SWC Forest Products Scholarship 2020

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University of Canterbury forestry student picks up major award

A University of Canterbury forestry student has just received top forest industry honours with a major scholarship being awarded. This year’s Southern Wood Council (SWC) Scholarship has been awarded to Nic Melvin, a Bachelor of Forestry Science student, studying at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

Nic, from a strong forestry and farming background in Dipton, Southland has also had long family history within the industry. Both sides of the family can trace their family history back to Southland’s early settlement way back in the 1860’s. His father has been a contract tree feller and has run his own portable sawmilling operation, which Nic has been involved with from a very early age. The Melvin family, on coming to Southland were also sawmillers so it obviously runs in the blood. Having had “hands on experience” since a very young age, Nic wanted to pursue a degree in forestry science and is now completing his second year in the degree course at Canterbury University.  

“I am pursuing a career in forestry as I want to work outdoors and do something where I can make a difference. Coming from Dipton, a small rural community in Southland, I have a great appreciation of the needs such communities face” said Nic. “By studying this professional degree, I am learning the skills necessary to help make a difference in the forestry industry, one that is growing and changing but short on the qualified professionals it needs”.

The Scholarship is the eighth that has been awarded to students as part of an annual scholarship programme set up by the Council in 2011. The annual scholarship awarded by the SWC is one of the most prestigious and valuable awarded to forestry students in New Zealand. In any one year, the SWC can have up to $13,500 committed to three student scholarships.

“The Annual Scholarship is an opportunity for forestry and wood products companies in the lower South Island to put back something into the industry and to support outstanding students studying towards either the Forestry Science or Forest Engineering courses at the School of Forestry” says SWC Chairman, Grant Dodson. “The SWC is delighted to award this year’s scholarship to Nic and the industry is keen to continue to support the current scholarship recipients, both in their study – and in their future employment” says Mr Dodson.

The University Scholarship is offered each year by the SWC. In addition, the Wood Council runs the largest gathering of its type for forestry contractors and those working within the local forestry, wood products and transport industries through an annual Training Awards evening. This year, because of COVID-19 the May awards evening unfortunately had to be cancelled but is planned to run again in May 2021.