Mabel Lewis briefly joined the FSC UK team for her summer of work experience. From attending talks to going on a field trip to the WildHeart Animal Sanctuary on the Isle of Wight - Mabel writes about her FSC UK work insights.
© Mabel Lewis - Isle of Wight ZooDuring my time with FSC I developed skills that I will undoubtedly use in the future. I am currently studying for my A levels in Geography, History and Biology and hope to study Geography at university. Through the work experience I wanted to gain skills in research and data collection - both of which the FSC team helped me achieve. Attending the discussion titled 'What are forests for?' gave me the opportunity to look at an issue from multiple perspectives and understand more about FSC's role in forest management. I also had the chance to collect data from the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary on the Isle of Wight which gave us an indication on public awareness of FSC UK. The whole experience has opened my eyes to how forests and woodland are managed and maintained, an area that really interests me.
Over two days towards the end of the summer, I went to the WildHeart Animal Sanctuary on the Isle of Wight to conduct some research regarding awareness around FSC as well as document how installations were used at the sanctuary by the public. I enjoyed putting data collection techniques into practice and learning about FSC’s role in partnership with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). In having information boards around the site, FSC spreads awareness of responsible forest management as well as linking this to specific animals’ natural environment. Results from the survey were encouraging, they concluded that most visitors could recognise the FSC logo, with many saying that they had seen it on products such as toilet paper, books, and cards. Over two days 57 responses were collected, 34 people arriving and 23 people leaving. 31 of the people asked were able to say roughly what the logo meant; and 45 had seen the logo before.
In August I attended a talk called ‘What are forests for?’. The discussion also asked the question in relation to FSC certification and whether this is reflected in the UK. Being such a widespread ecosystem in the UK, I think that it is easy to overlook what we use forests for today and what purpose they serve to our lives in an ever changing world. I think that FSC certification in the UK supports a sustainable approach to the productivity of forests. Although issues such as illegal logging are not as prevalent in the UK as in other countries, it is integral that wood products are certified
Having the opportunity to do work experience with FSC UK has given me valuable insight to an industry that is so important to the world as we know it. The certification of woodland and forests helps to maintain sustainability in wood derived products, as well as protect the environment.