THE winner of this year’s Arboricultural Association (AA) Award has been announced as Jill Butler.

After helping to build the countryside department of Merrist Wood into one of international standing, Jill pursued her passion for ancient and veteran trees and ancient forests, wood pastures and parkland by working her way through the ranks of the Woodland Trust, where she instigated and oversaw many projects, including the Ancient Tree Hunt.

Jill was part of the group which founded the first Ancient Tree Forum, on whose board she now serves.

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Jill regularly features in international events and conferences, building international links and collaborating with partners around the world. She helps organise Trees Romania, which gives wider recognition of the importance of Romania’s ancient trees and has participated in four study tours to the Bialowieza National Park in Poland.

In 2019, Jill became a qualified VetCert Consultant through the AA and has done much to promote and support this new accreditation. She is a keen surveyor and verifier for the Ancient Tree Inventory, a Chartered Arboriculturist and a trustee of the Tree Register of the British Isles.

Upon receiving the award, Jill said: “I’m so thrilled to receive this Arboricultural Association Award; I’m taken aback, and I’m really surprised. I feel so privileged to have joined that group of very special people who have received this award before who have worked so hard for trees.

“I think it is a sign that the Arboricultural Association has shown the breadth of interest in trees to recognise my work with ancient trees, but also the ecology of ancient trees and the history of trees as well. I’d love to work more with the association to further develop our understanding of tree ecology and history; and how they can inform our work in a much better way.”

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