Legacy of Dr Matteo Sottocornola marked with award and memorial

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In centre is Sinead O'Connell, award recipient on behalf of Dr Matteo Sottocornola, their children Niamh and Sean and the O'Connell family, with Dr Peter McLoughlin, Head of School of Science and Tom Kent, Programme Leader BSc in Forestry.

In centre is Sinead O'Connell, award recipient on behalf of Dr Matteo Sottocornola, their children Niamh and Sean and the O'Connell family, with Dr Peter McLoughlin, Head of School of Science and Tom Kent, Programme Leader BSc in Forestry.

The second Una McDermott Memorial Award for Contribution to Science award, named in honour of the late Una McDermott, awarded to the late Dr Matteo Sottocornola

At the Science Careers Day in February 2020 the Una McDermott Award for Contribution to Science was made to the family of Dr Matteo Sottocornola, much-missed WIT Forestry lecturer who passed away in August 2019.

The 2019 Science Careers Day saw the inaugural presentation of an annual award which recognises a person who has made a particularly valuable contribution to science in the region. Last year, it was fitting that the late Una McDermott (former WIT Horticulture Programme Leader) was recognised and the award was named in her honour.

Tom Kent, Forestry WIT, remarked that the sudden and tragic loss of colleague Matteo hit forestry staff and students particularly hard. “He is sorely missed for his passion for student learning, his thoughtfulness and his consistently cheerful disposition. It will be very welcome to celebrate Matteo’s contribution to science education and research on the day.”

At the award presentation Dr Peter McLoughlin highlighted the significance to our understanding of climate change processes from Dr Sottocornola's research output of 57 peer-review publications in the area of carbon sinks and flux processes in mountains and peatlands.

Memorial

The award presentation was followed by an informal memorial at Carriganore House, where family, friends, staff, students and graduates gathered to share memories of Matteo. WIT Estates prepared an area beside Carriganore House for native oak tree, supplied by Adriene Booth from Lismore Castle Estate. This was planted by Matteo's children next to an Irish oak wood park bench, crafted by Declan Swift, to commemorate Matteo's Spot.

The memorial will provide the opportunity for staff and students to acknowledge, to Matteo’s family and friends, the impact Matteo had on the forestry community at WIT.

Biography

Matteo joined WIT as lecturer in forestry in 2013. He brought new knowledge, ideas and approaches to the programme, to his colleagues and students. He firmly placed nature, biodiversity, and the interaction of trees and forests in the environment at the centre of his teaching.

Matteo developed a new Forest Soils module and taught on the Dendrology, Chemistry for Land Scientists, Earth Science, Forest Establishment, Fundamentals of Forestry, Forestry and the Environment, and Forest Economics and Forest Management Plan modules.

Matteo maintained a strong research profile in carbon flux monitoring on peatlands, contributing presentations and papers to the research community. For all that, he was happiest in the field with students.

Related Courses

Bachelor of Science in  Forestry
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Land Management in Forestry

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