Tilhill Forestry sponsors Confor’s #TheFutureisForestry Essay & Video Prize Competition

Forestry students and young professionals have been urged to shape the future of the profession – and the planet – by entering Confor’s essay and video prize 2019 sponsored by Tilhill Forestry, BSW Timber and Forestry Commission.

The launch of #TheFutureIsForestry competition at Westminster was attended by students from the National School of Forestry in Cumbria, the Scottish School of Forestry in Inverness, Bangor University and Harper Adams University.

Lorna Johnson, a Masters from Harper Adams, read from her winning essay in 2018 and Forestry Minister David Rutley said the competition was extremely timely because “the future of forestry is incredibly bright”.

The topic for the 2019 competition – with prizes of £500, £250 and £100 for the top three essays and top three videos – is:

How can farmers and landowners be motivated to plant more trees to deliver a wide range of benefits, especially mitigating climate change?


Minister Rutley said the Government would soon be responding to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report on achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – with a crucial role to play for forestry. “Your essays are pivotal to shape that ambition for the future,” he added. “They are important as we need to come up with plans to make it happen. Climate change demands it and public interest demands it.”

Mr Rutley said he was “excited and delighted” to be visiting Northumberland next month, at Confor’s invitation, to discuss a potential Forestry Investment Zone to drive new productive planting.
“There are very big opportunities there and very big aspirations,” he added.

Chris Davies MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry, said: “Young people really are the future of forestry – and forestry has a great future.”

Stuart Goodall, Confor CEO, said the CCC report had strengthened the case for more tree planting. Confor has set an “ambitious but achievable” target of 40,000 hectares of new annual planting across the UK by 2030, with the 18,000 target in Scotland already welcomed by Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy for the Scottish Government.

“Confor has decided to put a real focus on forests, wood and climate change and is urging people to #ThinkGlobalPlantLocal – and the essay prize is part of that. We are encouraging students and young professionals to think about the future of the planet – and the profession.

“We had a very high standard of entries last year but we hope to go even higher and I will see some of you back here as prize winners in a November.”

Anyone aged 30 or under – and students of any age – can enter an essay of up to 1500 words (plus visual materials and accompanying text) and/or a video of 1-2 minutes by 14th October. Winners will receive their prizes at a presentation evening at the Houses of Parliament on November 26th.

Peter Whitfield, Business Development Director of Tilhill Forestry, said: “David Rutley is absolutely right to say this is the perfect moment to discuss shaping the future of forestry.”

Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “There are trees to plant and attitudes to change and it’s an exciting time to be coming into forestry.”

The rules are Essays must be 1500 words or fewer (text accompanying illustrations, info-graphics, graphs/charts, etc will not be included in the overall word count) and are to be sent to Eleanor Harris with your name, date of birth, telephone number, email address and academic institution/employer at the top.  

The Videos must be 1-2 minutes long and should be uploaded to YouTube with hashtag #TheFutureIsForestry2019 Please email Eleanor Harris with a link to your video entry and your name, date of birth, telephone number, email and academic institution/employer. 

Entrants must be 30 or under on 26th November 2019 – or any age if they are studying for a forestry or forestry-related qualification.

Contact David Lee on 07802 206695 or david@publicaffairs.coop with any queries.