Nov 012013

With thanks to Becky Priestley, Marketing & Communications Officer.

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Alan Watson Featherstone (centre) after his receipt of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Nature’ Award at the RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards in Edinburgh on 30th October.

Trees for Life received a double boost on Wednesday 30 October, when the conservation charity was announced as a finalist for the People’s Millions televised vote to win up to £50,000 of Lottery funding, and its founder won the Outstanding Contribution to Nature category at the RSPB’s Nature of Scotland Awards 2013.

The People’s Millions is a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and ITV, in which the public decide which local community projects will each receive up to £50,000 of Lottery funding.

Trees for Life has been chosen as a finalist for its plan to establish its acclaimed Dundreggan Conservation Estate – a 10,000-acre forest regeneration site and biodiversity hotspot to the west of Loch Ness – as a leading conservation volunteer training centre.

The public vote will take place by phone all day on 27 November, and STV North will broadcast a televised feature that evening.

Trees for Life’s project aims to specifically benefit people from diverse backgrounds – including disadvantaged people such as those on low incomes or who are unemployed. Many such people currently have limited access to healthy outdoor activities and training opportunities.

Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s Executive Director, said:-

“We are urging people to vote for us in the People’s Millions vote on 27 November. Success would be a huge boost to our work to save the ancient CaledonianForest, which is both internationally important and the UK’s equivalent of a rainforest.

“This remarkable woodland is still in decline, with many of its rare and unique species at risk of extinction. The stakes are high and we are the last generation with the opportunity to save this natural treasure.

“Our People’s Millions project is about people as much as places. It will fund specialised training for volunteers to enable them to make an enhanced, positive contribution to the return of Scotland’s native forests, and will also provide accredited training for leading volunteer groups.”

The Trees for Life project will encourage volunteers, who otherwise might not get the chance to do so, to learn about threatened habitats and species, and benefit from time spent in green places and from activities that are good for mental and physical health.

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Trees for Life Executive Director Alan Watson Featherstone in the native woodland at Dundreggan Conservation Estate

A range of activities will ensure that the project is accessible for older people and those with limited mobility, and those affected by mental health issues or other challenges.

People taking part in the project will also transform their natural environment.

They will be able to help carry out vital restoration work – such as planting trees and wild flowers, collecting seeds and roots for propagating rare species, growing trees and plants in our tree nursery, removing non-native species and carrying out biodiversity surveys.

For more details about Trees for Life and the People’s Millions vote on 27 November, please see or call 0845 458 3505

Meanwhile, Alan Watson Featherstone – who founded Trees for Life, one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, in 1986 – won the Outstanding Contribution to Nature category at the RSPB’s Nature of Scotland Awards 2013. The accolade was announced at a special ceremony held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh on 30 October.

The awards recognise and celebrate excellence, innovation and outstanding achievement in Scottish nature conservation. The Outstanding Contribution to Nature award is made to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the conservation of nature in Scotland or overseas.

Alan’s wide-ranging, long-term work to change humanity’s impact on Nature and the planet has also helped to provide inspiration for ecological restoration projects in the Scottish borders, on Dartmoor in England, and on the island of Tierra del Fuego in the far south of Chile.

Trees for Life’s previous awards include UK Conservation Project of the Year, the Millennium Marque, Top 10 Conservation Holidays worldwide and the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Environment Award.

Trees for Life has so far planted more than one million trees at dozens of locations in the Highlands, and has created 10,000 acres of new forest. It has pledged to establish one million more trees by planting and natural regeneration by 2018.

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Oct 212013

A Trees for Life volunteer plants a native tree in the Caledonian Forest

Scotland’s leading conservation volunteering charity Trees for Life has launched a new range of tree certificates through which people can celebrate special occasions or remember loved ones by helping to restore Scotland’s ancient Caledonian Forest.

Trees for Life will plant a dedicated native tree in the wild heart of the Scottish Highlands on behalf of each recipient of the new certificates – creating a forest that will benefit unique wildlife including red squirrels and pine martens, and which will be enjoyed by future generations for centuries to come.

“Having a tree or grove planted – and helping to ensure the return of one of Britain’s most remarkable areas of wild beauty – is a positive and thoughtful way to celebrate a birth or wedding, or to remember a loved one,” said Alan Watson Featherstone, Executive Director of Trees for Life.

“Every tree planted is a statement of care and concern for our planet, and will help us to breathe new life into the CaledonianForest. It shows that something can be done to tackle global problems such as deforestation, biodiversity loss and climate change.”

The climate and wildlife-friendly certificates include a choice of five designs – celebrations, in memory, births, weddings and general purpose – and personalised messages. The certificates are accompanied by information on the planting of the tree or trees, including directions for visiting. People dedicating two or more trees will receive an illustrated guide to the forest’s many fascinating species.

Although the Caledonian Forest once covered much of the Highlands, centuries of overgrazing and timber production have left this vital habitat – which supports species that are found nowhere else in the UK – in danger of being lost forever, with only small and isolated fragments of the original forest surviving.

However, Trees for Life has so far planted more than a million trees and has created 10,000 acres of new forest through the support of volunteers from all over the world. The award-winning charity’s Million More Trees campaign aims to establish a further million trees by planting and natural regeneration by 2018.

Each tree certificate costs £15 for the planting and dedication of one tree, with further trees costing £5 each. For details, see or call 0845 458 3505.

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Trees for Life’s new general celebration certificate

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Aug 232013

With thanks to Richard Bunting.

A new programme of special Conservation Days designed to benefit disadvantaged people in the Inverness region is being launched by conservation charity Trees for Life thanks to funding from the People’s Postcode Trust.

The new initiative will provide an opportunity for people completely new to conservation volunteering to learn about Scotland’s Caledonian Forest and its rare species, and to take part in rewarding and effective conservation action in their local area.

Volunteers taking part will be able to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of moderate regular exercise in a green natural environment, and to gain practical skills, knowledge and confidence to carry out conservation work. At the same time they will be helping to restore the Caledonian Forest, one of Scotland’s greatest national treasures.

Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s Executive Director, said:-

“We are delighted to launch this new project, which will enable more local people to help restore the Caledonian Forest, and we are grateful to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for making it possible through the generous funding that we’ve received.

“We will be holding Conservation Days on both weekdays and weekends so that the widest possible range of people will have the chance to take part. Volunteers will not need any previous experience, as we will provide training in skills, as well as information about the threatened habitats and species of the CaledonianForest.”

Volunteers will be able to join in a range of activities including planting trees and wild flowers, collecting seeds and roots for propagating rare species, growing trees and plants in Trees for Life’s tree nursery, removing non-native species and carrying out biodiversity surveys.

The new scheme was made possible after Trees for Life was awarded £6,062 by People’s Postcode Trust, a grant-giving charity, funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery, where players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes while raising money for good causes. As a charity lottery, 45p from every £2 ticket goes to support charities and good causes across England, Scotland and Wales, including People’s Postcode Trust. People’s Postcode Lottery believes in supporting local communities, so the money raised stays local to players.

The funding for Trees for Life’s Conservation Days programme comes at the same time as People’s Postcode Trust reaches a total of 1,000 supported charity projects.

Award-winning Trees for Life is Scotland’s leading conservation volunteering charity. The charity is restoring the CaledonianForest to a spectacular wilderness region of 1,000 square miles in the Highlands to the west of Loch Ness and Inverness. For details, see or call 0845 458 3505.

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