The Woodland Trust Volunteer Awards 
Alison Stewart, Hazel Award 

>> Alison Stewart, volunteer woods under threat detector: 
I took up this volunteering role just over a year ago. I had taken early retirement and really wanted to get involved in some conservation volunteering activities. So, the day-to-day role is to keep monitoring planning applications and assess whether or not any of these present any risk to ancient woodland. If that is the case, then I write a letter to the council explaining our concerns and hopefully they take note of that and make appropriate changes.  

The other part of the role is very similar, but it’s looking at local development plans which outlines their overall development ambitions, and they will allow stakeholders to comment at that early stage on whether they are happy with the development areas proposed, and that’s a very good opportunity for us to give some feedback, and if we can put forward some objections, we can often get them to park that area and focus on some of the other areas. 

>> Carol Evans, Woodland Trust director – Scotland: 
We have over 300 volunteers in Scotland and they are amazing. Without them we couldn't do the events, campaigns, and projects that we run across Scotland from Stranraer to Stromness. 

>> Arina Nagy-Vizitui, public affairs officer: 
I nominated Alison for the Hazel Award and she works with us as a threat detector. The role is mainly focused on planning applications. There's also an optional part to look at local development plans and during that, the Woodland Trust has an input into those consultations. 

I nominated Alison for her optional role, although she also excelled at her planning application work. She's fully embraced the role and with the local development plans that she does for us, she's done three in seven months, and those are 250-plus page documents with maps, with very complex policy that you need to scrutinise and Alison just does it. She picks up any tasks, she communicates really well with us, she's so reliable and just so fantastic.

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