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In 2014, the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) partnered with both the Prince of Wales’ Duchy of Cornwall and the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), announced the inauguration of the Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award.

13556_10154513183190595_1813478721982372113_nThis prestigious award aims to recognise young forestry professionals, providing them the opportunity to gain invaluable experience working internationally in the forestry sector. Two award recipients from Canada and two from the United Kingdom are placed at some of the top forestry and natural resources management employers in their respective partner countries. In addition to the international forestry student exchange program, recipients are awarded a CAD $12,000 bursary to cover travel, accommodation and other expenses.

Now in its second year, Lockhart Garratt is pleased to announce the Canadian award recipient, Sarah Townson, has joined the Forestry team (July – September 2016). Sarah recently graduated with an Honours Bachelor in Environmental Management from Lakehead University, located in Thunder Bay, Ontario – a staggering 860 mile journey north of her hometown of Port Perry, Ontario.

As a recent graduate, the job search at home has been difficult. Many employers are looking for individuals with years of work experience. When I found out about the Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award, I thought it was a phenomenal opportunity to gain work experience, with the bonus of being able to travel abroad as well. I had a great deal of support from past employers, colleagues, and university professors throughout the application process.

speaks Sarah.

The application consisted of 5 parts: a personal essay describing how your engagement in forestry or natural resource management activities demonstrates why you should receive the award and how you would benefit professionally and personally from the experience, transcripts from post-secondary schooling, an up-to-date curriculum vitae, an application form, and between 3 to 5 references and letters of reference.

Sarah says.

I have already learned so much working at Lockhart Garratt, and I’ve only just skimmed the surface. I am working mostly in the Forestry Business Unit, but I have also spent a bit of time with Ecology as well. The variety of disciplines present at Lockhart Garratt is extraordinary, including forest and woodland management, ecology, arboriculture, landscape and green infrastructure. I have been out on a number of site visits to look at old and new plantations, harvesting operation planning, felling licence renewals and coppicing work, as well as sunset bat surveys, reptile refugia replacement surveys, and phase 1 habitat surveys with ecologist. One thing I have had difficulties with is removing myself from the Canadian mind set – anytime I am in the field and I hear a rustle and see a black mass running, my mind automatically goes “bear!” when in fact it’s just a Roe deer!

Having worked in Algonquin Provincial Park for three summers, I also tend to pack my rucksack as if I’m going into a 700,000ha of forest, being days of walking away from civilisation – when in fact any frequently traveled road is less than an hours walk in any direction!

I am excited to see what the next 9 weeks brings, and to gain as much exposure and experience as possible within this fantastic multidisciplinary company.

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As part of the Award programme each winner is to provide updates on a blog and Twitter during their stay. To read about Sarah’s time with Lockhart Garratt please visit her blog https://www.cif-ifc.org/2016/03/sarahs-blog/ or follow her on Twitter @SarahFrances293 #CanadianinCorby.

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