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Two local school children got the chance to experience forestry first-hand on Tuesday after winning the Forestry Commission’s competition to shadow a Forest Ranger for the day at Alice Holt Forest, Surrey.
Amy Collier from Farnborough Hill School and James Cracknell from Rowledge School shadowed Recreation Ranger Pam Eastwood and Wildlife Ranger Glen Boxall throughout the day to build wildlife habitats, improve their navigation skills and learn about tree and plant health. They also got to see some of England’s most spectacular wildlife – from adders and slow worms to the majestic heron – and found out how and why we harvest trees.
Amy and James were chosen as winners by TV Presenter Helen Skelton from over 150 entries to the competition, which challenged local primary and secondary school-aged pupils to explain what they love about trees and forests. You can see some of the entries at www.forestry.gov.uk/aliceholtcompetition
Helen Wallace, Forestry Commission South District Learning Manager explains;
“Amy and James had a great day in the forest and took away a lot of new-found knowledge about our woodlands. That’s encouraging because while many of the competition entries talked about the need to protect trees and woods, few realised the role woodlands play aside from recreation.
“Protecting our woodlands is also about supporting the economy, providing a healthy environment for animals and plants, and assisting in mitigating the effects of climate change. Today the forestry sector contributes £4.1bn to the economy through timber production and recreation while providing a home to some of our rarest animal and bird species. Our Forest Rangers are our front line in woodland management in England and it’s a very varied job – we hope Amy and James saw enough to get them thinking about forestry as a future career!”
Across the South of England, the Forestry Commission looks after more than 30,000 hectares of woodland, and Forest Rangers are the eyes and ears of the Commission, protecting, improving and expanding our forests. There are a number of types of ranger, from Recreational Rangers to Wildlife Rangers, and the competition sought to highlight the important role they play in modern woodland management.
Speaking about his favourite parts of the day Primary School Finalist, James Cracknell, said: “Finding out about our wildlife was my favourite part, and I took lots of photos of slow worms, lizards, insects and even an adder and heron. We also saw trees that had been blown down by storms earlier in the year and learned how we use wood in England, which was exciting.”
Secondary School Finalist, Amy Collier, said: “I liked looking at all the wildlife that live in our woodlands, especially herons and egrets and where they nest. We also got to learn about wildlife habitats and how the Forestry Commission helps protect them. I didn’t realise we did so much to protect wildlife in our woodlands.”
You can find out more about the role of Forest Rangers and see pictures from the day at www.forestry.gov.uk/aliceholtcompetition and on the Alice Holt Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/aliceholtforest
Notes to editors:
1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It supports woodland owners with grants; tree felling licences, regulation and advice; promotes the benefits of forests and forestry; and advises Government on forestry policy. It manages more than a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of national forest land for public benefits such as sustainable timber production, public recreation, nature conservation, and rural and community development. For more information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest.
2. The Forestry Commission works with hundreds of schools in the district every year. For more information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/aliceholt-learning
Simon Gill at Camargue PR, tel 01242 577277 or email email@example.com
Libby Burke at the Forestry Commission, tel 02380 286832