Folklore Contracting

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Folklore Contracting

Post by replant » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:23 am

This thread is devoted to gossip and discussion for employees and stakeholders of Folklore Contracting.

This company is believed to work predominantly in British Columbia and Alberta.

Their last known contact information is:

1077 Eastern Street,
Prince George, BC
V2N 5R8
Phone: (250) 563-5765
FAX: (250) 563-2445
Email: info@folklorecontracting.ca
Last edited by replant on Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Website for this company

Post by Scooter » Mon Feb 16, 2004 8:49 am

This company has a website at:

http://www.folklorecontracting.ca

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Safety issues

Post by Scooter » Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:29 am

Here are two things that employees should be aware of for company-wide policy changes for the coming summer:

1. Smoking will not be permitted in vehicles anymore, based on widespread support in the Christmas surveys for this move.

2. Seat-belt use will be enforced a lot more strictly this summer. This is something that the supervisors have talked about for several years, the importance of which was really emphasized when seeing all the vehicle accidents which resulted in deaths last summer in various companies. Folklore has been lucky in the past several years with no serious injuries in road accidents, but relying on luck just doesn't cut it. For the first time this year, the supervisors are being asked to sign a form acknowledging that they are jointly legally responsible for any injuries or damages sustained by employees who fail to use seatbelts, therefore, you can expect a greater emphasis on discussion and spot checks this summer than you've seen in past years.

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Post by Shelley » Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:17 pm

Won't Folklore and the supervisors and foreman be libel (sp?) to some extent for a vehicle accident if the planters weren't wearing seatbelts? Especially if they didn't have proof that it was an encouraged practice in the company?

Or was there a clause in one of the papers that we signed at the beginning of the summer saying something along the lines of employees are required to wear a seat belt any time they are in a company truck?

Just curious...

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Post by Scooter » Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:51 pm

I think the point is more that the company doesn't want to see people getting hurt. There are other steps being taken at the same time, for instance, the office has always required class 4 drivers in the past for certain types of vehicles, plus examines driver abstracts, but that requirement is being extended somewhat this year (all of my foremen are required to have class 4's, whether or not they will be driving a crummy). Also, I think the office is trying to get a lot of the drivers enrolled in a "safe bush driving" or defensive driving course of some kind at the start of the season. We're a fairly big company, and we've been lucky in the past, but the general consensus is that we can't beat the odds forever so we're doing everything possible to minimize risks.

The legal liabilities are an issue too, but I don't think that's the main concern. In theory, if the company or supervisors allow unsafe practices, then yes, legal liability does arise. But the fastest way to cut the liability risk is through proactive management (trying to prevent accidents) rather than shifting liability through the use of contracts.

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Post by Shelley » Thu Feb 19, 2004 9:28 pm

yeah. that is very cool of folklore.

Is there anything that a planter can do if a company wasn't proactive about these things? Or should they just aim to switch companies.

From your experience, is it only fair for the planters to expect some of these moves from the larger companies, or even if you work for a small company should the same standards be upheld?

I guess that the smaller companies could always pass along the cost to the people slotted for these positions (ie drivers, ifa's, foremen) but somehow i dont think that would be appreciated. And along that line of thought, is there any "school" or program even in the states or somewhere that offers a foreman training program, or a planting school. Hmm... maybe i will search on google. That would be interesting to find out.

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Company Review

Post by Poschmann » Thu Mar 04, 2004 12:08 pm

The majority of my five years in silviculture was spent with Folklore. They are a great company to work for and I would certainly recommend them to any of my friends. During my time they were the best large company to work for as far as spacing and brushing work goes and I was usually found on Henry Lali's crew (I was the tall skinny white kid), though I also planted and occasionally had my own crew for brushing or herbiciding. Does anyone know if Henry is still with Folklore?

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Post by Scooter » Thu Mar 04, 2004 12:33 pm

Oh yes, Henry is still hard at it. I'm not sure what his spacing program looks like for the upcoming season. I know he was originally going to take out a planting crew for part of the summer but probably doesn't have time for that any more.

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Post by thricecrazy » Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:41 pm

hmmm... I worked a contract for folklore 5-6 years ago. Getting a paycheck outta them was like pulling teeth, I wonder about a company that cant afford to pay employees before themselves. They did pay resonable once they paid...

I think I remember you poschman... worked in Alexis creek for a few weeks brushing aspen trees... heh funny I dont remember many else, but I do remember a tall skinny white kid ;)

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Post by Scooter » Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:36 pm

I worked a contract for folklore 5-6 years ago. Getting a paycheck outta them was like pulling teeth
That may have been a function of the particular supervisor you were working for at the time, or the payment system (piece rate vs. area-based rate). There were times when my camp's paycheques were five or six days late, and it was entirely my own fault for getting the paperwork in too late.

Since the switch to the new payroll system in 1999, things have been much faster. There was only one time last summer when the bi-weekly payroll got deposited into our accounts late. Normally, the cheques get printed and/or direct deposited (depending on which the planters prefer) every second Friday now, which cover the wages up until the Saturday evening six days before the pay run.

Of course, there is an exception to this wonderful system. When planting hectare-based contracts, the company often doesn't know what people have earned until several days after the end of the contract. In that case, we sometimes don't get paid the maximum amount for the hectare-based work until much later than for what would be the case with piece-work.

Luckily, hectare-based payment is pretty rare nowadays. That may be because of the new labour standards legislation governing payment timing requirements. The only group I can think of right now that still use hectare-based payment is the provincial government (Ministry of Forestry) in some areas. It used to happen a lot in MacKenzie too, but I haven't planted there in years.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic.

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Post by thricecrazy » Tue Apr 27, 2004 5:57 pm

my experience with them may have simply been a bad one... and a rare occasion.

It was 3 months to get paid finally... basically an excuse was given for Folklore needing to get paid before they could pay for the employees on the contract. Worked in early summer and didnt get paid till the fall... ouch. Overall I think if they had that practice they'd have very few good employees... I was just a passer-by... but even still they gave me a bad impression and Ive belittled them in many a bush truck. ;)

oh well... long ago, and there are worse stories since.

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Post by Scooter » Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:33 pm

I think anybody would be disgruntled in those circumstances ...

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Post by Scott » Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:29 pm

I've worked with Folklore professionally off and on for several years now. Periodically I have the opportunity to go an interview a bunch of planters and check out their operations. What I've seen is a pretty solid show all around. And the planters - they are happy to be there.

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Post by Shelley » Tue Jan 18, 2005 4:17 pm

Scooter,

I was wondering if you knew why we didn't fill out a Christmas survey this year. I remember doing one mid to late season, but I thought that they would collect some information from people once they had gotten home and gained some perspective.

Was last year a one time only thing?

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Post by Scooter » Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:41 pm

It was a tough year last year. Maybe they couldn't afford the stamps?

