Amy McMurren

Forestry project manager

Amy works for the Forestry Division of Primary Industries and Regions SA, preparing Ministerial briefings on projects and issues and using her knowledge and experience to provide the team with industry perspectives and technical information.

She manages the State Government's South East Forestry Partnerships Program, which supports the development of innovative products and technologies, and is helping to co-ordinate the submission of South Australian data for the next national State of the Forests Report.

Amy represents PIRSA on working groups and at meetings with a range of government agencies and industry stakeholders.

I studied at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra and earned a Bachelor of Science, with Honours, majoring in Forestry.

I grew up near the plantation forests of the NSW Central Tablelands and as a little girl I was always curious about the pine trees growing alongside the highway. Over the years, on family road trips to Sydney, I would see the various stages of forest growth and harvesting but never really thought much about the people involved or what they did.

Then, when I was nearing the end of high school and needed to decide on a career, I had the chance to talk to a couple of local foresters at a careers expo. I liked the idea of working outside and saw that there were so many uses for wood. Forestry sounded pretty cool. The course at ANU was well respected, so that's what I decided to aim for.

My first graduate job was with ForestrySA at Struan in the South East and that got me out and about talking with farmers – and learning from them. In 2005, I transferred to Adelaide and since then my experience has really widened. I've worked in farm forestry on Kangaroo Island, learned about commercial forestry in the Mount Lofty Ranges and had exposure to different government departments, and all sorts of companies and organisations involved in timber, forests and agribusiness.

My smartest move was moving to the city. I did it mainly for lifestyle but also for my career. I've had a lot more opportunities to advance and been lucky to have a very supportive supervisor and mentor.

I've learned to persevere. Perseverance has got me through everything in my career – from not quite getting the marks I needed to get into uni easily, to finishing top of the class; from applying for jobs and waiting months for offers, to taking on new roles and not knowing if they would suit me or lead to something better. Most recently I've had to persevere with juggling being a mum of two and going back to work.

Quote: "I think the future of forestry is exciting as people are becoming switched on about sustainability. Wood is a very versatile, renewable resource that also stores carbon. The use of engineered wood products instead of steel in tall buildings is exciting. To be successful, every so often you need to challenge yourself and move beyond your comfort zone."


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