In a series of blogs to celebrate International Women's Day 2021, members of staff share their stories of working in the forestry sector.
My name is Cora Pfarre and I am a Field Manager working across the South East and London team. I support a team of Woodland Officers who work within Berkshire. Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
I am originally from Germany, where I completed my MSc in Forestry Science in 2014. Three weeks after completion, I and my dog Faye drove to the UK and I started working for the Lancashire and later Wiltshire Wildlife Trust before I worked as Information and Conservation Ranger for the City of London Corporation.
I joined the Forestry Commission in August 2019 as a Woodland Officer covering Surrey and London before successfully securing a development opportunity in June 2020 to become a Field Manager in the West Midlands. This led to a return to the South East and London area as a permanent Field Manager.
My role involves acting as the face of the Forestry Commission, building strong relationships with landowners, managers and stakeholders and providing site-based advice and support. This enables me to develop a strategic view of the local landscape, network of stakeholders and the issues and opportunities that exist.
An example of one of the exciting opportunities I’ve experienced within the Forestry Commission was last year when I was still working as Woodland Officer. I was invited by an agent on behalf of a large estate to advise them on their draft Woodland Management Plan. On the day we reviewed the details of the woodland management plan and we walked the site, to ensure that the proposed Woodland Management Plan was appropriate for the site and UKFS compliant.
The estate owner invited me to come back a few weeks later to join him on a helicopter ride, so we could get a better understanding of the extent of ash dieback across not only his estate but also across parts of the South East. We were really lucky with the weather and we were able to see for miles and miles. It was a fantastic opportunity and an amazing day as a Woodland Officer.
I thoroughly enjoy sharing my passion for sustainable forest management and in my opinion, investing time and resources in the development of young professionals in the forestry sector is the best investment we can make towards a more sustainable future for our woodlands.
The Forestry Commission provides great opportunities and I have been offered to participate in the Women’s Leadership Development Programme at the Said Business School at Oxford University which aims to better equip female managers to navigate the many challenges and gender biases within the workplace, and develop the critical skills of aspiring leaders seeking to lead, influence, and mentor.