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Matlock, Derbyshire, United Kingdom, 2009/07/03 - Award-winning conservation charity Trees for Life is celebrating 20 years of restoring the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands, with the news that it has now planted a total of 800,000 trees - TreesForLife.org.uk.
The charity is marking the 20th anniversary of its first practical work with the planting of a new anniversary grove on its Dundreggan Estate in Glen Moriston, and with a call to people to support its work.
Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s Founder and Executive Director, said: “In June 1989 I took a group of volunteers to protect some Scots pine seedlings in Glen Cannich, by placing guards around them to stop them from being eaten by deer. We only protected a few trees that day but it was the moment when Trees for Life’s work really began.”
This first conservation act followed Alan’s commitment to 250 delegates at an environmental conference in Findhorn in October 1986 to launch a project to restore the Caledonian Forest.
“At first I had no idea how to proceed. I had no experience of working with ecology or forests, no money and no access to land. But I had a passion and positive vision for the forest’s return,” said Alan.
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.
Since then Trees for Life has grown into an award-winning charity, with 16 staff members and thousands of supporters. It is now planting over 100,000 trees a year and recently bought the 10,000 acre Dundreggan Estate west of Loch Ness, one of the largest areas of land in the UK ever bought for forest restoration.
“Today, every seedling that is protected and every tree that is planted is another step towards the return of the Caledonian Forest. This is a 250 year project – that’s how long it will take for mature trees to return to areas where there is no forest left today,” said Alan.
The Caledonian Forest originally covered much of the Highlands, with native pinewoods extending to 1.5 million hectares in a wild landscape of mountains, lochs and rivers.
People can support Trees for Life’s work through the purchase of dedicated trees and Groves, including for special occasions, or through fundraising events.
Practical conservation experience can be gained through the charity’s acclaimed Conservation Volunteer Weeks, recently selected as one of the world’s Top 10 Conservation Holidays by BBC Wildlife Magazine.
For more information call 0845 458 3505, email trees[.]findhorn.org or visit the Trees for Life website.
Notes to editors
1. Trees for Life aims to restore the Caledonian Forest to an area of 1,500 square kilometres in the Scottish Highlands west of Inverness.
2. Since planting its first trees in 1991 in Glen Affric, Trees for Life has planted over 800,000 trees. Its awards include 1991 UK Conservation Project of the Year, the Millennium Marque in 2000 and Top 10 Conservation.