Meet the Dare to Explore! trainees – Hiromi

Get to know Hiromi Waragai from Japan, who is currently a remote trainee at IUFRO HQ in Vienna, Austria.

Who are you?

I am Hiromi, a third-year undergraduate student studying forest economics at Hokkaido University in Japan. I am doing the Dare to Explore! Traineeship remotely at IUFRO Headquarters in Vienna, Austria. I love going to parks to enjoy nature and traveling to different places.

Why did you apply for the DTE traineeship program and how did you hear about it?

One of my ultimate goals is to build a better relationship between forests and people by utilizing scientific knowledge and technologies. Since IUFRO is “the” network which envisions to interconnect forests, science, and people, it was sure to be an absolutely desirable place for me to do an internship and to gain clues to realize my goals at.

I am currently an official at IFSA and have been following the organizations related to this traineeship on Social Media (SNSs), so those organizations’ posts on SNSs caught my attention all the time during the call.

Give a little outlook on your specific placement: What is the topic? What are your expectations? What are you most excited about?

I am going to work for IUFRO Headquarters from my own home for three months. My main tasks include building communication plans, creating communication materials, and conducting background research on topics for forestry-related events.

What I am most excited about is to get a more concrete idea about helping policy makers make the most of scientific discoveries, working in a multi-cultural environment. I am also eager to improve my organizational skills in speaking and writing and to polish my technics to gravitate people’s attention on social medias.

What is your relationship with IFSA

I am currently serving as Head of RECOFTC Sub-Commission and liaising between RECOFTC and IFSA. RECOFTC is a NPO which focuses on community forestry and help countries and communities achieve SDGs for poverty, hunger, environment, climate change, and gender.

What is your relationship to forests and what is your favorite tree?

My relationship with forests began quite early because two-thirds of the land of my country, Japan, is covered with forests, and my father and grandfather are loggers in a small village. Most part of my house, where I was raised, is wooden, so I have been feeling close to forests and wood in almost my whole life.

My favorite tree is the white birch indeed. When I entered the university, I moved to my current city, where you can see many of it. In Japan, there are not many regions where you can see it and so seeing it reminds me how much I love my current place.

What do you see currently as the biggest challenge for forests/forestry/the forest sector?

I feel that there should be more interdisciplinary points of view in the forest sector because serious forest issues such as deforestation and forest degradation need to be immediately tackled and solved with consideration of cultural, economic, and environmental backgrounds.

Also, in my country, the number of people in the forestry sector has been declining and many of them are over 65 years old; therefore, it is another critical issue that we are having a hard time finding a solution to involve more young workers in the forestry sector.