2013 - RFS Sylva Trophy Winner
The Royal Forestry Society’s (RFS) Sylva Cup for exceptional achievement has been presented to Forest of Mercia and to its forester, Chris Martin from Chasetown, for his commitment in helping transform the fortunes of the Forest of Mercia.
- Winner: Chris Martin, Mercia Forest
Chris Martin, Mercia Forest forester, left, receives the award from Simon Lloyd, RFS Development Director.
Chair of the Forest of Mercia Steering Group, Hayden Baugh-Jones, nominated Chris, saying that his energy had helped rejuvenate the Steering Group at a time when the future of the organisation had looked “worryingly bleak”.
Hayden Baugh-Jones said: “Chris told Steering Group members of his fears, both for his personal situation and for Forest of Mercia. He was very open and honest, vocalising what some were probably thinking but didn’t really want to say. It was this that made me realise that Chris is a man of character; a man who is passionate about his work with Forest of Mercia; and who would not be doing himself justice if he felt he had not contributed fully in those meetings.
“This really brought home the message to me that, as a Steering Group, we had a massive responsibility to ensure that Forest of Mercia was able to continue. After all, it was one of the first Community Forests to be set up, so had a history and had done some incredible work planting trees, managing woodlands and working with the community.
”A knock-on effect of this is that, essentially, Chris, probably unwittingly, created the conditions for stronger links between Steering Group members and the wider Forest of Mercia team. It was right that we all stood together, shoulder to shoulder to bring back Forest of Mercia from the brink of extinction.”
The Forest of Mercia is now part of the Community Forest Trust and, thanks to strong management and skilled people, is now in very good health financially with a strong, committed team in place to drive the business forward.