Winning Student Awarded in Woodland Setting

Gregory Adamson, a student at the School of Natural Sciences (SNS), Bangor University, has won the Tilhill Phil Johnson Memorial Award for Best Silviculture Student 2022-23 on the MSc Silviculture module.

He was presented with a specially carved wooden trophy along with £250 prize money. The presentation took place at a Tilhill managed woodland near Todmorden, West Yorkshire and was awarded by Tilhill’s Regional Manager David Conway and Senior Forest Manager Dylan Cammack.


Photo: left, Gregory Adamson, Bangor University student and David Conway,’Tilhill’s North & Central Regional Manager.

Upon receiving the Award, Greg said: “I’m stunned and honoured. The course is full of sharp and forward-thinking students, for my work to be selected from this bunch is really something. For Tilhill to run this award in memory of former employee Phil Johnson is very touching and I’m very grateful to have won.

“The course balances the tight rope walk of challenging, engaging and rewarding. My favourite part so far has been the lectures which challenge any preconceived notion of the forestry status quo.”

Greg is studying on the MSc Environmental Forestry degree course in which he won the best performance in the Silviculture module, for his writing on the topic of ‘Validity of utilising monocyclic silvicultural systems of even-aged, mixed species high-forest, in the context of increased flood risk caused by a changing climate and the changing role of forests in society’.

Monocyclic systems involve harvesting all trees during a single operation, relying on seedling regeneration to develop into the next even-aged crop over a rotation.

The Phil Johnson Memorial Award is given in recognition of Phil Johnson, a former senior manager at Tilhill for many years for England and Wales who passed away following a short but valiant battle against cancer ten years ago. During his career he made a huge contribution to the company and forestry alike, including setting up the UK’s largest privately owned mountain bike centre at Coed Llandegla, Wales.

David Conway, Tilhill’s North & Central England Regional Manager said: “I’m delighted to have had the honour of presenting Greg with this incredibly special award in memory of Phil and celebrating future generations of foresters.

“Congratulations to Greg on his achievements. It is great to see he is already pursuing a fulfilling career path as an arboriculture consultant with a focus on trees and planting.

“Our partnership with Bangor University is a long standing one, with many of their graduates joining rewarding careers as forest and harvesting managers within Tilhill and we look forward to continuing this fruitful partnership for many more years to come.”

Mark Rayment, Senior Lecturer in Forestry at Bangor University, Said: “Greg’s understanding of silviculture is squarely in the ‘silviculture as applied forest ecology’ school of thought, and whilst his theoretical work is very much informed by ecological theory, his ability to translate this into practical contexts is exceptional. Greg’s interest in public perceptions around forests, plantations and naturalness sets him apart as being not just a technocrat, but also a thinker – Phil would have enjoyed meeting him and the wide-ranging and well-informed discussions that would have followed.”

As part of Tilhill’s work to strengthen links with students, the Company offers awards to top performing forestry students at leading universities which offer degrees in Forestry. The company also runs a competitive graduate placement scheme to which several Bangor University graduates have recently been recruited.

Forestry has been taught at Bangor University for more than 120 years, and its forestry degrees are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters.