Friday 8 July 2022
Strategies to recruit more female foresters, new solutions for fire management and raising revenue to plant more trees are among the innovative solutions Mount Gambier High School students have presented in the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub’s inaugural Hackathon event.
More than 120 year seven students joined with Hub member companies this week for an exploratory three-day education session designed to expose the students to the various career pathways the sector offers from truck driving to conservation management.
Held in conjunction with Nature Glenelg Trust and UniSA, GTFIH executive general manager Liz McKinnon said the experience included a full-day industry excursion at a OneFortyOne plantation estate in Mount Burr followed by various conservation activities at Mount Burr Swamp. This was followed by a two-day Hackathon hosted by social enterprise group the Young Change Agents to resolve some of the sector’s most challenging issues at the UniSA campus.
“The Hub recognises the need to generate greater engagement with the broader community and this starts with the next generation,” she said.
“Whilst 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.”
Mount Gambier High School is one of five Entrepreneurial Specialist Schools (ESS) in South Australia, delivering learning programs that promote and encourage entrepreneurial mindsets in students.
Assistant Principal, Josh Praolini said the partnership with the forestry sector was an exciting opportunity to lift aspirations and awareness of opportunities in the region.
“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 industry excursion was directly hosted by GTFIH member companies including Tabeel Trading, OneFortyOne, SFM, ABP, Timberland, PF Olsen in addition to conservation partners Nature Glenelg Trust. The Rotary Club of Mount Gambier West also generously hosted a barbeque lunch for the students at the Mount Burr Swamp.
Ms McKinnon said the GTFIH had invested in a new workforce development strategy and planned to expand the school program to engage with other regional schools in the future.