Case study: Penny Oliver

The Institute’s Marketing Manager, Hester McQueen, interviewed Penny Oliver for 2019 International Women’s Day to highlight women excelling in our profession. Help us encourage people to join our profession and make it more diverse by joining the #ILookLikeAForester campaign. Find out how you can get involved >>

Penny Oliver, National Team Manager, Forestry Commission England

What do you love most about your job?

The people and the forests – I have been in forestry and the Forestry Commission for nearly 29 years doing a diverse range of jobs in some amazing places – from Chilterns, Kielder and the Lakes to North West England, the West Midlands and now Bristol but it is the fantastic people I have worked with in the Forestry Commission and met in partner organisations over the years which make it special as they are passionate about what they do.

Why choose forestry?

I grew up on a farm in Suffolk and always wanted to work outdoors and with people – so landing a Recreation Ranger job after university was the perfect mix for me and I’ve never looked back!

How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

Being open to the diverse range of forestry-related roles which women carry out and not always by the conventional routes. These days forestry requires a diverse range of skills such as GIS, Planning, Design, Project Management, Recreation, Civil Engineers, Art Curators…..

What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

Ensure our events and professional competencies cover the full range of forestry and tree related work.


Women across the profession will be posting images on social media of themselves on International Women’s Day to illustrate their work and the inspiring role they play. Follow the conversation #ILookLikeAForester