A STUDENT from the Scottish School of Forestry at Inverness College UHI is celebrating after winning an award from leading forestry management and timber harvesting company Tilhill Forestry.
Alasdair Sangster, an HND Forestry Management student, won the Tilhill Forestry Award for Best New Planting Application following a report he prepared on woodland creation in his forestry policy and law module.
The 28-year-old was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn by Tilhill Forestry’s Julian Hollingdale at the Scottish School of Forestry at Balloch.
As part of its works to strengthen links with future foresters, Tilhill Forestry presents awards to top performing students at universities in the UK which offer degrees in forestry-related subjects.
Alasdair was tasked with developing a woodland creation operational plan for a former agricultural site in the Highlands, similar to the plan most foresters will complete when trying to access grant funding for new woodland projects.
His plan included a mixture of productive conifers and native woodland, creating an area of high-quality timber production while benefiting the local community and environment.
Alasdair, who works for Scottish Forestry, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win this award. It has come as a shock as I really wasn’t expecting to win. I have such a broad interest in forestry in general and set out to deliver a plan with as many benefits as possible. I hope it hit the strategic priorities of both the Scottish Government and Highland Council while delivering timber to the industry and creating habitat for local wildlife. Studying at the Scottish School of Forestry has been superb – the classes are relevant to the industry and give the practical and theoretical skills required to enter a job and carry out the role competently.”
Julian Hollingdale, Tilhill Forestry’s North Highland District Manager, said: “It’s great to see students like Alasdair excelling in their studies and learning important skills such as how to draft a woodland creation plan. This is a very practical skill and most relevant to working in the forestry industry. We run an awards programme with a number of universities across UK and Tilhill has a long association with Inverness College UHI. It’s an excellent university and some of our past and present employees have studied there. I was delighted to be able to present this prestigious award.”
Amanda Bryan, head of the Scottish School of Forestry, said: “The Scottish Government has committed to increasing woodland cover from around 18% to 21% by 2032 through new planting and reforestation. Foresters regularly work with land owners and managers to develop proposals to create new woodland and completing this kind of mock application is exactly the kind of work they will be doing when they leave university. Alasdair worked for Scottish Forestry during his mid-year placement and is now in permanent employment with the organisation, dealing with advice, policy and regulations. He is a very talented student and we are very proud of what he has achieved, developing a plan which brings together all his knowledge gained from studying at the Scottish School of Forestry and working in industry.”