North Vancouver school gives new life to felled trees

A North Vancouver school is bringing the outdoors inside.

Lynnmour elementary recently received a special delivery from the District of North Vancouver that included about 40 short logs, 40 cross-section rounds and a few larger slabs cut from trees that were cleared to make way for construction of the new Keith Road Bridge over Lynn Creek. The school plans to repurpose the pieces of wood as stools, trays and tables for use inside classrooms and to create an outdoor working space.

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Principal Kelly La Roue says the rustic furniture project was initiated by kindergarten teacher Tessa Harrington in an attempt to calm the learning environment and generate curiosity about nature.

"She's trying to bring more natural products into the classroom and to get rid of all of our plastic buckets and plastic toys," La Roue says. The kids were immediately fascinated by their new stools, she adds.

Once the wood has dried out, one of the student's grandfathers has volunteered to help sand and treat the pieces and attach legs to the tabletop slabs.

Shaun Loader, project engineer for the Keith Road Bridge Replacement Project, was among the district staff who cut and delivered the fir, cedar and alder to the school.

"The kids were really excited when we dropped them off," he says. "They actually helped us roll the logs in (to the school). They were having a blast doing that."

Approximately 150 trees were removed along the south side of Keith Road to prepare for road widening and construction of the new bridge.

"We reuse as much as we can," Loader says, explaining that high-quality wood can be used as lumber or fencing throughout the district. "The lesser quality wood we chip up into wood chips and then use that for trail restoration."

The cut trees will be replaced three to one, he says, so 450 new trees will be planted once the bridge project is complete.

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