Alberta forests are natural wonderlands, and it is Alberta’s stringent standards for forest management that have ensured this resource is protected and remains the focus of diversification of the provincial economy.
The province is positioned to be a global leader in innovation in this sector — which is important to the local economies of over 90 rural and Indigenous communities. Buyers from around the world recognize the value of Alberta forest products including pulp, newsprint, wood panels, engineered wood products and dimensional lumber. The forestry sector represents over $7 billion in revenue for the province. With Alberta’s leadership in sustainable forest management (SFM) and third-party international SFM certification, Alberta is a place where emphasis is placed on responsible harvesting and production.
In Alberta, we can see the forest for the trees.
Number of Albertans employed directly in the forestry sector and in supporting occupations
Annual industry revenue from harvesting operations and the sale of lumber, pulp, newsprint, wood panels, engineered wood products, bioenergy and ecosystem services
Export revenue from Alberta’s forest products to international markets such as the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Europe
Source: Government of Alberta
Talk a walk in the forest with … Nathan Fillion?
According to Numeris, The Rookie is one of the top five most popular television shows in Canada, easily doubling the audience of hockey games.
The star of the American police drama is Edmonton’s own Nathan Fillion, who also starred in Castle, Desperate Housewives and films such as Firefly and Waitress.
So, when the Alberta Forest Products Association needed to find someone to narrate its virtual forest tour, they came to Fillion. “It’s the next best thing to a walk in the woods with Nathan Fillion,” said Jason Krips, president and CEO of the AFPA. When users load the site, Fillion instructs them that they can tour young, growing or mature forests. They can also virtually visit demonstration forests laid out on the virtual map. When the scenarios load, it feels as if you are walking through the woods, hearing birdsong and branches creaking against the wind. As well, Fillion describes the conservation efforts made by Alberta’s forestry companies, including ensuring water sources are protected, taking measures to prevent forest fires and leaving some old-growth trees standing, which helps new growth in the future.
All of this accompanied by Fillion’s voice, which is, dare we say, soothing?
In November 2021, Communications Arts magazine announced the winners of its internationally recognized awards in interactive media. Hundreds of submissions were made from around the world, and Edmonton’s Berlin Communications, which handled the Alberta forestry campaign, received a commendation for the microsite.
The Mercer Peace River mill processes an abundance of wood. From its facility approximately 500 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, about 2.4 million cubic metres of hardwood and softwood are processed into pulp annually.
It takes a significant amount of power to process that much lumber, but 100 per cent of the electricity needed for the plant comes from the wood itself. It’s all part of the company’s plan to be environmental stewards while making wood supplies. To break it down, dissolving the wood creates a lot of high-pressure steam, and that steam is diverted to turbines, which spin and produce electricity. The steam, a byproduct of the whole process, is not released, but used to keep the lights on. And, well, the steam powers the mills, the mills create more steam, and the whole process is a circle.
Métis award-winning design
The Métis Crossing Cultural Centre is a stunning addition to the town of Smoky Lake, located 116 kilometres northeast of Edmonton; $3.5 million in funding from the government of Canada, alongside $1 million from the provincial government, went to building this landmark on traditional Indigenous lands.
Constructed on 512 acres of land, the Centre is not only a cultural interpretive hub, but a place for community events, corporate retreats and social events, such as weddings. It was designed by Métis architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge from the firm Manasc Isaac, based in Edmonton — which has since been renamed Reimagine. What’s stunning about the design is its use of natural materials — and, in 2021, the Canadian Wood Council named it one of the winners of the Prairie Wood Design Awards. These awards go to “thoughtful restorations and exceptional new buildings, that showcase our proud heritage of wood construction and create legacies within our communities.”
This is a building that showcases not only great design, but the use of wood in construction. It is thoroughly modern and thoroughly traditional — at the same time.