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Undergraduate student helps with PF Olsen R&D project over Summer

Regan Conn, a young and enthusiastic 2nd year undergraduate student from the Canterbury University School of Forestry spent his Summer holiday with PF Olsen to gain first-hand industry experience. PF Olsen recruited Regan through the TechNZ undergraduate student internship program which aims to encourage innovative companies to employ senior science, technology or engineering undergraduate students for a research and development project. From late November 2010 to early February 2011 Regan was working on a PF Olsen research project to test the concept of establishing Radiata pine forests by planting pine seed directly on the site instead of planting nursery treestocks. The idea is to lower the cost of establishment.

Regan monitored a direct seeding field trial, counted seed germination and identified factors threatening the survival of young seedlings. He was also involved in the design and making of a prototype direct seeding tool. In addition, Regan also received practical training from the Rotorua forest management team to do GIS/GPS mapping, field plotting, survival counts, fertilization and animal control. After a busy and exciting 2½ months, Regan said: "As a person who has never worked in the forestry industry in my life, I enjoyed it. I now know I have gone into the right industry."

We wish Regan all the best when he goes back to University next week and hope he will have a long and prosperous career in forestry.

Regan Conn and his prototype direct seeding tool.