Being Wise About Woods –new trees and woodland courses from the Royal Forestry Society
There is a mantra in education that states: if I am told I forget, if I am shown I remember, if I do then I understand. And when it comes to forestry probably nothing could be more apposite. Forestry is a mix of practical and theoretical knowledge and skills which struggle to fit into conventional academic straight-jackets. Getting out and “doing” is always the best way, where theory and concepts can be tested and applied.
Owning and managing woodland
In recent years, there has been a significant shift in forest ownership in Britain. Increasingly, people want to take on the responsibility and the joy of owning and nurturing their own woodland. They might be interested in the peace and recreational value of their own green space, and the opportunity to create and promote wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Perhaps a love of trees or securing a supply of firewood are the important objectives Often, a number of reasons come into play at the same time and prove powerful motivators.
The Royal Forestry Society has long advocated creative approaches to learning. For well over 100 years we have been passionate about wise woodland management. We have been hosting gatherings and meetings in the forest (nearly 100 such events each year!), and promoted all kinds of formal and informal learning. In May 2016 we undertook research among new woodland owners to ask their views on woodland ownership, their motivation and how the society can assist them.
Learning and sharing
Among the fascinating findings of this work were the realisations that many people want to manage their own woodlands, they want to learn more, and they want to share their experiences with others. With this in mind, the RFS came to the conclusion that we need to augment what is now our traditional programme of activities and events.
The upshot is the new “Wise About Woods” programme. There are various strands under development, but foremost is practical, hands-on learning for woodland owners. We want to help, share and inspire. Up first is a series of one-day training events. Each course will address the basics of caring for and nurturing a woodland. Now you own a woodland, what next …. ?
Our launch event is a course with esteemed forester, Professor Julian Evans, himself a small woodland owner. He will use the RFS’s woodland at Hockeridge, near Bermkhamstead, Berks, to talk about the various ways of looking after and caring for a woodland. Tour stops around the forest will introduce many of the species, and both traditional and modern forestry methods.
Building from Julian’s course, we have courses in tree identification, led by tree expert Matt Parratt, and courses in how to measure and assess trees, woods and timber, from Mike Jones and Gavin Munro, both well-known forestry practitioners and teachers.
A lifetime endeavour
Forestry is as much about people and shared experiences as it is about the trees and woods themselves. It is also a lifetime endeavour; the learning never stops. Although we have new woodland owners in mind, anyone with an interest in woodlands or considering caring for their own woodland is welcome to participate in the courses.
Wise About Woods is about inspiration, learning, sharing and most of all the joy of working in harmony with nature.
To find out more, check out the courses online at: http://www.rfs.org.uk/events/training-courses
Blog by Ted Wilson, RFS