Special Branch Update – October 2019

This month it is my pleasure to welcome the Threat Detectors to our midst as we have now said our goodbyes to Sarah Cooley, our Threat Detector Volunteer Network Manager. We’re really excited for her as she embarks on her next big adventure but will miss her here in the office. For the next few months I have expanded the remit of these updates so that the threat detectors don’t miss out on the latest news and team updates. It’ll be nice to have ‘Special Branch’ all in one place!


This month the update will include:

Trust and Campaigns news

Live campaigns and how you can get involved

Brilliant blogs and extra reading



As always, thank you for all your hard work. We’ve achieved a lot over the last few months and the whole of Special Branch has been instrumental in making that happen.


Woodland Trust News


The big news last week was the announcement of our new CEO. Darren Moorcroft will be taking on the role at the beginning of October. He’s been Director of Estates and Woodland Outreach for two years and we’re really delighted to have him at our helm. I’m sure you’ll join us wishing him the best of luck. You can read the full story on the articles homepage of Whittle.


Current Campaigns


We have a number of significant campaigns live this month, and more to come. From a Woods Under Threat perspective, it has been a roller coaster of a ride for HS2. At the last moment the Government called off felling the first tree which is clearly a big win. They’re now waiting until 2020 and for the review to be finished. However, they have started clearing vegetation – which is still damaging the ancient habitat. We are doing everything we can halt all works. Things are moving fast, but I’ll try to keep you all in the loop. You can email the Government  or call your MP to help us stand up for the woods.


Another teeny tiny campaign you might have noticed is the Big Climate Fightback – we’re asking 1 million people to pledge to plant a tree on Tree Charter Day. Please support this monumental effort and pledge to plant yourself. Super Campaigners, you know the drill! We need this to reach more people than ever, both online and by giving people the opportunity to actually get some trees in the ground. Please continue your excellent work.


Other campaigns on the horizon? It’s almost impossible to tell. The political world is changing so fast and we know as much as the next person. October and November could bring some significant opportunities to influence national policy, or none at all. Again, I’ll try to keep you in the loop and really appreciate that Special Branch is ready to step up and help. We’ve got Threat Detectors combing through planning applications spotting potential threats and we’ve got the Supers raring to go at the drop of a hat. It’s an honour to have such a team!


Brilliant Blogs and Extra Reading


Settling down with a cup of coffee and a biscuit and want something to browse? Look no further. Here’s a selection of blogs and blurbs from your fellow volunteers, and one from me for more details on the last months activity.


Habitat fragmentation and the importance of connectivity from Kayleigh


Trees and Trains from Nimue


Some wonderful images of Burnham Beeches from Helen


And the campaigns team update from me – all about trees and climate change.




As always your Regional Volunteer Development Officers have lots planned so check out the events pages to find out if there’s one near you.


As mentioned above, Tree Charter Day is just around the corner and we have a number of public events where you can get involved with planting. Take a look to see if there is one happening near to you (click on the Tree Planting tab to filter the events).



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