It's been an unforgettable 2016 here at the Woodland Trust. Together with you we've achieved amazing things for woods and trees.
You've spotted bluebells in spring, invited 'trees to tea' in the summer and gone nuts for autumn. In 2016, we planted almost 1,800,000 trees, bought 4,742 hectares of ancient woodland into restoration and saved 41 ancient woods from destruction.
There have been so many highlights this year but here are just a few of our 'best bits'.
Loch Arkaig Pine Forest is now in the care of the Woodland Trust and local group Arkaig Community Forest.
We launched an appeal in Spring 2016 to raise half a million pounds to purchase the forest and £4,000,000 to restore it. The sale was concluded in December and the Loch Arkaig appeal has raised nearly £3,000,000!
Donations ranged from a few pounds from individual supporters through to £750,000 from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We have more to raise but this is a stunning result - and secures the future of a huge area of ancient forest.
More than 51,000 trees have been planted to date within our four Centenary Woods and more than 50,000 people have engaged in the First World War project so far with support for activities such as the Verdun Oaks campaign, Jutland Wood to remember Navy personnel and the For Club and Country' project which remembers footballers from the time.
Your passion and interest in our Tree of the Year contest helped it go 'prime time' with Ardal O'Hanlon announcing the winners on a Channel 4 documentary.
The winners were chosen in a public vote during September and October, with over 18,000 votes cast across the four countries. On the show our own Jill Butler joined presenter Ardal O'Hanlon and other judges to choose their favourite of the four, with the Brimmon Oak coming out on top to be the first 'UK' Tree of the Year. All four will still represent their countries in the European Tree of the Year contest in February.
We sent out 7,797 community tree packs in 2016 which equates to a massive 781,785 trees!
Schools, groups and communities have all come together to plant and we think it’s a great way to encourage everyone to get their hands dirty and understand the difference trees can make on your doorstep.
Spring 2016 came early during a mild December that saw a record breaking average temperature. We found that average records for some events were a whole month earlier than during the benchmark year of 2001. These included hazel first flowering, elder budburst and song thrush first singing.
2,131 people have recorded for Nature’s Calendar for the first time in 2016 and we really hope that they continue to record in 2017. So why not be one of them?
The work of the Woodland Trust wouldn’t be possible without essential donations from our supporters, and funding from our partners including players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Sainsbury's, Nationwide and IKEA.
There's plenty more in the pipeline for 2017 where we can continue working towards planting 64 million trees and protecting our precious native woods and trees. So have a very Merry Christmas and we'll see you again next year!