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Education and Learning Award



This Award encourages and rewards schools, colleges, universities and other recognised training providers who increase awareness, understanding and skills related to the environmental, social and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests, and who may also demonstrate the link between trees and wood products. 

2016 winners were: Gold: the Bill Hogarth Memorial Apprenticeship Trust (BHMAT), based in Carnforth, Lancashire. Silver: the Full Cycle project, led by Campaign for National Parks in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority and Woodmatters. Highly Commended: The 1st Whittingham BP Scout Group. More details on each of the projects below.

Gold: Bill Hogarth Memorial Apprenticeship Trust (BHMAT), based in Carnforth, Lancashire.

BHMAT was set up in 2001 in memory of Bill Hogarth who worked as a coppice merchant in Cumbria for 56 years. He taught and supported many people currently working in coppicing today.

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Education and Learning Award Gold winners Kath Morgan and Twiggy from the Bill Hogarth Memorial Apprenticeship Trust with Alun Watkins (PEFC), left, and Ted Wilson (judge and RFS Education Manager),right

The aims of the Trust are to:

  • set up and run an apprenticeship scheme in coppice skills, increasing the number of trained coppice workers
  • promote the management of broad leaved woodland using environmentally sustainable methods which encourage biodiversity, increasing the area of coppiced woodland

Each apprentice works with a sponsor (who runs their own coppicing business) for three years, gradually becoming independent and setting up his/her own coppicing business in their final year.

To date, BHMAT has awarded the diploma to 12 graduates in the North West and North East of England. The Trust has also contracted out the scheme to Small Woods in Shropshire who successfully run the scheme nationally.

What the judges said: " We were very impressed by the educational aims of the scheme and the way in which the training pathway integrated the fundamental elements of traditional coppice management, sound business management and the development of novel markets. The overall vision for the scheme is being realised through outstanding leadership.

"The use of a well-structured apprenticeship with support from established mentors and sponsors is an excellent model for how learning really works, leading to highly qualified work-ready ‘graduates’ able to respond to the challenges of the marketplace."

What the winners said: "It's a wonderful acknowledgement of coppicing and its importance in woodland management, of the apprenticeship scheme which has been thoughtfully developed to be the best it can be, of all the people who work with and support the Trust, and of Bill Hogarth, who dedicated his life to coppicing and sharing his skills and knowledge.Thank you!," Kath Morgan, BHMAT Co-ordinator.

Silver: Full Cycle project, led by Campaign for National Parks in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority and Woodmatters.

The Full Cycle project has worked with 16 disadvantaged 17-23 year olds over a 15-month period, helping them develop new skills and self-confidence by building a connection to, and understanding of, woodlands and their relationships between people, historic industries, biodiversity and the landscape.

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 Clare Dyson and Leia Hoggarth from Full Cycle collect silver with Alun Watkins (PEFC), left, and Ted Wilson (judge and RFS Education Manager), right

Full Cycle was commissioned by the Rusland Valley and Fells Landscape Partnership (RVFLP) and Colton Parish Council. 

Participants were introduced to a coppice woodland, in Border Moss Woods, south Lakeland, to help cut a coupe as part of a management plan aimed at increasing biodiversity. They made charcoal from coppice they had cut, which was then used in an outdoor forge to make knives and used these knives to produce greenwood products. The last part of the project was for the young people to lead a group of adults on a cutting day back in the wood, sharing, enthusing and completing a “full cycle” on the woodland site.

What the judges said: "The project demonstrated an approach that was both highly innovative and heartwarming. It also demonstrated the benefits of partnership working, with input from private and public sector organisations.... The project has demonstrated significant positive impacts in terms of helping participants learn, develop new skills and gain confidence as young adults; as a result, the pilot has secure funding to continue for at least 3 more years. Judges were impressed by the passion and enthusiasm of all involved."

What the winners said: "Full Cycle has been a special experience for all of those involved. It's been inspiring watching the participants develop a connection to the woodlands. The majority of the participants had not been in natural woodland before. Through the project, their understanding of the woodland year has grown both practically and emotionally. Full Cycle has enabled them to truly value the richness of the wildlife and practical potential of the coppiced products. Both participants and facilitators feel very proud that Full Cycle has been recognised in this way by winning this RFS Award," Woodmatters Director, Gareth Thomas


Highly Commended: The 1st Whittingham BP Scout Group, Alnwick, Northumberland

1st Whittingham Baden Powell Scout Group is a traditional scout group which aims to get children out and about as much as possible, learning about local woodlands and forests alongside a structured badge programme.

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Ninette Gray and Stan Johnstone from 1st Whittingham Baden Powell Scout Group receive the Highy Commended award with Alun Watkins (PEFC), left, and Ted Wilson (judge and RFS Education Manager), right

As children progress though from Beavers to Senior Scouts and Rover Scouts their experiences broaden.

As Beavers they learn to enjoy the outdoor environment through woodland rambles, scavenger hunts, making crafts from natural materials, and learning about the birds and animals that live in the forests; Wolf Cubs use wood, such as making a cricket set for the pack using a pole lathe from local experts; Scouts go to Kielder Forest to see how forestry works, and to local saw mills to see how the trees are turned into timber for building; Senior Scouts visit local businesses to understand what work is available in the forest and countryside environments and Rover Scouts learn backwoods skills, pioneering skills and they get involved in teaching the younger children skills.

What the judges said: "An impressive range of activities brought participants at all levels of the Scout organisation (Beavers, Wolf Cubs, Scouts, Senior Scouts and Rover Scouts), closer to the links between trees, wood and the final products. Ranging from the identification of tree species, through the building of small-scale products through to visits to local sawmills, the project demonstrated an empathy with the principles of sustainable forest management that could be encouraged and emulated elsewhere.

"The links were further developed with overseas visits where their UK experiences were shared with groups in Lesotho and later this year in Uganda. Judges were especially pleased to note the diverse and growing number of boys and girls drawn to the 1st Whittingham BP Scout Group..."

What the Scout leaders said: "Our volunteers are fully committed to helping local children develop a love and respect for woodlands and forests by offering them fun and educational experiences in that environment. Despite living in the countryside, the children do not have these opportunities without our intervention, and we enjoy teaching them traditional scouting skills and working with local partners to help them understand how we can work in harmony with our woodlands and forests," Ninette Gray, Group Scout Master

This award is sponsored by 

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