In April 2021, Jessica Eaton-Fearne began working as an Urban Forestry Trainee for Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust (SRWT), funded by the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. She tells us all about her training experience and where she goes from here!
I had an educational background in the environment sector (a BSc Ecology and Conservation Biology), but my work after graduation had been in the education sector. This role allowed me the opportunity to re-enter the environment sector and start working in an area that I have grown to be even more passionate about than I was before – trees.Jessica Eaton-Fearne
As part of this role, I have had the opportunity to study for a fully-funded Level 4 Diploma in Arboriculture through The Training Tree. This studying has been online, and I have been able to work on my assignments for about half of the working week. Due to the intense workload of this qualification, having the opportunity to study during the working week has been immensely helpful, and allowed me to study the subject in more depth and breadth.
I am currently nearing the end of the course, with three assignments left, and I have thoroughly enjoyed expanding my knowledge on trees. The assignments have varied in topic, including learning about biosecurity and the different pests and diseases of trees, learning how to carry out tree inspections and spot potential hazards in tree form, and learning how to support newly planted trees to establish healthily in their environment. This qualification will enable me to work in a variety of roles in the arboriculture sector, and has made me more employable and more knowledgeable about the work that I do.
Using a resistograph to measure decay inside a tree for an assignment. This was possible due to the opportunity to shadow a Tree Officer.
I have supported the Community Forestry team with lots of events, including mulching sessions with corporate volunteers.
As part of my role, I have undertaken valuable work experience in a range of different areas. This has allowed me to put my studying into practice and gain key skills that will help me stand out in the job market.
The range of work experience has varied significantly, and has included the following areas:
- Supporting the South Yorkshire Woodland Creation Officer in carrying out desk-based assessments and Environmental Impact Assessments for afforestation projects.
- Carrying out i-Tree Canopy assessments to determine the percentage of tree cover in the South Yorkshire area.
- Supporting the Sheffield City Council (SCC) Community Forestry team to deliver tree planting projects across the city, including working with schools and the public on tree planting sessions.
- Assisting the SRWT Rangers to carry out patrols in their reserves, including the Moss Valley woodland.
- Carrying out ash dieback surveys on behalf of local councils and the SRWT.
- Shadowing SCC Tree Officers to learn more about their roles, including going on tree inspections and experiencing the work of a TPO officer.
- Filming, editing and producing informative videos for the SCC social media channels about the work that the Community Forestry team have been doing. This included a five-minute video that was played at the Arboricultural Association 55th annual conference.
- Carrying out post-planting site inspections to monitor the success of tree planting projects by the Community Forestry team.
- Organising and executing a tree planting day at Greno Woods on behalf of SRWT for external volunteers.
My experience in this role has enabled me to successfully achieve the role of Tree Planting Project Support Officer for Surrey County Council. I will begin in April 2022, and will be using the skills and knowledge gained from this role to help organise tree planting projects across the county of Surrey.