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This is my office

This Is My Office: Forest workers explain why they chose to work in forestry and why they stay in the industry. 

My Journey to Becoming a Log Scaler

Audrey Hamm grew up in Vernon and after graduating from high school she started attending Okanagan College with the idea of being a teacher. She began a geography degree at Simon Fraser University and, in the summers, worked at the Kalamalka Forestry Research Centre picking cones. “I really liked the people there and the work,” said Audrey. 

Later on, Audrey and her boyfriend moved down to Squamish where they could enjoy the outdoor lifestyle but still be close enough to the city so Audrey could finish her degree. She graduated last May with a geography degree but she no longer wanted to be a teacher.

Audrey met Allan Barr of West-Barr Contracting Ltd through another job and when they had a job opening she took it. “I started tagging logs and then did some grading,” said Audrey. “They could see a bright future for me at West-Barr and put a lot of time and effort into training me.”

“I like the work because it is in a beautiful setting outside in the fresh air and I am constantly moving around. The tasks require focus and teamwork, which I enjoy. The people I work with are great.”

Audrey’s now taking a log scaling course put on by Garrett Log Service. It’s a four-month program that started in February and will end in May. She’s still working for West-Barr at the Squamish dry-land sort when she’s not in school. 

“My boyfriend, Max Erwin, took the falling course last fall through the BC Forest Safety Council. Now he’s falling in Haida Gwaii,” said Audrey. “He and I have a similar story—we both were perusing different forestry careers with no real connection to forestry before this.” 

Audrey thinks her degree has been helpful, but doesn’t think she will peruse a career with it. “I feel very lucky and grateful to West-Barr for giving me this opportunity,” said Audrey. “Scaling is a career I doubt I would have ever stumbled across otherwise”.

“Audrey should be proud of her accomplishments,” said Allan Barr, owner of West-Barr Contracting. “She’s doing a great job.”