In celebration of 20 years of Forestry at WIT, we talk to Adriene Booth, forestry lecturer in WIT and forest manager, Lismore Estate
Adriene Booth has been in forestry for over five years now as a manager and a lecturer. He advises new students to test the waters of forestry before diving into a career. "Forestry is like skiing on marmite, you will either love it or it won’t be for you," he says.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
Currently, I have two part-time positions: as a lecturer on the Bachelor of Science in Forestry at Waterford Institute of Technology and as manager of Lismore Estate forest. In WIT, I deliver lectures to forestry students in WIT on various modules including forest harvesting, sustainable forest management, forest engineering, forestry in the environment, forest economics, forest establishment and fundamentals of forestry.
Also, I manage the forest resources for Lismore Estates including budgeting and financial management; harvest management, grant applications, health and safety, forest operations management, legislative requirements, personnel management.
Describe a typical day
During term time for WIT, I deliver lectures on the above subjects or prepare lecture plans, mark exams, attend meetings, organise and run field trips. In Lismore Estate I manage operations dependant on the time of year (establishment in the winter, harvest management in the spring and summer, management of maintenance operations, management of pesticide operations, staff training). I also measure timber, conduct inventory and survey the forest in general.
What are the main challenges?
Juggling the workload between WIT and Lismore Estate can be a challenge.
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
I think I bring the practical experience I am continually gaining at Lismore Estate into my college work and the knowledge I learn from my colleagues and researching for lectures into my work for Lismore Estate.
Forestry. I love my work even though I fell into it almost by accident.
What's not so cool?
Work pressures when things are busy.
How did you go about getting your current job?
I started my position as manager in Lismore Estate in 2003 after the retirement of the previous manager. I had to attend two interviews before I was offered the position in Lismore. In Waterford Institute of Technology, I started off doing part-time lecturing hours in 2003 and then was given a Contract of Indefinite Duration after I had been working for the college for a number of years.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
I think my decision to stop working as a timber measurement contractor for Coillte and take up a position as manager with the Forestry Development Association Co-Op was the most important decision in terms of my career. I liked working with Coillte and I had an excellent mentor but the manager's position was an extremely interesting opportunity and I had to give it a try.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
Honestly, the person who influenced my career the most shall remain nameless but as a student, I offered to give this person my CV as he told me I should but that he would immediately file it in the bin! This spurred me on to succeed and to never treat any students or prospective employees with such disregard.
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Yes, my job does provide a reasonable lifestyle for me and my family.
Education and training
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
I went to school in the UK in the 80’s taking English, maths, geography, history and art and did not go back to education until I was a mature student in 1997.
What is your education to date?
I have, and it is still my most treasured award, a National Diploma in Science in Forestry from Waterford Institute of Technology, which is now called the Bachelor of Science in Forestry. I also have a BSc (Hons.) in Forest Management, an MSc in Sustainability and Environmental Management, a Diploma in Environmental Impact Assessment and two Certificates in Renewable Energy Development.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
My diploma in Forestry and my BSc in Forest Management have been vital, although the other awards have proven useful at times.
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
Yes, I would still like to attend further courses. I think that a forester is always capable of learning something new because the field of interest for a forester is vast. A forester must have an understanding of economics, engineering, ecology, biology, chemistry, hydrology, silviculture, environmental science, and be knowledgeable in all the potential digital tools for use in forest management. And this is not even a complete list of the potential disciplines involved in forestry!
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
The most rewarding events are definitely when I meet up with previous students who are now fellow forestry professionals and working in the industry.
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
Is luck a quality? And I suppose the potential to see when something has come my way and take the opportunity.
What is your dream job?
I would have liked to study Landscape Architecture and be involved in forest design planning.
Advice for others
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
A willingness to continually learn, a level of humility (with all the required disciplines involved in forestry you need to be able to seek and take good advice), being personable (you will have to work with others and must be able to communicate and engender trust).
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
Try and get some kind of knowledge or experience in forestry before committing yourself to it as a career. Forestry is like skiing on marmite, you will either love it or it won’t be for you.
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Any kind of forestry or agricultural work, tree felling, planting, fencing, spraying, surveying as well as gaining academic qualifications and attending courses.
These WIT Forestry graduate testimonials were compiled by the Forestry Careers Promotion Group to mark the 20-year anniversary of Forestry courses at WIT in 2018.