30 May 2022

New Award will grow foresters of the future

A new Scottish Junior Forester Award has been launched today with the aim of giving children and young people an insight into a career in forestry.

Aimed at 4-14 year olds, the new Award will equip young people with theory and practical skills so that they can help manage woodlands in their schools or communities.

Scottish Forestry has worked in partnership with the Royal Forestry Society and John Muir Trust to develop the award.

Chief Forester for Scotland, Dr Helen McKay, joined primary school pupils from Royal Douglas Memorial Primary School to launch the Award.

She said:

“This is such a positive and exciting move to get our young people connected with forestry.

“It’s so important that we increase the knowledge of trees and woodlands in the younger generation.

“We are facing a global climate emergency and trees can be part of the solution. If we get this message across to people at an early age, and build up their knowledge and understanding, we can build the foresters for the future.

“I’m very pleased that this new Award provides a mechanism to bring forestry into the curriculum and will give young people a taster of how fantastic forestry really is. It’s a worthwhile career with great long-term prospects.

“We are keen to attract more young people into the sector to play their part in creating and managing Scotland’s forests, woods and trees.”

The Scottish Junior Forester Award is aimed at anyone in school, youth work or community settings in Scotland. It can be delivered by teachers, educators, and community organisations.

Participants in the Award complete six sections with practical tasks which will enhance their knowledge of trees, woodlands and forestry.

Sections include:

-   Managing Risk

-   Tree and Plant ID

-   Woodland Habitats

-   Habitat Creation

-   Woodland Management

-   Forestry Ambassadors.

Alison Wilson, Outdoor Learning Teacher at Royal Douglas Memorial School added:

“At RDM School we have been delighted to be involved in the pilot and launch of this exciting new award.  The Award has given our pupils opportunities to gain practical skills working in the school woodland area, using different tools and learning how to do so safely.

“They have also learnt how to nurture the woodland area for the benefit of the school and the community.  The award gave us the opportunity to research careers in forestry for the future and interview interesting people involved in this aspect of the environment. 

“The pupils and I have really enjoyed working on the award together and I’m sure other schools will benefit greatly from participating in it as well.”

Scottish Forestry has worked in partnership with the John Muir Award to offer the option of doing the awards jointly. Integrating the awards in this way acts as a multiplier, offering additional benefits to both awards.

For more information on the Award log on here.