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Post by Scooter » Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:24 am

Folklore's Email address has just changed. It is now info@folklorecontracting.ca

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Post by maxie » Sat Mar 11, 2006 11:53 am

folklore contracting is without a doubt the best company for whom you can work. they've always bent over backward to keep me working no matter what the circumstances. (not that there's a LACK of work at folklore!!! quite the opposite.) super-high production company, super-high quality company, excellent equipment, great camps. i could go on and on. i would never go to another company if folklore has work for me.
eat meat, burn trees, make money

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Post by Clouch » Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:28 am

The first post on this forum mentioned that Folklore does work in Alberta... can anyone confirm this? And would it be remote camp work?

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Alberta

Post by Greg M. » Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:23 pm

Folklore does a variety of work in Alberta. They have done remote camps before, though I have not been or seen one in a few years. Camps are generally close to a small city.

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Post by Scooter » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:00 am

I would guess that half of Folklore's work is in Alberta, although I'm not positive. As far as "remote camps," I think you're possibly asking about camps vs. motels. In that sense, yes, the vast majority of Folklore's work is based out of mobile camps, although as Greg pointed out, they aren't always that remote. Three-quarters of the time, we're within an hour and a half drive of a decent sized town.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Nate » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:55 am

These guys pay in Paraguayen dollars, give you tinned food they stole out of WW2 bunkers and a spork for meals, make you walk-in to every piece all the way from camp, hire formerly incarcerated dangerous felons as foremen and supervisors for the tax breaks and grant money the government gives them, and at the end of the day you have to go around with a watering can and water each tree you've planted individually. Their first aid kits are duct tape and bottles of Chivas, which are mostly empty by the time you need them. They also randomly spray exposed body parts and orifices with pesticides and throw toxic teabags into your tent as part of their early season "condinitioning" program.

I'm going back for my second year this season, I can't wait!

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Scooter » Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:23 pm

You mean that you're coming back for your fifth PLANTING season, and second Folklore season?

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Nate » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:36 am

Scooter wrote:You mean that you're coming back for your fifth PLANTING season, and second Folklore season?
I had thought that, from the 'Western' perspective, saying you have treeplanting experience because you'd planted in Ontario was kind of like saying you have dating experience because you'd made out with your sister.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Tupperfan » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:19 pm

Nate wrote:
I had thought that, from the 'Western' perspective, saying you have treeplanting experience because you'd planted in Ontario was kind of like saying you have dating experience because you'd made out with your sister.
You did? Nice!

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Nate » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:00 pm

:cry:

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Tupperfan » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:41 pm

Guess I'm there with you...

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by TheHamsterizer » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:12 pm

Tupperfan wrote:Guess I'm there with you...

You make out with your sister too? I guess everything I've heard about folklore is true...
If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Slash Monkey » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:17 am

is it true that folklore is a christian company? i heard they have prayer groups and that you can't drink or smoke pot in camp. any truth to any of that?

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Mr. Amazing » Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:03 pm

Slash Monkey wrote:is it true that folklore is a christian company? i heard they have prayer groups and that you can't drink or smoke pot in camp. any truth to any of that?
Whoa, whoa, whoa! NO SLANDER, please! Don't go associating Christianity with Folklore, that's UNFAIR to Christianity. Please, people...

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Scooter » Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:06 pm

Slash Monkey, that's a very good question, and one that I hear quite frequently. There was a time when I was often referred to as having the "Heathen Camp" within Folklore. In contrast, there were some very heavily Christian-oriented camps.

Let me try to give you a bit of history (although I only switched to Folklore in 1995, so some of this is a bit vague and I don’t know the background as well as I should). In the early 1970's, Tawa Enterprises was formed in Prince George. That was actually the company that I started planting for, albeit not until 1990. Anyway, I had always thought that Tawa had three original owners: Carl, Dirk, and Huey. Huey was a New Zealander, and some people said that Tawa was named after a specific type of wood in New Zealand which is actually spelled "tawa." However, other rumours swirled that Tawa was actually an acronym, and stood for "Three Assholes With Ambition." That's why I always though that Tawa had three original owners, which doesn't entirely make sense to me, because I know that Bruce Hawkensen, the founder of Folklore, was also involved with the original owners of Tawa. I'm just not sure how. Maybe when Bruce left in 1975 to start Folklore on his own, one of the other three stepped in? I'll try to find out. By the way, if anyone reading this is a better authority on this little chapter in BC silviculture history, please feel free to step in and correct any errors or misconceptions that I have in this post.

Anyway, I worked for Bruce for some time, and he's an amazing man. He's been involved in or managed companies in countries all around the world, everything from mines to plantations to forestry operations. He was a legend in the BC silviculture industry, and still can be seen doing work on blocks around Prince George occasionally. He also partipates regularly in outdoor sports of events of all kinds, and is world-reknowned in some of them. I believe that he might also be ordained. Bruce’s son (Kurt Hawkensen) now runs Folklore along with his wife, Deanna Gleave.

In about 1992 or 1993, I was working at Tawa and Dwayne Geiger was my supervisor. We were walking on a block one day and I asked him, "if you weren't working for Tawa, which company would be your first pick?" He didn't hesitate for a minute, he just immediately said "Folklore." I asked why, and he said, "The best supervisor that the BC silviculture industry has probably ever seen works at Folklore. His name is Wes Olmstead, and his camp is phenomenal." He went on to talk about Wes for about an hour. A few years before this, Dwayne himself had run one of the best pounder crews at Tawa. In fact, I believe that his crew (a large one of around 25-30 people) had once planted 90,000 trees in a day, and this is talking about BC in the late 1980's, when there was no such thing as LFH planting, and planters dreamed of blocks that they could eventually put 2000 trees into. I figured that if Dwayne spoke so highly of this Wes Olmstead fellow, he must be good. And I think it was on this day that the seed was planted that would lead me to trying Folklore out later in my career.

In 1994, I had a phenomenal season. Our last contract was in Lac La Biche that summer. It started out with thirteen crews, and was expected to take two weeks. The grass and low prices took their toll, and 28 days later we finished - down to five foremen. Probably about 80-100 people left before the contract was finished. My crew started out as a six-pack, and at the end of the contract, I was looking after 24 people. I'm not sure if my supervisor (Jim Logan) was trying to punish or reward me, or if it was just because I was managing to hold things together whereas most of the other foremen couldn't or didn't care. Anyway, that fall, we found out that Tawa (which had been bought out by PRT Nurseries about two years before) was going to be shut down. Ostensibly, the reason was that PRT was making a better return on their nurseries (probably mostly through land appreciation) than they were on the planting operations, and they didn't want the headaches anymore. I thought that was the end of my career, and frankly, I didn't care.

