Future Foresters Initiative

The Future Foresters Initiative (FFI) Committee is made up of young forestry professionals and forest science students. The purpose of the FFI is to provide support to students and early career professionals from scientific forestry or related fields, through mentoring, training, networking and other social and professional development activities.

Our mission is?

  • Connect future foresters with industry and government organisations across Australia and with other international organisations;
  • Grow our influence on policy, visibility and representation in the industry;
  • Learn from the best through a range of leadership and mentoring programs.

How we help?

  • We are involved in the organisation of a range of events, both social and professional, to forge and strengthen connections;
  • We promote achievements of young foresters and regularly publish stories in The Forester;
  • We advocate for young foresters across the IFA’s sub-committees.

Meet the Committee

Alannah Rowe – Co-Chair (WA)

Interests:

My appreciation of the majesty of nature, its positive impacts on health and wellbeing and my desire to address the need for climate change adaptation through ecologically sustainable forest management practices led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management. After working in State Forestry as a harvest manager for both softwood plantations and native forests, I currently am employed in Environmental Consultancy where I conduct botanical surveys for mining clients throughout Western Australia.

Being part of Forestry Australia and the Future Foresters Initiative allows me to engage with like-minded individuals, where I can continue to collaborate, share and explore my passion, which is more than just a job to me.

Folarin David Faluyi – Co-Chair (TAS)

Interests: Sustainable Environment (Forestry, Agriculture and Energy)

David works with Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) as GIS and Spatial Systems officer (NE Region). He is passionate about improving environmental quality through sustainable Forestry, Agriculture and Energy production.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Forest Resource Management from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria where he specialised in Forest Biometrics and Inventory. He managed a plantation while he worked with a multinational company (He worked in finance, marketing, and sales). He completed a master of environment degree from Macquarie University, Sydney where he focused on the biomass potential of forest waste. He had a stint at Forestry Corporations NSW (as a GIS intern) and worked with Esk Mapping & GIS before joining STT.

David hopes that through the FFI we can foster collaborations and continue to build a resilient and thriving Forestry Industry.

Vanja Kitanovic (VIC)

Interests: Native Forestry – Forest Ecology and Biodiversity – Student Engagement

Vanja works for VicForests as a Senior Forest Conservation Officer. In this role she is responsible for managing the pre-harvest ecological survey program for the organisation’s North East region. She has been with VicForests since early 2020, starting out as a Biodiversity intern before moving into a full-time role as a Forester with the Tactical Planning team. Vanja completed her Master of Forest Ecosystem Science at the University of Melbourne, where she was actively involved in the Forest Ecosystems Student Society. She has been with Forestry Australia and the Future Foresters Initiative since 2019 and did a two-year stint as the Secretary.

Jack Davis (VIC – Regional)

Interests: Fire Ecology – Sustainable Forest Management

Jack works for Vicforests in Orbost as a General Forester. He graduated from a Masters of Environments, specialising in Conservation and Restoration, from the University of Melbourne in 2019. Jack initially began working as Project Firefighter for DELWP in his summer holidays while studying before, before taking a short secondment role as the Fire Ecology officer in 2020 after graduating. He is passionate about fire ecology and first nation land management practices and hopes he can pursue this further as he moves into the Regeneration area for East Gippsland.

Jenna Hammond (TAS)

Interests: Forest Education – Sustainable Forest Management

Jenna is a Communications Advisor at Sustainable Timber Tasmania. Her work involves communicating with the media, State Government, internal and external stakeholders and employees through a variety of channels and traditional and social media platforms. She is passionate about sharing stories as a means of educating and bringing knowledge to different publics about forestry.

Jenna completed her Bachelor of Media at the University of Tasmania in 2018, majoring in Strategic Communications. Jenna is a trained forest firefighter and Public Information Officer and has worked in Incident Management Teams on campaign fires in both Tasmania and New South Wales. She is a member of the Tasmanian Forests and Forest Products Network and assists the Network with production of their monthly newsletter and social media content.

Jenna joined the FFI Committee in March 2020 to learn more about forestry on a national scale and to help share the story of forestry in Australia and educate the broader public.

Sam Van Holsbeeck (QLD)

Interests: Forest Health – Sustainable Forest Management – Forest Biomass

Sam is an early career researcher at the Forest Research Institute, University of the Sunshine Coast and has over five years of working experience in Australian forest ecosystems. Sam completed a Master of Science in Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University and a PhD in Forestry Studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2021. His PhD research determined the potential contribution of forest biomass for the bioenergy market in Queensland. Sam’s current focus is on research implementation for impact across forest biomass utilization, forest pest management and bushfire resilience.

In January 2019, Sam joined the FFI to become the Queensland representative of the committee and to increase engagement of young foresters in Australia.

Tara Pedersen (VIC – Regional)

Interests:

Tara works for VicForests in regional Victoria as a Tactical Planning Forester. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2021 with a Master of Ecosystem Management and Conservation. During her studies she also worked as a Project Firefighter and Fire Support Officer with Forest Fire Management Victoria. Tara loves the forest and is enthusiastic about sharing that passion with others. She joined the FFI committee to learn from and connect with other young people in the field and advocate for their voices to be heard in the forestry sector.

Zoe Lawrence (TAS)

Interests: Forest Ecology and Biodiversity

Zoe works for Timberlands Pacific in Tasmania as a Graduate Forester. She was first interested in the forestry sector and the deep history it holds in Tasmania during her completion of a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Plant Science at the University of Tasmania in 2019. Her interests lie in the sustainable management of Tasmanian forests to protect biodiversity and through her work she is involved with engaging with a range of different stakeholders, operational planning and compliance; as well as the management of harvesting crews. Zoe joined the FFI to meet other young professionals in the sector and to learn from the knowledge and experiences shared.

Oliver Andrews (ACT)

Interests: Agroforestry, Plant Physiology, Forest Ecology

Oliver works for Forestry Corporation of NSW in the Tumut region Silviculture team contributing to the replanting effort after the 19-20 bushfires. He started as a seasonal firefighter working out of the Moss Vale and Tumut regions. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolution, and Genetics at the Australian National University, and hopes to meet more young foresters and land management professionals through the FFI and broader Forestry Australia community.

Events & Networking

The importance of professional networks for developing your career cannot be underestimated.

Students and early career professionals can face challenges in entering the workforce and a strong network can go a long way! The FFI are involved in a range of social and professional events across the year which provide a platform for students and early-career foresters to connect with other forest students and professionals working across Australia.

The FFI continues to work on exciting opportunities to collaborate with the forest industry in Australia as well as with peers from the International Forestry Student Association (IFSA) and our Future Foresters colleagues across the ditch in New Zealand. We are in the process of establishing a mentoring program in Australia to connect different generations of foresters for the benefit of our industry. Stay tuned!

Get in touch

Do you want to know more about the FFI?
Do you want to be part of a team of other young forest professionals?
Do you want to collaborate with us?
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the FFI committee – we would be excited to work with you!
Send send us an email via futureforesters@gmail.com