Andy Lederer, ICF Development Director, attended the 2017 National Tree Officers Conference in November – the UK’s only dedicated national tree officers conference which hosted 240 delegates from local authorities around the UK. Andy reports on his experience.
On Wednesday 8 November 2017, Telford in Shropshire saw the largest gathering of local authority tree, woodland and planning officers in one place for more than a decade. The National Tree Officers Conference brought together local authority officers, arboricultural consultants, tree nurseries, tree contractors, tree-related organisations, arboricultural equipment distributors / manufacturers and risk managers from across the UK to share experiences, knowledge and best practice. The conference was jointly delivered by three partner organisations: the Institute of Chartered Foresters; the London Tree Officers Association; and the Municipal Tree Officers Association.
More than 13 speakers contributed to the day, with 11 presentations covering key topics such as planning, innovation, research, i-Tree and in-house tree services. All of the speakers were directly employed by a local authority which is what made this conference so unique and valuable – an opportunity for local authority officers to showcase what they do, what they have developed; and how these ideas and processes can benefit others within the industry. All the presentations are available to download now from the Institute of Chartered Foresters website.
The conference highlighted collaboration is key to success – this was showcased by a number of authorities, practitioners and partner organisations involved in the setup, delivery and success of such a fantastic event. The more arboriculturists collaborate within and outside of their sectors of expertise, the more the arboricultural industry can grow, evolve and showcase the importance of appropriate, professional management of the urban tree stock. Tree Officers are custodians of the urban forest and they need to be provided with the necessary resources to ensure the benefits that trees provide to human health and the natural environment now will continue to benefit future generations.
ICF’s Associate member John Parker, Chair of the London Tree Officers Association, was tasked with providing a closing address to the conference. Parker stated:
“You do an amazing job. You are multi-skilled professionals managing multi-functional infrastructure. Promote yourselves! Sell yourselves! Go back to your local authority and tell them what you have learned today. Go back to your local authority and tell them that tree officers are doing and sharing incredible work and that you are a part of it. We will always be stronger when we stick together – we need to make sure that we continue to do so. Thank you all very much for coming.”
You can follow the course of the day, as it unfolded, by searching #TreeOfficerUK on social media. You will be able to see all the comments and photos that were posted throughout the event by the organisers and the delegates. There are more photos on facebook.