An Aberdeen University student is celebrating after winning an award from Tilhill Forestry and graduating with an MSc in Environmental and Forest Management.
Heather Fraser, 26, from Scotland, won the Tilhill Forestry Award for being the outstanding student on the MSc Environmental and Forest Management programme in 2017-2018.
She said: “I am delighted to have received this award and thankful that Tilhill Forestry sponsor it for students who, for the most part, are at the beginning of a new career in forestry. It has really solidified the fact that I made the correct choice in changing fields and retraining at the age of 26 to do something I enjoy and have an interest in. I am grateful for the support of my friends and family over the past year who helped make it all possible. My award was truly unexpected as I was studying alongside a great group of individuals many of whom have now also embarked on their career as foresters. Being able to bounce ideas off them was invaluable.”
Heather was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Julian Hollingdale, Tilhill Forestry District Manager for North Highland along with £250.
Julian Hollingdale upon presenting the award said: “Tilhill Forestry has a long association with Aberdeen University as many of its past and present employees have studied there. Forestry has been taught at Aberdeen since 1907 and brings together the disciplines of forestry, ecology, zoology, and plant science. The Department has an excellent reputation both nationally and internationally. It was a pleasure to present this award to such an outstanding student as Heather.”
Dr Louise M Page, School of Biological Sciences (Forestry), at Aberdeen University, said: “Heather was nominated for the award as she was clearly the outstanding student on the MSc in Environmental and Forest Management programme in 2017-2018. She maintained an exceptionally high standard throughout her year in Aberdeen, achieving Distinction standard in all but one of her courses and is due to graduate with Distinction in November. She always participated fully in class discussions and on field courses, particularly during the final taught course, the overseas field course, where her thoughtful observations on the applicability of German forestry practice to the British situation demonstrated a very good understanding of forestry. She also performed very well during the MSc Project. In planning and executing her own experimental design she demonstrated her skill in solving new problems and determination to do a good job. She was a pleasure to have in the class, not just as a high performing student but also one who was helpful, cheerful and a good team player.”
As part of the company’s work to strengthen links with students, Tilhill Forestry presents awards to top performing forestry students at leading universities offering qualifications in Forestry. The company also runs a popular graduate placement scheme and a structured programme to grow the management skills not only of graduates but other staff as well.
Following Heather’s win she has recently been employed as an Assistant Forest Manager in Central Scotland with Tilhill Forestry and is looking forward to completing the graduate management development programme.