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Gold for Geraint – RFS top honour for Duchy of Cornwall Head Forester

Geraint Richards, Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall, has been presented with the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Gold Medal for distinguished services to forestry by His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall.

By Becky Wilkinson · July 17, 2019

Receiving the award, Geraint said: “The RFS was the first forestry organisation that I became a member of when, as a teenager, I decided to pursue a career as a forester. Ever since then the RFS has played an incredibly important part in my career, teaching me so much through its people, events and publications. I have had the privilege of hosting many RFS field meetings on the Duchy of Cornwall’s estate, including two Whole Society Meetings, and these have been very special days for me. The Gold Medal is the highest honour awarded by the RFS for services to forestry and Geraint Richards is only the 40th person to have been awarded it since the medal was instituted in 1960. The Prince of Wales  was President of the RFS from 1982-1984.

“As I consider the previous recipients of the RFS’ Gold Medal I can scarcely believe that my name can be added to such a distinguished list; many of my forestry heroes are included there and it means more to me than you can imagine to join their ranks.”

Nominating Geraint for the award, Peter Leathart for the RFS Herefordshire Division and Simon Tame for the South Western Division said: “Geraint works tirelessly to promote good practice in Silviculture to deliver the wide range of potential benefits trees and woodlands have to offer individuals, communities and the nation. He is well deserving of this award.”

Geraint studied Forestry at Bangor University and worked for four years for the Forestry Commission in Kent and East Sussex as a forest officer before being appointed to his current post in 1996. As Head Forester, he is responsible for the management of over 2000ha (5000acres) of trees, woodlands and forests across the Duchy’s extensive land-holding in the South-West of England and Herefordshire.

Geraint is also involved with a wide range of organisations and initiatives both locally and nationally: in Cornwall as Chair of Cornwall Woodmeet, organiser of the very successful Royal Cornwall Show Forestry Section and on the committees of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project and the Forestry Commission’s South-West Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committee. Nationally, Geraint is a trustee of Woodland Heritage and the British Horse-Loggers Charitable Trust, on the CLA’s Forestry and Woodland Committee, on the committees of the UK Squirrel Accord and the Plant Health and Biosecurity Alliance; he chairs Action Oak and until recently co-chaired Future Trees Trust and the National Tree Improvement Strategy and also the group focussing on developing forestry apprenticeships in England. Internationally, Geraint is working with forestry institutes in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute of Forestry.  In April Geraint chaired the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ national conference which this year adopted a global theme.

HRH The Prince of Wales is a supporter of forestry and the forestry industry and Geraint has been at the heart of a number of The Prince’s projects and initiatives at Highgrove, Llwynywermod and Dumfries House and through work with The Prince’s Trust.

Geraint was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to the Duchy of Cornwall.

HRH Duke of Cornwall with Duchy Head Forester Geraint Richards ©Charles Sainsbury-Plaice/Duchy of Cornwall