Essay and video prize 2019: enter now!

21 August 2019

Forestry students and young professionals have been urged to shape the future of the profession - and the planet - by entering Confor’s essay and video prize 2019.

Entries are already coming in for the 2019 #TheFutureIsForestry competition, with prizes of £500, £250 and £100 for the top three essays AND the top three videos.

The subject, for an essay of up to 1500 words and a video of 1-2 minutes, is: How can farmers and landowners be motivated to plant more trees to deliver a wide range of benefits, especially mitigating climate change? The deadline is 14th October, only just over 50 days away.

"We have had a lot of interest already and we urge anyone thinking of entering to move quickly," said Confor CEO Stuart Goodall. "We know the Autumn is a busy time for students and forestry professionals - and we are pleased that some have got cracking on their entries early. 

"We look forward to seeing all the entries at this crucial time for our sector. More and more expert studies are highlighting the enormous potential of tree planting to mitigate the damaging effects of climate change - and I am confident the next generation will grasp the  nettle and find innovative and long-term solutions we need."

The launch of competition at Westminster in June was attended by students and staff from the National School of Forestry in Cumbria, the Scottish School of Forestry in Inverness, Bangor University and Harper Adams University.

Lorna Johnson, a Masters from Harper Adams, read from her 2018 winning essay and Forestry Minister David Rutley - since replaced in the reshuffle by Zac Goldsmith MP - said the competition was extremely timely as forestry had a crucial role to play in moving the UK towards its net zero carbon emissions by 2050. “Your essays are pivotal to shape that ambition for the future,” Mr Rutley said. “They are important as we need to come up with plans to make it happen. Climate change demands it and public interest demands it.”

Confor has set an “ambitious but achievable” target of 40,000 hectares of new annual planting across the UK by 2030 to make a real impact on our climate change ambitions. The 18,000 target in Scotland has already been welcomed by Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy for the Scottish Government.

Stuart Goodall added: “Confor has put a real focus on forests, wood and climate change and is urging people to #ThinkGlobalPlantLocal - and the essay prize is part of that. We are encouraging students and young professionals to think about the future of the planet - and the profession. We had a very high standard of entries last year but we hope to go even higher in 2019."

Anyone aged 30 or under - and students of any age - can enter an essay of up to 1500 words (plus visual materials and accompanying text) and/or a video of 1-2 minutes by 14th October. Winners will receive their prizes at a presentation event at the Houses of Parliament on November 26th.

The competition is sponsored by Tilhill Forestry, BSW Timber and Forestry Commission.

Peter Whitfield, Business Development Director of Tilhill Forestry, said: “This is the perfect moment to discuss shaping the future of forestry.”