Star Newton Rigg lecturer wins
‘Oscar’ of the forestry world One of our lecturers, who enjoys a global reputation for his work, has won a prestigious prize in British forestry.
Chris Starr has received the Institute of Chartered Foresters Medal for Services to the British Forestry Industry. Only awarded around 20 times in the last 80 years, it is regarded as the ‘Oscar’ of the forestry world.
“I was absolutely staggered when I heard the news,” said Chris, a principal lecturer in forestry.
The prize acknowledges the contribution he has made in raising the profile of the forestry profession, both nationally and internationally. Having lectured in numerous countries around the world including the USA, Canada, India, Sweden, Germany and Finland, he has also put Newton Rigg on the global forestry map.
Chris left the university this summer after 24 years’ service, during which time he held many senior posts including Head of Department and Director for International Development. “I’ve had a brilliant time here and one of the wonderful aspects of my role has been to see so many excellent former students going on to great things,” he said.
“Many of them are now working in very important roles both here and overseas.”
Since arriving at the former Newton Rigg College in 1986, Chris has developed a wide range of education programmes including degrees, masters and distance learning courses. Visiting foresters from Bolivia, Nepal and Nigeria have also sought his educational and industry expertise.
Shireen Chambers, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, was “delighted” to award the medal to Chris for his outstanding services to forestry and, in particular, to forestry education.
“This coveted award is the highest that the Institute can bestow. I am sure that the many students Chris has tutored and mentored over the years—many now ICF professional members—will agree that this is genuinely deserved and will join us in congratulating him,” she said.
Undoubtedly, Chris has helped to push forestry to the top of the national and international political agenda. No longer regarded as merely a timber resource, it is now rightly viewed as a crucial carbon store in the ongoing fight against climate change.
“Forestry has a much higher profile these days as the public rightly appreciate its importance in biodiversity and recreation and also in its role as the lungs of the planet. Thirty per cent of the world is still covered by forest and one billion people directly rely on it for their survival. The UK is an exemplar of good sustainable development in forestry and it’s been rewarding to have been part of that during my career.” Although leaving the university, Chris is not leaving the county or forestry and will continue as a freelance forestry consultant. His recently published book, Woodland Management—A Practical Guide, is now on its second print run and he aims to write further books on the subject so close to his heart.
“I want to be able to inspire younger people into the profession, perhaps aimed at A- level students looking at forestry from a global perspective and encouraging them to appreciate the global nature of careers in the industry,” he said.
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