Women foresters urged to promote the sector

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A campaign is being launched to encourage women who work in forestry – including management and conservation, science, research and arboriculture – to tell the world what they do and encourage others to take it up as a career.

The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), the professional body for foresters and arboriculturists in the UK, is following up its successful #ILookLikeAForester social media drive from 2018 to tie in with International Women’s Day earlier this month.

Women from around the world are being encouraged to take part using #ILookLikeAForester and @TheICF, as well as #BalanceforBetter, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. They are being asked to post photos on Twitter of themselves at work with the aim of showing that forestry and arboriculture is for everyone.

Shireen Chambers, ICF’s executive director, said: ‘Women have played an important role in managing trees and forests for decades and we want to celebrate their role and their professionalism. We also want to encourage everyone to see forestry as a career as trees have such an important role in our lives today from the products we use to helping to combat climate change.

‘Modern forestry is a hi-tech sector and is so much more than traditional woodland management. Science is vital now to help us understand how we can look after forests and there is a stronger focus on urban woods and trees in cities.

‘We want more people participating in this dynamic and growing sector and we want them to talk about it, to show everyone what they do and what can be achieved.’

Women intending to take part in this year’s campaign say there are a range of opportunities.

Sasha Laing, regulations and development manager at Forestry Commission Scotland, has turned her hobby into her career. She wants to encourage more people from a variety of backgrounds to take up forestry as a career and believes that professionalism and being a member of the ICF can help.

‘I love the variety and flexibility as no two days are ever the same. I work outdoors and inside, for the public, private and third sectors and in both technical and non-technical fields,’ she said.

‘One day I could be presenting to a community group interested in owning or managing their local woodland, the next working with stakeholders or looking at local development planning. I have been incredibly fortunate to build a career around a hobby,’ she added.