Philip Simpkin MICFor, Wycombe District Council

How has chartered status helped your career?

Although there was no expectation for me to become chartered as a tree officer, the fact that I have, means that my ideas have been given more weight and I believe I have been able to achieve more as a result.

How does being a member of the Institute help you do your job better?

The ‘Trees People and the Built Environment’ Conferences which the Institute has held, have been fantastic at opening up my eyes to different ways in which trees can be integrated into planning. I have been inspired to push for a new planning policy requiring 25% canopy coverage in new developments in my district – if successful it will make a real difference to the quality of future urban environments.

Why is the Institute of Chartered Forester’s membership important to you?

I have never been the most naturally confident or outgoing person. I have tried to confront this over the years and being chartered contributes to a greater inner confidence I have developed, as well as outwardly demonstrating my professional status.

What motivated you to become chartered?

As a child I was often out adventuring in the countryside, climbing trees and making camps. This early passion drove my studies and job choices, and combined with the fact I am someone who likes to keep on improving and moving forward. I had progressed to a professional member of the Arboricultural Association, but in the world of trees and forests there is only one body which can offer a truly meaningful chartered status.

Why do you choose the Institute of Chartered Foresters?

When considering my options to become chartered, I did consider the Society for the Environment, through which I could have applied to become a Chartered Environmentalist. This option was open to me by being a professional member of the Arboricultural Association and if I only wanted the badge of being chartered, it might have been an easier route to take. However, I wanted to be part of the professional body which is most relevant to my skills and experience and being chartered with the Institute of Chartered Foresters held far more meaning to me. Chartered Environmentalist status might one day be an additional feather in my cap but the Institute have provided the cap!

What is the best thing you’ve done through your ICF membership?

A couple of things really stand out. In 2009 I went travelling around the world. On my travels, I was naturally drawn to trees and woodlands and the Institute asked me to write a series of articles about the trees I found on my adventures for the Chartered Forester magazine. Then in 2016 I was given the opportunity to speak at the first National Tree Officers Conference, all about canopy cover and planning policy. I would never have done these things without the Institute, and for that, I am truly grateful.


If you’d like to join the Institute, please visit Join Us to submit your application or contact the ICF team who can provide you with guidance and support on your route to chartered status.