A SENIOR conservation ranger has been given a prestigious award for his research. 

Richard ‘Ric’ Miller claimed Tilhill’s 2023 Award for ‘Best Dissertation’ on the BSc (Hons) course at the University of Cumbria, home to the National School of Forestry.

The former woodland ecology and conservation student, who now works at Center Parcs’ Whinfell Forest, examined grey squirrel dispersal movements. 

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He said: “It’s an honour to receive the award from such an esteemed forest management company as Tilhill, and will act as a reminder of what can be achieved with dedication and hard work. 

“It was also a pleasure to be awarded by Tilhill’s senior forest manager John Lees, who I have met previously, and my lecturers (Claire Holt, Andrew Leslie and Mark Tomlinson), all of whom I have learned a great deal from.”

The Award, a specially carved wooden trophy along with £250 prize money, was recently presented to Ric. 

John Lees, North & Central England senior forest manager for Tilhill, said: “I hope his degree in woodland ecology and conservation will help aid his job role during what is a most exciting time for forestry as we seek to expand and create new woodlands to combat climate change and the current biodiversity decline.”

Mark Tomlinson, senior lecturer at the National School of Forestry, said: “This research has a practical application, allowing the identification of likely incursion points by grey squirrels into a red squirrel reserve at Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, where Ric works.”