Taking trees seriously

In a recent article in The Press and Journal , Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Surgeon MSP, highlighted the importance of young people understanding the value of trees and the huge role they can play in helping the environment.

She said: “It’s wonderful to see young people in Scotland – from nursery through to secondary school – engaging with trees and our natural environment in such a positive way.

“We know how children benefit from learning outdoors and it is great to see forests and woodlands playing a big part in that outdoor learning.

“It is clear to me that we have a committed and enthusiastic next generation ready to take up the climate challenge – including planting tens of millions more trees.

“With almost 85% of all new tree planting in the UK happening in Scotland, the younger generation is aware of just how important those trees are to our future.”

What reassuring words! It seems that Scotland really gets it.

And it goes to the very top with both the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP being present at the ‘2019 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards’ ceremony.

As the SFWA website states “ There were six award categories, 10 competitions and nearly £10,000 of prize money plus fabulous trophies available to be won! The 2019 Awards’ results were announced on 21st June and are shared below. The Awards are the:

1919 Forestry Act Centenary Award Unique for 2019, a one-off competition to mark the centenary of this important Act that has helped influence the way Scotland’s trees, woods and forests have been managed and nurtured over the past 100 years. It celebrates what they have contributed to our lives, economy and environment providing a platform for further growth in the next century. A specially commissioned trophy and £1,000 are being made available.

Community Woodlands Award Community-based projects compete for this Scotland-wide award with two competitions for both small and large community woodland groups therefore covering the full spectrum of community forestry in Scotland. The striking Tim Stead Trophy and prize money are up for grabs.

Farm Woodland Award Introduced in 2018 and now expanded into two competitions for an active farmer/crofter anywhere in Scotland and for young people whether the active farmer/crofter and/or their forester/woodland manager or both roles! The magnificent Lilburn Trophy and new for 2019, the Scottish Woodlands Ltd. Trophy for Young People plus cash prizes are to be won.

New Native Woods Award New native woodland projects compete for this award. The unique Woodland Trust Scotland Trophy and a cash prize are available for the winner.

Quality Timber Awards Focusing on growing quality timber, woodland owners and their managers can compete in one of, or all, our three competitions with three magnificent trophies and prize money at stake. The competitions are for ‘newly-planted commercial woodland’, ‘a single stand/compartment/small wood’ or ‘whole estates and larger multi-purpose forests or woodlands’.

Schools Award Schools and pre-school projects anywhere in Scotland can enter this ever-popular award. We seek out Scotland’s most fun-packed school woodland projects with prize money plus other prizes available to be won. Pupils, teachers and many helpers have great fun taking part!

A Moray nursery school, Earthtime Forest School Nursery, which teaches youngsters in the great outdoors, was presented with this award. Here children get the chance to have entire sessions outside in the forest kindergarten - a woodland classroom, no less.

This video shows slides of the award winners etc

In the year to March 2019 11,200 hectares of trees were planted in Scotland. In Wales, 500ha and in Northern Ireland 240ha.

The planting of trees in England reached only 28% of its target. Here, only 1,420ha of trees were planted against a target of 5,000ha. Wake up, England