This summer Erin, a recent forestry graduate from Canada, has joined the Heart of England Forest team on a 3-month placement. Why, you might ask, has Erin found herself here in the UK? It’s all down to Erin being one of four successful recipients of the 2018 Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award.

The Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award is organised by the Canadian Institute of Forestry, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, and the Duchy of Cornwall. A total of four students are selected (two from Canada and two from the United Kingdom) annually who will then be employed with a forestry organisation in their partner country for a three-month placement. The programme is designed to provide students and recent graduates with the opportunity to experience a variety of interdisciplinary forestry activities in an international setting.

“This unique and prestigious Award helps foster future forest leaders by recognising young professionals with a passion for forestry and natural resources management,” explains Dana Collins, Executive Director at CIF-IFC.

We asked Erin where her love of forestry comes from.

“I became interested in forestry and nature at a young age, growing up in a small town in Newfoundland near Gros Morne National Park. I spent a lot of time hiking and exploring the National Park, and other forested areas nearby. Then, in high school, I started working for the National Park as a Visitor Service Attendant. While I wasn’t working directly within the natural resource industry, I admired the work of the Resource Conservation Team, and knew I wanted to do similar work in the future.”

Erin continues, “After completing my first year at The College of the North Atlantic in the Forest Resources Technician programme, I took a work placement with Gros Morne National Park as a Student Resource Technician. This placement reassured me that this was what I wanted to do and provided me with the opportunity to gain some great experience in the field. I have now recently graduated from The College of the North Atlantic and will be going back to school in September at the University of New Brunswick to complete a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Environmental Management.”

And what has Erin been up to in the Forest?

“So far, I have been assisting the Forestry Team with maintenance of the trees that were planted last year, sowing seed at the tree nursery, completing biodiversity surveys, and some silviculture work including thinning to help keep the woodlands in a good condition. I am looking forward to continuing work in these areas, while also getting involved in some technical forestry work and tree health surveys throughout the rest of the summer.”

“Some of my favourite moments include seeing the seed at the nursery start to germinate and exploring the vast network of public access paths that extend throughout The Heart of England Forest. Also, everyone brings their dogs to work!”

Did you know we have a dedicated team of volunteers which work alongside the Forestry Team to help to create and maintain England’s largest new native broadleaf woodland? So, if, like Erin, you are interested in forestry and would like to help to grow and manage the Forest, why not get in touch by emailing volunteer@hoef.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you.

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