From woodland trails to landscape design, the possibilities for students, staff and the public are endless, thanks to a new partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, managed by the Forestry Commission.
With more than 350,000 visitors a year, and having gained National Arboretum status in 2001, Westonbirt Arboretum is the largest paying visitor attraction in the county.
Following discussions with the University, supported by the United Nations University Regional Centre of Expertise (UNU RCE) which is based at the Park campus, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday September 7.
Uni of Glos at WestonbirtUni of Glos at WestonbirtThis agreement formalises the existing working relationship and plans for integrating the facilities and expertise at Westonbirt into the new academic year are already under way.
Illustration lecturers are discussing field trips and projects based around trees, whilst subjects ranging from landscape design to marketing could involve Westonbirt for live project briefs.  Staff are also hoping to collaborate on a number of community projects inspired by Victorian plant collectors, the inspiration of trees and how trees may be impacted by climate change.
Paul Drake, Executive Director of External Relations at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with The National Arboretum, and are looking forward to developing a range of academic and community projects to enhance not only the student experience but enrich that of staff and the public alike.”
Simon Toomer, Westonbirt Arboretum Director, commented “We are very excited about our developing relationship with the University of Gloucestershire. It is the perfect opportunity to inspire the next generation about the importance of trees as well as giving us the chance to use the University’s staff and students’ experiences to create fresh approaches to engaging with our visitors.”

Source: University of Gloucestershire