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RFS Education and Learning Excellence Award 2021

Coleg Glynllifon Further Education College, Gwynedd, has won the award with their Level 2 & 3 BTECs Countryside and Forestry courses. Second place went to the School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, for two part-time MSc on-line courses. A Certificate of Merit was awarded to Nature’s Classroom, Creggan Country Park, Derry.

By Wendy Necar · September 3, 2021

The RFS Education and Learning Excellence Award recognises those who increase awareness, understanding and skills related to the environment, particularly forestry, and the link between trees and wood products.

1 Coleg Glynllifon Further Education College, Gwynedd

The skills and experiences students gain in their Level 2 & 3 BTECs Countryside and Forestry are sought after by employers. They address current needs in relation to new woodland creation and the management of climate resilient forests for the future.

Jeff Jones from Coleg Glynllifon said: “The Forestry Department at Glynllifon is extremely proud and honoured to receive this award.

“Coleg Glynllifon has a fantastic estate with a working farm and over 110 hectares (ha) of mixed woodland.  Students take part in managing the woodland and gain valuable experience on a day to day basis.

“Students are given a wide range of practical activities.  This includes using our static Mebor sawmill to process timber on the estate, through to using new technology such as Haglof mensuration equipment.

“Working with industry is an important part of the student experience.  We appreciate the support we receive from local companies for providing valuable work experience placements and allowing student visits to learn about the forestry and countryside sector.”

Judges said: “The way the college is approached by the local community to engage students with their projects, and by employers seeking potential future employees straight from the college, demonstrates how highly thought of these courses are across the forestry, conservation, landscape and nursery sectors. Well done Coleg Glynliffon!”

2 School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University

Two part-time MSc on-line courses provide an incredible offer for students. The pandemic has increased the importance of distance learning and finding engaging ways to present information and interact with students. The course organisers were praised for the international aspects of their offer. They attract applicants from all around the world share their experiences and engage in topical (and tropical) debates.

For Bangor University, James Walmsley said: “I’m delighted that the Royal Forestry Society has recognised Bangor University’s forestry distance learning provision.  The part-time nature of these programmes provide truly transformational opportunities. They offer opportunities are for those already within the profession, those seeking an exciting and rewarding new career in forestry and those who share our passion for trees and forests.”

Judges said: “Bangor University is providing engaging course material that really gets under the skin of how the forest sector is changing, and adapting to the many challenges it is facing. We feel that graduates from these courses will be well-placed to help tackle these challenges at home and overseas in a variety of situations.”

Certificate of Merit: Nature’s Classroom, Creggan Country Park, Derry

The project is highly commended for the enthusiasm and passion of its staff and the level of involvement with the surrounding community.

Karen Healy, Environmental Officer, said:  “We are absolutely delighted to receive the Certificate of Merit in the Education & Learning category for our environmental education programme ‘Nature’s Classroom’. We want to dedicate this certificate to all the teachers and students in the north west who have helped our programme grow over the years.”

The RFS Excellence in Forestry awards are made up of five categories. Entries were accepted in last 2019/ early 2020 from the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and Wales. Covid restrictions delayed judging until 2021. Our thanks to all who took part and to the judges for their patience.

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