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Chris Knapman wins 2023 Arboricultural Association Award

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

The Arboricultural Association is pleased to reveal that the winner of this year’s Association Award is Chris Knapman.

In recognition of his significant and positive contribution to the arboricultural profession and a lifetime of work with trees, Chris was presented with the award virtually with the help of a surprise guest presenter at home. You can watch the presentation below, which was also played during the Awards session of last week’s Arboricultural Association Conference.

Chris Knapman Wins 2023 Arboricultural Association Award

Watch Here

We hope that everyone in the industry will join us in congratulating Chris on this well-deserved achievement and in sending thanks for his ongoing contributions to the industry.

Nominations come in from the membership and are judged by an independent panel. On receiving the award, Chris said:

“I’m very pleased to accept the award and obviously I hadn’t prepared an acceptance speech. Thanks to all my friends, family and colleagues. I’m quite surprised and very pleased. I tend to stay under the radar, doing bits here there and everywhere. Helping Ancient Tree Forum conferences or just saving a tree where I can, doing philanthropic acts when necessary, trying to promote trees… Coming up with new ideas on how we can present trees and tree care, why they are so important to us. We wouldn’t have a civilization without trees, full stop. We really do need to look after them and the Arboricultural Association is hence very important in that and I think doing great work now to really push the importance of trees. I’m really pleased with the way the Association is going and how inclusive it is to all sorts of new ideas.”

Association CEO John Parker said on presenting the award to Chris:

“You are a very important part of all the work that is going on Chris, and we really do appreciate it. You are a very well deserving winner for a lifetime of contributions to arboriculture and lots more to come.”

Several colleagues nominated Chris and the excerpt below is just one example of the positive impact he has had on others.

“Chris does nothing but encourage us to do more, to be better Arbs and to keep striving to achieve Greater things. The work Chris continues to do for the Ancient Tree Forum is so vital, there is such a need for his vast knowledge. Chris has spent time recently, assisting Kneebone trees, which I believe they found to be invaluable. Chris recently set up the Tree Musketeers group, which I am proud to be a member of and this critical thinking group, which explores all the latest Arboricultural information, which has really helped me develop.. Chris has mentored me and two of my colleagues, all AA members, and we are all treated like family and respected by someone of such great knowledge and experience. Chris has really helped with our ongoing education, in best industry practice and the complex world of ancient tree management and learning. The advice given is always delivered so well, with such honourable intentions, have you tried this, have you thought about this, maybe it worth looking at things this way. I have never encountered such a great individual with such a gentle, well intentioned, outlook.”

“His contributions to the world of arboriculture go far beyond the ordinary. His tireless dedication, passion for trees, and commitment to knowledge sharing make him an exceptional candidate for the Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Chris Knapman Biography:

Chris Knapman holds the Royal Forestry Society Professional Diploma in Arboriculture- Dip Arb (RFS) which was gained in 2001. In addition, he has been a Fellow of the Arboricultural Association F Arbor A since 2003.

In July 1995 he was awarded BSc (Hons) Environmental Science (Wing Option- Biology) Thesis: The Status of the Butterfly Community at Orley Common, Ipplepen in 1994 and Implications for Conservation Management. (Orley Common being an inland limestone grassland/wooded common).

Chris was a Tree Officer (job share) at Plymouth City Council between 1995 and 2016 and regularly dealt with planning appeals, public inquiries and court work as an investigating officer with regard to contraventions of Tree Preservation Orders/Conservation Areas.

Since 2005 he has been an assessor for the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme.

In May 2013 and April/May 2014 he was Arboricultural Officer to Royal Horticultural Society at Chelsea Flower Show.

Over the last 30 years Chris has worked as a self-employed arboricultural, horticultural and environmental consultant and as a horticultural contractor with numerous clients and organisations. In addition, he has broadcast on tree matters with the BBC and co-authored a book entitled Plymouth’s Favourite Trees.

In the voluntary/charitable sector he has held the following positions:

Ancient Tree Forum: Co-opted Board Member since 2008. Elected Trustee- March 2017-August 2017 (Re-structure). Ancient Yew Group: Elected member March 2017.

Devon Ancient Tree Forum: Instigated and co-founded Devon Chapter August 2005-June2018. Chair and presenter at local and national events. Re-location to Scotland in November 2018, on panel for Trees of Special National Interest.