Essay and video prize 2019: enter now!

4 July 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 being prepared 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? 

"We have had a lot of interest already and we urge anyone thinking of entering to move quickly," said Confor CEO Stuart Goodall. "The deadline of 14th October might seem a long time away but use any quieter time wisely and get those entries in. We are very excited to see them."

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 winning essay in 2018 and Forestry Minister David Rutley said the competition was extremely timely because “the future of forestry is incredibly bright”.

Minister Rutley said 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,” he added. “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.

“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: “David Rutley is absolutely right to say this is the perfect moment to discuss shaping the future of forestry.”