After Christmas, Jim called me up in New Brunswick and said, "Start getting a crew together, we're going planting again. We'll be working for Folklore. I'll be your boss. We'll have the same people, the same vehicles, the same equipment - basically the only thing that will change is the color of the paycheques." I said that was fine, as long as they were green. So in the summer of 1995, I started working for Folklore.

At the time, I would have to say that yes, Folklore was a VERY Christian oriented company. Wes had an enormous amount of influence with the company, and rightly so. Wes was a teacher (and still is) at Briarcrest Bible College in Saskatchewan. His camp was a force to be reckoned with. I remember being unceremoniously bumped off a job by him in 1996. He had lots of seniority, and a bigger camp, so my crew was given a three week break. The day before I left the job, I had to tell the forester that somebody new was coming in and taking over. My crew was pretty slow, so the forester was worried. I said not to worry, they were great people, but they were fast. He might need to get more trees delivered soon. This did not please the forester, who liked the fact that my crew was pretty slow. The next morning, I showed up at the reefer to say goodbye. Now let me preface by saying that there were enough trees in that reefer at that point to last my crew about eight more days. However, there were trucks everywhere. Mass confusion, people screaming, boxes literally flying out the back of the reefer – it was a virtual donnybrook. I stepped into the reefer, which was already half empty, and Wes had the forester cornered in the very back of the reefer. The forester had a look of sheer terror on his face, and Wes was slapping his own hand smartly and practically yelling at the poor guy, “WE NEED ANOTHER REEFER TOMORROW!” With a violent hand-smack in front of the forester’s face to accompany every word.

Anyway, so Wes’ camp were pounders, and they ate land for breakfast. And naturally, being the strongest camp in the company, a lot of his lead foremen eventually went on to become supervisors of other camps. So at one point, I’m pretty sure that just about every camp in Folklore (except Jim’s) probably was a direct or indirect descendent of Wes himself. He did most of his recruiting at Briarcrest, and since he knew so many students, he had the entire year to study them and let them prove themselves off-the-blocks concerning their motivation and physical/mental prowess. And since he had so many vets that came back year after year, he only hired a small number of rookies each year, and they were pretty much the cream of the crop as far as recruiting went.

The indirect effect of Wes’ dynasty within Folklore was that yes, there were a ton of employees who had gone to Briarcrest Bible College. So yes, Folklore was very Christian oriented. Many of the camps actually did have Sunday services, and swearing in the camps was usually frowned upon, and people did not drink or smoke. I believe that there may have even been official weddings performed in a few of the camps. Not surprising, if your camp supervisor is ordained. And of course, in this environment, little wonder that my camp was thought of by many as the Black Sheep of the company.

Over the years, the composition of the company has changed. The Christian side of the company is less obvious, although some of the camps ARE still very Christian oriented. My camp has also changed through the years … a few years ago, as an example, my senior foreman was one of Wes’ indirect prodigies from Briarcrest, and another of my foreman had a father who was a Reverend in Nova Scotia, and I was actually even a Church organist for a while when I was younger, although I don’t consider myself to be particularly religious. Almost fifty percent of the people in that camp of mine had also studied at various bible colleges. But despite that, I don’t think anyone walking into my camp would have ever assumed that we had much in terms of Christian influences. I had a few smokers, and most of the people in the camp would always get together for drinks on the night before the day off. And we even taught some of our most silver-tongued planters to swear eventually.

Nowadays, you’ll find a pretty healthy mix between the two extremes. I think that about half of the camps are what would be considered to be “Christian” and half are not. In some camps, you probably won’t find any drinkers or smokers. In others, the influences are far more subtle and people will never really talk outwardly about religion, they’ll just quietly acknowledge their faith. And other camps are like the traditional “half university student and half hippie” camps that you see in other companies.

Probably the most interesting thing is that I don’t actually know which camps would be considered “more” or “less” Christian. I’ve worked pretty extensively with all of the other supervisors, and I’ve always enjoyed working with them, without exception. I’ve also (as a foreman) run crews in and out of other camps, usually at the end of a season to help another camp finish up, and always had positive experiences. I can only think of one time that there was a subtle indication that I was working in a Christian camp, at the end of 2002 I think. I had fifteen people working in Joe Welty’s camp on the Millar Western job in late July, and Joe was talking to me in the mess tent one night. He mentioned, “Scooter, it seems that the language in my camp has gotten slightly more off-color since your crew arrived.” I looked at him and said, “Don’t worry Joe, I’ll go out and put a fucking end to that right now.” He was still laughing as I walked out of the tent.

Quite a few people have written to me directly, expressing concern about the Christian/non-Christian divide within the company from both points of view. Some people have specifically said that they want to be in heavily Christian environments, because they have such strong religious viewpoints. Others have said that they are terrified of ending up in a camp where they are castigated for having a beer on the night off. I think in the end, the “best” camp would be a healthy mix halfway between the two. I will say one thing though: almost without exception, ignoring all other things, all of the Folklore camps take their summer earnings more seriously than a lot of the other companies that I’ve worked for, and there is less of a party atmosphere at Folklore than at most other companies. Even in the camps full of people who would love to go out partying and drinking every night during the fall and winter, people realize that there is a time to buckle down and work. If you only make money 6o days a year, and that money has to support you for the other 300, you’d better make sure you take advantage of them. I’m the same way – I run a bar in the off-season, so I am the last person to ever frown on having a drink, as long as it’s in the right time and place. But despite this, I don’t touch alcohol all summer while I’m supervising.

I always recommend that if someone gets a job offer from Folklore and is worried about these issues, they should call or write to their supervisor before the season starts and be very frank and up-front about their own personality, to determine whether they will be a good fit for the culture of the particular camp that they end up in. Yes, even though I don't really notice the cultural differences between camps on the surface, there probably is a lot of variance that you'll find, depending on which camp you work in during the summer.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Nate » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:49 am

Scooter's right about the variation in camps. I went over to another Folklore contract for a week or so last summer, and I wouldn't have known I was still planting for the same company (not in regards to safety or work environment or pay or anything, just atmosphere).

When I went to Folklore I didn't even realize it had a 'Christian' reputation until someone told me three weeks in, I wouldn't have known otherwise. But when I went to that other camp, it was fairly apparent, though the people were awesome and there wasn't an ounce of 'preachyness' to them.

I kind of think the Christian variation is a good thing, and I don't have a religious bone in my body. If you're not interested in it, you don't get it, but if you are, you do.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by krahn » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:34 pm

hey scooter, that history is pretty fascinating, how the company developed. when i started planting i was very christian. i didn't even want to plant on sundays, but i didn't argue i just did it anyway, and i never tried to impose my beliefs and kept an open mind... and had this hard working mennonite idealism that many (of course not all) of this group has.

so as long as they don't try to change anybody, i like having one or two in camp, makes thing more interesting. but it would take quite the monster tree price to get me to spend a contract with a christian camp now, what fun would that be?? most of those camps i've seen are underpaid, mostly male, and a very watered-down form of society, with very little human texture in comparison to most other planting camps... which have people of all shapes and sizes and experiences, from all over the planet, that's what i like. so a mix is fine, but any monotone crew, no matter the belief system, doesn't sound very appealing to me.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Scooter » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:53 pm

That's a very interesting point. You're right, I saw a lot of camps ten years ago that had, at best, two or three females. And they were usually the cooks. I've only got about 40% female planters in my camp this year, and I suspect there might even be other camps at Folkore that have a higher percentage of females.

