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Judging the James Cup 2021

When the phone went and the Royal Forestry Society showed up as the caller we just assumed we’d forgotten to pay or annual subscription. Turns out we are more organised than we thought. Instead the RFS wanted to invite Jez to the judging panel for the annual James Cup prize for the best article in the previous 12 months of the Quarterly Journal of Forestry.

It has proved an incredible opportunity for my own development as well as a great honour to be tasked with this. So often we read only those things which interest us, skipping over the stuff that’s outside our normal day to day work or passions. I’m as guilty as any. A huge bunch of reading material dropped into the mailbox just before Christmas providing an opportunity to hide from family to read at least three articles a day!

To have the opportunity to read all those articles that I’d skipped over when the Quarterly Journal arrives meant gaining an insight into areas of forestry that I’d otherwise miss. It also required an exercise in objectivity to be able to properly judge those articles I knew more about against those I didn’t.

In the end my highest scoring articles for the James Cup turned out to be those I’d passed over during the year. I felt slightly ashamed at my own attitude to what I read in journals and more excited about what the next year of Quarterly Journal articles.


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