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Forestry works supervisor wins Alec Pyman Award
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Alec Pyman Award: From the left, David Atkinson (forestry lecturer, University of Cumbria), Stuart Palmer (RFS Divisional chairman), award winner Andrew Whistler and Professor Robert Hannaford

Date Issued: 03 December 2012


Forestry Commission forest works supervisor Andrew Whistler has received this year’s Alec Pyman Award for excellence after coming top in the Forestry Foundation Degree at the University of Cumbria’s Newton Rigg College. The Award is presented by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) North West Division and is named after the late Alec Pyman, MBE, a pioneer in forestry education and a former RFS member.

Andrew Whistler, from Garboldisham on the edge of the Thetford Forest in Norfolk, already held a National Diploma in Countryside Management and was working as a forest craftsperson for the Forestry Commission when he decided to take the Foundation Degree on block release.

Presenting the award, RFS North West Division chairman Stuart Palmer said: “Forestry is a dynamic industry, constantly needing to adapt and change to fit society’s needs. It is an exciting time to be involved, as new ideas and improved technologies are introduced. Wood-fuel is now a viable alternative to fossil fuels and the recent Independent Panel on Forestry Report highlights just how important woodlands are to the public and local communities. There are also challenges and our current focus is on the impact of new pests and diseases, such as ash dieback and the role of global markets in their spread.

“It is ever more important that those looking after our forests and trees have the theoretical knowhow, as well as the practical expertise, to make sure our woodlands can continue to flourish and deliver a broad range of benefits.”

Alec says: “Within recent weeks I’ve accepted a six month contract as a Forest Works Supervisor within my district. I feel this will be the perfect opportunity for me to advance my career within an area I thoroughly enjoy.

“I would like to thank Newton Rigg for supporting and guiding me throughout the past three years, the Forestry Commission for allowing me to complete this course and the various people within the East Anglia Forest District who have supplied booklets and advice for the duration of my degree.”