Chester vice chancellor welcomed as new chair of the Mersey Forest

Professor Eunice Simmons, vice chancellor at the University of Chester, has been appointed as the new Steering Group Chair for the Mersey Forest Partnership.

With a strong background in forestry and conservation, Professor Simmons takes over the reins of the Steering Group at a time of increased woodland establishment and a wide range of exciting health, education and climate change projects that are already underway across the Mersey Forest.

In early 2020, Professor Simmons became vice chancellor and principal of the University of Chester after an illustrious career that has taken her from research to head the National School of Forestry at the University of Cumbria and then to Nottingham Trent University.

She has a PhD is in Forest Ecology and Conservation and her professorship in sustainable environments was awarded for teaching and research in land use and environmental habitats.

Professor Simmons said: “Mersey Forest Partnership re-connects people with their place, their planet and their potential. I am proud to be able to support its great work.”

Mersey Forest Team Director, Paul Nolan, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Eunice to the partnership. She was the standout candidate for the role and we’re looking forward to working with her as we continue to deliver our long-term ambitions for the Mersey Forest. There are huge opportunities ahead but no doubt challenges too, which we are sure that Eunice’s knowledge and experience can help us overcome.”

Working with landowners and communities, the Mersey Forest Partnership has planted over nine million trees, creating large areas of publicly accessible woodland across Merseyside and Cheshire. With plans to establish a further 6,000 hectares of woodland by 2025, the Partnership will also continue to develop and deliver programmes such as the NHS that maximise the value of trees and woodlands for health, education, biodiversity and the economy.

Vice chair, Liverpool City Council’s Cllr Barbara Murray, said: “The Mersey Forest is an important delivery mechanism for our climate response delivery plans helping the area to achieve its ambition to become carbon neutral and tackle the climate emergency. We are pleased that Eunice is joining the partnership at such a pivotal moment as we accelerate our work to establish more woodland, engage more people and create spaces for nature.”

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