Tomorrow's Forests wins SWL award at industry 'Oscars'

Tomorrow's Forests wins SWL award at industry 'Oscars'


Tomorrow's Forests has been named as the latest winner of a top industry prize, sponsored by Scottish Woodlands Ltd, which rewards those who communicate positive and effective messages about the forestry industry.

Scottish Woodlands' Managing Director Ian Robinson presented the Changing Attitudes Award at the annual dinner, hosted by industry leadership body Confor.

Tomorrow's Forests was chosen from a shortlist of four on the basis of a series of excellent videos, which reach out beyond the industry to tell the modern forestry story to a wider audience.


Ian Robinson, Managing Director of SWL, is pictured with the team from Tomorrow's Forests, winners of the Changing Attitudes Award 2024, including Elisabeth Boivin, Founder and Director, holding the trophy and fellow Founder and Director Nck Hollingsworth, second right.


The finalists also included Jillian Kennedy, a Forest Manger with Scottish Woodlands, who was shortlisted for her exceptional work in fostering closer relationships and better understanding between farming and forestry.

The other finalists were Emyr Parker, a Forest Manager with Tilhill, for his work in promoting forestry careers to young people, and Timber Talks by Tilhill - a series of short films which address the challenges faced by the industry and tackle common misconceptions.

Tomorrow's Forests, founded just 10 years ago, emerged as the winner for its excellence in promoting forestry through educational videos about the industry. In the last year in particular, Tomorrow’s Forests has ramped up its content, with many videos talking about the forestry industry and its role in the wider rural landscape. 

Ian Robinson said: "Tomorrow's Forests was a deserved winner of the 2024 Changing Attitudes Award as a relatively young company with a lot to say - and an impressive way of saying it. The videos reached out beyond the industry to tell a positive story about modern forestry." 

"I'm delighted that Scottish Woodlands Ltd continues to sponsor this important award to recognise those doing most to communicate the fantastic work of our industry."

Previous winners of the Changing Attitudes Award were Mima Letts of Tree Sparks (2020), Laura Jermy of TG & DS Norman (2022) and Tom Barnes of Vastern Timber (2023). The awards dinner was not held in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Two more Scottish Woodlands staff were shortlisted in the annual ‘Forestry Oscars’. Carbon Manager Emma Kerr was a finalist in the Net Zero award category for her work in making Scottish Woodlands Ltd the UK's largest developer of forest carbon schemes, and has become one of the “go to” people in the carbon world. The Net Zero Award was won by Rainbow Professional for its work in creating a new generation of environmentally friendly tree shelters.

Megan Parker, a Forest Planner with Scottish Woodlands, was also shortlisted in the Future Forest Leader category, which was won by Rosanna Curtis of Reheat.

"I'm really pleased that Jillian, Emma, and Megan were all shortlisted," said Mr Robinson. "It's a reflection of a strong new generation of forestry professionals coming through into senior roles at Scottish Woodlands Ltd and signals a bright future for the business."

The winner of the main award at the Confor Award Dinner, for Dedicated Service to Forestry, was Rodney Shearer for his role in promoting the tree nursery sector, mainly during more than 30 years at Alba Trees.

Gordon Brown won the Professional Forester of the Year award, sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Foresters, while Daniel Iddon of SAF Woodland Management was the winner of the Science and Technology Award, jointly sponsored by Forestry Commission and Forestry & Land Scotland.

Ian Robinson concluded: "I'd like to congratulate all the winners and thank Confor for putting together another great night of celebration for our industry. Scottish Woodlands Ltd is very happy to be part of such a terrific occasion."


Ian Robinson, Managing Director of SWL, is pictured with all the finalists from the Changing Attitudes Award 2024, including Jillian Kennedy from Scottish Woodlands (second left), Emyr Parker, Tilhill (right), Harry Stevens, Timber Talks (second right) and the winning Tomorrow' Forests team.


The dinner heard a video message from Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Mairi Gougeon MSP, and a live speech from Jim Fairlie MSP, Minister for Agriculture and Connectivity. Mr Fairlie described forestry as a “dynamic industry with sustainability at its core” and said it was vital to Scotland’s climate change ambitions.

He recognised industry concerns about the 40% reduction in the Scottish Government budget for woodland creation in 2024/25 but said ministers were “doing everything we can in straitened times”. 

Mr Fairlie thanked the forestry industry for its work and said there was a record number of approvals for new planting in the system (around 14,000 hectares). He added: “It's critical we make the most of the available funds this year and get as much planted as possible. Keeping up [this] momentum increases the case for more funding in future.”

Confor CEO Stuart Goodall highlighted deep industry concerns over the budget cut, noting that nurseries would have to make decisions soon about how many young trees to grow for the coming years, and without additional funding being made available quickly, production would inevitably fall. This would ‘bake in’ a significant reduction in future tree supply and mean woodland creation targets would be significantly undershot for at least the next 3-4 years. 

He warned Scotland that its much-vaunted position as the best place to plant trees and invest in wood production in the UK could not be guaranteed. There had been real progress made on fast-tracking approvals in England and work with industry to develop a National Wood Strategy for England and a Timber in Construction Roadmap, while Scotland was falling back following the funding cut and was at risk of standing still at best in the coming years. 


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