And on the same topic, sadly, this is the first year in several years that I won't have a single female foreman.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by muffin_man » Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:13 pm

I heard these guys are mainly christians, is this true? I met a planter who said their camps pray in the Am and Pm, dry camp of course. They took all the silvaram religous folk and exploited them in the name of the lord. good for you guys :twisted:

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Richianity » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:01 am

Strange aversion to flagging tape at Folklore.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Scooter » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:19 am

Yes.

Well, I can't say the same for other camps, but I detest my blocks looking like a used car lot, with flags flying in the wind everywhere.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Rage » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:44 pm

Save your flagging tape for the coast. It's usually a waste of time on most of the planting folklore does. Altough it does come in handy on the odd fill block. But most planters aren't used to it and it slows them down. Most just suffer through the odd fill block seaching for trees.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by millpounder » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:51 pm

Richianity wrote:Strange aversion to flagging tape at Folklore.
This drove me nuts about Folklore. A couple years ago I planted with a big crew of (mostly) 2nd years who were chosen to tackle the tougher, nastier, schnarbier blocks in the rockies. Not only were most of these planters new to difficult, greener land but some of them had never done fill before! Guess what? Density and double plants were an issue.

I was in my 4th year at that point and couldnt believe the absolute "frowned upon" attitude toward flagging. Yes, it's not always necessary to have it in faster land but when your planting for 15-20c on the side of a mountain, it's damn well nice to have.

It's interesting because at some companies flagging tape flows like the salmon of Capistrano while in others it's major faux pas.

aaron
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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by aaron » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:09 pm

Did some summer planting with these guys in 09. Carrier prince george. West Fraser Sundre.

Prices in Pg were a joke, 9.5cents, vacation pay included. Work was north of pg. No camp was setup in pg, only plus here was going home every night(some of us were locals).

Sundre was the better of the 2 contracts, we set up a camp here, my first planting camp experience, ive done mostly hotels. Was kinda bummed to experience the whole setting up camp in the rain without pay thing, also unloading reefers into the shade tent was a bummer( i know this is standard practice most places, but i was used to hotels.) Sundre trees went for 11cents including vacation pay, pretty nice land but we did some lame specs like doing treelines all day, also super low densities like 800 sph. Food was good, foremen were good(mine has now retired) payed every 2 weeks. Didnt really feel like sundre made up for the pg shit though.

Pretty low prices here, not a lot of experienced planters around. was hard to find flagging. i quit 2 weeks before the end so i didnt see how the sundre job ended, but i heard it went downhill.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Scooter » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:08 pm

Which camp was this? I assume it was either Tim or Tammy if you worked in Sundre. I did that contract a few years ago for a week, and it was pretty mediocre. That doesn't say much if it was better than PG. Sundre Forest Products has pretty low prices, although we were doing normal trenched blocks.

I find it strange that you didn't get paid for camp setup. We've been doing that for the past several years. It's not a lot of money, of course, but generally one of two things happens:

1. If it's on a day when there is other planting, then we just pay minimum wage for the actual time required for people to set up. So for instance if we drive out and set up a new camp in the morning, then go to a pre-work and plant for the afternoon, you'd get paid for the actual set-up time used, to the nearest quarter hour.
2. If it's on a day when there is no planting, we pay everyone a minimum number of hours because the labour laws don't allow for people to get paid for less than a minimum number of hours per day. So even if you might only spend three quarters of an hour on setup, we'd still have to pay for say two or three, depending on the province (BC and Alberta have different minimums).

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by aaron » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:50 pm

it was tammys camp.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Mike » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:39 pm

I am borrowing the start of this post to extend my signature, which is limited to 1024 characters/5 URLS. I need more.

My company reviews and experience: I planted 8 years, attended the WSCA conference 3 times, hit a million trees, and worked for 12 companies. I'm probably not going to plant again, with small possibilities that I might do a planting/working vacation either in the United States or in Australia/New Zealand sometime in 3-8 years.

The Planting Company, 2008: http://tinyurl.com/abe7o6b
Windfirm Resources, 2009: http://tinyurl.com/a449mfj
ELF, 2010: http://tinyurl.com/bdf2tmn
The Planting Company, 2010: http://tinyurl.com/ax636ec
Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd
Dynamic, 2012: http://tinyurl.com/d4q9t7v
Timberline, Fall 2012: http://tinyurl.com/aqbd7f9
Eric Boyd, Scotland 2012: viewtopic.php?p=86575#p86575
Wagner, Spring 2013: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=66246
Timberline, Spring 2013: viewtopic.php?p=87767#p87767
Dynamic, Spring 2013: viewtopic.php?p=87907#p87907
Little Smokey, Summer 2013: viewtopic.php?p=87908#p87908
Leader, Spring 2014:
Sitka, Spring 2015:
Leader, Spring 2015:
Coast Range, Summer 2015: viewtopic.php?p=90421#p90421

Other threads:
Summer planting work: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=66260
Coastal planting work: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=65894
Planting in Scotland: viewtopic.php?p=86575#p86575





Tree Planting: 2011 Season. Folklore Contracting. Scooter's Camp

To long, not going to read:
Folklore was solidly average, maybe above average a little in organization, well above average in food and safety, and marginally below average in pricing, and slightly below average in terms of camp culture/spirit. (4.8-5.2/10 overall). I would recommend Folklore to new planters or 2nd-3rd year planters looking for a long season, or company hoppers looking to fill out a summer, but not to any seasoned vet (4 years + ) looking for a settle down and stay company, unless you're really interested in doing Foremaning or moving up the chain; since Folklore has lots of camps and has to organize more carefully, there is slightly more management.

When you read this, lots of this may seem nitpicky. It's not to note that any of these things specifically bothered me, but I am a thorough believer in systems optimization, and the really minor things are sometimes easiest to correct. For example, buying an extra 5 plastic chairs; how many people would have been marginally happier and put in more trees, due to not having to stand to eat? Probably would have paid for itself.

Introduction:
Good evening everyone. As some of you may have expected, I'm writing a review of the planting company I worked for this summer. I continually lament about the lack of solid information that is available about treeplanting companies, with three main camps; the “This company was great, I loved it!” and the “This company was awful, I hated it!” and the “I'm a canny vet and not going to tell anyone anything about any of the companies I've ever worked for because then you might learn something about the industry and take a good job from me.”

