It all began back in 1989 with a need. The tree seedling survival rate was not increasing due to insufficient care and handling during transport from nurseries to the planting site. Specifically, the latter part of the journey. The solution was found by a collaboration of efforts. Participants include:
- Jeff and Bob Engelland – Tufport Industries/Horizon Fiberglass for Design and Manufacturing
- Brinkman & Associates Reforestation (Dirk Brinkman) – Industry Leader
- Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) – Testing
- Western Economic Diversification – Financing
Thank you for saving billions of trees throughout North America. As it was discovered, the seedlings were heating up and drying out. This was causing premature expiry after planting because of transport, primarily in the back of a one ton pickup truck. The boxes of seedlings were too exposed to the elements. The answer was a pickup truck mounted fiberglass composite module. Similar to a specially designed truck camper, but with major differences. Rugged, lightweight composite design to accommodate the maximum number of seedling boxes within the weight limits of the vehicle. Insulation, ventilation, and heavy duty cargo doors were among the design requests. Acting like a giant icebox, the frozen seedlings were now in a controlled environment with constant, cool, humid air. Once delivered on site, they are loaded into the planters’ bags and planted. Mandatory seedling protection is standard on most planting contracts due to superior survival rates. Once growing, due to less stress during transport, the reach free grow status (2 metres), sooner, ensuring another generation of forests. Nominated for the BC Government Minister’s Environmental Awards in 1992 and also is a major feature in FERIC’s 25 Most Successful Projects Legacy.
In use across North America, including the US Forest Service, hundreds have been manufactured. With a refrigeration unit added, the “Kool Haul” is used for cold transport in cities: hauling loads of meat, seafood, flowers, or organic produce. The Fist and Kool Haul are proven winners, and the FIST unit particularly is giving something back to the forests and compensating for being manufactured by a fiberglass composite company.