PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL SCOTTISH FORESTRY SOCIETY
James Hepburne Scott became the 69th President, of the Society, at the Annual Business Meeting held on the 9th May.
After five months as President I reflect on a busy and successful year for the Society. We have held 16 excellent field days and one evening lecture. We have attended the Royal Highland Show, the Scottish Game Fair, the Stewartry Show and the Galloway Country Fair. We will be at the Peebles Wood Market on 21-22 October. These shows are hard work for those who are able to participate but they are good recruiting grounds, we meet our members and, weather permitting, we enjoy them.
We have had another memorable annual excursion, brilliantly organised by a small team from SW region, and blessed again with 3 days of sunshine.
For me, the outstanding day was our visit to Glen Feshie, Glen Tromie and GaickEstates, courtesy of Anders HolchPovlsen, organised by Rod Pimm and attended by over 40 members. My photograph shows some of us beside Loch Gaick. This will be written up in the next Journal.
I must however report three personal regrets:
I took the unhappy decision to cancel the annual lecture which was to be given in April by Professor James Pendlebury, Chief Executive of Forest Research, due to a lack of bookings. The board has decided not to hold a lecture in 2018 while we review options. I would welcome suggestions from members.
I was not able to attend the recent field day at Alba Trees "Alternative Conifers - the Nursery perspective" as I was in Raigmore hospital having a broken elbow repaired. The idea sprang from a field day at BSW Petersmuir a year earlier where Alex Brownlie discussed the mills' perspective. Of course, changing the conifer mix requires understanding and confidence along the length of the supply chain from seed source to end user of timber. So that is what we put together. I don't think an event quite like this has been attempted before. It was meticulously organised by Chris Allan of Alba Trees (whom I welcome onto the board as the new chairman of SW region) and 40 attended. You will read about it in the Spring Journal. This is an area where I hope the Society can continue to lead.
I have not attended a single event in NE region this year. I am very sorry and promise to do much better next year!
On a happier note, I can report that subscription income has increased this year, largely thanks to our 11 new corporate members, bringing the total to 23. Individual membership however has declined a little. We must reverse this trend if our Society is to survive and prosper. It is down to each of us to attract new members. Please invite friends along to field days and lend them your Journal. These are our main attractions. If each member set themselves the target of just recruiting one new member the Society’s membership would double. A challenge for you – One new member each - please. What about a Christmas present? Make sure they re-new!
Needless to say, costs continue to rise and there will therefore be a small subscription increase next year for those who do not pay by direct debit. If you are one of those please switch to direct debit and take advantage of the saving that will bring you.
The success of our Society is largely due to the huge amount of voluntary work done by board members, regional chairmen and secretaries (especially in excursion years) plus others representing us in all sorts of fora. My thanks to you all on behalf of all members.
James Hepburne Scott