From tree to bench at Barony

Published Wednesday, 15th March 2017 in Study at SRUC news

Billy Finlay, Malcolm Crowe, Gemma Currie, Alison Halliday and Rachel Wield trying out the new benches.

Second year Arboriculture students got to test their skills that they had picked up throughout the year at the Barony Campus of SRUC - and picnic benches were produced as a result.

A 30 metre high Blue Atlas Cedar tree on the campus grounds - which was diseased and was causing health and safety issues - was the project. Six interested students volunteered to take on the mammoth task.

The students got to use a GoPro camera to record tasks to digitally evidence their knowledge, skills and experiences. A drone was used at the start to scope the project and to help with site planning and risk assessment.

The students got to work and removed branches from the tree to alleviate weight differential, so that when it was felled it would drop in the correct direction. The tree was crosscut in 2 metre lengths, branches were logged for firewood, and the residue was chipped to be used for pathways or gardens.

The 2 metre length logs were taken to TG Norman sawmill at Longtown who specialises in hardwoods and conifers in large dimensions. The logs were planked to the desired lengths, and two Barony staff Malcolm Crowe and Billy Finlay constructed the benches – which will be placed around the campus for students, staff and visitors to enjoy.

The students involved all thought the project was a great experience. Glen Mannie Fairbairn said: “Felling one of the most iconic trees on college grounds was incredible. In a way we changed the landscape of the college. We became part of it! Forever in its history.”

Lewis Chilvers added: “Easily my most memorable day at the Barony. I learned to rig on that tree, climbed higher than I had ever climbed before and was part of an epic operation that changed the college grounds forever.”

And Chris Strilciw said: “Still is to date the largest tree I have felled, and doing it with friends that I have made for life at the Barony made it even more special. It was such a good day.”

Photo caption: Left to right: Billy Finlay, Malcolm Crowe, Gemma Currie, Alison Halliday and Rachel Wield trying out the new benches.

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