Wednesday 21 July was a red-letter day for staff from the Institute. Finally, after many, many months of isolation we were all together, in the same (well-ventilated) room at the same time (with the exception of Stuart, who Zoomed in from his garden in the west).
Some of us had never met before! Having joined the team in February 2020, I hadn’t had an opportunity to meet the Bristol crew before COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions hit. So, meeting them all ‘off-screen’ was wonderful.
The purpose of the first day was to complete a workshop run by Edinburgh-based creative marketing agency, 39steps. The brief for the day: focus on how best to inform non-members about how the Institute can support tree professionals – from CPD, events and training, right up to gaining chartered status – the highest professional qualification available in our sector, which only the Institute can deliver. Lots of ideas, discussions and fun ensued – you really can’t beat getting creative alongside real people!
Thursday 22 July would prove to be just as eventful! With a morning spent visiting a harvesting site at Queen Elizabeth Forest, Aberfoyle, the team met with Shirley Leek and James Kyle of Forestry and Land Scotland, both Associate members of the Institute, and ‘Wullie’, the forwarder driver who explained some of the complexities of forestry operations. They described the vast area that they cover and the issues that can affect their best laid plans. Their insights were fascinating and, as a newbie to the forestry profession, were a real eye opener to me.
Then, the main event. GoApe! To say I was slightly anxious about this part of our team-building day would be something of an understatement. However, the instructions were clear, the location stunning, and the fabulous group of teammates that I was to share the experience with made it a work day out to remember.
Between hanging on for dear life, trying to attach ourselves safely to each activity and trying not to fall off as we laughed at ourselves and each other, I ended up surprising myself and had a great time. If Carlsberg made work days out…