So, thus, my attempt at a detailed, fact oriented review. I will do my best to keep personal perceptions out of it, but ultimately, some of planting is subjective (not all of it; a rant I have for another day, but some of it). Either way, I'm trying, and I suspect Scooter will clarify and assist with any detail I get wrong, or frame in an unfair manner [something I will of course, do my best to avoid]

Season Starts
The season started with us in Prince George. One incredibly positive thing about Folklore is that they have a substantial emphasis on training, and not only did the pay for training courses out of Prince George on the 1st through 3rd, but they also paid a 45$/day live out allowance to help cover hotel costs and food (which was also helped by cramming about 6 people into a room).

The courses that were offered were OFA 1, OFA 1 Transportation Endorsement, a BC Bush-Driving Course, a Quad-training course, and S-100 Fire Suppression (I think I'm getting this right; I did OFA 1/Transportation Endorsement and Bush Driving).

All drivers and backup drivers are required to have the Bush-Driving course. The camp had 5 OFA level 3's, one for each crew.

Camp Composition and Attrition
The camp started with two 12 packs (Sean and Wilson), a 10 pack (Zach), and two 6 packs (Mike and Andrew). I was on Andrew's 6 pack, though later in the season I joined Wilson's crew.
The 6 packs each had one rookie (2), Zach's crew was all 10 rookies (10), Wilson's crew had ...I think 6 rookies...maybe 5, and Sean's crew had 2...perhaps 3 rookies. Total rookie count is 21, I believe. Of these 21 rookies, only 8 of them planted the last day of the season, though 5 had planned to leave slightly early.

In terms of Vets, Sean's crew had the most vets (mostly in the 2-3 year range, a few with 4 or 5), and Wilson's 5 vets (plus himself) had all planted a half season the previous year (20-30 days I believe). Andrew's crew's 4 vets were all external, and Mike's crew had 1 external vet with the 3 internal vets.

In terms of the Foremen, Sean had been foremanning for 2 or 3 years and planting for 4-5 before that, and Wilson had planted 4-5 half seasons, 1-2 full season, and foremanned half a season last year (the 6 pack that were his returning vets). Andrew, Zach, and Mike were all new foremen, who had planted for 4-5 years each, all of whom had been on Sean's crew at some point or another, I believe.

Management was Scooter, obviously, Shelley, who was ultimately brilliant and kept things going in subtle ways that nobody ever saw (11 years of checking/planting/cooking), Joanne who planted for a season, assistant cooked, and was also checking. The cooks were Stefan and Jess at the start, though Stefan had organized to leave part of the way through, and we got a cooks assistant that was new but Scooter knew. Stefan had cooked with Folklore for several years, and Jess had cooked...I believe 3 years previous, all with NGR? [more on the incredibly quality of food later]. Also we had Peter Krahn checking for the first few weeks.

The camp “lost” 13 rookies, though 5 of those quits were pre-planned early leaves, so you could say we lost 8/21, or 13/21, depending on your perspective.

We also had several vets quit, or several vets move through. Of the vets originally in the camp on day 1, 8 left, though of those, 6 were either preplanned by date, or it was known that they would be leaving early and they sort of decided when they would lave.

Of vets that moved through, we had 7 that came part way through the season but didn't plant the last day, of which one was preplanned (an-ex Folklore planter who was a postal worker that came to make up lost wages here and there.)

Of the original 43 planters in the camp, 21 went out on the last day. (Or 26/48, if you count foremen).

This camp was said to be very different from previous Scooter camps, having only 20ish returning Folkore people (9-10 planters+9 management) out of 50ish people. With lots of rookies and external vets, that meant a huge influx of new people.

Contract 1: BCTS Vanderhoof
We moved out to Vanderhoof on the 4th, set up camp, had some meetings. On the 5th we planted ~2 hours, and on the 6th we had a “fullish” day. We were doing a lot of waiting for snow to melt during this first contract; something that I'm under the impression many other companies experienced this season due to cold winters and late springs. After the first two days, we had two days off, then a four day shift to finish the “contract”. We were working a single part of BCTS Vanderhoof, a 250000 tree block.

The tree price for this contract was 9.5 cents, it was straight plant.

This contract was generally acknowledge to be a “lets just get people working and making money” sort of job, not the "yeah, this is the great job of the season."

We had to leave some snow-holes on our blocks, and then go and fill them later, which was a minor hassle, but unavoidable without a week later start date. Quality specs were pretty standard, screef a small circle, hit high spots, no water shots, density of 7's, no bundles stacked shotgun, only 2 bundles open. Boxes were 330/pine, smaller stock (312s, I believe, or 310s). There was minor but noticeable amounts of rock on the block (1/100 shovel strikes), relatively little slash/duff except the occasional pocket. Walk in on the big block was 0 minutes at the front, and as much as 40 minutes to the back sections.

One moment of particular hilarity was that if it was a wet area, we could ignore minimum spacing. The specific example was that if there was a single stump surrounded by water, we should plant 2 or 3 trees around the stump.

This contract was 2 days, 2 days off, 4 days, then 3 days off/moving to Millar Western Spring. The 1st day was only 2 hours, the rest were more or less "full"

Contract 2: Millar Western Spring

This contract was 4/1, 4/1, 4/1, 4/1, 3, with the first and last day losing a couple hours each; call it 1 half day in the contract.

We had a quality meeting on the 15th; pretty typical; they didn't want a screef but a “scruff” (something I spent all season figuring out how little they wanted, and by summer, realized they didn't need to see anything so long as the tree wasn't deep/shallow or in a big pile of duff), trees had to be in “decaying material” (Hummus layer, I believe, though I think the rule of thumb was “If you can recognize twigs and shit, it's not decaying enough”); 1.5 meter minimum except if you desperately needed a 1 meter minimum to hit density (you didn't) you could as long as the rest of the trees around it were no less than something (2.9 meters?) from that tree...it was a tactical consideration that was completely unnecessary for 99.99% of the trees we planted. Density ranged from 800 stems to 1800 stems (4's to 9's); the 4's and 5's would be +1 cent. It was 10 cent straight plants, 11 cent for low density, 13 cent fill (I'm not sure there actually ever was a fill), and 14 cents roads and burns, possibly extra cent for walk in's over 1KM.

The first segment of this contract, 5 crews are supposed to go through 50 blocks in 8 days (that's 1.25 blocks per crew per day) which means on average, everyone is moving 5 times per 4 day shift. These 50 blocks total to 600000 trees, which means 12000 tree average; you'll notice that this is basically a logistical nightmare. Folklore did a pretty good job of dealing with it, but there were several 3 block days which cut into earnings.

The earlier part of this contract saw incredible frozen tree issues; we'd bag up 2-3 boxes of trees simply to get 1 full bag up. Luckily that faded pretty quickly and it was only 1 or 2 days where this cost planters money. This contract also saw lots of helicopter work (7 heli days), which sometimes resulted in less planting time, but was generally relatively smooth.

