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Best Student and Young professional of the year awards

Author:  Arboricultural Association
  18/09/2023
Last Updated:  19/09/2023

Kinga Chudziak

Cecily Withall

Kinga Chudziak studied the BTEC L3 National Foundation/Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture at Merrist Wood College. She was announced as the winner at the conference, although she was unable to attend in person. Below is an excerpt from her nomination.

“Kinga is an exceptional student who has excellent practical skills and academic understanding. She has been focused solely on becoming a Tree Surgeon since attending our Open Event and has shown real grit and determination. She is the only female on the course, but fits in perfectly with her peers as well as exceeding all of them in her academic studies with Distinction grades in all assignments. She was even the first person in her class to be signed off for the year! She has made a real impact at her Work Experience Placement, 1st Call Trees Ltd, who have told me she is affectionately known as their "pocket rocket" as her small stature doesn't stop her performing brilliantly. Kinga is considerate to her teachers and considerate to her peers and I’m proud to have been her tutor. She has a bright future in the Arb Sector and I look forward to seeing her in September for her second year of studies.”

Cecily Withall was presented with the award for Young arboricultural professional of the year at the Arboricultural Association Conference by Chair Michelle Ryan. Cecily is an Arborist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and has already demonstrated a passion for learning and sharing knowledge. Below is an excerpt from the nomination we received.

“Cecily started her journey at Kew Gardens in London over four years ago as an apprentice within the tree team before becoming a full-time member of staff/climber two years ago. She is, notably, the first female climbing arborist employed by Kew since 1980 and is part of Kew’s ‘Tree Gang’, a team of arborists (including two apprentices) who manage over 12,000 trees at Kew.

In March, Cecily led a fascinating tree walk of Kew’s ‘Old Lions’ for the Women in Arb group event, as well as providing invaluable support to the Association Team to deliver the event. In May, Cecily supported our Tree Care Forum with a virtual tour of Kew’s special specimens and explaining at this public-facing event why these specimens hold historic value within the gardens and the care that the team provide using new technology and holistic values such as soil decompaction and geo-injection of bio-char.

Cecily recently sat the TRAQ assessment and we wait with baited breath for her results.

Cecily is an informed and excellent presenter, embraces the opportunities and has an unmeasured willingness to support the industry in any way she can. I have only known her since March, and I’m in awe. She is mostly definitely one to watch!”