Students give timber a second life in Yarra Ranges
9 August 2023
Ranges TEC student Elijah with teacher Mike Waddell.
Students from Ranges TEC have experienced hardwood timber production from start to finish thanks to a partnership between the Lilydale-based school, Powelltown Sawmills and VicForests.
As part of their community awareness course requirements, the students visited a forest and the Powelltown sawmill, to understand the native timber industry.
Using native timber donated by Powelltown Sawmills, students crafted a signature piece of timber furniture such as a dining table, a coffee table, a cabinet or a chair.
VicForests Regional Engagement Manager Liz Langford said the learning experience for students went beyond just creating a piece of furniture that would last a lifetime.
“Students had the chance to observe every stage of the native timber industry to give them a true understanding of where their furniture piece came from,” Ms Langford said.
“Students visited the forest to see firsthand the planning, harvesting and regeneration cycle, and to gain a first-hand appreciation of the scientific research that underpins the management of forests.
“Next, they visited the Powelltown Mill to learn how timber is processed. They then used that timber to craft their pieces.”
Powelltown Sawmills CEO Dan Pote said it was a privilege to be involved in the partnership program.
“It was fantastic to see the projects progress to the quality pieces they have produced. The program started with tours of the forest to gain an understanding of native timber harvesting practices, how the logs are processed to make the timber, to the students being able to utilise the timber for their projects, without the financial impact,” Mr Pote said.
“They have created truly exceptional pieces that they should be extremely proud of.”
Ranges TEC teacher Mike Waddell said one his students, Elijah, had put a lot of work into his furniture piece, which was a table he hoped would be around for generations to come.
“Making a family heirloom table from this timber was very exciting to see the finished piece,” Elijah said.
Another student, James, said it was a gift to be able to use such beautiful wood.
Referring to the fact the donated wood was an offcut that would have been used for firewood, James said, “I am thankful that I could give this wood a second chance.”