One of the vets; a Folklore planter and OFA3 who had been with this camp for 4-5 years admitted to me that the prices on this contract were 1-2 cents lower across the board than they had been. This is what the industry looks like, these days. Hopefully things rebound spring/summer 2012.

Most of the straight plants at 10 cents were a little weak, with averages generally being in the 1800-2200 range; (rookies 1300-2000, vets 1800-2500, highballers 2400-3500); 11 cent land was mostly good, with the exception of some of the Ocelot heli work which was chemical sprayed for grass matt and saw serious numbers declines across the camp, and the occasional price bump for the larger crews. The roads and burns were wildly inconsistent, falling into two general categories: A) Takes 100-2000 trees, keeps everyone busy for an hour, but with move time, is no better than the 10 or 11 cent straight plant, and B) The ones large enough to keep busy for an entire day, which were unequivocably very, very good, including a block where our entire crew PB'ed.

Material in this contract generally ranged on a scale from 1 to 10 from a 2.5 to a 7, with 5 being entirely average, and one exceptional roads and burns block that would get a 9.7 (being among the best I've seen...which of course, lasted a single day). Average block quality and pay would be about 4.5 or 5 "slightly below average to average"

We immediately moved to the next contract, with our "day off" being occupied by packing up personal gear and driving to Cochrane, a trip that took ~10 hours to drive ~4 hours due to various shenanigans.

Contract 3: Spray Lakes Sawmills

This contract was two 5 day shifts, followed by a 4 day shift, followed by a 3 day shift, though the first day of the shift was short. After the last 3 day shift, we had 3 days off (the last of which was July 1st). The first day was only 2 hours, then the day at the end of the 4 day shift was short, then the day at the end of the 3 day shift was short; cal it 3 more half days (5 half days thus far).

We were in the Kananaskis Country, around Bragg Creek and Cochrane and that area; it was incredibly beautiful. We had some incredible issues with getting trucks stuck on bad bush roads. Folklore has this interesting policy of not providing tow ropes, but instead requiring foremen to buy them; which sounds like it makes sense; I mean, planters have to buy their gear, why not have foremen buy some of their gear too? Cuts down on costs, and makes them responsible for taking good gear of equipment; something that could conceivably be a problem.

The problem with this policy is that the foremen overwhelmingly didn't have tow ropes, with an exception, who wasn't particularly eager to lend his out (lest he get stuck, or it get broken on his dime). So there were some situations where 1-2 hours of 6-12 planters time was wasted, which maybe would have instantly paid for the tow rope in terms of lost time/tiredness/fatigue/etcetera.

This contract was an obstacle plant; we had to plant low spots, north of obstacles, densities of 7-9. It was pretty typical, except the obstacle plant took some getting used to. Originally it seemed like the entire contract was "must screef to mineral soil", but it turned out that no-screef was necessary, we just couldn't plant to deep/too shallow/in duff. For some reason, Folklore had a policy of just preferring everyone to screef, rather than having people shoot through; perhaps because they taught that way, most of their planters were unable to do a good job of shooting through and getting to the right depth. I pretty much always shot through and, if necessary, hand screefed away a little duff, but it was never seen as a problem on this contract or Millar Western, despite both contracts sort of requiring screefs (or "scrubs" in the case of Millar Western) and a shovel screef being most often recommended.

The price on this contract varied more from block to block; it was as low as 11.5 cents and as high as...a 25 cent fill, I believe, but was usually between 12 and 14 cents. The blocks were mostly slightly grassy, with moderate amounts of slash (usually enough to make obstacle planting easy), usually hills, usually slightly to moderately rocky (I guess they call em the rocky mountains for a reason). The work generally seemed to be slightly better priced than the Millar Western stuff; I'd say the range on the blocks was 3.5/10 to 8/10, with the average closer to 5 or 5.5 out of 10; average to slightly above average. This contract had one heli-day, which also corresponded to many of the best priced blocks. (That's Heli day #8, by the way).

Contract 4: Millar Western Summar

This contract was 5 and 1, 5 and 1, 5 and 1, 6 and 1, 5 and 1, with only the first day being a half day (6 half days in total). It went from July 2nd to July 31st.

Pricing was 10 cents base, 11 cents for density 5's, 11.5 cents for density 4's, 9 cents for prep (trenches, mounds), and possibly one fill plant. The 9 cent trenches/mounds were generally pretty crummy, and the 10 cent straight plants were generally quite mediocre as well. There were numerous blocks with severely overgrown grass, which had been chemsprayed. This put foremen in the unique position where it was very clear what was good and what wasn't; half the block you could see, and would be sorta okay at 10 cents, the other half would be waist high-grass mat and awful at 10 cents. Somedays you got all good, somedays you got a mix, and somedays it just sucked balls. All in all this contract felt weaker than Millar Western spring; 4/10 to 4.5 out of 10; Noticably below average. The quality specs were more or less the same as Millar Western Spring, and Brinkman was fighting for this contract, working on it at the same time as us.

The numbers of days worked also didn't help; injuries and fatigue were progressing issues. Weather was incredibly bad, with severe flooding (including about 1/2 of our camp site ending up 4-8 inches under water) for about 5-6 days.

The last 7 days, the price got boosted 1 cent to account for several poorly priced blocks we had previously planted; which was an interesting choice, because it helped conceal the fact that some of the blocks in that last 7 day period were also quite weak, though some of them were among the best of the contract at that point good. It seemed a continuation of a policy of roulette wheel pricing; where sometimes you'd win massively, and sometimes you wouldn't. Prices across the board weren't awful, overall, the entire season was pretty much where I expected a company of this size to be (except perhaps for the 9 cent prep); they were just slightly below average from my perspective. The place where this became really weird was that they weren't consistently at this measure. There was one block where my entire crew PB'ed, people shattering previous PB's by an average of 100$ a piece (or so). There were also at least a few blocks and days where eeking out 200$ was a feat that less than half the camp did, even late in the season.

There were 7 more heli days, giving us a total of 15 out of 68 in the entire season. There were also 3-4 days in this contract where we working near machines building roads, mounds, or trenches. Millar Western in particular started to feel too big to be comptent. They flew us into a block that we all ended up driving out of. Seriously, if you're going to activate a road, why not save yourself the 1800$/hour helicopter and activate the road 24 hours earlier? There were other days where we would walk in 20 minutes, but by mid-afternoon they'd finish building a road right through the block. I mean, why not finish the road access 24 hours earlier and save everyone a lot of effort?

Another moment of amusement came in on one of our walk in blocks, where we had to go waist deep to get through some swamp.

