The IUFRO World Congress is a pinnacle forestry event in 2019 and gathers together hundreds of scientists, policy makers and civil society organizations to discuss major topics on the international forestry agenda. The congress also attracts a large following of young scientists, professionals and forestry students who represent new and innovative thinking and the future of forest management.
The International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) plans to engage these attendees by putting on specific events before and throughout the Congress. The events focus on providing not only a specific space to discuss relevant conference topics but also the opportunity for attendees to learn and develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills, engage in formal mentorship activities, and to create new networking opportunities amongst IUFRO students and IUFRO professionals.
IFSA student engagement is comprised of 4 connected activities:
- PRE-CONFERENCE TRAINING DAY
This day of training is meant to strengthen education on forests, to improve research excellence by connecting students and senior scientists in discussions about relevant research topics, and to provide a platform for networking and increased understanding and transparency of IUFRO. The training will consist of three events.
- IFSA-IUFRO Mentoring Program: Mentor-Mentee Event-Based Mentoring
The IFSA-IUFRO Mentoring Program has been immensely successful at connecting young professionals to senior scientists. IFSA therefore will be hosting a meet-and-greet event for mentors and mentees to socialize, network, and plan their week during the Congress.
- Side Event: “Publishing your research in an open science environment”
As changes in the forest sector and society at large have reached the research environment and publishing, it is as vital now as ever to make sure that researchers are communicating their work effectively and professionally in the open science environment. This course is specifically designed to address the competencies needed by providing a unique and applicable training for students and early career scientists, by including. Talks by editors of leading forest science journals including real-world examples will instruct students on the scientific publishing process for improving on and gaining scientific writing skills necessary to publish in an open research environment.
- Side Event: “Forest Entrepreneurship”
With increasing demand of timber products and agricultural land, there is growing pressure to find sustainable alternatives in forest use. Several professional accreditations have therefore identified entrepreneurship as a highly desirable soft skill for a knowledge-based society, as a tool to bridge science and practice. This course fosters entrepreneurship learning by using the forestry sector as a context, and will teach the basics of forest entrepreneurship by providing real world examples of situations where businesses could develop, and expound upon students’ understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals and their relation to forestry.
- MENTORSHIP ACTIVITIES
In the IFSA mentorship commission, we consider a mentoring relationship to be the mutually beneficial guiding influence two people have on each other’s personal or professional development. IUFRO has expressed an interest in a continued involvement of students and young scientists in the organization. It is a way to safeguard the interest of aspiring scientists in collegial cooperation and the gradual process of organizational renewal. For IFSA, there is a continuous eagerness of our members to draw from the personal and professional experiences of forest scientists as a benchmark for their own career path. To meet these needs, IFSA will be running a 3-tiered mentoring program, which will include event-based, content, and recruitment mentoring. This event will allow us to continue spreading awareness of the importance and benefits of mentoring programs.
“Green Jobs – what the future of forest employment holds”
IFSA will be hosting a sub-plenary to highlight the importance of including fresh minds to enrich scientific dialogues and give new impulses. The session aims to stress the need for collaboration and open communication on all levels to spark and sustain the interest of young people in forest, forestry and becoming future foresters. The ongoing session and all questions and answers will be actively contributed to and shared with an audience outside the conference via social media, to help formulate an overall understanding and perception on green jobs and changes in employment.
- IFSA BOOTH
“The Race Against Deforestation”
Restoring degraded landscapes and afforesting suitable land in many regions holds the potential to flip the script on climate change. The IFSA booth will engage participants through a visual display that will show the threat of deforestation but focusing on the opportunity at hand and the need for increased political will, attention, and finances to allow forestry to be a key player in climate change.
During the World Congress, the Joint IUFRO-IFSA Task Force on Forest Education will be coordinating several technical sessions:
- F6b “Effective Educational Strategies for the Next Generation of Forest Professionals”
- F6c “How to Teach Forest Sciences in the Future – Challenges and Opportunities of Changing Ecological, Socio-Economic, and Technological Circumstances”