Royal Scottish Forestry Society
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The Society's core objectives seek to deliver learning and education on practical forestry matters.  We achieve this through a range of activities, awards and support open to members and non-members alike, with members benefiting from priority booking and discounts.

 

Wilma Harper
President

Wilma is a Chartered Forester and Chartered Environmentalist.  An experienced director, having held senior positions across the Forestry Commission, she now has a portfolio of board positions in the forestry and biodiversity sectors.  She joined the board of the RSFS as Communications Director in 2017.  She is also a trustee for Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards and a former President of the Institute of Chartered Foresters.  She is a Director of TWIC, the local record centre for South East and Central Scotland, and the National Biodiversity Network.

Alongside her broad forestry and environmental background, she brings considerable experience of corporate governance, strategy and change management. She has a particular focus on areas which support people, helping them to improve their understanding and appreciation of their environment.  

When sitting at a computer gets too much, she escapes by trail running in her local woods.


Raymond Henderson
Vice President

Raymond graduated with a forestry degree from the University of Aberdeen in 1983. He spent four years with the Economic Forestry Group before joining Bidwells’ forestry department. There followed over thirty five years of immensely varied and satisfying work, ranging from large scale productive forest management for institutional clients, through traditional estate forestry, native woodland creation and restoration, valuations, purchases & sales, and one-off consultancy.

He has been fortunate to have developed working relationships and friendships with a great many people within rural industries, forestry in particular’ over the years, and he firmly intends to maintain these following his retirement from the Bidwells partnership at the end of 2022. Raymond was chair of Confor’s mid Scotland Region and a Confor Board member for many years, stepping down in 2022.

Raymond's personal interests include travel, reading, deer stalking and managing his own (small!) woodland at home in Perthshire.


Tom Mitchell
Treasurer

Tom's background is as a Chartered Accountant, working in international offices of major accounting firms and in financial services. For the past decade, he has managed a firm of Chartered Accountants that specialises in working with charities improving governance, finance, risk and people matters.

Tom sit's on the ICAS charities technical panel and acts as a trustee for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which owns Edinburgh Zoo, as well as for the Donkey Sanctuary. When not working, he loves to read, garden and delve into modern history.


Andrew McQueen
South West Region

Andrew is an independent forester based in South Scotland. After graduating with a degree in Forestry from Aberdeen University, he spent nearly ten years with a large forest management company before setting up his own business in 2021 with a view to focus greater attention on diverse species and silvicultural systems.

He has a strong desire to reduce the current polarisation between 'productive' and 'native' forestry in order to encourage forests and woodlands which work for nature and people as well as production. To that end, he works with the Future Trees Trust and the Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers on the breeding and silviculture of hardwood species as well as regularly assisting with training and CPD for both the Society and the Institute of chartered foresters.


Virginia Harden Scott
Lothian & Borders Region

Virginia has been a member of the RSFS Lothians & Borders Committee since 2015 with a previous role as Regional Secretary. A graduate of Aberdeen University (MA Hons Geography) 1998, Virginia returned from 2 years working for a Zambian based safari company in 2007 to undertake an MSc in Environment and Development at the University of Edinburgh. An Associate member of the Institute for Chartered Foresters, She has worked in the forestry industry since 2009, beginning her forestry career as Biomass Development Officer (Woodfuel) for Forestry Commission Scotland, moving on to work as a community woodland Development Officer and then Woodland Creation Officer on behalf of and laterally for what is now Scottish Forestry. She is currently employed as Land Use Practice Advisor for Scottish Forestry, covering the areas of Forest Plastics, Wildfire, Carbon and Forestry & Private Water Supplies.


Gareth Whymant
Northern Region

Gareth trained for Forestry on the Duke of Buccleuch’s Boughton and Drumlanrig Estates. After two years as assistant Forester at Boughton, he moved to Scotland to the Blackwood Estate in Dumfriesshire. He was Head Forester on Ardverikie Estate near Newtonmore which was the setting for “Monarch of the Glen”. After 5 years he moved to the Darnaway Estate owned by Lord Moray, where he completed 21 years, retiring in 2012.

This is Gareth's second tenure as Chairman of the Northern Region, also serving for several years as local Secretary of the Institute of Chartered Foresters. At present he is a Trustee of Forres Community Woodland Trust. He joined RSFS in 1975.


