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It has since grown from one man’s vision to a thriving organisation with 17 employees and a large volunteer workforce. In 2008 it bought the 10,000 acre Dundreggan Estate, one of the largest land purchases in recent times, solely for forest restoration.


Each year, 100,000 trees are planted by dedicated volunteers in a sustained effort to bring the forest back to a 600 square mile area. So far they have planted over 850,000 native Scots Pine and broad-leafed trees and helped restore 6,500 hectares of land. “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


86 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2010


today,” said Alan.


The charity also keeps a record of the species of flora and fauna that populate the forest and it conducts numerous surveys to assess the biodiversity of the areas it works in. Trees for Life also runs a trial Wild Boar project - the animals play an essential part in forest regeneration by clearing areas of bracken, thereby enabling young trees to take root.


There are many ways to support this inspiring organisation and the return of the Caledonian Forest. Why not consider dedicating a tree as a gift for a loved one? From only £15, dedicate a tree to commemorate an event such as a birth, anniversary, or as a memorial to someone who has died and receive a personalised certificate - I have dedicated trees to


my two grandchildren, Bill and Anna. Or from £50, you can even create a Grove for a special event, and allow your family and friends to add trees and their own message to the Grove online on a specially created webpage!


You can also help in other ways through charitable donations and membership. But perhaps one of the more fun ways to help out is through volunteering. Join with nine other like-minded people and spend a week helping out in the forest, planting trees and living together, sharing the experience - not exactly your typical week in Benidorm, but I know which one I would choose as a holiday!


To find out more visit www.treesforlife.org.uk


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