Lucy Saunders, Tree Officer

Lucy Saunders, Tree Officer

Lucy is the Tree Officer for the Lake District National Park.  She will be sharing about her work and adventures each month.  She begins by sharing the journey so far.

Life began in Kent where she had an active life exploring the area around, climbing trees and developing a love of nature.  Studies followed, but it was when she was taking her A/S Levels (English Literature, Art and Media) when she realised it wasn’t for her, and she wanted to pursue more rural related topics.  A course in Countryside Management at the local Canterbury College followed.  After two years, she had a BTEC in Countryside Management.

Like so many people, Lucy took some time to reflect on what she wanted to do, and spent several years running a gardening business, also generating some funds.  She knew she would need a degree to pursue the career that appealed, and so applied, as a mature student, for a degree in Ecology and Wildlife Conservation, at Bournemouth University.  The degree included a 6 week placement for experience, and she was able to join the tree team at Bournemouth Borough Council, where she was surveying trees.  The seed for working with trees was sown.

Lucy began to knock on doors, searching for opportunities to work with trees, meanwhile also running bushcraft activity days at local Outdoor Education Centres, based on her environmental studies.  The opening then came as she was offered experience with the New Forest National Park.  Their tree officer, who dealt with TPO enquiries, was preparing for maternity leave, and Lucy was able to spend one day per week shadowing the officer and also reviewing some TPOs.  She threw herself in to the role, and by the time the maternity leave started, she was up to speed.

This was an opportunity to learn on the job, and soon Lucy was attending CPD events, study tours and other activities.  Her colleague had twins and decided not to return to work at the end of the maternity leave, and so Lucy’s temporary position was made permanent. Lucy was now able to pursue more structured studies, and completed the L4 Diploma in Arboriculture via the Training Tree.

When the position of Tree Officer at the Lakes became available, Lucy knew she was ready.  She moved to the area in 2020, and is now actively involved with TPOs, trees and planning, and managing the Authority’s woodlands and trees within car parks.  We’ll be finding more out in the future months about the range of projects she gets involved with.  To close, what aspects of the role does she find challenging, and what are her favourite aspect?

Lucy finds working with the residents both challenging and enjoyable, because of the diversity.  She enjoy persuading people of the merits of keeping trees and managing them professionally.

Next month, she’ll be sharing about a typical week.

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