Spencer Bursary winners: what we learned at the RASE/RFS conference

Date Issued: 09 May 2012
RFS Spencer Bursary winners from Bangor University. From left, Ben Robinson, Hugh Davies, Dan Kinash and Rob Stockley

Ten students who were awarded Spencer Bursaries from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) joined forestry industry experts at a conference looking at new ways of valuing and adding value to trees and woodlands.

The students heard a clarion call from Pam Warhurst, chair of Forestry Commission GB, for the industry to get together to raise the profile, understanding and value of the many ecosystem services that woodland management and forestry provide and which are often not currently reflected in valuations – such as leisure and wellbeing, carbon capture and sequestration, flood alleviation and biodiversity.

The NDG James Memorial Event Conference was held jointly by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) and the RFS at the National Agricultural Showground at Stoneleigh on April 23. Speakers included forestry industry leaders from Woodland Trust, the Rural Development Initiatives, Forestry Commission, the National Forest Company, Arboriculture Association, the CLA and from woodlands.co.uk, John Clegg & Co, Savills, Forest Carbon and Wilderness Wood.

Bangor University Environmental Forestry MSc student Dan Kinash said: “It was really useful to meet people who are at the forefront of British forestry, and hear the views from the people who are driving and shaping the industry.

“The traditional values session, especially the talk on woodfuel, was particularly useful for my upcoming thesis.”

Luke Quenby, who is studying for a BSc in Land Management at Moulton College, Northamptonshire added: “An area of particular interest was Wilderness Wood, demonstrating how lateral thinking and hard work can see a woodland become successful on many levels and in many ways.”

Ben Robinson, taking an MSc in Environmental Forestry at Bangor University said: “I got a strong sense that the forestry sector is in an exciting period of resurgence but also uncertainty; this was particularly affirmed by an interesting presentation on the current investment market. As someone just starting out on a career in forestry, I left with inspiration and optimism as well as an assurance that I was in the right industry!”

Four of the bursary winners were from Sparsholt College where they are studying for FdSc Lowland Woodland Management, and Extended Level 3 NVQ in Forestry, four were Environmental Forestry MSc students from Bangor University and two other students were from Moulton College in Northamptonshire (BSc Land Management) and Imperial College.

For details of all the presentations go to www.rfs.org.uk.

The RFS welcomes new members and offers discounted student rates.