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The Arboricultural Association (AA) organised a special event on July 18th 2017 for the All-party Parliamentary Gardening and Horticulture Group in Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster. The purpose of the event was to tell members of the House of Commons and House of Lords about two key risks to the urban forest of the UK. One was biosecurity; the other was the increasing pressures on tree officers and the public sector. The AA kindly gave LTOA Chair John Parker the opportunity to deliver the keynote address at the event, which he used to promote the work of tree officers all over the UK and outline some of the challenges they face. John’s speech is reproduced in full below.
Written by John Parker, LTOA
Article first appeared in the Arboricultural Association ARBMag
In June 2017 I was fortunate enough to attend the 20th annual European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) in Barcelona, Catalonia, where I was representing the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA). I first encountered EFUF when I submitted an abstract for the 2016 event in Ljubljana about the work the LTOA was doing in relation to canker stain of plane (Ceratocystis platani). I had never participated in a conference outside of the UK before and wasn’t expecting to hear anything back from my submission, but – in a lesson to all those who think about having a go at this sort of thing, but don’t – to my delight it was accepted and I was invited to present.
It was therefore with some trepidation that in May last year I found myself in the magnificent surroundings of Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia, to speak at EFUF 2016 to an audience of arboriculturalists, urban foresters and academics from Europe and beyond. Much like at LTOA quarterly seminars or the National Tree Officer Conference, it can be a little intimidating to stand up and present your work to an audience of your peers, some of whom may be vastly more experienced than you. This feeling can be magnified in an unfamiliar environment under the watchful eye of not only the best in London or the best in the UK, but the best in Europe.