Regional students think big in forestry industry Hackathon
04 November 2023
120 Year Seven students from Mount Gambier High School were given the opportunity to learn more about the forestry industry by attending an immersive three-day excursion experience.
The excursion included a tour of at plantation estate at Mount Burr. Here students saw the process of how trees are grown and harvested as well as the career opportunities available in the forest industry, from truck driving to conservation management.
“The Hub recognises the need to generate greater engagement with the broader community and this starts with the next generation,” said GTFIH executive general manager Liz McKinnon.
“While most of these students live surrounded by plantation estate, for many they have never had the opportunity to go behind the scenes to meet the people managing our forests, seeing first-hand the new technologies and innovations that are used to grow and harvest our trees, including the extensive efforts made to enhance and protect our environment.”
Students also got the chance to visit the Mount Burr Swamp, where students saw an example of conservation in action, and participated in activities like identifying water birds, freshwater fish and birds’ nests.
Mount Burr Swamp was purchased with the intention of revitalising the area for wildlife and is now home to a multitude of flora and fauna, including nearby bat caves that house the critically endangered Southern Bent-wing bat.
The students learned about the role conservation plays forest management, and saw how staff at Nature Glenelg Trust, in partnership with OneFortyOne, preserve our environment by revegetating the swamp and protecting threatened wildlife. Mount Burr Swamp is an excellent illustration of this dedicated work as the wetland has been successfully revitalised by Nature Glenelg Trust in recent years through a partnership with One Forty One and now has an abundance of bird life, aquatic species and other flora and fauna. A huge thank you to Senior Ecologist Bryan Haywood who coordinated the activities alongside team members Angela Jones, Sheryl Holliday, Jess Bourchier, Toni Haywood, Dale Bachmann and Angus Samson. A memorable excursion which we hope to replicate for more students in the future.
After their experience, the students participated in the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub’s inaugural Hackathon event, hosted by social enterprise group Young Change Agents, at the University of South Australia campus.
The students worked collaboratively using a process of design thinking to come up with ways to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the forestry industry.
In response to the prompt, students presented strategies to recruit more female foresters, new solutions for fire management and raising revenue to plant more trees. The judges were all extremely impressed by the quality of work generated.
The winning team created a marketing business focused on promoting the industry’s sustainable credentials.
Assistant Principal Josh Praolini emphasised how vital it is to make students aware of the career opportunities in Australia’s regions.
“Active learning connected with local and relevant industry and community organisations allows for students to stretch their knowledge and skills,” Mr Praolini said.
“Giving students the chance to experience a world class industry, in a regional setting, highlights how many amazing opportunities are available in emerging industries, ensuring our students have been exposed to the knowledge and skills to continue to grow the Green Triangle’s future capacity.”
The excursion was made possible by member companies including Tabeel Trading, OneFortyOne, SFM, ABP, Timberland, PF Olsen in addition to conservation partners Nature Glenelg Trust.
There are plans to replicate this incredible excursion for other regional schools in the future, so watch this space!