Last night I attended the Millionth Tree lecture held by the charity Trees for Life in Glasgow. The speaker was Alan Watson-Featherstone, almost definitely the most incredible person. Ever. He is such an inspiring speaker as well, he’s funny and quick and obviously so passionate about the work that he does that I could listen to him forever. He started off with an engineering degree and has formed this unbelievable charity that is single-handedly restoring the Caledonian forest.
I was lucky enough to spend two weeks up in the forest at Dundreggan doing research for my master’s project. The subject was the effects that two large mammalian herbivores have on the biodiversity of the forest. Ah, those halcyon days. Even now when I hear a Tree Pipit’s song it transports me back to that oh-so-magical of forests, and to think that that is it in its denuded state. Alan had lots of fabulous pictures showing what the forest should look like and one of the features that Dundreggan is perhaps lacking in (due to over-grazing all these previous years by sheep and deer) is an undisturbed understory. Some of the pictures he showed us were of marvellously bumpy ground, made up of a succession of hummocks. These hummocks are examples of succession in miniature. Occuring on top of rocks which are initially colonised by lichens, then mosses and finally blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilus), creating little mounds ,or hummocks, throughout the forest floor.
The research itself was the bees knees. It was just great being out and about all day, seeing the natural world with my own eyes, and getting properly involved in it. Absolutely fantastic. There is also a great satisfaction that comes from having identified the item and to be able to rattle off both its names, common and scientific, without much thought. Even better if they are characteristic of pine woodlands, or any area which you are in.
As such I have decided to take part in the Trees for Life sponsored walk – the Treelay. As this is the year that they will be planting their millionth tree there is a variety of different events going on, one of which is this Treelay. The tree itself, or a representative of it, will be carried round by the participants which will be walking a route which encompasses the main body of the Tfl project area. The whole route is 279 km, and the leg that I will complete is 23km long, going from Attadale to Inverinate. I shall be walking on the 15th of May and am hoping to raise £175. Please help! All the money raised goes straight into rebuilding the forest and this is something which is so special. It won’t be yourselves that get the full result of the forest replanting, or even your children, but rather their children. And is that not a wonderful thought in itself?
Here is my fundraising page, please do help, even if it is not much that you can donate, everything is something and many little things do build up to something big. Thanks, http://www.justgiving.com/Heathers-Treelay
And here’s where you can find more about Trees for Life if you want to see where your money goes: http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/