By Juliet Wilson
Published: Feb 12, 2019More by Juliet
We all love living and working in the Highlands of Scotland and we all feel very passionately about the places we play in.
We are committed to giving something back to the community and we do this by pledging to volunteer 60 days of our work time to different causes throughout Scotland.
This can be anything from litter picking, mentoring young people or taking part in a flower search for a local organisation. Whatever we choose, Wilderness Scotland will support us by giving time off from work to take part in these projects.
Trees for Life is one such project that we have supported. They are based 10 miles from Invermoriston, at the south end of Loch Ness, on the Dundreggan Estate in the Central Highlands. They are working on restoring the Caledonian Forest back to its former glory.
This forest used to cover 1.5 million hectares of Scottish land but due to thousands of years of destruction there is only 1% of this native forest left!
Trees for Life are leading the way in trying to reverse this number with the help of volunteers and schools programmes. They use various methods such as facilitating natural regeneration, planting native trees and removing non native trees. Since they started in 1989 they have established a flourishing nursery, 44 major tree planting sites in Scotland and now grow over 60,000 trees per year! They have planted over 1 million trees back into the wild since they started and are aiming for 2 million by the end of 2019.
Watch this video explaining the Trees for Life vision:
Team Wilderness get green fingers
A few of us from the office volunteered here twice in 2018, once in the Spring and once in the Autumn. This was great as it gave us the chance to see the different type of work that is involved at different times of year.
In the spring we potted up seedlings in the greenhouses which then would be transferred to the outside beds later in the year.
We also planted some older seedlings into the outside beds as well as digging up saplings that were ready to be planted out in one of their planting sites. In the Autumn our gang of keen volunteers planted trees out in one of the dedicated planting sites and also spent time herding a flock of sheep that had wandered into the young tree enclosure – now that is not something you usually do at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon!
These tasks may sound simple and easy, but they are not and it is hard work, although very rewarding. To plant a seedling, knowing that one day it will be towering in a forest that my kids could walk through is a great feeling. To know that what we are doing is going to help the Highlands of Scotland and the reintroduction of certain flora and fauna brings a smile to my face as I am writing this. The thought that we had some input into conserving and increasing the native forest here in Scotland is very heartwarming. Coming from the New Forest, where you pretty much can’t see the wood for the trees, I find it incredible that so much of the natural forest here has disappeared. It’s great to see the hard work and dedication that the amazing folks at Trees for Life are doing to reintroduce the Caledonian Forest to the Highlands. A lot of the people who work there are volunteers, they take such pride in their work and come back season after season, that you wouldn’t know they weren’t employed and purely did this for the love of conservation.
Volunteering with Trees for Life
Trees for Life relies on volunteers to help make this work happen. If you live in the local area you can arrange to head there with a group of friends for the day, if you are coming from further away they have various conversation weeks that run throughout the year that you could be part of. There are also options to sponsor an acre, donate (either as a one-off or regularly) or take part in a sponsored event to raise money for them. If you would like to take part or get involved them please visit their website https://treesforlife.org.uk/
This is not the only way we are trying to help our local communities. Everyone one of our clients are given the option to donate towards our Conversation Contribution Fund if they want to. This fund then goes towards various schemes and projects each year. For more information on this please click here.
Our Autumn Highlands walking holidays also include a visit to the Trees for Life site at Dundreggan estate. See below for more info on this trip: