A message to the South West volunteers – Ross Kennerley
The longer days and recent sunny weather makes us hopeful Spring is round the corner and a perfect time to let you know what is happening in the South West. This will be the first of a regular update from me to you – our volunteers.
Firstly a moment for celebration. Volunteer activity is measured by the number of volunteer roles – and in the South West this has just reached 500. These range from those of you leading and participating in woodland management groups through to recording ancient trees or giving talks to schools and community groups. Some of you do a number of roles. The common thread is that you are all working to the Trusts purpose to see a UK rich in woods and trees – for people and wildlife. Thanks to you all.
Increased activity One area where we are seeing a real step up in volunteer activity is around our Woods Under Threat network in the South West. You won’t have failed to notice the increased activity around built development and infrastructure in the South West. Despite changes in legislation our ancient woodlands, and our own Woodland Trust woods, are increasingly under threat from built development.
The Trust needs your help to keep abreast of planning applications registered across the South West and to analyse the impact of Local Development Plans on woods and trees. Once proposals or planning applications that threaten ancient woodland are identified, we need to gather our evidence and formulate effective responses as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As a former Council Planner I know how important it is that the environmental issues are identified early – and that the voice on behalf of the environment is heard at the right time. So if you want a home based role from the comfort of your computer this may be an activity that would interest you. Extra training will be available, and we would look for this to be held in the region if there were sufficient people interested. A knowledge of planning applications, map reading and the ability to carry out research would be advantageous
Details about how to sign up are on the main Woodland trust website at www. www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/volunteer
Planting opportunities small or large scale Another area where we are looking to make a real change in activity in the South West is around our work with landowners and communities. In particular we are keen to find landowners who want to plant new native woodlands. At the smallest scale the Trust Offers tree packs to school and community groups (free) and landowners (for a charge). For schemes over 1 ha we have our Morewoods Scheme. Details of all the trusts tree products are at https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/large-scale/
What we are really keen to find are landowners with greater ambitions to plant woodlands at scale. Our Outreach team of Graham Burton, Mick Bracken and Jeremy Evans are available to advise – so if you know anyone who might be interested, and they have land and a passion for woodlands, please contact Graham on – email@example.com
A time for action. Part of the purpose of being in contact with you is to make sure we make the very best use of your volunteer time. I want to bring together your activity with that of our staff and partners to amplify the voice and actions for woods and trees in the South West. There is certainly a noticeable shift in the urgency of the work we are all engaged in and the need to deliver real change on the ground and in our daily lives.
As a group of volunteers you have a wide range of skills, interest and knowledge. The Trust wants to harness this – so please do come along to the liaison events this year and let us know what you want us to do better. The South West is a large area and we are thinly spread – you as much as anyone can see where we can make a difference – so please do let us know.
Come to the network / liaison events, keep in touch through Whittle or contact me direct if you have ideas or suggestions.
South West Regional Manager. Ross.firstname.lastname@example.org