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Newsletters Caledonia Wild! Spring 2005

Trees for Life magazine, Caledonia Wild! Spring 2005

* Links to articles in other parts of this web site, rather than on this page.

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Bursting Forth with New Life!

The last snowfall before spring - knee-deep snow at Coille Ruigh in Glen Affric in early March.

Like the opening buds on this Scots pine in Glen Affric, Trees for Life is entering a significant period of new growth and development this year.

In early March I spent two snowy days up in Glen Affric with a group of participants from the Findhorn Foundation's annual Ecovillage Training Programme. At the end of the second day, I led the group on a silent contemplative walk through the old forest. It was a rare, totally wind-still day, and as I quietly walked in the snow, I had a powerful sense of all the vitality and new growth of spring just waiting to unfold. It felt like a vast potential of new life on the brink of bursting forth, and I was struck by the intensity and strength of what I experienced.

As I contemplated this, I realised that it was similar to, and symbolic of, what I've felt during the winter about Trees for Life itself: that much of the potential for growth and development of our project which has been latent for a while is now ready to burst forth with new life. A key element of this was a daylong workshop with Geoff Sharp, one of our directors, in late November. The day culminated with the staff setting ambitious targets designed to make this a real breakthrough year, including a doubling of our membership base, the planting of the half-millionth tree since our project began, a substantial increase in the level of funding we receive and the purchase of our own land for forest restoration. Further details of how you can help with these, plus the practical projects we will be implementing this year, are featured inside this edition of Caledonia Wild! (which is now bursting forth in colour throughout - the result of a new press installed by our printers).

It's a very exciting period, and it also seems very timely to take a major step forward with our work to restore the Caledonian Forest. The growing international concerns about the threats posed by human-induced climate change and the accelerating loss of biological diversity highlight the need for ecological restoration to take place everywhere.

The opportunity this presents was a key feature of a 10 day trip I made to Hong Kong in January, where I was invited to lead two daylong workshops and give 12 public lectures to business people, government staff, conservationists and 1,000 schoolchildren. With its polluted air, massive human population and intensely market-driven economy, Hong Kong may seem an unlikely place for restoration. However, it's a microcosm of many of the world's problems, and there's a rapidly growing environmental awareness bursting forth in the populace - my visit has helped to catalyse a substantial forest restoration proposal for one of the islands there.

Back here in Scotland, the snow has gone from Glen Affric and our volunteers are hard at work planting the 50,000 trees we'll put in the ground this year. Our office is all abuzz with energy as we seek to implement the goals which we've set, but to succeed with those we need the help of all our members and supporters. So please join us in bursting forth with new life and help make this a truly breakthrough year for our work!

Alan Watson Featherstone

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See Caledonia Wild! magazines, for excerpts from other editions.

Published: 27 September 2005
Last updated: 01 February 2010

Trees for Life is an award winning conservation charity working to restore the Caledonian Forest
and all its species to a large contiguous area in the Highlands of Scotland.

Trees for Life is a registered charity Scottish charity No. SC021303, and a company limited by guarantee No. 143304 with its registered offices at Forres, Scotland.
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Photos © Alan Watson (unless otherwise indicated) - Banner Credits - Illustrations © Caragh McAuley

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