Meet the Dare to Explore! trainees – Junaid

Happy to introduce to you Junaid Peters from South Africa, whos is currently doing a remote traineeship with IUFRO headquarters in Vienna:

Who are you?

My name is Junaid Peters. I had recently graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Forest Science and Natural Resource Management at the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. Fun Fact about me: I love horses! I’ve owned and trained more than 20 horses in my short lifetime. My record for not falling off a horse is 13 years and counting! However, in the years before that I had countless great falls.

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

I applied for this internship with the intention of expanding my understanding on Science-Policy Interlinkages in the forestry realm. I believe that this internship will aid in building a solid foundation for my career with regards to understanding the intricacies of environmental politics to not only develop solutions to global environmental issues, but also successfully implement the expected outcomes thereof.

I heard about the DTE traineeship through the IFSA Communications channels

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

My traineeship will focus mainly on developing communication plans and strategies for various events that IUFRO is involved in such as the International Day of Forests and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. I’ve also been tasked to do some background research for Global Forest Experts Panel Initiative (GFEP). My research for this project would be focused on Forests in Human Health.

I’m most excited about the research that I would be doing for GFEP as I resonate whole heartedly with the fact that forests directly impact human health positively. I can’t wait to learn and study the sciences behind it and play my part in conveying this message to the world!

What is your relationship with IFSA

I’ve had the pleasure of working within IFSA for the past four years. I started off in 2017 as a Liaison Officer between IFSA and the Informal Forum for International Student Organisations (IFISO). My highlight of my IFSA career was being on the board of 2018-2019 Board of IFSA (Executive Secretary). This really took me out of my comfort zone and taught me an immeasurable amount of lessons that will be useful in my working career.

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

My relationship with the forest constantly changes as my life progresses. It started off as an exciting course to study and right now it serves as a source of calmness in this busy world that we live in. Just as my relationship with the forest, my favourite trees also changes with the seasons! Right now, my favourite tree is the Birch tree because of the beautiful light coloured wood that it produces. I built my entire bedroom furniture with birchwood and I love the aesthetic it produces.

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

In my opinion, the biggest challenge in the forestry sector is communicating the science of forestry to the general public. If everyone on this earth knew the importance in valuing our forests the way a forest scientists knows it, the world would be a much better place to live in.