Field Schools

The Faculty of Forestry is committed to providing undergraduate students with valuable field experience to complement the theoretical education received in the classroom. Our goal is to create a learning experience that provides you with a sound knowledge base in your study area while helping you develop the technical, leadership, and communication skills that employers are seeking.

Each field school gives you the chance to work closely with your classmates, professors, and key individuals employed in the resource sector. While studying in an outdoor setting, you will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge and experience in achieving solutions to real-world resource management problems.

Our programs incorporate important issues into their teachings such as social justice & fairness, climate change, biodiversity, technology & design, which are especially present during the field schools through community outreach and special guest speakers.


Field schools that are required or integrated as a part of a program curriculum.

FRST 350 – Foundational Field School

An 8-day field course concentrating on outdoor skills, forest measurements, site diagnosis, and an integrated overview of the ecological, social and economic basis for forest management. Includes a 4-day visit to Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge, BC.

FRST 351 – Interior Field School (Fall Camp)

Held at the Alex Fraser Research Forest in Williams Lake, BC, FRST 351 is designed to develop a student’s understanding of the diversity of the BC central interior (Cariboo Forest Region) forests and forestry practices, concentrating on land use, management, and silviculture.

This course is required by all BSF and BSc (Forestry) students but is open to any interested students who meet the course prerequisites.

FRST 452 – Coastal Field School

The Coastal Field School – FRST 452, is held at the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge, BC This course exposes students to the large variety of coastal forestry management issues relevant to developing comprehensive diagnostic and prescriptive skills expected of a professional forester serving a host of clients with diverse values. This course is required by all BSF students.

CONS 451 – Conservation Integrated Field School

CONS 451 is a capstone course in the BSc Natural Resources (Conservation Major) Program. Students participate in a semester-long field course that focuses on alpine, grassland, and aquatic ecosystems within BC. A week-long field trip is taken to each of these three ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on understanding the biological and social aspects of conservation problems while developing practical field skills. Students learn about the ecology of flora and fauna in each ecosystem, Indigenous land stewardship, resource use issues and land use plan development. They also conduct hands-on data collection and analysis, contribute to an ongoing restoration project and improve writing skills by producing scientific reports.

UFOR 400 – Urban Forestry Field School

Development of field skills, professional judgment, critical reflection, and integration of theory, practice, and policy. Offered at Malcolm Knapp Research Forest over a 7-day period in April.

WOOD 305 – Wood Machining Skills

Wood Machining Skills is a seven-day-long course held in the machine lab at the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing. In this hands-on course, you have the opportunity to practice safe working procedures, work with modern wood processing machinery, practice some supervisory skills, and develop an understanding of manufacturing processes. By the end of the course, you will have designed, planned, and manufactured your own piece of wood furniture. To develop leadership and teamwork skills, you will have the opportunity to work with several other students planning, organizing, and structuring the working day for the rest of the class. This course is held at the end of the second year and is required for all BSc (Wood Products Processing) students.

WOOD 353 – Mill Site Visits

Mill Site Visits is a one-week tour of wood products manufacturing operations in the Interior of British Columbia. Students travel by tour bus as far north as Prince George or Quesnel and then work their way back towards Vancouver visiting a wide range of mills. Operations typically visited include sawmills, plywood mills, OSB mill, Glulam and CLT plant, wood pellet plant, timber frame manufacturer, and board mill. Students will also tour some of the forest operations at the UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest spending one or two nights at the Gavin Lake camp. Accommodation and transportation are arranged by the Department of Wood Science. The course is held in the middle of the multiple WOOD 305 sections and is required for BSc (Wood Products Processing) students.


Field schools that are operated in collaboration with UBC Go Global.

CONS 453 – Ecuador Field School

Reliance on forests for their products and services is a global occurrence that varies widely among countries in its applications, governance, and implications to people and wildlife. Cultural values and the depth of their influence on policy, decision‐making, and actions can only be appreciated by first‐hand observation and thoughtful consideration. Through the examination of forest resource systems and conservation efforts, we can gain greater understanding of the complexities we face as global citizens and inform our future decisions. Our studies will examine these topics in four different ecosystems of Ecuador: dry coastal forests, Amazon tropical forests, cloud forests, and paramo ecosystems.

CONS 454 – South Africa – Communities, Wildlife, and Conservation in Post-Apartheid South Africa

This program takes students into the heart of the African savanna biome to learn from rural community members. It will offer insights into the innovative forms of community-based natural resource management emerging in South Africa. Our goal will be to understand the evolving landscapes of conservation in post-apartheid South Africa, and to explore the wicked problems faced by the millions of people living in poverty on the edge of protected areas. Unlike most study‐abroad programs in the region, this is not a tour. It combines adventurous travel with immersive field experience, data gathering, and long‐term partnerships with rural South African communities.

FRST 456 – Chile Field School: Natural and Planted Forests in the Global Bioeconomy

This course offers a profound vision of how forestry stakeholders can produce more wood without deforesting while alleviating environmental and social pressures. Chile is blessed with a remarkable diversity of resources such as industrial plantations with among the fastest growth rates in the planet, exuberant native forests of high protection value, a world-class forest industry, spectacular lakes and active volcanos, a well-developed institutional forestry network, and extraordinary Indigenous knowledge. By visiting ancient forests, fast-growing plantations, small and large-scale mills, universities, plant nurseries, Mapuche communities, research labs, public national parks and private multi-use estates, students will develop a solid vision on land use policies, productivity and conservation for a world where the demand for renewable timber products will continue to grow.

FRST 449C – European Field School

Forests provide millions of jobs and billions of dollars’ worth of employment income, tax revenue, and economic activity world-wide. In addition, they provide a broad range of ecosystem services including water, recreation, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. All of these benefits depend on healthy forests, which are threatened by global problems including climate change, biodiversity loss, and forest conversion. We increasingly recognize that forests, and the broader environment that includes them, must be managed in a sustainable and globally responsible way. However, management approaches employed around the world reflect cultural differences and different historic contexts. Solving global environmental problems in a local context requires efforts from forest and environmental managers educated to have both a global perspective and multi-cultural awareness. During the course we will explore forest management practices, conservation and forest utilization issues in Wales, Sweden and Finland and analyze why they may differ with Canadian and BC forest and conservation. Locations may change annually.