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Prestigious Institute awards presented at National Conference 2023

The Institute’s National Conference 2023: Connecting Trees, Farmers and Foresters took place in Birmingham last month and a number of prestigious awards were presented to well-deserving, long-serving members who have played important roles in shaping the Institute’s operations.

Having dedicated his entire career to enhancing and promoting the professionalism of forestry, the Institute was delighted to award Peter Wilson FICFor CEnv with the Institute’s Medal at our National Conference dinner. For more than 30 years, Peter has led, inspired, and applied his skills to advance sustainable forest management on a global level, including playing a key role in the creation of a bespoke UKWAS model. Since joining in 1984, Peter has greatly supported the Institute as a Councillor, Examinations Assessor and as Interim Executive Director between 2004–2006. Peter commented:

“I felt proud, humbled and delighted to have been presented the Institute’s Medal at this year’s National Conference. Recognition by one’s peers is particularly gratifying and treasured. Perhaps it is also something of a lifetime’s achievement award reflecting amongst other things my work on building bridges and consensus between economic, environmental and social actors. If so, it is an accolade that I wish to share with all those with whom I have worked over many years. A big thank you to them all!”

Shireen Chambers MBE FICFor and Steve McCartney FICFor were also recognised for their outstanding services to the Institute and presented with the President’s Award.

Now CEO of Future Woodlands Scotland, Shireen’s leadership as Executive Director of the Institute from 2006–2022 significantly raised the Institute’s profile and policy work, and saw membership numbers more than double under her tenure. Upon receiving her award, Shireen commented:

“I was surprised to receive this award and particularly delighted that it was the gift of the outgoing President, Sharon Durdant Hollandby FICFor. The majority of Sharon’s tenure as President was taken up with difficult issues, not least of all a global pandemic, to which the Institute and its governance responded extremely well.

“It is this ability to adapt without hesitation yet continue in the pursuit of innovative ideas in raising standards for the profession that makes me most proud to be a member of the Institute.”

Steve McCartney FICFor has made a vital contribution to the Institute through his involvement with the examinations process for more than 20 years, initially as an assessor and as Chair of the Examinations Board from 2016–2022. He is now Chair of the judging panel for the Institute’s Professional Forester of the Year Award. Steve commented:

“It was a true highlight to receive this award in front of so many members of the Institute. At the Awards dinner, I recognised many who had assessed, moderated or staffed the examinations over the last 20 years or so – and several folks who I had interviewed!

“Like so many Institute events, not only was the evening itself enjoyable and rewarding, but I left once again benefitting from the wisdom of colleagues and encouraged about the future of our industry. My thanks to all who contributed to a great evening, and particularly for the consideration of this marvellous award.”

The Institute was also delighted to present Professor Cecil Konijnendijk FICFor (Hon) with an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his services to urban forestry. A strong supporter of the Institute’s Trees People and the Built Environment conference series, Cecil’s varied work relates to the important role of woodland, trees and other green space in urban settings and societies, with a particular focus on urban greening, policy and governance, public engagement, and scientific communication. Cecil commented:

“I am humbled and delighted about having been named Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters for my international work in urban forestry. This gives me extra motivation to continue working for bringing forests and trees to urban communities, also in close collaboration with the Institute.

 “It has taken some time for urban forestry to come of age and become widely recognised also within the forestry profession. ICF has been showing real leadership in this respect and I have been very happy to work with the Institute in the past, for example when organising the successful Trees, People and the Built Environment conferences.”

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