Women in Forestry: Caroline Riches MICFor

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, we interviewed a number of our female members who are excelling in our profession. Caroline Riches MICFor is a Senior Officer of Forest Operations at Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru / Natural Resources Wales.

What do you love most about your job?

As a Forest Resource Planner, I compile long term forest management plans. I love spending time in the forest looking at stands and making decisions that will shape the future of the forest. This is not done in isolation however, as I consult with all sorts of people that have a vested interest in the forest. This can range from local Wildlife Trusts to the Ministry of Defence, and everyone in between. I really enjoy meeting the stakeholders and I find it gives me a chance to promote the good work that we do in forestry.

Why choose forestry?

There is so much more to forestry than meets the eye. It encompasses science, conservation, engineering, marketing, planning and so much more. There are many directions that a career in forestry can take you, depending on your interest and skills and there really is a role for everyone. I have been training for ten years and I feel that there is a lifetime of learning ahead of me. If you like a job that is challenging and stimulating with the best views imaginable, then choose forestry!

How can ICF support women in forestry and arboriculture?

The ICF is a great place to meet with inspirational women in forestry and arboriculture, who can offer advice and mentoring to those joining the industry. I myself have looked to these strong role models and have been motivated by their achievements. There are several national and regional events each year where foresters can connect and share experiences. When looking around at those in attendance, I have always been impressed by the representation of females present.

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

The ICF can help to promote what is already there, and that’s women working in the forest alongside men. To me, this is the norm. I don’t feel that I work in a ‘man’s world’, as some like to say. It’s the perception that needs to be broken down, so that young females can see forestry as the welcoming profession that it is.

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