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STEM Big Bang Fair

Author:  Alastair Durkin
  27/08/2019
Last Updated:  27/08/2019
South East Branch committee member Andrew Gale at the Big Bang Fair, Ardingly

South East Branch committee member Andrew Gale at the Big Bang Fair, Ardingly.

On 26 and 27 June the South East Branch attended the STEM Big Bang Fair South East at Ardingly.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and the Big Bang Fair brings together school children, teachers, STEM employers, STEM Ambassadors and volunteers in a unique festival atmosphere to celebrate all things STEM. The South East Branch joined the Forestry Commission, Merrist Wood College and Down to Earth Trees to represent the arboricultural sector.

With three South East Branch committee members volunteering for each day and Jane Stuart from AA HQ in attendance on Thursday it was quite a commitment – and hard work – but all who attended felt that the hundreds of students and teachers that visited the arboriculture area went away with a better understanding of the many opportunities that exist for a rewarding career working with trees.

The South East Branch team gave students and their teachers information about careers in arboriculture and discussed the effects of pests and diseases, including a demonstration of decay detection using the PiCUS Sonic Tomograph, IML Resi drill and the ever reliable Thorex hammer! Students then had the opportunity to climb a large sycamore using a rope and harness, with the guidance of Tom Peacock and Rob Wood from Merrist Wood (Wednesday) and Lawrence Dell and Daniel Rose from Down to Earth Trees (Thursday). Once back on the ground, students learned from Becki and Laura from the Forestry Commission about the multiple benefits of trees, the threats they face, and what we can all do to help them. It was an excellent team effort from the arb industry.

From a personal perspective I think this is exactly the sort of work that the AA should be doing on a regular basis in pursuit of its charitable object to ‘advance the science of arboriculture for the public benefit’. I was hugely impressed with the level of understanding that students demonstrated when it came to the benefits that trees bring to our planet and to our daily lives. It certainly gives me confidence that the arboricultural industry will be in safe hands, and hopefully if one or two of these youngsters are helping to run the country from Westminster in 20 years’ time, they might recall the day when a bunch of arborists helped them to climb a tree, explained how important trees are to our future, and how it is vital to have enthusiastic and knowledgeable people to look after them.


This article was taken form Issue 186 Autumn 2019 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.