Bringing Forestry England's Archaeology to Life
Many people are familiar with Forestry England in terms of their ownership and conservatorship of England’s woodlands, but did you know that they conserve thousands of plant and animal species, while caring for around 100 listed buildings and 30 Registered Parks and Gardens? I didn’t either before my time on the Civil Service Summer Diversity Internship Program, where I’ve spent nine weeks this summer working in the Forestry England national office in Bristol.
Following my undergraduate degree in Archaeology, through interning as a member of the corporate affairs team, I have helped with the marketing and project delivery of events for the Festival of Archaeology. This has helped facilitate the events in a variety of ways, from listing them on the Council of British Archaeology website, to estimating the required number of pamphlets for our stand on the 31st July at Corfe Castle (make sure you stop by and say hi to us if you’re attending!).
Having experienced both practical and desk-based elements to my undergraduate degree, it has been encouraging to see the hands-on approach of staff at Forestry England. Not only have my office-based skills greatly improved during my internship, but I have been able to assist on-the-ground with real work in the forests. This has shown me how diverse the staff roles are at Forestry England, and how I fit in as an archaeologist, lending both practical knowledge of heritage, while experiencing corporate organisation.
Throughout the running of the festival, I’m lucky to be attending three of the Forestry England events, including helping run the Sherwood Pines WW1 experience day and our stand at Corfe Castle, as well as attending the Prehistory of Bellever guided walk as a guest. This means that I’m not only increasing my knowledge of project delivery and successful marketing, but I'm also getting to learn from local experts about the history of England’s landscape through the human influences on it. This shapes the festival’s theme of ‘journeys’, which is intrinsically linked to the many processes of events that we partake in within our lifetimes. The wide-ranging events of the festival, therefore, encapsulate exciting insights into some of the many migrations, processes and learning journeys that have happened across time and space. This sheds light on my journey at Forestry England, which I can already recognise as one filled with learning experiences and personal development. This reflects the necessity for investment in not only future employees, but also in Growing our future.
The way in which the nation’s forests help us respond to the climate emergency, and support people and animals, is facilitated by the careful management of them by Forestry England staff, partners, and volunteers. This is particularly poignant since the COVID-19 pandemic, in the immense wellbeing benefits that forests provide. Therefore, as an archaeologist, I can utilise my deep-time perspective to take a long view of current challenges to benefit the future.