EIANZ Networking Evening

On Friday 9th October EIANZ held their annual networking evening providing young professionals and students the chance to hear from four amazing panellists.

  • Liz Johnstone – Associate Director of Sustainability – AECOM.
  • Angela Rutter – Director of Engagement – ACF.
  • Amanda Jones – Environment Leader – Energy Australia.
  • Dr Hartmut Fuenfgeld – Urban Planning Lecturer – RMIT

Some great advice was given and interesting questions posed such as ‘How do you balance your morals when working on a project that you may not align with?”. The most important take home messages for me were:

  • Be Curious – Ask questions and be open to new opportunities and experiences – you never know where the path may lead.
  • Think outside the job title – Many companies advertise jobs for the ideal candidate yet are also looking for a good fit. If you lack one or two of the skills in a PD there is no harm in applying.
  • Up skill – Build your soft skills such as communication and participate in extra curricular activities.
  • No job is perfect – As you learn more skills and have exposure to different issues your passions may change. The key is getting your fit in the door and seeing where it can take you.
  • Do what you love – Nothing will beat this. If you don’t love what you do it makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning. We spend a great part of our lives working, you need to love what you do. Don’t fret over picking one thing and one thing only, just do what you enjoy. This will be clearly evident to potential employers.
  • The rude awakening – Moving from study to a professional environment can be difficult, there will inevitably be a rude awakening where you realise the industry you have worked so hard to get into is not the same as you imagined. How you handle this will build you and your career. A good employee will be adaptable and ready to work overlooking minor imperfections. This will not go unnoticed by your employer.

Michelle Wilson

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Toolangi Day Hike

Saturday 15th August PEN organised a day trip to Toolangi State Forest:

Arriving at Toolangi full of energy, we met forest ecologist David Blair at a rather desolate logging coup, where he talked about the constant conflict between conservationists and the logging industry. Toolangi, he said, is one of the few areas with remnant patches of old growth mountain ash rainforest that has survived the threat of both logging and bushfires. It is important habitat for the critically endangered Leadbeater possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri), which lives in the hollows of the older trees. Shockingly, David told us that when the forest is logged only 40% of biomass ends up being used, much of which is turned into low value products like toilet paper.

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From there we continued for lunch and a scenic wander through a remaining patch of old growth forest. David talked about the ecology of mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) which is the tallest flower plant in the world, rivaling redwoods by reaching heights of up to 99m! Interestingly it needs fire to drop its canopy-stored seed for regeneration, but this usually kills the parent tree and their all-important hollows. Therefore it’s important to maintain a range of forest ages for the possum.

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A standing forest compared to a logging coup (image: Juan de Dios Morales). Less than 3% ends up as high value wood products like furniture.

All in all it was a good opportunity to get out of the city, learn a bit about forest ecology and make some new friends. Thank you to everyone who came and made it a great day!