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Thinking about a career in Sustainability?

Eleanor Woodroffe, Woodland Creation Development Officer with North Yorkshire Council, talks to Zero Carbon Harrogate about her career choices and journey so far.

My position is funded through the Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund which is a DEFRA pot of money aiming to increase knowledge surrounding the subject of woodland creation across local authorities.

The purpose of my role is to identify areas of land across north Yorkshire that are suitable for woodland creation. I have a primary focus of identifying publicly owned land, however I am not limited to that and can also assist with woodland creation projects on private land.

I have created target areas which I feel will benefit the people of North Yorkshire when it comes to tree planting. I am targeting areas located within river catchments as trees can ‘slow the flow’ further downstream, thus creating a form of natural flood management. As well as this, I plan to target urban areas as this will improve air quality, give people access to green space and provide shade in times of warm weather.

What motivates me to work in this sector?  I love the outdoors! I grew up in Scarborough and have always massively appreciated being surrounded by trees and nature even from a young age. So, to be in a position where I can give something back to my county and encourage tree planting is very fulfilling to me.

How did I get here?  My favourite subject at college was always geography, so much so that I chose to do a degree in it at Newcastle University in 2017. I did my dissertation on tree establishment as this was something I found interesting, and it highlighted to me that if I were able to fulfil a career in something similar then that would be ideal. 

I began working as an Ecology and Landscape officer at East Yorkshire Council in the planning department, however, I soon moved teams when a position became available in one of the community forests. My next role was as a Project Officer for Humber Forest which was fantastic; I was able to get out into the field and meet like-minded individuals who shared my passion. 

I then had the opportunity to develop my career further and become the Woodland Creation Development Officer for North Yorkshire Council. I have been in this role for 4 months now and it has been challenging but extremely rewarding.

What do I hope to achieve?  I would like to highlight to people that woodland creation is not huge fields being planted up densely with no thought behind it. Woodland creation can be as simple as corners of fields or little pockets of land in estates planted up with trees that are proven to thrive in the chosen area. It’s not all about the hectares, I strongly believe in the saying ‘right tree, right place, right reason.

In this role I hope to support nature to thrive by bringing communities together and encouraging people to engage in local tree planting events. This is extremely beneficial to mental health and gives people a sense of ownership in their community as they are supporting their local environment.  


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