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2017 Gold Medal Award to Ted Green

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Ted Green, one of the country’s leading authorities on Ancient Trees, woodland fungi, forest soils and associated micro-organisms received the Royal Forestry Society's (RFS) Gold Medal for Distinguished Services to Forestry from RFS President Sophie Churchill OBE in March 2017.

He is credited with doing much to bridge any gaps between forestry and conservation and has influenced the debate in forestry and arboriculture for more than 50 years.

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Over his long career, Ted has put forward theories on the importance of managing the wholeecosystem. He was the founder member of the Ancient Tree Forum in 1993 and is an MBE. 

In proposing Ted for the award, Derick Stickler, Chairman RFS Southern Division described him as " a good ambassador for our multi-faceted profession."

And added: "He speaks with passion and enthusiasm, and presents his audience with ideas that are often treated with scepticism at first, but which are now part of mainstream debate in forestry and arboriculture circles."

Ted, who has a background in plant health, says his long relationship with foresters began during the Second World War as a young boy not knowing  for four and a half years whether my father was dead or alive..

He explains: "In hindsight Nature and those trees gave me peace and solace for life goes on. Equally I met old foresters too old to go to War felling some of the UK’s finest oaks. who welcomed me in. They used wide cross cuts. steel wedges and axes you could shave with, incidentally I cut my knee cap to the bone with a hand axe. I kept their bonfire of lop and top going , cooked their baked spuds for their dinner not called lunch in those days but declined to drink cold tea from a bottles with newspaper plugs. Their skill at dropping a tree remains with me to this day. True professionals.

"Later my adventure continued with being beckoned in by young Canadian lumber jacks to share grey squirrel which reminded me of rabbit and chocolate Hirsche bars. I listened to their stories of felling conifers and their praise for our oaks  and this new experience. Thoughts of trees and man kept me awake at night and a deep respect began with these experiences  of warmth and friendship with these ‘gentle folk’ remembered very clearly to this day.

"Later in life in some  debates I have found myself defending forestry and suggesting people should go to see a monument in Liverpool to the civilian merchant seamen that died in the war in the battle of the Atlantic bringing not only men and women. armaments and food but timber. My suggestion ‘Go and Read your history’ for no person ever again should have to risk their lives importing timber.

I joined the RFS after Jack Taylor the head forester at Windsor and a real ‘Gentleman of the Forest’ invited me to a meeting. Coming from a background of listening to the ‘back and frontal stabbing’ that took place with academics.Imagine the pleasure and surprise at hearing the good natured discussions, the willingness to want to share experiences, and to help. Old boys straight out of a wood  in turned down wellies side by side with an aristocrat listening to each other. These are ‘my people ‘ I thought.

"This  quote of mine might help explain. ’Trees know no boundaries, no creed, no class and no race. For me that includes the ‘Ladies and Gentlemen of the forest’.

Thank you for inviting me to remain in the ‘Company of Foresters’.

Friendships made under a tree last the lifetime of the friends."

Ted remains a loyal supporter of the Southern Division and a long serving committee member. Discussions at field meetings are often enlivened by his presence and he has played a major part in influencing land owners to re- appraise the way they manage their woods and to adopt a more holistic style.

A fellow Southern Division’s committee member says: “Ted Green is a conservationist with a love of forestry. To say that he has a foot in both camps would suggest more of a divide than actually exists. A few years ago there undoubtedly was a gap. Ted’s work has been instrumental in bridging that.”

Ted’s professional life began when was employed as a laboratory technician at Silwood Park, a part of Imperial College, where he had access to the Ancient Woodlands on the nearby Windsor Estate where he could pursue his interest in conservation and so accumulating vast knowledge by observation, experiment and plant trialling. 

Following employment at Silwood Park and English Nature, Ted became Conservation Adviser at Windsor in 1985, a position that he holds today.

Derek Stickler worked with Ted Green on the Windsor Estate for more than 20 years: "Ted understands that the forest is required to produce timber including from ecologically sensitive sites.  It was an excellent example of information exchange between forester and conservationist.

"Ted is not a silviculturist and conservation was my Achilles Heel. He introduced the practice of “haloing” around Ancient Trees; the name has stuck and is used universally in the context of managing these special trees...Through Ted’s work with the Windsor Estate it could be demonstrated to practicing forestry professionals, conservationists and students that silviculture and conservation are not mutually exclusive. Education is indeed the Society’s main objective and Ted’s work is very much in tune."

Gold Medal Awards are a rare achievement. The last person to be awarded one was Bede Howell in 2012.