The Woodland Trust Scotland marked the beginning of the festive season with a fantastic reception at the Scottish Parliament. Sponsored by John Finnie MSP, the event celebrated the amazing support we receive from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, as well as handing out the Volunteer of the Year and Tree of the Year 2017 awards. Read on to see which MSPs attended, and who won the prestigious prizes.
MSPs mixed and mingled
The event coincided perfectly with the the latest developments on the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill, with the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee (RECC) moving on to Stage 2 of the legislative process. Amendments the Trust has supported were approved that morning, providing all the more reason to celebrate.
We were delighted to welcome the RECC deputy convener Gail Ross MSP to the reception, as well as Claudia Beamish MSP, member of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLRC) and Graeme Dey MSP, who is ECCLRC convener. The other MSPs in attendance were Adam Tomkins, our species champion for the hazel tree, Alison Johnstone, Andy Wightman, Emma Harper, Liam McArthur, Alexander Burnett, Tom Mason, Alexander Stuart, Graham Simpson and Donald Cameron.
Standing up for trees
Support for action to protect our native trees is growing fast in the UK and the Woodland Trust Scotland is working hard to be at the forefront of this movement. With our supporters and volunteers’ help, we remind MSPs that trees and woodlands are worth standing up for. Our latest campaign sent a clear message to politicians that ancient trees need protection and we feel our voice is being heard. This parliamentary reception was a celebration of those woods and trees, and so much more.
The event was chaired by our very own public affairs manager Charles Dundas, who opened by stating that “everyone who is anyone in the forestry and environmental sector” was in attendance. Amid the speeches and award giving, we got the chance to taste a pine-needle-infused gin created by the Trust's partner Gin Bothy and inspired by our own beautiful site at Loch Arkaig. A short film showing Loch Arkaig site manager Steve Morris speaking about our plans for the site and how they are made possible by support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery was played and you can watch it below.
And the winners are...
Annemiek Hoogenboom, Great Britain country director for People’s Postcode Lottery, had flown to Amsterdam that morning, but made sure she was in Scotland in time for the reception and to award the Scottish Tree of the Year trophy. This year, the award went all the way to Orkney, with The Big Tree in Kirkwall, a 200-year old sycamore, the well-deserved winner of the prestigious prize. Tom Rendall, who collected the award, was nervous about being allowed to take the trophy on board his flight home, when, to his surprise, the pilot made an announcement welcoming him and the trophy on board!
The Volunteer of the Year award went to Andy Black, volunteer warden for no less than 13 woods in the Livingston area. While most volunteer wardens look after one woodland site, Andy, accompanied by his dog, has made each of our woods around Livingston cleaner and more enjoyable for the local people who walk in them.
Here's to next year
We are extremly grateful for all the support we receive from our MSPs, the Gin Bothy, the players of People’s Postcode Lottery and, last but not least, our members and supporters. This event was a fantastic experience for all and we look forward to the next one and a new year filled with many exciting prospects. Here’s to 2018!