ICF Member Takes on Big Role at Small Woods
Small Woods, the national woodland charity based in the West Midlands, has announced a new CEO who will take up the post in May.
Mike Bentley, a Professional member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Small Woods Association. Mike replaces Jude Walker who is retiring after ten years with the organisation.
Mike has 34 years of practical and managerial experience in the woodland industry, starting his career as a Forest Craftsman and tractor driver for the Forestry Commission in Dorset before returning to full time education at the Scottish School of Forestry in Inverness where he gained a Diploma in Forestry. He became a member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters in 1988.
Mike was a Forest Officer with the Forestry Commission in Scotland where he became well versed in the planning and supervision of woodland operations. In 1995 he left public sector employment to take on a new and exciting role in the private sector developing and delivering TimberAuctions.co.uk – an online timber marketing service – becoming a Partner in the firm in 2002.
Mike has been involved with projects and consultancy assignments involving Woodlots, Ecolots, city woodland resource surveys and valuations for state and private woodlands with John Clegg & Co. He also has experience of industry representation roles at national level with the Association of Professional Foresters and with the Forestry Contracting Association.
Mike Bentley said:
“I can’t wait to get started when I take up the appointment in mid-May. These are exciting times for the woodland sector with unprecedented interest from the general public and a formal endorsement from government on the many different benefits provided by trees. The trick will be to turn all these positive words into practical measures which lead to an increase in the amount of sustainable woodland management being carried out in the UK. Small Woods is ideally placed to play a pivotal role in this and I look forward to building on all the good work and success that Jude Walker has achieved”
John Blessington, Chair of Trustees at Small Woods said:
“We are grateful to Jude Walker for the work she has done guiding the charity over the last 10 years and we are looking forward to working with Mike Bentley to take us to the next stage. Mike will work to maximize the benefits for small woodlands with a plan centred on the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Forestry and the Government’s response, together with the Government’s new Forestry and Woodland Policy Statement. There are new initiatives and new opportunities to pursue whilst energetically supporting the Small Woods membership.”
The Small Woods Association is a national charity based at the Green Wood Centre in the Ironbridge Gorge near Telford, Shropshire. Small Woods actively encourages the sustainable management of woodland, providing a quarterly magazine, running events, training courses and seminars. The membership base includes: woodland owners, managers, craftspeople, practitioners, community groups and those with an interest in woodland.
Alongside work with the membership and the educational opportunities the organisation provides, Small Woods run a variety of projects including: a National Coppice Development programme, social forestry projects working with hard to reach groups and those with health issues, the Heartwoods project which is developing the woodfuel supply chain in the West Midlands, supporting growers, practitioners, suppliers and woodfuel boiler installations and the Coed Lleol project in Wales, which supports a local health programme.