Steve Brown
North East Region

Steve trained as a physical education teacher before moving to work in the financial sector in the city of London. After working there for six rewarding years he decided to return to Scotland with his new wife to complete a degree in forestry at Aberdeen University. He then joined the Forestry Commission and left for Knapdale Forest, Kintyre in September 1979, focusing mainly on harvesting. He transferred to Achaglachgach forest which had the largest planting programme in Scotland at the time. From there to Culloden to specialise in site surveys, then Newton nursery, then harvesting in the pine woods of Moray district. His final move, this time with four children in tow was to Huntly to take up a Woodland Officer post.

He is a director of Deveron Projects an arts body based in Huntly and runs a group of young musicians called the Strathspey fiddlers. He is chair of NE region RSFS, a role which helps him retain his interest in all things forestry.


Fenning Welstead
Central Region

Fenning has spent his long career with Tilhill, Clegg and was a founding partner in Goldcrest, a forestry and rural surveying team based in Scotland. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (President from 2011-2013), a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Registered Valuer. He is a non-Executive Director of Eskdalemuir Forestry Ltd.

His priority is in achieving a balance between commercial viability of land use and the sustenance of natural equilibriums.


 

Gavin McGregor
Editorial Services

Gavin has been editor of Scottish Forestry, the journal of the RSFS, since September 2021, and has produced the RSFS members’ fortnightly eNews since January 2022. HIs first career was in journalism and editing, working in local and regional press as a reporter and later as an editor at social policy and professional publications, as well as freelance writing work for a range of print and online publications and news outlets. After a stint as a political researcher and completing an MSc in Food Policy, before returning to editing and writing for the RSFS, Gavin worked in a number of roles related to land management, first in horticulture and more recently on nature reserves, including woodland management.

 


Kat Chisholm
Administration Officer

Kat has a wealth of experience working for charities and higher education where she worked predominately in IT Project Management and Office Administration. Kat organises the highly successful Abbeyhill Colony of Artists arts festival in Edinburgh and is also involved in other local community initiatives in Abbeyhill and Leith. Kat has lived in Abbeyhill since 1996 and loves the community spirit and atmosphere that living there brings. When not at work Kat loves spending time with her family (the cat and dog in particular!), travelling, walking and reading.


The Society is organised into six geographical regions:

  • Northern;
  • North East;
  • Central;
  • Lothian & Borders;
  • South West and Northern Ireland; and
  • England and the rest of the world.

The Northern region encompasses an area roughly from Nairn towards the west, the far north and south as far as Glen Coe.

The North East runs approximately east from Nairn, south through Aberdeenshire and south to roughly Glen Coe.

Central region runs across Scotland from Oban to Dundee with the northern boundary at roughly Glen Coe and the southern boundary at Falkirk.

Lothian and the Borders takes in more or less all EH and TD postcodes.

South West and Northern Ireland's most westerly boundary is the border with Eire, its southerly boundary is the border with England.  Its eastern boundary is a line roughly running north between Carlisle and New Lanark with its northern boundary being Glasgow and Inverclyde.

Each region, based in Scotland has a regional committee attending to its affairs; each committee having a Chair and a Secretary who are responsible to the Board of the Society for the conduct of the Region.

 
Central
North East
Northern
Lothian &
Borders
South West
Chair Fenning Welstead Steve Brown Gareth Whymant Virginia Harden Scott Andrew McQueen
Contact central@rsfs.org.uk northeast@rsfs.org.uk northern@rsfs.org.uk lothian@rsfs.org.uk southwest@rsfs.org.uk
Deputy Mike Thomson Rosie Wilson-Leagas Graham Hamilton Elinor Dobie George Moore
Members Simon Stuart
Laurent Bienfait
Ralland Browne
Charles Bushby
Bruce Spalding
Mike Strachan
Simon Stuart
Catherine Walker
Simon Blackett
Simon Jacyna
Jill Crozier
Peter Neilson
Bryce Reynard
Gethin Chambers
Jane Gibson
Leigh McIvor
Jean Nairn
Jeremy Thompson 
Jackie Watson
Dan Wilson
Michael Wilson
Robin Aston
Ewan Batchelor
Carol Crawford
William Crawford
Andrew Gladstone
Pat Hunter-Blair
Simon Stuart