Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub

ForestVR™ expands to showcase students how they can make a world of difference in Forestry and Wood product careers

New resources have been launched during Careers Week 2022 that allow school students of all ages to glimpse a virtual day in the life of a different people working in forestry and wood, without leaving the classroom.

ForestLearning’s hugely successful ForestVR™ technology has expanded with three new engaging, immersive and educational virtual reality (VR) experiences, focussing on careers.

The Australian forestry industry directly employees about 80,000 people, who contribute to sustainable forest management in a variety of ways.  ForestVR’s Careers in Forests and Wood series will transport students virtually into Australia’s forest and wood products industry to discover some of the people who work there and the many different and rewarding careers the industry has to offer.

The original ForestVR™ toolkit was launched in 2019 and was designed through extensive consultation with teachers and the forestry industry, with the goal of educating students on the renewable cycle of productive forests to create wood products like timber and paper in a new way.

With the onset of restrictions on excursions and work experience programs around Australian schools due to COVID-19, ForestVR™ provides a timely solution to geographical access problems, while also overcoming the safety issues associated with visits to physical forests and timber processing facilities.

The Careers in Forests and Wood virtual reality tools will give students a first-hand insight into what three different careers in forestry and wood processing involve.

Experience a day-in-the-life of Environmental Forester and Ecologist Jack Carter of Australian Bluegum Plantations as he carries out wildlife surveys, native forest regeneration, the building and installing of nesting hollows. This work is conducted with a view to ensuring Australia’s hardwood plantation forests, and all the timber products sourced from them, remain amongst the most sustainable in the world.

Get to know Forester Courtney Pink of SFM Asset Management, who works to grow and produce timber, while sustainably managing and protecting the environment, including trees, plants and animals, waterways, and Indigenous Australian cultural sites.

Students will also meet Wood Processing Cadet Kayla Martin of AKD Softwoods, as she undertakes a wide range of exciting work opportunities throughout her cadetship that exposes her to nearly every aspect of the business. Learn how she is using these experiences to refine her practical skills and knowledge and develop her future long-term career in wood processing.

Additional new ForestVR™ experiences will also launch in June with the world-first Forest Science Explorers series, developed for primary school students to visit four of Australia’s unique forest types in 360-degrees and compare their adaptions to their local environment – the wet eucalypt forests of Tasmania, cypress pine forests of western Queensland and New South Wales, dry eucalypt forests of eastern Australia, and Jarrah forests of Western Australia. 

The final new ForestVR series, Agroforestry: Trees at work on the farm, will allow high school students to pay an immersive visit to three farms around Australia that are successfully incorporating trees into their farming landscapes to achieve a range of economic, social and environmental benefits. This theme will be of particular interest to teachers looking to showcase achievable and sustainable practices that could help Australia become carbon neutral by 2050.

The latest suite of VR experiences represents a significant expansion to ForestVR™, and is testament to the popularity of ForestVR™ amongst Australian teachers.

“Teachers across Australia have told us how they have found ForestVR™ to be a technology-rich and highly effective way of engaging school students, by allowing them to visit places they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to access during a school field trip,” explained Beth Welden, ForestLearning Program Manager.

“With this latest suit of experiences, we hope to provide even more meaningful educational opportunities, aligned to the Australian Curriculum, that educate students on a range of new topics and themes such as adaptations, biomes, sustainability, renewable resources, solutions for climate change, and careers.”

ForestLearning acknowledges the funds provided by Australian Government and levy payers and that supported the development of these experiences.

ForestVR™ experiences and accompanying teaching resources can be freely downloaded at the ForestLearning website – and will be housed on the ForestVR app for IOS and Apple devices. All 360-degree experiences and tours can be viewed using a VR headset or classroom iPads, laptops and smart boards.