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8th August 2017

Raising standards in arboriculture – the development of VETcert

Planning the VETcert project at the Tortworth Chestnut

The project seeking to develop a certification scheme for those who work with veteran trees is well underway. In June the VETcert partners met in Gloucestershire at an event hosted by the Arboricultural Association.

On the Sunday in advance of the meeting, the partners were treated to a visit to Crickley Hill led by Simon Cox, Technical Officer for the Arboricultural Association. This was an opportunity for partners to catch up, as well as look at some beech pollards and ancient oaks.

Monday morning started with a trip to the Tortworth Chestnut, led by Jim Mullholland, Training and Technical officer for the Ancient Tree Forum. Jim, who lives around the corner from the tree, explained its history and showed some of the vast collection of lithographs, paintings and sketches the Tortworth Estate company have amassed.

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7th August 2017

City of London signs ATF Concordat

Chris Knapman

Philip Woodhouse of the City of London Corporation, and Russell Miller of the ATF, sign the ATF’s Concordat, July 2017

The City of London Corporation and the Ancient Tree Forum have committed to working together to protect the UK’s ancient and other veteran trees and to safeguard future generations of old and precious trees, by jointly signing the ATF’s Concordat.

The document was signed and sealed at Epping Forest, during the ATF’s July conference, by, Philip Woodhouse, Chairman of the Epping Forest Management Committee, and Russell Miller, the ATF’s Chair (both pictured).

‘The conference was a great success and it was an excellent opportunity to discuss the health and well-being of these hugely important trees’ said Philip Woodhouse. ‘The timing of the signing of the declaration couldn’t be better because the City of London Corporation is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Forest Charter this year. This Charter protected ancient rights of ordinary citizens in the Forest, which helped to maintain the ancient trees for centuries and eventually ensured the survival of the Forest in the 19th Century, when the City of London stepped in to save it for the nation.’

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30th March 2017

VETcert needs your input

 by Jezz

Veteran tree work at Burnham Beeches

VETcert, the project to develop a Europe-wide accreditation scheme for those working on veteran trees, officially started in December with partners from seven European countries meeting in Brussels. As part of the standard setting stage of the project, the ATF is now seeking the views of stakeholders within the UK on the minimum requirements for those working on veteran trees.

The ATF is a main partner in the project and is leading on the standard setting section of the project in recognition of the wealth of experience and knowledge within the organisation. Since December, work has also begun on researching existing accreditation schemes in other sectors, to see what can be learnt from them.

A short questionnaire has been produced which includes questions on specific issues relating to veteran trees in the UK as well as questions on the minimum knowledge and skills required for those working at both a practicing level (tree surgeons) and at a consulting level.

We would welcome the input of the ATF’s supporters who are asked to complete the online survey by Friday 21 April. For more information about the VETcert project, contact Jim Mullholland, Training and Technical Officer, at training@ancienttreeforum.co.uk.

Complete the survey here

VETcert logo Mar 2017

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18th January 2017

Gold medal for Ted

Nev Fay

Ted Green at Cadzow

Ted Green, the Ancient Tree Forum’s Founder President, has been awarded the Royal Forestry Society (RFS)’s highest honour – a Gold Medal for Distinguished Services to Forestry.

In proposing Ted for the award, Derick Stickler of the RFS said that ‘he speaks with passion and enthusiasm, and presents his audience with ideas that are often treated with scepticism at first, but which are now part of mainstream debate in forestry and arboriculture circles.’  Or, as Ted likes to joke, ‘They seem to like me shouting at them!’

The RFS also credits Ted with bridging the gaps between forestry and conservation and influencing the debate in forestry and arboriculture for more than 50 years. Derek Stickler, who worked with Ted at Windsor for more than 20 years, said ‘Through Ted’s work with the Windsor Estate it could be demonstrated to practicing forestry professionals, conservationists and students that silviculture and conservation are not mutually exclusive.’

Ted too feels that his main achievement is having pushed for the recognition among foresters, of the value of ancient trees. ‘Biodiversity works for timber production’, he says.

It was the people involved in forestry that first drew Ted to trees, he explains. ‘People who are connected to trees are special sort of people’. As a child during the war, he would often spend time with foresters at Windsor (‘the old foresters, the young ones had gone to war’). Later, he got to know the Canadian lumberjacks who came over to work there.

