Day in the life: Forest manager

Published: 27 Feb 2015

My morning
I can be up at 5.30am to catch a ferry or face a four hour drive to Argyll and some days up at 7.30am for a 9am start in the office. There is no routine as a forester, but I always check my emails and contact my contractors’ first thing to make sure all is ok for the day. Morning work can include writing reports, mapping, meeting new clients, site meetings with contractors, working on budgets or measuring timber and surveying habitats.

My lunchtime
I rarely take a lunch hour as I usually use this time to catch up on telephone calls and reply to emails. Occasionally though, I am lucky enough to be out in the woods on a glorious day overlooking the mountains and watching the clouds drift by so a very lucky occupation indeed. The best lunch spent was a day on the beach at Totaig on a woodland inspection survey when an otter decided to take my tuna sandwiches from my box right beside me.  These moments are priceless and the best part of my work.

Donnah Murray

My afternoon
My work as a senior forest manager at CKD Galbraith predominantly involves forestry management and consultancy services to land agents and owners. A typical day can include anything from site supervision on very steep slopes, restoring ancient, semi-natural and policy woodland to long term forest plans and grants sourcing.

Afternoons are much the same as mornings, with a huge range of tasks to complete. The people I meet range from government officials, clients, contractors, other forestry industry colleagues, land agents, fishermen, farmers, the list is endless.

The work is varied and can be very mucky at times but I love it and whilst the majority of my colleagues are male, CKD Galbraith and the sector as a whole haven’t ever denied me the opportunity to pursue this career and progress. In fact I believe being female has helped me stand out from the competition.

My evening
I’m never home before 6.30pm and quite often I am the last to leave the office. I live in Stirling now but family and children are still based in Inverness so I do a lot of travelling at weekends. Once jobs and dinner are done, I spend a lot of time reading up on industry news. I’m a very keen forager and eco enthusiast so can regularly be found at green building meetings, foraging workshops and other transitional events.

I very much enjoy permaculture, mountain biking and horse riding when I get the chance, and have been learning to rifle shoot this last 12 months and hope to take it further. I love being outdoors and my first passions are the environment and nature, so my job fits well with my mind-set and gives me the opportunity to marry my favourite things and still get paid.

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