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Top placements with Natural Resources Wales for three exceptional Bangor forestry students

Three Bangor University students have secured 12-month placements with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) as part of their BSc Forestry (with sandwich placement) degrees. They will get the chance to find out what NRW’s approach to the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) is all about. Tasked with managing seven per cent of Wales’ land area, including the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, National Nature Reserves, plus much more, NRW has a sizeable challenge with ever-increasing demands from industry and society for timber, recreation, carbon storage, biodiversity, and health and well-being to name a few.

Lamorna Richards, Jack Richardson and Emyr Parker are all currently in the second year of their studies and were asked to comment on these prestigious placements. Jack Richardson, who attended Oundle School as a music scholar, said ‘I’m absolutely over the moon! I have always been fascinated by our natural world and, in particular, our trees and forests. After working in retail management for several years, I took the plunge to step into higher education to gain a degree in forestry. When choosing which university to attend, Bangor’s outstanding reputation along with its stunning location made the decision an easy one – a reputation it has definitely lived up to!” Emyr Parker, a fluent Welsh speaker who went to school in Ysgol Tryfan, Bangor, was equally pleased “I am both excited and grateful for being given such a valuable opportunity. Having grown up in North Wales with the Snowdonia National Park on my doorstep, I hold a life-long interest in forests, the environment and climate change. This placement will enable me to gain practical experience on the Welsh Government woodland estate obtaining an understanding of planning, monitoring and management in relation to forest operations, as well as several different aspects of the sector.” Lamorna Richards, who grew up in Cornwall, commented “I always loved the outdoors, coasts and woodlands and I knew I wanted to work outside. I really liked the idea of doing a degree that was both practical and academic hence forestry at Bangor was the natural choice for me – studying a topic I love in a coastal location. I am really excited to have the chance to work within Natural Resources Wales and have the opportunity to gain a whole year’s worth of experience. It will be so good to put into practice what I’ve learnt so far in my degree and use what I learn throughout the placement in my final year of study.”

Michael Cresswell, Forest Operations Team Leader in Natural Resources Wales (NRW), has been instrumental in setting up these paid placements. They will be the first in the history of NRW, after the organisation completed the vital work necessary to establish placement policy and procedures. Michael himself benefited hugely from undertaking a sandwich placement during his own studies at Bangor University, hence his desire to provide similar opportunities to the foresters of tomorrow. Michael says “NRW provides a fantastic place for a student to get involved in our work. These placements sit both in our Land Management and Forest Operations teams. This will mean that the students will get direct involvement in pretty much all aspects of forestry and land management. This will be tailored with each student based on their interests, final year dissertation plan and what works for NRW. As a brief overview, the experience could involve directly any, or all, of the following; legal liability management, National Nature Reserve management, conservation work, tree safety, community and neighbour liaison, recreation infrastructure, forest planning, forest operations, tree planting and maintenance. Indirectly, we also hope to get the students involved in our other teams across NRW such as our integrated engineering team and wildlife management team to provide them with an understanding of their work and how it all fits together.”

Commenting on this news, Course Director for the BSc Forestry degree, James Walmsley, said “I’m absolutely delighted about this development as sandwich placements provide invaluable experience. I’d like to thank Michael Cresswell and his colleagues at NRW for recognising the importance of investing time and resources in the forestry professionals of tomorrow. I’ve no doubt that NRW will be impressed by the attitudes and abilities of these three students who are fantastic ambassadors for Bangor University. I very much hope this will pave the way for future placements, which I am sure will help encourage more people to study forestry at a time when our planet, our society and our economy needs these skills more than ever.” Sopan Patil, academic coordinator of Sandwich Placements and Lecturer in the School of Natural Sciences, added “the selection of Lamorna, Jack, and Emyr to these prestigious NRW placements is a testament to the quality of our students. Our school has a long history of offering sandwich placements within our degree programmes. Over the years, our students have gained valuable industry experience through placements in the UK and in many other parts of the world. I am confident that Michael Cresswell and his colleagues at NRW will find our students to be eager learners and valuable contributors to their organisation.”Despite widespread uncertainty relating to current Covid-19 restrictions, forestry has been recognised by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments as a key industry, providing essential products to the health, food and energy sectors.

If you are interested in studying a related degree programme at Bangor University, please visit www.bangor.ac.uk/natural-sciences/subject-areas/forestry/ or email forestry@bangor.ac.uk / telephone +44 1248 382881 / 2351 / social media @BUForestry

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Publication date: 1 May 2020