‘The environment helped shape who I am.’
Sian Slowik is part of a passionate team helping to restore natural environments via bush regeneration and planting projects. Timberwolf team members, collectively known as 'the wolf pack', work on a wide variety of projects, from wetlands to forestry (and everything in between) Australia-wide, year-round.
We caught up with Sian to learn about her career journey and what makes working for Timberwolf special. ‘I originally started in hospitality. In 2018, ‘we moved from Melbourne up to Queensland.’ Needing a career change, ‘mental health was a huge part', and loving the outdoors, applying to Timberwolf was a no-brainer.
Despite the appeal of an outdoor office, there was a steep learning curve from home gardening and VCAL school projects to planting trees all-day. ‘I thought if it’s anything like that it'll be easy, but it’s completely different and a lot harder.’
The new environment - both the natural and alongside her new colleagues - was impactful. 'My self-image has drastically improved.'
‘I wasn’t a very confident person within myself before joining Timberwolf. The work environment is one of a kind. I’ve never worked in any job that is even remotely close to what Timberwolf is like.’
Sian’s talent was identified early. After 6 months ’I moved up to crew boss' (site supervisor.) ‘Which taught me a lot. I’ve been able to go further from crew bossing. I ended up training people as well. Teaching them how to plant onsite and prevent injuries, eventually moving into management.’
These days she mixes HR work from home with onsite work, managing staff and training the next-gen of tree planters. Days in the field can be challenging ‘I’ve done days of 10 - 15 staff onsite a day which will be hard when they’re all planting 2,000 trees a day.'
The opportunity to get fit is a perk of the job and physical fitness is now a priority outside of work 'I wasn’t the healthiest person coming into this job.’ These days when not out in the field ‘working out is a big one. It’s a very physically challenging job. On a day where you use what we call a heavy shovel, that alone is 7 kilos and you can be carrying 20 - 30 kilograms of plants.’
The wolf pack culture is unique and strong she says, like family.
‘We’ve got friends from all over the world. It’s tough workers, you’ve got to be resilient, have to want to push your limits, and challenge yourself. You bring that with your friends on site, you push yourself.’
Her advice for someone considering joining or new to Timberwolf?
’Stick with it, keep going. Don’t give up in your first couple of weeks because you don’t know where you’ll end up. On my first day, I didn’t even do a hundred plants. I can tell you all about the job, but until you’re onsite you won’t understand.’
‘It shapes who you are really.’