Other notes:
Bidding is basically done, so no underhanded contractor can use this for information. Either way, I'm keeping my knowledge of poorly calculated worked numbers for contracts (IE, #trees / #planter days # / * tree price) quiet; if you want to know them, PM me, or meet me in Victoria. If I suspect based on the PM you're a contractor looking to screw Folklore, I'm not giving you the info.

Rest assured that I do have carefully calculated details in numbers using the following method:
1) Record number of planters each day (accounting for injuries and quits)
2) Record number of days in contract (try to account for half-days by finding out when each crew gets in)
3) Record number of trees in contract
4) Work out average trees per planter per day
5) Work out average tree price for contract based on own numbers (this, of course the biggest guess-work element)


Folklore generally has you bring you own flagging, unless we got into something particularly hairy. By the end of the season things were green enough in areas (the poorly chemsprayed areas) that flagging was given out all the time. I didn't really notice the absence of flagging; I've gone back and forth a lot, and I'm the sort of planter that will use very little in clean material and lots in grass. There was a mix of "flagging is a waste of time" and "Flagging is simply a skill I don't possess" and "Flagging actually makes planters worse" in the attitude. I've worked on flag-everything crews, or at flag-everything companies, and I don't necessarily think flagging everything automatically is perfect, either, but I think that flagging is a useful tool some of the time for greener blocks. Some people seriously recommended a huge screef as an alternative to not flagging, since a huge screef can also be easily seen. I think that Folklore had a lot of people who developed incredibly precise screefing techniques, as a result of this mindset. If you are a planter that prefers a precision screef as your marker, even in contracts where foresters aren't looking for it, or you want to learn, there is probably no better place. If you're a heavy flagger (Hi Mr. Smith), you might be in the wrong place.

Foreman planting Policy and pay scheme: The new foremen of the 6 packs made 11% of their planters. Imagine a crew averages 200$; the foreman makes 110$. So to make equal, the foreman has to plant 90$ worth. Imagine a crew averages 300$; the foreman makes 165$; so to make equal, the foreman has to plant 135$ worth. This 55/45 split basically meant that the foremen, all excellent planters, had to be planting 20-30% of the time (or more) to equal their planters; 50% or more to make what they would have as planters.

Camp setups were paid, minimum wage, usually for 2 hours. Because if you get called out to work, you're obliged to be paid for 4 hours, the way our camp set up days would pretty much always look was: Set up camp from 9am to 1:00 PM, rushed. Then do a pre-work, then go out and put in 1 or 2 boxes, that way we'd be past the minimum wage bracket for 4 hours. Then the next morning we'd "quickly fix up" the things that we hadn't done properly the day before because we had rushed it, losing an hour of planting the next day. Straight up, following the regulations, but it sort of wasted planter time a bit more than necessary; though trying to figure out a way that is more optimal for Folklore would be quite the logistical challenge. Taking down camp was usually similar; since it was paid, we'd do it the morning or evening of a planting day, and then finish it on a day off.

Reefers were unpaid; I think each crew did 3 of these, pretty much all in the July Millar Western Summer. They usually took about 1 hour 45 minutes or so, 2 hours, when all was said and done.

Block closes were pretty typical, though in a few places cattleplants started perhaps slightly earlier than necessary, and there was the occasional tendancy to just cattle-plant smaller blocks (under 10000 trees) rather than cut pieces. Also, the foremen that I worked with were big fans of 4 person pieces, with a partnership working inward on both sides. Depending on how much space you like, that may or may not bother you.

One interesting thing I heard at Folklore was that to be a good planter you had to partner plant, because if you didn't partner plant, you wouldn't learn how to (or forget how to) plant with others, which would become problematic when you needed to (such as cattle plants), plus if you didn't partner plant, your numbers would cap at your own motivation, whereas partners could push each other. Also, a foreman can never deal with solo planters; it's too much of a logistical nightmare, so planting solo is costing you money, and unfair to the foremen. I'm not sure I entirely agree with this mindset, but it's more or less the one held.

Folklore refused to give out RWA even to planters that requested it specifically. At one point, Scooter asked who had seen it, and pretty much every vet who had worked anywhere other than Folklore had.

Night off parties were often in town, or often split, with some of camp going into town and some staying in camp. The Howard Johnson in Whitecourt saw a lot of planter custom. This split led to some sense of disjointedness in camp.

The camp left at 6:45 to load trees and go to the blocks; sometimes leaving slightly earlier on Helishow days. It was one of the earliest up camps I've been in, with a shocking number of people setting alarms before 6:00 AM.

The camp had a specific camp maitenance person who was paid 25$ a day (not days off, shift days) to fill generators, keep the showers running, etcetera. For no discernable reason, there was pretty much never quite enough chairs for everyone to sit at dinner and breakfast, I believe due to them
getting broken when people sat on them; they were the standard flimsy plastic ones.

We loaded trees in the morning, which apparently was a Mill requirement, though how much worse trees are in a shaded box truck overnight, or on a block under a tarp overnight, versus in the shade tent overnight is seems to be a pretty minor difference. It consumed valuable planting time for no benefit. I frequently asked to put trees out the night before, which was done occasionally. We also sometimes ended up digging new shitters or doing other camp work in the mornings, which again, was an inefficient use of planter time. Better done in the evening, though there can be a tendancy for people to disapear or shirk responsibilities in the evening. Except the typical debate about whether unpaid labour is ever an employees responsibility, which isn't worth having here.

There was an Occupational First Aid Level 3 member on each crew. The Head OFA level 3 got 20$/day, the rest got 10$/day. Drivers got 15$/day, I believe, though the Foremen didn't get this.

There were quite a few interesting technique preferences. Shovel screefing was preferred, to the point where I had a foremen tell me that I would never be a good planter unless I shovel screefed everything. The philosophy major in me immediately wanted to ask "What is the good, here?" in a meta-ethical sense; does shovel screefing make it good, or is it good because there is shovel screefing? But this digression for another day. If you want to learn to shovel screef, it is a great place; there are some people with that technique down, who can shovel screef smoothly 2000-3000 trees per day, which for 10 cents, is reasonable, and would be even better if you moved to the coast, as some of them did (I bet they had shovel screefing down).

In terms of piece management, normal L-filling was standard, though at least one of the foremen had a preference for telling planters to walk boxes in early, because in the morning you have more energy (I guess). There never was any discussion of filling out corners to decrease line length and prevent having to walk boxes at all, but doing that sometimes resulted in criticism and/or being yelled at, and sometimes wasn't noticed at all.

Since Folklore as a company is a big fan of screefing and taught screefing rather than shooting through, Screefing is pretty much recommended heavily for getting depth right, even if the contract doesn't require it. If you're not practiced in a screefing technique (boot, shovel, hand) or three, you'll either have to put up with constant going against the grain or get used to screefing.

