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Northern Branch AGM News

Author:  Kelly Stewart
Last Updated:  15/03/2023

From the New Ireland Branch Chair

Kelly Stewart, Northern Branch Chair

Thanks to everyone who voted. I’m really pleased to start the year as Chair for the Northern Branch!

When I attended a branch meeting last year, I had no idea I would leave considering volunteering my time and support in such a way. But well, I thought, I can do that!

I joined the world of arboriculture after a short stint in landscape, in my early 20s as a degree student at Myerscough – back in the days of portacabin classrooms (if you know, you know!); when heavy boots and trousers made getting off the ground near impossible, especially for those of us over 5ft 8!

Within arboriculture I’ve had the privilege of some truly affectable roles, such as assisting at the two research facilities at the time for Bartlett Tree Experts and more recently as an HE Lecturer in Arboriculture back at Myerscough University Centre. I’m now consulting for a practice based in North Yorkshire.

Lee Thorne is the new Vice Chair of the Branch and I’m really looking forward to working with him. He is well known in the North-West with his long-standing company Country Landscapes Ltd and he has an excellent network of connections in the public sector. He’s recently been educating me on his current passion around the problems of arboricultural underrepresentation in tackling the issues of environmental sustainability (read more below). Together with my interests in organisational behaviour, we plan to make influencing change in the North a primary focus.

Overall, we want to use our experience to help, encourage and support people on their journey and just be there if they need extra guidance.

Thank you

Speaking of support, we want to thank Tim Beckley and Jo Ryan for the encouragement and guidance they have given Lee and me over recent months and through past years as Chair and Secretary to the Northern Branch. Jo and Tim have spent many days and hours of their time investing in the arbs of the North. On behalf of us all, we would like to extend our sincere thanks.

Tim and Jo are not going far and plan to continue to support us over the coming year as part of the Northern Branch committee. We will be turning to our members present and future to ask them to volunteer some time and support too. At the recent Arbor Day at Myerscough, Lee and I encouraged people to get involved. We hope to shape a committee of members moving forward to help create a balanced representation for Northern Branch. Please get in touch if you think you might like to get involved. You can reach us at ArbANorth@outlook.com.

We hope our branch can grow to support the arboriculturists of our area. And we seriously hope more of you will step forward for the challenge too.

Supporting Arbor Day at Myerscough. Left to right: Lee Thorne, Tim Beckley and Kelly Stewart.

Supporting Arbor Day at Myerscough. Left to right: Lee Thorne, Tim Beckley and Kelly Stewart.

From the New Ireland Branch Vice Chair

Lee Thorne, Vice Chair

The reason I’ve stepped forward to be Vice Chair of Northern Branch is to help drive a shared vision to improve our environment and mitigate climate change risks by working together, encouraging greater respect for the environment, especially trees.

Being from the North-West, I went to Myerscough, gaining Licentiateship in Horticulture after seven years of City & Guilds day release with inspirational tutors including John Hornyak, Joe Lamont and Eric Unsworth.

I worked in parks services for 16 years, being responsible for 1000 sites. My role included providing arboricultural advice and taking every opportunity to increase planting diversity in what I hope will one day genuinely be ‘The Forest of Rossendale’. I enjoy working with the many outstanding professionals in our sector and still keep touch with many of the North West Tree Officers group, plus many brilliant volunteers.

Since leaping to run my own company 18 years ago, I have enjoyed working with trees and I’ve continued learning – gaining a Masters (2021) plus ILM and CMI Fellowships. I’m now studying Strategic Direction (Level 8), focusing on sustainability collaboration.

I love what the Association is doing and now’s the time for us to take a lead in championing sustainability. I’m not a Chartered Environmentalist, but many of us have a lifetime of environmental knowledge and business acumen which remain under-utilised. Recruiters still churn out old job-descriptions, hardly mentioning sustainability, despite it being the top risk factor. As Vice Chair, I’m proposing a Local and Global Mission:

  • Locally promote ‘stakeholder value’ of trees and eco-diversity in our communities ‘on our doorstep’.
  • Globally drive sustainability in boardrooms. Global companies have the power to tackle climate change but 65% of executives say they don’t know how. Therefore, let’s have a Northern #CEnvOnBoard Pilot Programme with the objective of getting Chartered Environmentalists into boardrooms – championing the environment from the top!

Those who are interested in the #CEnvOnBoard Pilot Programme please do get in touch! ArbANorth@outlook.com

This article was taken from Issue 200 Spring 2023 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.