LECTURE TOUR CELEBRATES PLANTING OF A MILLION TREES IN CALEDONIAN FOREST Celebrations for the planting of the Millionth Tree by conservation charity Trees for Life in Scotland’s Caledonian Forest will be launched in March with a two-month lecture tour across Britain by the charity’s founder and executive director, Alan Watson Featherstone. From Ullapool to Devon, Alan will travel the length and breadth of the country throughout March and April to inform and inspire audiences with The Millionth Tree lecture tour. Trees for Life will plant its Millionth Tree in May. Alan said: “The lectures will be a celebration, and a positive and inspiring call to action. The story of Trees for Life’s work to help restore the Caledonian Forest in the Highlands is one of overcoming great challenges, and shows how passion, belief and a positive vision can make a tremendous difference to our planet and to people too". “The planting of our Millionth Tree will be a major milestone in a 250-year project – that’s how long it will take for mature trees to return to areas where there are none today. The tour is also aimed to galvanise further support for the next stage of our work and the planting of our next million trees.” The lectures will feature stunning photographs of the Caledonian Forest and its species. Dramatic before and after images will show the changes that have taken place as the ancient forest returns. They will also Illustrate the significant positive effects that volunteers can achieve in helping to reverse forest loss – one of the critical environmental problems of our time. Trees for Life’s remarkable story began at an environmental conference in Findhorn in October 1986 when Alan Watson Featherstone – who at that time had no experience of conservation work, no funding and no access to land – made a commitment to delegates to launch a project to restore the Caledonian Forest. The forest had once covered much of the Highlands, with native pinewoods encompassing 1.5 million hectares at their maximum extent, in a wild landscape of mountains, lochs and rivers. By the 1980s, centuries of deforestation – largely a result of human activity such as land clearance, wood use and farming – had taken a huge toll, with only a tiny percentage of the former forest remaining. Practical conservation work began in June 1989, when Alan took a team of volunteers to place tree guards around Scots pine seedlings in Glen Cannich, to protect them from being eaten by deer. By 1991, Trees for Life had begun to plant a new generation of trees, some of the first to grow in the Caledonian Forest for 150 years. Trees for Life – whose vision also includes the reintroduction of the forest’s wildlife and plants, to form a fully-functioning ecosystem – has since grown into an award-winning charity, with a dedicated staff team, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters. In 2008, it bought the 10,000-acre Dundreggan Estate west of Loch Ness, one of the largest areas of land in the UK ever purchased for forest restoration. People can help Trees for Life to plant its next million trees by purchasing dedicated trees and groves. The charity’s acclaimed volunteer Conservation Holiday weeks offer the opportunity to gain practical conservation experience in spectacular surroundings in the Highlands. For more information, see www.treesforlife.org.uk or call 0845 458 3505.
Notes 1. Trees for Life aims to restore the Caledonian Forest to an area of over 2,500 square kilometres in the Scottish Highlands west of Inverness. Since planting its first trees in 1991 in Glen Affric, Trees for Life has planted over 990,000 trees. Its awards include 1991 UK Conservation Project of the Year, the Millennium Marque in 2000 and Top 10 Conservation Holidays worldwide in 2009. 2. The current list of lecture dates is as follows. For updates, please see: http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/millionthtree/lecture_tour.html Ullapool • Lochbroom Field Club • Venue: MacPhail Centre, Ullapool High School • Date: 16th March, 7.30pm Perth • Venue: Perth College Lecture Theatre • Date: 19th March, 7pm Edinburgh • Venue: Edinburgh University • Date: 20th March, 11am - 12.30pm Aberdeen • Venue: Kings Conference Centre • Date: 21st March, 6.30 - 8pm Glasgow • Venue: Quaker Meeting House • Date: 27th March, 7 - 8.30pm Powys • Centre for Alternative Technology • Venue: Sheppard Lecture Theatre • Date: 9th April, 5pm Hereford • Shire Hall, Committee Room • Date: 11th April, 7.30 - 9pm Worcester • Worcester Wildlife Trust • Venue: Smite Farm • Date: 13th April, 7.30 – 9pm Stroud • Venue: Landsdown Hall & Gallery • Date: 14th April, 3 – 4.30 pm Totnes • Venue: Schumacher College • Date: 17th April, 8pm Brighton • Venue: Friends Meeting House, Lecture theatre • Date: 19th April, 7.30 - 9.00pm London • Venue: Burgh House • Date: 20th April, 7.30 - 9pm Norwich • Venue: The Forum • Date: 21st April, 4-5.30pm Leeds • Venue: Leeds University • Date: 23rd and 24th April Sheffield • Venue: Quaker Meeting House • Date: 25th April, 7-8.30pm