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Conifers for Colleges Live at Myerscough College
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Myerscough College has become the first to launch RFS Conifers for Colleges in the North West with planting in their campus woodlands.

Conifers for Colleges is our flagship education and research programme, bringing colleges and students together with specialist forest nurseries and leading forestry suppliers.

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Celebrating the start of

Conifers for Colleges at

Myerscough  with RFS

North Western Division's

Joe Walsh on the far right

Dr Andrew Hirons is a Senior Lecturer in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry at Myerscough College and says: “Ensuring the resilience of our national tree stock is essential for the future of UK forests. The Conifers for Colleges scheme presents an excellent opportunity for successive generations of students to contribute towards forestry research. The generous donations made by the project sponsors will enrich our educational resources for decades to come.”

Fellow Myerscough lecturer, Duncan Slater, added: ‘’This planting represents a great opportunity for the College to interact further with the forestry industry, which it already helps in terms of the training of students in woodland management practices and practical courses in the use of chainsaws, tree climbing and the safe use of arboricultural machinery.‘’

"Our diploma and degree students are all taught about and involved in tree-related research, so this project adds another opportunity for learning for both our current and future students and adds to the suite of scientific trials that the College is undertaking on-campus and within the arboricultural industry.”

The project recognises the risks that climate change, pests and diseases represent to woodlands, and the need for a wider range of tree species and a greater supply of skills. It highlights the importance of conifers to the UK forestry and timber industries while promoting research and education into alternative novel species.

Helping with the first planting at RFS North Western Division's Joe Walsh says: "The UK forestry industry has made tremendous strides over the past one hundred years and more than doubled the tree cover of our island. Yet we still import 80% of our timber needs. With the generous support of our sponsors, Conifers for Colleges will raise the awareness of these beautiful trees and highlight this important resource and the opportunity they provide for contributing far more to our national economy.

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Students planting Conifers

for Colleges at Myerscough

College

"The North West of England with our mild climate and no shortage of rainfall provides ideal growing conditions for conifers so it is fitting that this project starts at Myerscough College. We need new species. Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, Larch and Scots/Corsican Pine have served us well but recent years have shown that we need to diversity. If we don’t, disease and climate change will force it on us.

"We have the trees already. A stroll around any large garden or arboretum will reveal giant trees that have outgrown their companions but are not presently being used in forestry. This exciting project brings together nurseries, colleges and students in finding a safer future for our industry."

Conifers for Colleges was launched nationally on 5 November at Moulton College in Northamptonshire. Director of FC England, Ian Gambles praised the project for playing an important part in the forestry sector's drive for resilience. Full details and his talk and support for the project are available here.

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Planting: Kim D’Arcy, left,

and Tom Robinson, both

on the FdSc (Foundation

Degree) in Arboriculture

Three other colleges are also launching Conifers for Colleges this year: Plumpton College in East Sussex, Northumberland College and Coleg Gwent in Usk.

Each college will receive 400 coniferous trees and 100 additional broadleaf trees donated by project. Research data from their planting plots will be widely available to woodland owners and managers over the coming years via the free-to-use database SilviFuture.

The project has been made possible thanks to sponsors Alba Trees in East Lothian, Cheviot Trees Ltd of Berwick on Tweed, and Prees Heath Nurseries of Whitchurch, Shropshire and 500 tree guards to protect trees from damage donated by Tubex.

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Digging in: Student Wes Hall