The peak organisation representing some 1,000 professional and scientific forest land managers in Australia is urging women and girls to embrace the opportunities available in the sector.
As part of International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Thursday February 11) the Institute of Foresters of Australia and Australian Forest Growers (IFA/AFG) has celebrated the work of its female scientists.
IFA/AFG vice president Dr Michelle Freeman said the forest sector provided women with a wonderful opportunity for a science career in the natural environment.
“Forestry is such an exciting sector to work in because it requires creative thinking to bridge science with community values, innovation with communication and technology with nature,” Dr Freeman said.
“I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this scientific community that is genuinely passionate about the art and science of ensuring the sustainability of our forests.”
Dr Freeman said by using their scientific expertise in our forests, women were providing innovative and creative solutions. International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.
The day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened. Research has found that educating girls is the 6th most effective way to combat climate change.
“We want to encourage the next generation of women to engage in STEM subjects and embrace the opportunities that science has for them,” Dr Freeman said.
“Female scientists are at the forefront of helping to solve problems around climate change, renewables and carbon capture.”
Tegan Brown is a PhD Candidate with Forest Hydrology Research Group at the University of Melbourne.
She said working in forest science was both challenging and rewarding. “Women make great scientists, land managers and leaders, bringing diverse skills and lived experiences to their work,” Ms Brown said.
“Sustainably managing forests for all people and values in a changing world is a huge task and such a rewarding sector to work in when you can make a difference.” Zoe Ryan, Executive Manager – Business Development, Climate Friendly said the challenges of the sector brought together advanced technologies and traditional approaches.
“Implementation of landscape-scale carbon farming requires application of remote sensing technologies, couple with more traditional technologies such as field measurements, and discussions at the kitchen table over cups of tea,” Ms Ryan said.
OneFortyOne Plantations research manager Dr Danielle Wiseman has embraced the changing nature of the sector. “Working in forestry research is great because you often see the real-world application of your research into practice and you get to work in beautiful places,” Dr Wiseman said.
“Working with my colleagues, problems are identified and we try to solve them.”
Australia is the sixth most forested country in the world and female scientists are playing a critical role in the management of our forests.
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