On Wednesday 17th June, I was one of more than 500 guests invited to attend Barcham’s Big Barn conference, themed ‘A Day In The Urban Forest’. This is the fourth time that Barcham’s have hosted an event on this scale, although previously for 400 guests. Inspired by last year’s ICF conference, with more than 400 delegates, one of the largest gatherings of tree care professionals in the UK, the Barcham’s team pondered whether they could go one better, and put on an event for a record-breaking 500 guests.
Keith Sacre, the inspiration behind this, assembled a line-up of seven leading international speakers. I soon realised that this was not only a gathering of tree care delegates, but also a top agenda. One gets a sense of the calibre of the speakers, when two of the original line-up were unable to attend, and the substitutes list was Dr. Kathleen Woolf and Kenton Rodgers. Kathleen spoke at the ICF event last year, and opened my eyes to the social value of trees, a value we arborists know deep down. She was able to apply science to what we have known without having access to the hard facts.
Speaker followed speaker, sharing about pioneering work and reminding us of the common sense principles of how trees enhance lives. The challenges of exotic pests and managing these challenges, then exploring drought and the different strategies of various species, then some material on I-Trees and establishing the next generation of trees. There were few moments when my pen wasn’t busy making notes. I could see some of the research which has influence Keith and found its’ way to BS8545.
A sensitive array of exhibitors provided a valuable back drop for networking. Despite being only days after the AA’s ARB show, I was still able to make some valuable connections.
At the end of the day, with the clock heading for 5.30, and even the delegates feeling the pace, Keith gave gifts to each of the speakers, inviting the audience to show our appreciation. I was thankful that, at the end, one of the speakers grabbed the microphone and invited the audience to show our deep appreciation to Keith, without whom none of this would have happened. The standing ovation and extended applause represented the heart felt gratitude so many of us feel for his efforts.
Thank you for Barcham’s for organising this event and backing Keith.
Thank you Keith for assembling such an excellent line-up.