Sonia Lorenzo-Martin MICFor, Forestry Commission England

How has chartered status helped your career?

Although my academic background in forestry was in Spain, my whole practical forestry career has evolved in the South of England. Achieving chartered status has been a huge personal success that I’m really proud of. This status is recognised by colleagues in the industry and reaffirms my knowledge and professional judgement to my peers, and provides public confidence when dealing with stakeholders/customers.

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

Being a member of the Institute allows me to keep in contact with a wide range of topics linked to forestry and land management. Over the years, my career has taken me from being a beat forester to my current management position leading a team of forest planners, ecologists and conservation project officers. It’s very important for me to keep the connection with practical/applied woodland management, as well as balancing the multi-purpose objectives driven by different agendas. The Institute provides a range of forums for the exchange of ideas, sharing good practice as well as essential opportunities for networking.

Why is the Institute of Chartered Foresters membership important to you?

It’s about recognition and the sense of belonging to a wonderful group of professionals who embrace a diverse range of challenges in pursue of managing woodlands in a sustainable way. Legacy is very important to me, I want to make a difference and leave a better environment for generations to come. Being a member of the Institute allows me to maintain up-to-date knowledge and understanding of legislation and best practice guidance in order to maintain the highest levels of professionalism and continue to develop my technical and professional knowledge.

What motivated you to become chartered?

After two degrees in forestry and 15 years working for the Forestry Commission I thought this was the ‘obvious’ next step. I had no doubts that it was the right decision for me. The chartered status is recognised by members of the community outside the forestry sector, which comes with acknowledgment and credit to the profession. The MICFor credentials command respect from stakeholders and peers by demonstrating that I work to the highest professional and ethical standard. The Forestry Commission actively encourages staff to become Chartered Foresters. I feel lucky to be given this opportunity and the invaluable support of my line manager.

Why do you choose the Institute of Chartered Foresters?

Because of the relevance to my job, after all I’m a forester! It’s clear that we can all learn from each other, and the insights that the Institute provides are aligned with my personal interest in forestry and land management.

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

I have participated in very interesting and informative events organised by the Institute where the network opportunities have been essential to creating links that have facilitated the delivery of my work. Although I’ve not been directly involved with the events, I am very keen on supporting the Institute as much as I can!