Exhibition celebrating women in forestry to open

The Forestry Commission, Forestry England and Forest Research are today calling for the general public to submit photos of modern day ‘Lumberjills’ – pictures of women working in the forestry sector – to create a People’s Picture in a first of its kind celebration of women in forestry.

The images will go on display at the forthcoming Women in Forestry, The Lumberjills Story exhibition at Grizedale Forest this May. The People’s Picture will illustrate the connection today’s women have with forests and woodlands by inviting them to submit photos showing themselves at work.  Women who don’t work in forestry are also being asked to submit photos of themselves in a favourite forest spot or woodland space.

The exhibition will also celebrate the contribution of the WWII Lumberjills: a group of women who played a vital role in maintaining the supply of timber during the Second World War. People who have pictures of working Lumberjills from WWII are also invited to submit their pictures for display at the forthcoming exhibition.

Women have long played a role in modern forestry but are underrepresented. As tree planting across the country increases, so does the demand for a larger skilled domestic forestry sector to deliver Government tree planting and net zero ambitions. There are a wide range of careers in forestry available for women from all backgrounds, from being a forester, ecologist, or tree surgeon, to working in conservation to scientific research. There are also lots of exciting wider roles linked to our nation’s forests, from business planning and management to leisure and tourism.

Forestry Minister Trudy Harrison said:

“I know women will play an important role in forestry as we increase tree planting to help nature’s recovery, grow the UK’s timber provision, combat the effects of climate change and reach net zero by 2050.

We must create a diverse and inclusive sector, and open up even more careers for women – from foresters to ecologists, woodland officers and business planners.  I’m encouraging women from all backgrounds join this growing sector.”

Forestry Commission Director of Forest Services, Anna Brown said:

“Women are a key part of the Forestry workforce and I have been lucky enough to have had a varied and exciting career in the industry.  I encourage anyone interested in a career in Forestry to take advantage of the options available today and help expand, protect, improve and connect our forests, woods and trees.

From the Development Woodland Officer Programme to the Forestry Training Fund, the Forestry Commission hosts accessible and valuable resources to help people build and diversify their skills in forestry, offering training in essential skills”.

The Forestry Commission has a number of routes into exciting, innovative and important forestry roles for women to help support its plans to expand, protect and improve our forests, woods and trees. Applications are open to join the forestry Degree-level Apprenticeship Programme in 2023 – a first-of-its-kind initiative to foster a growing, highly skilled and diverse workforce within the forestry sector. We have also launched the Forestry Training Fund, making free government-funded short courses available for people considering a change of career or those who are seeking to build and diversify their skills in forestry, teaching skills like chainsaw maintenance, coppicing, woodland management, and marketing and selling timber.

This announcement follows a new commitment announced as part of the Government’s Environment Improvement Plan, to boost green growth and create new jobs – from foresters to roles in research and development.

Forestry England have commissioned the People’s Picture to create a photo mosaic which will go on display at the Women in Forestry, The Lumberjills Story exhibition at Grizedale Forest this May.