2016 World Forest Institute Fellows: Where Are They Now?

Samantha Kwan – Fellow from Malaysia

Samantha returned to work for the Sarawak Forestry Corporation at Piasau Nature Reserves (PNR) managing an urban forest in the city of Miri. She has been increasing public involvement in PNR and presenting on PNR’s successes at conferences. The connections she made during her fellowship followed her to Malaysia. She organized a public seminar on urban forestry with guest speaker Dr. Cecil Konijnendijk, a renowned professor from the University of British Columbia. She collaborated with Brian French, a well-known Portland arborist, on an insect cavity nesting project for the Oriental Pied Hornbill in PNR. In 2018, she will be setting up a nature classroom (inspired by attending the International Educators Institute at WFI) for urban areas in PNR. And recently, she was accepted as an active member for the IUCN Hornbill Specialist Group.

Rebecca Hsu – Fellow from Taiwan

After her fellowship, Rebecca went back to work for the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute. In 2017, she coordinated a new project, the Taiwan Tree Project, in partnership with Australian experts to conduct a portrait photo of Taiwania, one of the tallest conifers in East Asia. The project was very successful and raised more than one million New Taiwan Dollars (about 34,000.00 US Dollars) for environmental conservation in Taiwan.

Karishmaa Pai – Fellow from India

In 2017, Karishmaa joined International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc. as their strategic planner for fragrance development in Singapore. She works as part of the Fabric Team and is currently on a six-month project assignment in the Netherlands working on applying environmentally conscious principles to laundry detergents and softeners.

Andrea Cornejo – Fellow from Nicaragua

Andrea works as a researcher at the recently formed Interdisciplinary Institute of Natural Sciences at the University of Central America, Managua, Nicaragua. In this position, she conducts research related to forestry, ecosystem health, and non-timber forest products, as well as teaches as part of the Faculty of Science, Technology, and Environment. In 2017, she launched a Forum on Forests and Sustainable Forest Management, part of a lecture series to create a continuous conversation on forestry-related topics.

Abiodun Solanke – Fellow from Nigeria

For Abi, the immersion into the world of sustainability at the World Forest Institute remains a significant milestone. He returned home to start his collaborative practice – LITEHaus ARCHITECTURE + DEVELOPMENTS, an integrated firm of sustainable architecture and civil and environmental engineering. LiteHaus’ purpose is to bridge the gap between the theories and realities of living in the tropics by providing realistic, cost–effective, and sustainable solutions using local materials and appropriate technology. The firm seeks opportunities to maximize the use of bamboo and adobe. Abi’s mission is to bring about transformative thinking and application of renewable materials to eradicate sub-standard housing for low- and middle-income Nigerians and Africans at large. He believes the highest form of efficiency is to make the best use of local materials, with global perspectives in mind, to solve affordable housing problems. In 2017, his affordable housing scheme using recycled material was selected as one of the top 50 innovative entrepreneurial ideas by the British Council in Nigeria. Abi is an active advocate for the improvement of vulnerable, under-served, and disenfranchised communities.

Adam Wasiak – Fellow from Poland

In his new position as the deputy director at the Bureau for Forest Management and Geodesy in Poland, Adam is responsible for the performance of forest management plans, the national forest inventory, and updating forest resource assessments.

Ana de Muñoz – Fellow from Spain

Ana is working on her PhD. in forestry at the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland. In September 2017, she started working for Coillte, the Irish state commercial company responsible for managing forests. Last year, she also volunteered for Calmast, an organization that brings science and engineering to the general public and particularly to children.

Yu Lei – Fellow from China

After his fellowship, Lei went back to working for the Chinese Academy of Forestry in Beijing, where he manages two of their research centers.