member also suggested that the MCFC consider selling foraged mushrooms at markets. As mushrooms tend to ripen in the late summer and fall, I decided to create a map of the likely mushroom sites on the community forest land base to allow us to harvest them at a later date. To do that, I contacted Rick Frail who is our unofficial local mushroom expert, and he has been taking me out to our forest to look for likely mushroom sites. There’s nothing like mushroom hunting for work!
The MCFC Forest Market and Fair
This was my second year organizing the Forest Market and Fair. I have so much fun organizing this market! It’s amazing how versatile our local artists and artisans can be in using forest products as an aspect of their work. I also love meeting and learning from these artists and artisans. Its so cool learning about how people take raw materials and make them into something beautiful. It also makes me feel good to see forest related artists meeting and talking with each other. I would love it if those conversations led to collaboration in the future! The Forest Market and Fair is looking like its going to be a great time again this year! We have a whole variety of vendors coming to the market in Mahone Bay. Once again, this market will be my last day of work for the summer. The market is always a great way to finish the summer because its so much fun and it gives me the opportunity to see something that I spend a lot of time organizing come to fruition!
Altogether my experiences at work this summer were so much fun and I learned so much. Its so great to spend a summer pursuing what you love. The lessons that I learned this summer will be applicable both in my daily life and in my studies at UNB Fredericton for my Bachelors of Science in Environment and Natural Resources. I am once again looking forward to coming back next summer and continuing to learn and help forward the mission of the MCFC. Thank you so much to the board of directors and to Mary Jane for giving me another summer of learning and of new experiences.