Ted has received many awards over the years, but he’s especially proud of the RFS award: ‘This medal represents recognition for the huge value of ancient trees,’ he says.

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7th December 2016

Support needed to save nearly 200 trees in 800-year old deer park

Jill Butler

Aldermaston Park

The Ancient Tree Forum is backing a campaign to save the last remnant of a medieval deer park from being turned into a housing development. ATF’s supporters are urged to register their opposition to the development.

The planning application for 227 houses in Aldermaston Park near Reading, which has caused local uproar, would see the loss of more than 180 trees (60% of the trees in the application area), some of which are hundreds of years old. The damage to this important wildlife habitat and nationally important historic parkland is being justified on the basis that it will ensure the remainder of the habitat can be adequately managed. The site is Grade two listed on the National Heritage List for England’s Register of Parks and Gardens. read more

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16th November 2016

Protection for ancient trees at historic sites across England

by Alan Cathersides

Veteran ash at Snodhill Castle

Historic England, the public body that looks after England’s historic environment, is probably best known for its work with historic buildings and monuments, but it also cares about natural environments, and has now made a firm commitment to protecting ancient and other veteran trees.

This autumn, Historic England’s Director of Planning, Chris Smith, signed the Ancient Tree Forum’s Concordat, at a meeting with Russell Miller, Chair of the Ancient Tree Forum, and other trustees. The document begins with the statement that ‘Ancient trees are a vital and treasured part of the natural and cultural landscape. They support a stunning diversity of wildlife and are a very important and highly valued part of our heritage.’ The Concordat goes on to set out a vision for ancient and other veteran trees to be safeguarded, and outlines the commitment it expects from its signatories, which also include the National Trust and the Arboricultural Association.

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10th November 2016

Bronze ancient tree for the Queen

Ted Green (far left) at Royal Academy presentation of a bronze oak sculpture to the Queen

With a little help from Ted Green, the Ancient Tree Forum’s Founder President, a bronze sculpture of a 900 year old oak tree from Windsor Great Park was recently presented to the Queen, to commemorate her contribution to the arts in the year of her 90th birthday.

The ceremony took place at the Royal Academy, where the Queen presented awards to five individuals who have made a national contribution in the fields of visual arts or architecture, including artist Grayson Perry and photographer Martin Parr. Each were given a bronze acorn, also replicas from the Windsor tree.

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8th November 2016

ATF seeks a volunteer treasurer

Do you have financial skills which you could put to good use by joining the Ancient Tree Forum as our treasurer?

We are seeking an active treasurer to join our board of trustees and help us with our work to promote the importance, care and protection of Britain’s unique ancient tree heritage.

We are looking for someone to oversee the ATF’s financial affairs as a volunteer treasurer, to maintain an overview of the organisation’s financial affairs and to ensure that proper financial records and internal procedures are maintained. You will be working with a highly committed, friendly group of people.

If you are interested in this role, but would like to have an informal discussion about it, please email admin@ancienttreeforum.co.uk or call 01935 873766.

Download the treasurer’s job description

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27th July 2016

Under the trees in Dorset

Brian Muelaner

Under a Minterne oak

Over a hundred people attended each day of the ATF’s annual two-day summer conference, which took place in Dorset this year. It got a little crowded under the trees, but plenty of ideas were exchanged, there were some lively discussions, and some fabulous sites to visit.

There was a varied programme of talks in the mornings, on topics ranging from the genetic composition of ancient limes in Belgium, to wood pasture restoration at Moccas, and saproxylic beetles in Capability Brown designed landscapes. Most of these presentations can be downloaded below:

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26th July 2016

Funding is secured for veteran tree management accreditation scheme

Reg Harris

Veteran tree work

The Ancient Tree Forum is delighted to announce that funding has been secured to develop a Europe-wide certification scheme in veteran tree management. This will address the fact that despite the enormous ecological, cultural and landscape value of ancient and veteran trees, and the need for specialist care, up to now there has been no formal recognition of appropriate arboricultural skills and knowledge.

The VETCert project is expected to raise standards in veteran tree care across Europe. It will involve defining a common European minimum level of skills and knowledge for arboricultural and forestry professionals, and developing a clear and objective certification procedure to test the skills and knowledge level in veteran tree management of arborists and foresters. The project will also develop new training material to help candidates achieve the accreditation, which is aimed at both practicing and consulting tree work professionals.

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