Local Forestry Corporation staff give students an insight into forestry careers

Forestry students from Southern Cross University got a first-hand perspective on working in local forests from Forestry Corporation’s Grafton District Manager Peter Walters, Walcha District Manager Gary Miller and Walcha-based Stewardship and Fire Supervisor Warren Chawner, who visited students in Lismore last week.

Current SCU student Alex Caparao, who took up a summer position with Forestry Corporation last year and has continued working as part of the Walcha management area team while he completes his studies, also attended.

Mr Walters said Forestry Corporation had long supported Southern Cross University’s

forestry program through visits, talks and field trips and all three Forestry Corporation speakers were SCU alumni.

“Forestry is an extremely diverse profession. Professional foresters need to understand every stage of the plantation cycle, from seedling production to harvest planning, harvesting and planting, as well as timber grading, logistics, safety, environmental management, pest and weed control and firefighting,” Mr Walters said.

“Over the years, we have hosted field trips to everything from fire hazard reduction burns through to active harvesting operations to support local forestry students in their studies and this meeting was another opportunity to give students an insight into professional forestry.

“It is also exciting for us as forestry professionals to meet the next generation of foresters, who have incredible enthusiasm and new ideas and perspectives that can bring real benefits to our organisation.

“Last year, we were able to offer one student a summer role that has turned into an ongoing role in Walcha and we are hoping to bring more students on again this year.”

Current student Alex Caparao said he couldn’t put a value on the opportunity to gain industry experience by working in forests around Walcha while completing his studies.

“Being exposed to the operational side of forestry was a fantastic opportunity and the practical experience really complemented my studies. Also, meeting and talking to people in the industry provided an excellent opportunity to access a wealth of knowledge in the industry,” Mr Caparao said.

Forestry Corporation is the largest commercial forest manager in NSW, responsible for more than two million hectares of native and plantation forests. The forest and wood product industries employ 22,000 people in NSW, with 42 per cent based in regional areas.

Media contact: Elizabeth Fowler 9407 4265/ 0408 779 903