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APF 2022: All the Fun of the Forestry Fair

Last week included a fantastic time at APF 2022, both running the Schools tent and greeting old and new friends on our own stall. Elle describes her first experience of the show.

By Elle McAllister · September 27, 2022

APF 2022 provided a great opportunity to *finally* come together from across the forestry and arboricultural industries (it’s a broad one!) after far too long, to share updates, knowledge, and awesome demonstrations.

To be there for the first time with RFS was a real treat; my first impression was how friendly everyone was, and how happy everyone seemed to be chatting, catching up, and sharing their passion with visitors. During my time wandering into and through the *huge* show, I was offered help repeatedly (carrying plenty of Schools’ tent supplies), greeted with warmth and smiles (fluffy canine work companion at my side was a definite draw), and loved seeing the passion with which everyone held their craft and career.

I would highly recommend attending next time, and popping into the RFS tent *of course*, so to convince you here are my three favourite things:

1. Demonstrations!
There is something super impressive about a eleven second climb up a giant tree trunk, and amazing to hear the crowds cheering on *everyone*. I don’t think I could have run on flat ground the length that they climbed. It says a lot about the breadth of skills we see in forestry: the athlete and the researcher can share the woodlands, and use the strengths of the other. Carving, creation, policy, climate change, wildlife, and so much more were on display at APF and it was wonderful to explore it all.

2. Networking
Being in such close proximity with so many partner organisations, friends, members, supporters, students is amazing. The RFS tent was filled with a steady stream of people, and it was so great to talk through their experiences, short or long so far. We discovered so many people who had come through RFS with courses, Forestry Roots, former Presidents, and more. The entire site was full of conversations, laughter, and smiles. It’s such a friendly group to be in, and was so great to be included in it.

3. Craft
The amount our society relies on trees is surprising to many; it is more shocking that people don’t always consider how many ways wood and trees are used. The craft area was beautiful, especially seeing the traditional rural crafts, the races to make handmade chairs in a matter of hours, the friendly banter and support between them. Alongside the building industry, the woodland management, the wildlife conservation, trees are so massively important and inspiring simultaneously, and the quality and beauty of the creations signified that to me.

BONUS: Schools
This year RFS ran the school tent; our team of Education Officers, along with Becky and Sam, welcomed ~300 children to APF 2022 and guided them around the show. The children, many of whom would not have otherwise had the opportunity to attend something like this, were amazed by the traditional craft, loudly encouraged the competitors, and professionals also loved seeing them there. Willow fencers talked to us about the importance of kids seeing crafts in practice, but how the interaction with them was a highlight of their day. We had such a great team, a fantastic group of children, and amazing teachers supporting them all.

We finished the APF 2022 completely exhausted, but really excited for the next time. Why don’t you join us?