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Stwopendous experiences

Women and Sheep

Theresa Reichlin from the University of Toronto and winner of the 2017 Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award tells us about her work placement with 2017 Award Programme employer Pryor and Rickett Silviculture. She is a member of the Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada (CIF/IFC).

Veteran Trees
Trees like this would be marked as veteran trees. Unfortunately this one was a couple metres outside of the boundaries of the estate I was working on, so I couldn’t mark it!)

I am now comfortable enough to not use my GPS when driving to different sites. I’ve found the UK to be such a beautiful place – because I haven’t had time to explore the UK properly this summer I will definitely need to come back. I am halfway through my placement and I am now more confident in the work I am carrying out. I am enjoying the British tea culture, I’ve managed to drink more tea in the last 2 months than in my entire life!

On Veteran Trees

I have seen some very impressive trees in the UK. One of my bigger tasks this summer was to explore some estates in search of veteran trees. These would be great, big, impressive trees that require halo-thinning around the veteran trees in the next 5 years. Halo-thinning is a process in which the trees surrounding our individual tree of interest are cleared so that enough light can reach the tree so that it will have the capacity to spread its crown. I had to find and determine potential veteran trees in a specific 60 hectare area within an estate.

Women and Sheep
I’ve made many fans over the weeks.

I had to mark and map around 4 or 5 potential veteran trees per hectare and then define 20 actual veteran trees. 60 hectares doesn’t sound like too much but it is when you are spending most of your time looking for the woods! I managed to mark them subtly with blue spray paint, and get their coordinates and map them on our mapping software.

I have met many friends, including a herd of young bulls, several flocks of sheep, hundreds of pheasants and the occasional muntjac (a very small, dog-sized deer introduced to Britain from Asia).


#ForestLeadersUnite Reggie in Wales

Reggie and Russell in Wales in Russell’s 20 acre backyard.

Reggie came to visit me on the last weekend of July – we had an excellent road trip to the west of Wales, where we spent the evening with Russell Horsey MICFor and his family. The drive through Wales was beautiful and despite the rain we had a really good time. The day included a visit to a church yard which had Yew trees that are over 1000 years’ old, and a trip to Aberaeron to get some very famous ice-cream (The Hive Ltd.) and crab fishing. I felt accomplished by visiting two coasts in two weekends.

If I wasn’t in forestry I would have definitely been a fisherman. It was an excellent day followed by a very nice campfire – Russell’s kids were amazing, all of us had lots of fun getting to know each other whilst enjoying the beautiful landscape.

The Royal Welsh Show

I was lucky enough to get to drive through Wales – which I really enjoy – again two days later. It’s definitely my favourite landscape so far. The Royal Welsh Show (RWS) was an experience to remember. As one of the biggest agricultural shows in Europe, it brings the Welsh and other British nationals together to appreciate agriculture and everything that comes with it – from machinery to chemicals to fishing gadgets to forestry. I had an excellent time observing the woodsmen show as well. I watched a sheep shearing competition and learnt a little bit about the Welsh conservation efforts.

Forestry Tent
Confor tent! Several presentations from different people in the sector followed by a very British buffet.

I visited Confor’s tent for a talk on post-Brexit forestry investment opportunities and challenges, and met some really great people from the Institute of Chartered Foresters and other organisations. The RWS presented an opportunity for me to find a proper hat – as I’ve been slightly caught off guard with the intense heat wave that Britain underwent at the start of my placement. I was searching for a Tilley hat, according to several foresters I’ve met at the Woodland Heritage field weekend it’s very popular amongst British foresters. Funnily enough, I encountered my first Tilley hat in Ghana a couple months back, so I figured I should get one of my own and start building my proper forestry wardrobe (I probably won’t include tweed in it just yet). I liked one Tilley hat, but unfortunately they didn’t have it in my size. So the search continues! I’ve also been told that my wellies are not adequate, so I will search for the perfect pair of wellies too. One day I will get there!

Thank you Theresa.

Follow The Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award #ForestLeaders

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