How Green Dream Summer Intern Jake Atkinson Shares His Lifelong Love of the Woods

'Everyone has been so supportive,' says Jake Atkinson, one of 11 Green Dream Interns selected by the Forest Products Association of Canada for 2022. 'People at the Grande Prairie office have asked me if there's anything they can do to give me a look at their side of the business, even if I don't work with them directly.'

Since he was a kid, all Jake Atkinson has ever wanted to do is spend every waking moment outdoors. That’s not always practical or pleasant in Canada, where temperatures can dip to -40° Celsius in winter, but you can’t blame him for trying.

Now in his third year as a summer intern at our Canadian Timberlands office in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Jake is pursuing a career as a silviculture forester. It’s a great fit for his desire to immerse himself in the forests he loves, and he’s excited to spread his enthusiasm about the industry to as many people as possible.

So far, he’s been able to share that passion in person during the Walk Through the Forest event for grade 6 students in Grande Prairie, and he’s now expanding his reach as one of 11 Forest Products Association of Canada Green Dream Interns for 2022. The program grants summer students working in the forest sector an opportunity to share their experiences and perspectives through blogs, vlogs and social media. In turn, each intern receives a $1,000 scholarship.

“I’m extremely psyched to be chosen,” Jake says. “I’ve watched friends from school and other Weyerhaeuser interns win in the past and always hoped I’d be chosen one day, too.”


The woods have been Jake’s playground for as long as he can remember. His own father was a forester, and the two spent many days taking long nature walks together.

“He taught me how to identify different tree species and each species’ Latin names,” Jake says. “I probably knew how to read a clinometer to measure the angles of slopes before I knew how to read a book.”

A lot of kids start out imagining they’ll grow up to be something like a baseball player, an astronaut or a famous singer. Not Jake. Forestry was the only career he ever considered, and he remained laser-focused on it as he approached adulthood.

Jake is currently attending the University of Alberta to earn a bachelor of science in forestry. When he graduates, he wants to continue working for Weyerhaeuser.

“Weyerhaeuser offers everything I want in a career, including opportunities for growth and a lot of support and encouragement,” Jake says. “I’m really enjoying the Grande Prairie office and everyone who works here, and I feel very aligned with the company values.”


'Before my Weyerhaeuser internships, I spent my summers as a camp counselor, teaching kids about trees and wildlife,' Jake says. 'So the Green Dream scholarship feels like a continuation of that in a way, reaching out to youth and enhancing their appreciation of nature.'


During his summer internships, Jake has spent his days roaming the “cut blocks,” the forested areas we manage on Crown-owned land. His tasks have included tree planting, herbicide application and mechanical site preparation.

“This year, I’m working with contractors and managing the site prescription program,” Jake says. “The coolest part has been working closely with other people, and I’m impressed by how much responsibility the company has given me as an intern. It’s created a lot of chances to learn hands-on skills that I’ll need in the future, so I’ll feel ready to jump in as a full-time employee as soon as I can.”

Jake’s Green Dream storytelling content this summer mostly consists of TikTok videos capturing just how fun it is to work in the forest. This is the first year the Green Dream interns are sharing their content on TikTok — in addition to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and FPAC’s job-focused website, The Greenest Workforce — and Jake is especially excited to show off footage he’s taken from helicopters.

“I’m so glad TikTok is an option, because that’s where you’re going to reach kids at the ages where they’re really starting to imagine what they can do with their lives,” he says. “I would tell kids that if you’re interested in a career in forestry, don’t wait until college to get hands-on experience. Even in junior high or high school, there are opportunities for tours, forestry clubs and other ways to learn and network.”


As part of his internship, Jake also toured our Wood Products facilities.


Jake’s favorite part of the Green Dream internship is the way it’s encouraged him to look at forestry with a fresh perspective.

“I’m thinking a lot about how to explain this field and this industry to someone who’s never heard about it before, which makes me appreciate it even more,” he says. “It reinforces how lucky I am to have found a job that’s so perfect for me.”

Outside of work and school, Jake will continue doing what he always has: exploring his natural surroundings. He loves to go camping, canoeing and foraging for edible mushrooms and berries.

“I just got myself a tent trailer, and I’m excited to take some road trips,” Jake says. “So even in my spare time, I’m still outdoors. It’s a way of life. I never get tired of it.”