Grad ‘84
by: Bill Moore

....It was a beautiful day in Edmonton. Clear sky, mild, no wind. “Is it always like this in Edmonton in mid-March?” I asked. “Of course, Bill, this is the promised land!”
....Well, I had promised to be there for
The University of Alberta’s forestry graduation evening to give a little chat about life in the salal brush of Pacifica B.C. and sundry other topics, including a poem or two.
....It was a really nice event and an evening that meant a lot to the 30 grad-uating forestry students. And as is com-mon in these classes today, eight of them were young ladies. This would be the lowest number of grads in a class for some years.
....I’d like to tell you about the event because these young people will become a part of the scene of the forest around us in the years ahead.
....The evening’s festivities were to be held at the Edmonton Inn and the orga-nizers had sensibly planned a meeting of the Rocky Mountain Section of the Canadian Institute of Forestry for that afternoon. I sat in and listened to a panel discuss allowable annual cuts in Alberta and found the session to be most informative and interesting. Being a logger, I particularly enjoyed listening to Dean Marshal give an excellent talk on the small logger’s (that phrase kills me – I remember a small logger who weighed over 400 pounds!) views on the problems of AAC as it pertained to his company, Spray Lake Sawmills.
....In checking about I became aware how delighted everyone was in looking forward to the big evening’s events. The CIF had chosen this day as their meeting in order to coincide with the graduates’ night and the graduates were pleased because it would enable all the CIF members to be present at the ring ceremony.

....For those not familiar with this cer-emony, it is the custom of the Canadian Institute of Foresters to present the new graduates with a ring to welcome them into the fold.
....Like most graduations of university students, the affair is always one of excitement and sort of thanksgiving. At this stage students have put in about 17 years of studies and are really ready to cast loose the shackles that have bound them to books.
....I have always found the forestry fraternity, students or graduates, to be a rather quiet and undemonstrative group. Being as how their chosen work is the relative quietness of forests, I suppose all things fit. I will refer to this a bit later.
....There was indeed a nice hum in the ceremonies room of the Edmonton Inn that evening, as the parents and friends, faculty members, foresters and grad-uating foresters met to celebrate the occasion. A very fine banqueting table was laid on, and it appeared as though some of the young chaps had held off for several days in anticipation of the goodies.
....As the room settled down from the chatter and clatter, Peter Murphy, Associate Dean of Forestry took the lectern and gave the graduating class the message from the faculty. He reminded them of their years of preparation for this event, and now it was time to head out and serve the forests of Canada well.
....Professor Murphy proposed a toast to the class and this was well answered with a toast to the professors by grad-uating student Wybo Vanderschnit.
....Then, what I consider one of the most difficult honors of the evening – the Val-edictorian Address – was given in fine style by Greg Fenton. Greg had a good delivery and thanked his university, the professors and the many others who con
tributed to the class’s years of training.
....It then became time for this good writer to earn his good dinner – so a few steps to the podium to talk about loggers and trees and things.
....“I didn’t come here to tell you about recessions and strikes and lockouts and poor times. I came here to talk about hope and heart. In spite of a world that seems bent on harming itself, you will have to have these two qualities in your life’s makeup if you expect to succeed.
....“Our forests are Canada’s second greatest asset. Given to us as a free crop to use and care for. This means replacing as we use. We are not doing exactly that, and your voices must join with others in demanding that political decisions are made that will ensure we maintain proper care and a tree planted for a tree felled policy.”
....I reminded the class of Canada’s quality forests and her quality transpor-tation systems and mostly of her num-ber one asset – her quality people. I spoke of my friends in Finland who never fail to remind me of these three powers – quality fibre, quality trans-portation and quality people.
....“If this is so, then why should we worry, or why should we fear the competition? Well, firstly, the ones we fear don’t have to be on foreign shores We are the ones we must fear the most. We are the ones who can write our own fate if we fail to get our act together.
....“And getting our act together means everyone in this field of forestry – management, labor and governments – start pulling together and not treat each other like the enemy.
....We must be positive – we must not jeopardize the qualities I mentioned – and we must not get rattled by the media’s insatiable search for headlines
22  ·  BRITISH COLUMBIA LUMBERMAN           MAY        1984

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at the expense of our nervous systems.
....I listened to the CBC journal one night not so long ago, and they talked of the greenhouse effect that will envelope our planet over the next 100 years and more. There were many experts on the subject and they painted a frightening picture of the world of your grand-children and your great grandchildren. North and south ice caps melting a decrease in direct sunlight, ocean levels rising to take over parts of the cities and countries!
....Are human beings that stupid that we can allow this to happen? Is this what progress is all about? Can we continue to see less and less acreage of life-supporting trees on this earth? The millions of acres we are losing through all causes can only affect the very air we breathe – that’s all!
....But there must be hope, and you must have heart. We live in a part of the world unaffected by themisery that
not in what might be called good physical condition. And if countries are allowed to keep cutting away forests and not replace them, and dump toxic wastes that will affect all future gen-erations, there will have to be a much stronger environmental voice that will be listened to and will be obeyed.
....I grew up in the company of some of today’s strong environmentalists. I’m glad I did, because it helped me to better understand the deadly serious future we face.
....Protest – we’ve had protest since the beginning of time. And we will continue to have. The Crusades were a protest. The Boston Tea Party was a protest. The Black Hole of Calcutta was a protest. And when Moses led his people to the promised land it was out of protrest. We know more about protest today because the media brings it to our living rooms every evening from somewhere in the world.
....There must be a stronger voice from the foresters of Canada. They have a credibility that politicians and public will
listen to – if they speak loud enough and gather their forces and allies. Look around, they may be waiting on the corners to help you. Don’t fight the good guys, fight the bad guys. Get a little muscle.
....Hope and Heart Remember Mary Jane, that delightful song from Damn Yankees:
............You gotta have heart
........When the odds are saying
..............You’ll never win –
.....That’s when the grin should start.
....Have Hope in your Canada. Have Heart in your dealings with others.
....I enjoyed my day and evening in such nice company as the University of Alberta’s Forest Faculty and its ’84 grads. I thanked them for letting me be a part of such an important event.
....Oh, I had one last word for them:

“Keep out of the bight!”

Bill Moore

millions take for granted each day. Wars rage in Asia, Africa and South America, and huge armies face each other in Europe. Yet our land is still free of such horrors.
....Our standards have to keep being re-evaluated. This is confusing to many but we are on a fast track in this world, whether we like it or not. The bomb, terrorism, super powers and the inability to listen to – or appreciate – other people’s problems, keep our world and our standards in jeopardy.
....Hope and heart expressed in action can keep people strong. Don’t give up on this country’s seeming inability to look after her forests in a 100 percent effort. Fight for porper silviculture methods. Fight for “A tree planted for a tree felled.” And fight the politicians who are too weak to legislate the best for our forests.
....Fight those who would call us a “Sunset Industry.” Sunset be damned! Those same people would label us the Silicon Valley country of the future. We are a resource country that has all the potential to continually build our secondary industries from those re-sources. Sunrise, sure. Sunset, never!
....Then there are the environmentalists. Now, aren’t we all environmentalists in the forest related professions wwe are individually in? I hope we are. But it is obvious that there are many others who don’t worry about it. Our world is
BRITISH COLUMBIA LUMBERMAN            MAY 1984   ·   23