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Forestry students are ahead of the pack


Zuleika Henderson
27 April 2010
Southern Cross University students are making their mark on the world of forestry with the first cohort of forestry students graduating from Southern Cross University in Mount Gambier, and two other students winning scholarships from the Institute of Foresters of Australia.

Forestry students Andrew Egan and Nick Rudder each scooped a $5,000 scholarship from the Institute of Foresters of Australia, beating students from universities across the country.

Andrew Egan, who is studying a Bachelor of Forest Science and Management, said he was pleased to be recognised by winning the scholarship.

“I was surprised when I was offered the scholarship but very glad to receive it as it will make a huge difference financially,” said Andrew.

“My main interests are in plantation forestry and farm forestry, and my ultimate goal is to be a forester for one of the many plantations in Australia.

“Having the scholarship will assist me greatly by making the purchase of text books as well as living costs away from home less stressful while I complete my course.”

The first four students have graduated from Southern Cross University in Mount Gambier with degrees in Applied Science (Forestry) and Environmental Resource Management. This year, 10 new students have enrolled, making a total of 40 students studying through the Mount Gambier campus.

Natalie MacKenzie was among the first cohort of graduates, and is now working at hardwood and softwood forest products company Gunns Limited in the Green Triangle region.

“I have been in the forestry industry for around 12 years but doing the course has allowed me to broaden my career and move into a co-ordinator role and hopefully also manager roles in the future,” said Natalie.

“If the course wasn’t offered in Mount Gambier I would still be in my old job now – I couldn’t afford to pack up and move somewhere else to study. This way I could keep my job and keep working while I was studying.

“I’m working with radiata pine plantations at the moment, but I’m keeping my options open and who knows what may lie ahead.”

Professor Jerry Vanclay, head of the School of Environmental Science and Management, said forestry students could look forward to a wide range of career opportunities.

“Forestry is not just about tree cutting or plantations, our forestry graduates understand sustainable resource management and go on to a variety of diverse roles,” said Professor Vanclay.

“The uncertainty surrounding the partial receivership of Forest Enterprises Australia has provoked some anxiety about job prospects in this area, but the reality is the effect will be small in the long-term, and career opportunities are likely to increase substantially in the future with the increase in activities like carbon offset planning.

“Our graduates will continue to be involved in a wide range of activities surrounding trees in forested landscapes, from national parks to plantation management, both public and private. Where there is a forest, there will be a forester involved somewhere along the line.”

Photo: Andrew Egan (high resolution image available on request)