Award-winning conservation charity Trees for Life is running a new project to develop high-quality conservation volunteering opportunities for young people, thanks to a grant of £20,000 from the ScottishPower Foundation.
Those benefiting from the initiative include students from Peterborough Open Awards Centre, Aberdeen University, Glasgow University and Leicestershire’s Brooksby Melton College.
“This generous grant from ScottishPower Foundation is excellent news for the Caledonian Forest and its rare species, and for dozens of young people who will be able to study and carry out practical hands-on conservation work – including the establishment of native woodlands and managing land for wildlife,” said Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s Executive Director.
“The funding will enable us to make our project accessible to the widest range of young people – particularly those facing disadvantages and financial barriers to participation.”
Ann Loughrey, Trustee and Executive Officer at the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “The ScottishPower Foundation is committed to supporting community programmes that inspire young people to get more out of life, whilst giving something back to their local community.
“Through the Trees for Life initiative, the young people involved will gain practical skills that will support their career ambitions, as well as valuable life skills. We are delighted to support Trees for Life and wish all the young people involved every success for the future.”
The project will benefit 70 young people aged 18-25 years old during 2015. Through both week-long courses and long-term volunteering placements, the young people will be able to develop new skills and strengthen their employability.
Activities will include the planting of native trees and plants to expand woodland habitat, collecting and propagating seeds in a specialised tree nursery at Trees for Life’s acclaimed Dundreggan Conservation Estate near Loch Ness, and carrying out biodiversity surveys.
Although only a fraction of the former Caledonian Forest now survives, Trees for Life volunteers have helped to plant more than one million trees at dozens of locations across the Highlands, and to create 10,000 acres of new forest. The charity has pledged to establish one million more trees by planting and natural regeneration by 2018.