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Forestry Randle Awardees take off for Africa, America and Europe
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Four RFS Student Members, studying at four different universities, will be heading out this summer to learn about trees, forests and sustainable woodland management in the USA, Hungary and Nigeria - thanks to bursaries from the RFS Randle Travel Fund.

RFS Education Manager Ted Wilson said: "We had an exceptionally strong field of applicants for the Randle Travel Bursaries 2016 and it was exciting to learn about the inspirational work that is being done by students across England and Wales.

"All four projects offer potential cross-over benefits to British forestry and woodland management. Each applicant will be submitting a report on their travel experience that we anticipate will appear in the RFS Quarterly Journal of Forestry and we look forward to hearing more about their projects in the coming months."               

Recipients of Randle Travel Fund bursaries in 2016 are:

  • Emma Gilmartin, a PhD student at Cardiff University, is researching fungal community development in hollowing beech trees. To date, most of her research has been in the UK and, latterly, in Poland with the Ancient Tree Forum. Emma is now planning to travel to California and Oregon to meet with mycology experts and US Forest Service foresters  to learn more about the Northwest Forests Plan - a collection of policies covering the states of California, Oregon and Washington which have been in place for about 20 years.
  • Gejza Jano, a 2nd year BSc Hons Woodland Management student at the National School of Forestry in the University of Cumbria, who will be travelling to Hungary to carry out multipurpose assessment of forest biodiversity conservation in the Carpathian region of Hungary. The project will involve surveying 63 tree, 40 shrub and 145 herb species. He hopes to help to suggest potential tree species for climate change trials in Britain. 
  • Niall Williams, who is in his second year of a BA (Hons) in Landscape Architecture  at  Birmingham City University, will be joining the RFS Overseas Study Tour to New England, USA, in October 2016. He is focussed on learning more about what different nations are trialling, and the issues and solutions they have developed to improve their land management. Niall has already completed a course in forestry at Sparsholt College and is curating a series of lectures at BCU on flooding and resilience landscapes. He has taken part in a previous RFS study tour to Costa Rica.
  • Zubairu Yakubu, an MSc student at Bangor University, will be examining the contribution of indigenous fruits to livelihood and rural nutrition in North Western Nigeria.  The work will involve assessing the influence of wild fruit trees to the livelihoods and nutrition of rural dwellers in the semi-arid regions of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States - an  area with a mean annual temperature of 28-40C and erratic rainfall of 250–600mm.
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Emma Gilmartin Gejza Jano Niall Williams Zubairu Yakubu


RFS travel bursaries are made possible thanks to the generosity of the Donald Randle Trust. The Randle Travel Fund supports RFS members to travel overseas to enrich their forestry experience and understanding. Up to four bursaries are awarded each year and have proved an effective way of supporting learning and knowledge dissemination. Any member of RFS is eligible to apply for a Randle Travel Fund bursary. In recent years, recipients have travelled as far afield as Belarus, Costa Rica, Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Poland and Scandinavia.

Find out more about RFS bursaries and studentships here or contact the RFS on 01295 678588.