Benjamin Finn (Chair)
Finn is the Chair of the Future Foresters Initiative.
He currently works as a Senior Policy Officer for Forest Products in the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
He has worked in various forest-related roles across the eastern states for the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, ABARES, CSIRO, HVP Plantations, Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment and Parks Victoria.
Finn has undergraduate and postgraduate botanical and forestry degrees from Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the University of British Columbia.
He lives in Brisbane with his fiancé and two dogs. In his spare time, he volunteers for the Queensland Rural Fire Service, Queensland State Emergency Service and Life Without Barriers (foster care). He is an avid hiker, canoer and explorer.
Chris Morton (Policy Officer)
Chris recently graduated with a Masters of Forest Ecosystem Science at the University of Melbourne. During his studies Chris developed a special interest in bushfire management, working as a project firefighter with Parks Victoria and undertaking fire behavior research. Chris now works for AFAC, the national council for emergency management, as a Bushfire Fuels Project Officer. He has supported fire and land management agencies in the implementation of the Bushfire Fuel Classification, a national approach to characterising fuels. He also supports the AFAC Rural and Land Management Group in the development of operations policy. He's passionate about the role of data and systems in supporting bushfire management, and the importance of sound policy development in enhancing fire and emergency management in Australia.
Leon Holt (Liaison Officer)
Leon works for the Victorian government in the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. He is part of the Department's science graduate program, and has had roles in public land management, statuatory planning and timber haresting compliance. His studies as part of a Masters of Forest Ecosystems Science at the University of Melbourne have focussed on silvicultural systems in Mountain ash forest.
Erin Dowling (Events Officer)
Erin works for PF Olsen Australia as a Projects Forester based in at Head Office in Melbourne. She has completed a Bachelor of Horticulture and a Masters of Forest Ecosystems Science at the University of Melbourne. At PF Olsen Australia Erin is based within the Technical Services team who specialise in GIS, inventory, auditing, forestry systems and business processors. Through her work Erin has focused on the implementation of process improvement works for operational staff and safety of external contractors.
Gavin Livingston (Professional Development Officer)
Career Events & Networking
Nobody can underestimate the importance of professional networks for developing your career and advancing ideas or projects in the workplace.
Student and Early Career Presenter Prize Winners - IFA Conference 2017
In recognition and celebration of students and early career foresters' contribution to the IFA Conference on Tropical Forestry, the Future Foresters Iniciative lauched an early career award. The award cerimony took place in Cairns in August 2017, during the IFA Conference.
The inaugural Future Foresters Initiative Student and Early Career Presenter Prize was awarded to Kamal Malvani of Charles Darwin University for her presentation, Farmers’ Values Driving Rehab of Land into Forest Gardens (Sri Lanka). Jing Hu of the University of Queensland was the runner up with her presentation, Dynamics of a Logged Tropical Forest - Following Silvicultural Treatments over 50 years (Mt Baldy, Atherton).
Thank you to the IFA members who dedicated their time during the conference to judging the award. A special thank you to IFA members Stephen Walker and Kevin Harding as well as Routledge / Taylor and Francis Books for their generous contributions to the prizes.
The professional development project is one of the five primary strategic focuses of the Future Foresters Initiative.