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“Outstanding” students receive awards
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From left, RAC Principal Chris Gaskell, John Hunt, the Dean of the School of Real Estate and Land Management David Cox and RFS Gloucester Division Chairman John Ducker

Date Issued: 25 November 2011


A student from the Royal Agricultural College (RAC) in Cirencester and another from Herefordshire College of Technology’s Holme Lacy campus have received awards from Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Divisions for their outstanding work.

Ben Binnian, won the George Clive Memorial Prize, presented each year by the RFS Herefordshire Division in recognition of noted forester George Clive. John Hunt won the Morley Penistan Award, presented every year by the RFS Gloucestershire Division to a student at the RAC in memory of another much admired forester.

Ben had successfully completed the NVQ Level 2 Forestry and Arboriculture Apprenticeship and now works full time for Bodenham Arboretum where he undertook his apprenticeship. It is a family run business which was initially bought by his grandfather and has been passed down the generations. The business has changed from focusing on farming to trees and has a very successful visitor centre.

Ben commented: “I am really pleased to be getting this award. I enjoy the work; it is so varied from planting, caring, felling and thinning. The apprenticeship was great as it covered everything; it provided me with the NVQ, but more importantly the chainsaw and climbing tickets too. It was recommended by a colleague and we have both thoroughly enjoyed it.”

John Hunt won the Morley Penistan Award for outstanding work in the Environmental and Woodland Management module of the BSc (Hons) in Countryside Management at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.

John grew up on his parents’ farm in Budleigh Salterton where fruit trees, tree health, and general agriculture formed a strong backdrop. He said: “The module has given me a much greater understanding of woodland management and the need to balance different, and sometimes competing, management objectives. My future plans are to continue in education and complete an MSc in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Exeter, working towards my long term career goal working as an advisor within agri-environment schemes.”

RFS Chief Executive Dr John Jackson said: “Woodland and forestry management today encompasses many different disciplines that require a range of skills. These courses have equipped both Ben and John for the different career paths they are pursuing. We wish them both well with their plans for the future.”