Building capacity to restore Scotland's natural heritage

Carried out by: The Woodland Trust

Summary Description:

Delivered within two priority regions in Scotland, Building capacity to restore Scotland’s natural heritage aims to deliver a unique programme of training and development for volunteers in ancient woodland restoration assessment.  Currently, there is virtually no ancient woodland restoration learning and training provision for non-specialist audiences available in the UK.  Through the project, volunteers will gain experience as part of a leading restoration project; engage over 1,400 people in ancient woodland restoration; and support the restoration of at least 3,200 hectares of priority Planted Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) in Scotland.  The volunteer programme will encourage a greater understanding of the significance of ancient woodland sites; develop specialist knowledge and skills required to evaluate ancient woodland; stimulate knowledge-sharing between organisations, landowners and industry specialists; and contribute to ancient woodland restoration at two priority sites in Scotland: the Cairngorms and Hinterland and Great Glen and Three Firths.

Timescale: 2013-2015

SFT Funds Awarded: £10,000

Project Outcomes:


Volunteer update
We have successfully recruited a total of 11 volunteers to the project in Scotland to date. At
the end of 2014, two new Heritage Researchers joined the team. The first is undertaking
general research across both project areas, and the second (a trained Archivist) is using
specialist knowledge to develop guidance for the Researcher’s network. Our team of
Volunteers have continued to provide excellent support to the project, with one Volunteer
in Scotland, Joanna Gilliatt, receiving a nomination for Volunteer of the Year, in recognition of
her outstanding work on the project.

Volunteer networking day
On 25th March 2015, a volunteer networking day was held at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, and was attended by six Volunteers and four members of Woodland Trust staff. Ross
Noble, a former curator of the museum, provided the attendees with an inspiring guided tour of the artefacts and linked the use of wood from local woodlands into the lives of people living in the Highlands in the 1700s.

In the Cairngorms, volunteer heritage researcher Michelle Green has produced some very interesting and informative papers on native tree species in Scotland, including Alder, Silver Birch, and the latest on Juniper. The papers focus upon the biodiversity associated with each species, folklore, and wood uses. She is currently researching a fourth paper on Scots Pine.

Online volunteer learning hub
An volunteer hub was launched in February 2015 using SharePoint. The aim of the hub was to enable volunteers to easily share information, photos and speak to each other more regularly. A new social platform called Ambix went live to Project Officers and volunteers in December 2015. This facility will allow team interaction for each project area, with pin boards and event information, as well as opportunities to ask for help. This will also be a joint facility which Project Officers and volunteers can access externally which will provide better opportunities for engagement and improved communication. The Lead on Volunteer networking day with Ross Noble at theHighland Folk Museum.


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