Martin Silnevs - Postgraduate Diploma in Forestry (distance learning)
Now works as: Tree nursery worker
Now works for: Alba Trees (Forest nursery in Scotland)
I have always loved Nature. Trees and forests, in particular, enamored me. My background was in photography and online retail which I enjoyed, however, at one point I felt I wanted to contribute to the environment in a more substantial way through ecological conservation and restoration. This, combined with my love for trees, brought me to Forestry. I looked around for a course that would give me a holistic understanding of the subject and also enable me to turn my passion into a career. I found this at Bangor University.
In 2015, I enrolled in the MSc Forestry Course (Distance Learning) while being employed full-time. For two years, I joyfully dedicated every Saturday and two workday evenings to my studies. I successfully graduated with the Postgraduate Diploma in early 2018.
During the course, I explored the different niches of Forestry, hoping to find the one I am best suited for. The choices were many, ranging from predominantly horticultural roles to forest management planning to research. At Bangor, I was exposed to quite a few of these areas through the abundant reading material we received, the exceptional faculty members and insightful practical weeks where we visited a number of sites. I was also fortunate to have classmates who were already employed in Forestry related roles. In addition to this, I gained first-hand experience by volunteering for a few ecological restoration projects. All of this gave me a much better understanding of the field.
Eventually, I gravitated towards more practical roles in the forest tree nursery environment where I could combine the joy of handling seeds and tree saplings with relevant in-depth aspects of Forestry Iearned at Bangor.
Shortly after graduation I joined the Seeding Department of Alba Trees, Scotland. With an annual production of over 21 million plants, Alba Trees is the largest producer of cell-grown trees in the UK, with such major clients as the Woodland Trust among others. The Postgraduate Diploma I received from Bangor played an important role in my selection as Tree Nursery Worker. Owing to my academic background and keen involvement, I was granted a fair amount of responsibility and independence from early on to manage large production projects ranging from seed propagation to team supervision. My strong interest in ecological restoration projects coincides with my direct involvement in growing trees for such re-greening organisations as the Woodland Trust, Borders Forest Trust and Trees for Life.
While my role is mostly horticultural in nature, I frequently lend to my academic knowledge when discussing provenance choices, sustainability, tree pathogens present in the UK and the need for wider ecological awareness. Various career progression routes are available for me within the company. Studying at Bangor University has truly enabled me to turn my passion into a career and to do my bit to contribute to the natural environment.