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Advent Day 7: Leading lights discuss the British Christmas Tree industry with our students

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7 December 2022

 

Now is around the time most people start thinking about putting up their Christmas tree – but did you know more than eight million trees were sold in the UK last year?

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) is dedicated to representing and actively supporting its growers, whilst championing naturally beautiful British Christmas trees.

The organisation has a network of more than 300 members across the UK – and earlier this term, two of their members came to Harper Adams to talk to our undergraduates about their work – and how they help millions of people mark the festive season with a traditional tree.

In this blog, Harper Adams Forestry lecturer Nick Covarr explains more.

 

We bring industry leaders of all kinds to our lectures at Harper Adams – and earlier this year, our students were pleased to receive a guest lecture from two leading lights in the Christmas tree sector.

Both Oliver Combe of York Christmas Trees and Russell Stanhope of Bishops Offley Christmas Trees  were here as representatives of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA).

A group of our second year undergraduates studying forestry are working towards an assignment where they must design a woodland creation scheme incorporating economic, social and environmental objectives.

Following the guest lecture and the follow up questions, Christmas tree growing is undoubtably going to appear in many of those assignments!

In a thought-provoking lecture, Russell and Oliver gave our students a background of their industry. The BCTGA aims to:

  • Promote the benefits and sales of excellent British Christmas trees.
  • Provide relevant and timely information to growers.
  • Encourage the exchange of ideas and information.
  • Provide a logo which is a “kite mark”, giving consumers confidence that they have bought a quality, local Christmas tree.

The organisation also funds research and trials – as I know, having helped with one of their recent projects - and provides growers with information, support and inspiration.

As well as discussing their work in the Association, our lecturers also examined the annual cycle of planting, maintaining, harvesting and marketing modern Christmas trees.

They shared the importance of species choice and the ways in which their industry is trying to limit its environmental footprint despite little to no government funding or support.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to the Russell, Oliver and the BCTGA for making the time and effort to come and engage with our students and get them enthused about the industry.

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