Isaac Soper, is an Oregon State University student with a Natural Resources major in the College of Forestry. He spent two weeks last summer in Queensland, Australia. While traveling through the College of Forestry’s study abroad program focusing on managing forest resources and ecosystem services, he found many similarities between Australia and his homeland.
Though the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney may be one of the longest flights in the world (clocking in at approximately 15 hours non-stop), Australia is similar in many ways to the US, and is also one of the safest and friendliest places to travel in the world.
Traveling with three professors and nine students, we hopped the pond over to the slightly strange and delightful country of Australia. Over the duration of two weeks, we toured the state of Queensland in northeastern Australia, so as to gain an understanding of the various aspects of ecological management in the country. Focusing on both nature-based recreation and wood science, we took numerous enjoyable and educational excursions. Ranging from an off-road bus tour of Fraser Island (the world’s largest sand island) to a recycled hardwood mill, we were able to grasp that although Australia may be the country which is farthest from North America and has many unique aspects, the management of its precious resources are very similar to those used in the United States.
Thanks to our in-depth look at the natural resource management strategies in Oz (as Australians often call their home), we gained a greater understanding as to how we might manage our ecosystems in our later careers. After returning home to Oregon, I for one cannot wait to travel back to Australia again, as two weeks, though completely worthwhile, is not nearly enough time to explore the amazing Australian continent.
For students seeking to understand some of the management strategies regarding recreation and timber harvest, this College of Forestry study abroad is a fantastic opportunity. Being a short-term study abroad program, Managing Forest Resources and Ecosystem Services in Australia is a great program for College of Forestry students who are seeking to study abroad and still be able to take classes on campus during the summer. It is also a great program for those who have summer jobs or internships lined up for later in the summer.