Members of the Institute of Chartered Foresters have elected a new President and Vice President.
Alastair Sandels FICFor was elected President as the successor to David Edwards FICFor, who has completed two years in the role, and Sharon Hosegood FICFor succeeds Alastair as Vice President. She is the first Chartered Arboriculturist to hold this position.
Alastair qualified as a Professional member of the Institute in 1992, was promoted to Fellow in 2010 and has over 35 years’ experience in the sector. He is Managing Director of Trioss, a company that works internationally on resilience and climate change, adaptation and mitigation.
He becomes President at a time when demands on the profession have never been greater. The Institute’s recent National Conference heard that trees have a critical role to play in combating climate change and providing wood fibre and timber as demand increases. Alastair is urging members, and future members, to rise to the challenge.
Alastair said: “It is a privilege and honour to be President of the Institute. I hope as a profession we will look beyond the confines of our professional responsibilities to the wider challenges. The Institute is in its strongest position since chartered status was awarded with more members and stronger finances”.
He is keen to build on these strengths, not just by attracting more members, but also exploring innovation, for example, recognising vocational skills as a path to membership. This may mean looking at changes to the constitution and policies with the aim of providing more professional development opportunities for all members in all regions.
“As professionals we face challenges at all stages of our careers. The Institute’s Code of Conduct and Ethics is powerful and offers a unique benchmark for us and for our stakeholders. If we don’t embrace professional development we will fail to meet our potential. We need to be ambitious as an Institute and for the next generation,” he added.
Newly elected Vice President, Sharon Hosegood, is a Chartered Arboriculturist and Managing Director of arboricultural consultancy Sharon Hosegood Associates with expertise in planning and construction, tree hazard management, and tree radar. Sharon is also a Fellow of the Arboricultural Association and board member for the Institute of Arboricultural Studies (Hong Kong).
“I am honoured and delighted to serve Institute members and the President in this role. As the first arboricultural Vice President, I hope this will encourage more arboriculturists to start the path to chartership. Being chartered is an easily recognisable accreditation. It raises our standing amongst other professionals and provides quality assurance,” she said.
She points out that there are challenges to be addressed in the sector due to continuing pressures on trees and forests from pests and diseases, land use demands and climate change at a time when public awareness of tree management remains confused. “But at a time of low resources in the public sector and too few people with the right skill set and qualifications we need to keep pushing the importance of trees and forests for the well-being of our ecosystem and our communities,” she explained.
“We need to let people know what a great career choice this is. The importance of tree officers within local authorities is sometimes not recognised. I find it astonishing that at a time of great pressure on trees, especially our urban trees, and the measurable benefits they provide, some local authorities are not employing tree officers. In private practice, our role seems to be more widely accepted with early consultation on development schemes. What is less understood is that arboriculture is a fascinating and worthwhile profession,” she added.
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