The most decorated BSc Forestry graduates for a generation?

This July saw witnessed some of the best degree results for a generation from the BSc Forestry degrees at Bangor University. We celebrate the achievements of all our students, regardless of their degree class, here we highlight two graduates who deserved special mention.

A true Tree Spark

Jemima Letts BSc Forestry is an inspiration to us all.  She faced serious health difficulties during her studies, yet coped with these admirably, refusing to give up when many others would have accepted defeat.  At graduation, Jemima was awarded the Mary Sutherland prize.  This award is made every year to the best female forestry graduate, in honour of Mary Sutherland, who was the first woman in the world to graduate with a BSc Forestry degree, which she gained from Bangor University in 1916. 

On top of achieving a first class BSc Forestry degree, Jemima set up and continues to run a very successful social enterprise Tree Sparks.  Amongst her many other achievements, she was also a keynote speaker at the National Conference of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, held at the University of Oxford in April 2019.

Jemima won two awards at the Bangor University Employability Celebration - enterprising student of the year and Employability Excellence.  Amongst a raft of other awards won during her final year, perhaps the most notable was that she was shortlisted as one of four nominees for the Chwarae Teg Womenspire 2019 National awards - Entrepreneur category

During her studies, Jemima was a fantastic peer guide and helped out at events across the university, including open days, at the Treborth Botanic Garden, as well as attending various national and international events.  Jemima is currently on a 12 month placement at the Chatstworth Estate, working under the supervision and guidance of fellow Bangor Forestry alumnus, John Everitt (BSc Forestry, 2006).

Three graduation awards and a top job for 1st class Forestry graduate

John Trimble, from Northern Ireland, graduated in 2019 with a first class BSc Forestry degree.  For his dissertation, John liaised with staff from Natural Resources Wales and worked alongside researchers from Forest Research to reveal new insights about a high profile, long-term forestry experiment in Clocaenog forest.  John was able to answer questions relating to the success of planting different species of tree seedling in forests that are managed using an approach known as ‘continuous cover forestry’.  John submitted a very high quality dissertation and was awarded the ‘Bangor Bursary’ – an award presented by the North Wales Division of the Royal Forestry Society for the best final year forestry dissertation project.  John was also awarded the ‘most improved student’ award by the Institute of Chartered Foresters, as a result of his average grade increasing from 72% in year 2 to over 80% in his final year.  Adding to these two prestigious awards, John was also presented with the School of Natural Sciences ‘Best Dissertation’ prize, in recognition of the highest overall mark awarded across the schools’ over 250 graduates.  On the back of these successes, John was highly sought after by high profile employers, receiving two job offers within the space of a few days in April 2019, three months before graduation.  He started work as a Silviculturist Research Forester with Forest Research in Alice Holt, Farnham, in September 2019.  

Commenting on these successes, James Walmsley, course director for BSc Forestry, said “there is currently great concern about the global climate emergency and so how we manage our trees and forests is hugely important.  We’ve been teaching forestry at Bangor University since 1904, since when many generations of Bangor Foresters have made enormous contributions to the conservation, protection, expansion and sustainable management of the world’s forests.  These young Bangor foresters, and indeed all those who obtained their forestry degrees this year, epitomise the current Bangor University campaign of ‘make a difference’ and give us optimism and hope for the future.”

Publication date: 31 October 2019