..THE FOREST AROUND US
My friend Oszkar
by Bill Moore....
... There are machines and there are
people in the forest around us. With a humble bow to my friends of the
Great Yellow Traktor Co. and others, I find the people more interesting
than the cold metal monsters.
workers carrying a shrub-like tree to be used for just such a purpose
as Oszkar was researching in the 1970s. The root is wrapped in sackcloth
and the inscription says the tree is imported from what would now be
Ethiopia. Apparently the Queen’s caper didn’t work –
but I’ll bet she didn’t have an Oszkar advising her.
wives and children were able to cross the border into friendly Austria.
As the forestry school was reasonably intact, the head of the school,
Dean Kalman Roller, asked countries around the world to take the entire
group in and let them continue their forestry studies. Through the efforts
of Dr. Norman McKenzie and the forest faculty’s Dean George Allen,
along with Hon. James Sinclair and Harold and Joe Foley of the Powell
river Co., the Canadian government brought the entire group to B.C.
and set them up to live and study on the campus of U.B.C.
British Columbia Lumberman, April, 1979
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interested spectator at that opening will be Oszkar – standing, of course, in the shade of the old Hypocratic tree.
....“The China Caper,” says I, “what were you doing in China last summer?”
....Again the laugh – “Oh, 23 of us went on a tour and just sort of drifted into mainland China.” Drifted yet!
....I asked my friend what impressed him the most, after touring many of the universities, particularly in the forestry realm. He stated that with the emergence from the Mao period the Chinese have a very open desire to catch up to the western world in many fields.
....Oszkar has already begun an exchange program with forestry people in China for an exchange of seeds and seedlings. He is at present sending them seeds and cuttings of eastern sugar maple which the Chinese would like to introduce to their country. Better shape up you chaps in Ontario in the maple sugar business!
....An honor was paid Oszkar when he was asked by Nanking University to come this summer and teach genetics to their students. He is pondering the move right now.
....Then there’s the Queen Charlotte Islands Caper – the golden spruce tree near Port Clements on Graham Island. There on the bank of the Yakoun river stands this very rare and very strikingly yellow tree. Oszkar has been per-mitted to take cuttings from this tree and experiment with them. He tells me it’s a mutation – an evergreen tree without its proper proportions of chlorophyll. He relates it to an albino in a human being. – genetically deficient. My friend points out how important such a singular tree can be to a geneticist. In a growing area it can be most advantageous to know just how far the pollen from surrounding forests can affect the certain “pure” growing trees of a seed orchard. Oszkar hopes someday he can continue experiments with this extremely rare tree.
....Things have changed in his old homeland today and he returns to visit friends and colleagues in forestry. He is now collaborating on a forest genetics book with a Hungarian col-league in Hungary. The times are a bit different than in that sad autumn in 1956.
....But the caper I like the best is Oszkar’s latest – I call it the King Tut Caper. Not to be confused with the first Egyptian caper and the sand windbreak and the old queen – this one has real mystery to it. The good Dr. Sziklai was presented with 10 seeds, the size of a small peanut, from the tomb of dear old Tutankhamen. These seeds have come from the Carter estate in England. Carter being
the archeologist who peeked in the little hole to discover the dear chaps tomb and was reported to have stated – “Holy cow, there’s a mess of gold in thar!”
....Well, he has the seeds and he is trying to identify them and is also giving them various tests to determine their age and health. He let me hold one in the palm of my hand – which I trust won’t bring down the infamous curse of King Tut on this old logger.
....Oszkar and I have worked together for years on our Festival of Forestry program of environmental student tours and the promotion of Loggers’ Sports. I sometimes feel he has more enthu-
siasm and more good PR in
him for our industry than do many of our upper chaps. I laughed the time
he sent me a postcard from the pyramids stating – “Bill, this
is a great place for the loggers to have an Obstacle Chokerman’s
Race by going up and over the Cheops pyramid.
Keep out of the bight,
|British Columbia Lumberman, April, 1979||