Folklore also had a very negative attitude towards injuries and sickness. Anyone who got injured or sick was generally mocked or teased, openly or behind their back. I heard it said that only rookies get injured, and foremen sometimes encouraged planters to push through injuries rather than taking time off.
Food was immensly good, and one of the best things about working for Folklore. Both the cooks were incredibly talented and did a phenomenal job of feeding us. Dinners were pretty much always the highlight of the day. Food was not rationed and never ran out with the following few exceptions:
Desserts ran out once or twice
Apples ran out once
Baked goods in lunches were rationed (1-2, rarely 3)
Trail mix ran out every day, often put out every other day, basically, 50% or so, perhaps 10-20% if you were consistantly one of the last people to get lunch.
Meat was very rarely (maybe 2-3 days in the 68 day season) rationed.
Hand-baked breads at dinner were rationed (1-2 pieces)...but there were handbaked breads at every dinner, so...yeah.

All in all, food was terrific. These here are mentioned simply because it wasn't perfect, but it was humanely close. 9.6/10. We had chicken wings twice, once in a pub-night (with pizza, nachos, fries, jalepeno poppers, onion rings, etcetra), once with a chinese night, we had salmon, we had burger night, steak night, corn, thanksgiving dinner, phenomenal desserts, and everything was made using high-quality ingrediants with incredible skill. Stefan and Jess definitely kept that camp together for a good chunk of the season. 28.35$/day well spent.

The camp also had an interesting policy where you could ask for (and get) your camp rank and total number of trees. I believe 21 or 22 of the planters in the camp hit 100 000 (or higher) by the end of the season, including several rookies.


Anyways, there you go.
Last edited by Mike on Wed May 03, 2017 12:53 am, edited 11 times in total.
All of my company reviews and experience (The Planting Company, Windfirm, ELF, Folklore, Dynamic, Timberline, Eric Boyd, Wagner, Little Smokey, Leader, plus my lists for summer work and coastal) can be found at the start of the Folklore review due to URL and character limits.

Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd

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L'Amour
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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by L'Amour » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:31 pm

Jaysus.

Are you taking notes all throughout the season or something? Fuck how often dessert ran out; I'm happy if I remember to grab my boots off the bus at the end of the season (spoiler alert: I didn't).

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Scooter » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:47 pm

Phew, that was a long read. But its good to get an outside perspective on things in my own camp. Well written.

This past season, as you know, was an extremely challenging one. After having about six to eight rookies in each of 2009 and 2010, we had to start with 21 rookies in 2011, since Greg’s crew split off and formed their own separate camp. Losing Nate’s entire crew at the same time, a full-vet crew, also hurt. But that’s the way it goes when you run a camp for a lot of years. It’s very cyclical, and there are good years and challenging years. This year looks like it’s going to be a whiplash back in the opposite direction ... better prices, more days, and as of this moment, thanks to some more hiring this evening, we’re sitting at 42 vets and 3 rookies for the upcoming season, with 4 spots open (which I expect to be filled by vets).


Ok, let me give a few comments/clarifications about the review, from my own perspective:

1. Not enough plastic chairs? Why did nobody ever mention this? I didn’t notice, probably because I rarely have time to sit and eat, but considering the number of camp meetings that I had asking if there were any questions or comments, I’m surprised that 50 people went through three months with not a person saying anything. This is a lesson for planters out there everywhere ... speak up. If there’s something that doesn’t make sense in the workplace, maybe a foreman or manager hasn’t noticed.

2. Millar Western fills were 18 cents, not 13. We only had a couple.

3. At Spray Lakes, the checker (Gord) did say at the pre-work that screefing was not necessary. This was contrary to the specs that we were giving out to the planters. I kind of cringed when he said that, because we ran into a problem with it the previous year. Anyway, we had some quality problems in the next few days and Gord apologized for having said that in the pre-work, because he said it obviously wasn’t giving him the quality that they needed. That’s the reason for the mixed messages.

4. We had professional accountants look into RWA. The Canadian Revenue Agency said that for our company, due to the camp system we have and the contracts, our planters are not eligible for RWA. We looked into it two separate years. I’m not sure how all the other companies are getting away with giving RWA allowances. I know that some should be legitimate, but I think some other planter contractors are using RWA when they aren’t technically supposed to. I hope this doesn’t come back and bite any of those companies in the future, OR negatively affect planters who claimed unallowable RWA. But again, RWA is possible in some situations.

I think those are the only key clarifications that I’d like to point out. Otherwise, good notes.


I really wish that a lot of planters at other companies would take the time in the winter to transcribe their diaries and post reviews like this. It can only help other planters learn more about the industry as a whole. All planters should record their numbers daily, and this is a good time to spend two minutes making some notes in point form about what happened during your day.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Mike » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:19 am

I diary every day during the season. This is just the short notes of the diary.

I think planters in general just aren't great at speaking up.

Good information. That RWA stuff is indeed strange; someday someone is going to get hurt on that one, I bet. Probably planters.

Re: Mixed messages; makes sense, it happens.
All of my company reviews and experience (The Planting Company, Windfirm, ELF, Folklore, Dynamic, Timberline, Eric Boyd, Wagner, Little Smokey, Leader, plus my lists for summer work and coastal) can be found at the start of the Folklore review due to URL and character limits.

Folklore, 2011: http://tinyurl.com/anl6mkd

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:54 pm

"the folklore diaries" ha ha

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by krahn » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:03 am

I checked trees and helped teach rookies for Scooter's camp the first half of the season, and I enjoyed my experience.

Overall, the prices were a bit low, but the Kananaskis contract was good money and even the other stuff had its moments. I thought that at times people weren't maximizing the earning potential because they didn't know how to flag. The ones that did flag were using so much of it that it slowed them down greatly. The tradeoff is that flaggers such as myself suffer a bit in windy conditions, and they don't. Anyhow, there were a few blocks that would have been huge money if the vets weren't dragged down so much by the growth.

On the upside the prices are up again this year, at least at Folklore.

The food was fantastic, some of the best breakfasts and desserts I've had. Nothing against supper, but that's something most companies deliver on.

I love the management. Scooter hires people that I like on a personal level. And I think this positivity trickles down, in that I didn't find any cheaters at this company for instance. I'm sure by the end there was probably some typical late season planting drama, but I think there was good chemistry.

The worst thing was that it was buggy early on, I and many others were turning in a bit early on nights off because of this. Still we had some good times.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by mwainwright » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:40 am

krahn wrote: in that I didn't find any cheaters at this company
what does this mean, exactly? like stashers?

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by Scooter » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:42 pm

I think that's what he means. I certainly look for it with a vengeance. Unfortunately, I usually have to "thin the ranks" every second year on average when a planter does something immoral.

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Re: Folklore Contracting

Post by krahn » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:09 pm

Yeah, what Scooter said. It's rarely all that common for planters to cheat, but some companies have it worse than others so no matter how good the contract is, it takes a lot of the fun out of it. Having good people at the top I think promotes integrity.

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