4-7 September 2016
Over 350 people arrived at Keele University for the 2016 50th anniversary AA Conference. Moving to Keele University for the first time since the late 1990’s, the 50th Arboricultural Association Conference featured over 27 speakers drawn from across the globe.
Retiring chairman Jago Keen was unable to attend the event due to a prior commitment and so made his introductory speech via video and exhorted the Association to continue its growth and development. Jago also thanked departing CEO Karen Martin and welcomed CEO in waiting, Stewart Wardrop. Stewart introduced himself to conference and will be joining the association on October 3rd.
Following his 2-year tenure Jago has now handed the chair to Keith Sacre of Barcham Trees who recognised Jago’s significant contribution to the recent development of the Association.
A feature of this year’s conference was the range of activities based on the campus grounds of the University. Dr Ana Perez-Sierra held a number of well attended pest and disease campus walks and a wide range of exhibitors filled the exhibition hall.
This year’s event was the 50th successive conference for the Association – the first having been held at Merrist Wood in 1967. To mark the occasion, AA linked up with the Landscape Institute to jointly present the second day of the conference. Chaired in the morning by Baroness Kate Parminter the session focussed on collaboration between all stakeholders in the landscape and arb sector. The morning’s presentations emphasised both the links between landscape and arboricultural issues and the management and importance of trees within urban environments and laid the groundwork for The event was rounded off by a ceremonial planting of a disease resistant ash by Henry Girling and the conference dinner held in the beautiful buildings and gardens of Keele Hall. Dave Dowson was presented with the AA Annual Award for Continued Contribution to Arboriculture and the guests were entertained by James Ogilvie whose twin roles as Social and Planning Policy advisor for the Forestry Commission and seven summits explorer provided some fascinating insights into the presence of trees in harsh environments.
Next year’s conference will be held at Exeter University on 10-13 September.