A University of Cumbria forestry student has been recognised with an esteemed industry accolade from leading forestry management, timber harvesting and landscaping company Tilhill.
James William Burnett, aged 30, from Bedfordshire, won Tilhill’s 2020 award for the best dissertation by a forestry student while studying for his BSc forestry and woodland management course at the university.
A mature student, he worked as a tree surgeon for 10 years before going to university.
The award was presented to James during an online public webinar by Stuart Pearson, Tilhill’s regional manager.
James received a specially carved wooden trophy in the shape of an acorn, along with £250 prize money which was virtually gifted by Stuart, who is also a past student of the university’s National School of Forestry.
Stuart said: “James’ dissertation clearly demonstrates the broader thinking and skills required in a modern forester.
“The role trees and timber will play in all our futures is now finally being recognised by the politicians and public alike. It is therefore a great time to be coming into forestry as a career and I wish James well for the future.”
James said: “Winning this award has given me lots of confidence as I take my next steps after graduation. Completing my course and dissertation was a challenge, so being awarded this prize really lets me see the benefits of being challenged and supported in this way.”
The online awards ceremony was opened by Andrew Leslie, senior lecturer at the National School of Forestry.
He said: “James arrived at the National School of Forestry just a year ago after studying a foundation degree in arboriculture and urban forestry, but then he saw the light and realised that forest management would be a more exciting choice than arboriculture, which I think is a great decision.
“He’s done very well this year and should be very proud of himself.”