Monthly Archives: January 2017

National Forest Education Conference

FSC Bishops Wood is hosting the National Forest Education Network Conference on March 23rd.   Join them in Worcestershire for an update on the ‘state’ of our woodlands and learn about the latest regarding tree disease, management planning for educational users of woodland, tree planting and care in changing times and identification and all those apps!

See this for details and booking arrangements

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The Forest Schools Association AGM

FSA members met on Saturday 12th November at Camley Street Natural Park for the 2016 AGM.  Jon Cree, outgoing chair, presented the annual report and plans for 2017, particularly the launch of the new memberships for schools, organisations and trainers.

67 eligible members voted in the election for new directors.  The candidates elected to the board were:

• Kathryn Barton
• Jon Cree 61 votes
• Geoff Mason 53 votes
• Jo Phillips 58 votes

Lily Horseman conducted a useful exercise to explore member perceptions about the values that they associate with Forest School and the FSA.  This will feed into future work conducted by the board on developing our ‘mission’ as an organisation.   You can download the full annual report here.

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Foreign invaders infiltrate Britain’s ancient woodlands

Just before Christmas, the Guardian ran a rather gloomy feature on the battleground that is the UK’s woodlands.  It highlighted the activities of

  • The leaf miner moth (Cameraria ohridella) which kills young horse chestnut trees and makes mature trees susceptible to deadly diseases such as bleeding canker.
  • The Japanese pine sawyer beetle (Monochamus alternatus) and pinewood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) which have caused widespread damage to Asian pine forests.
  • The Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) that is a threat to sycamore, ash, birch, willow, poplar and some fruit trees.

It highlighted the work of Fera Science, formerly the Food and Environment Research Agency where you can also find the story – with a link to the Guardian.  FERA runs an insect monitoring service.

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Royal Forestry Society awards 2017

The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) Excellence in Forestry Awards 2017 are looking for the very best in woodland and forestry Education and Learning projects – but only from across Eastern England and the Midlands.

This Award recognises schools, colleges, universities and other training providers who increase awareness, understanding and skills related to the environmental, social and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests, and who may also demonstrate the link between trees and wood products.  The deadline for entries is 7 March 2017, and full details and entry forms are available via the RFS website.

It’s not clear why this excludes the Forest of Avon.

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The work of the International Tree Foundation

The International Tree Foundation works with communities in Africa and the UK.  Its mission is to protect, plant, cultivate and promote trees in partnership with local communities.

It does this in ways which support the:

  • conservation of trees, forests, associated biodiversity and indigenous knowledge about the wise and sustainable use of trees, plants, soils, water and other natural resources;
  • advocacy and promotion of public awareness of both local and global environmental and socio-economic issues created by deforestation and unsustainable agriculture and the potential of trees to rehabilitate degraded land, generate livelihood benefits and combat climate change;
  • building of the capacity of local communities to increase their resilience to environmental degradation and climate shocks through supporting the establishment of community-led natural resource management strategies;
  • improvement of livelihoods in rural communities through the sustainable use of forests and forest products, especially through the cultivation and use of traditional foods and medicines to improve food security, nutrition, and health;
  • adoption of agro-ecology and agroforestry practices to develop sustainable agricultural systems that generate income, create jobs and business opportunities;
  • development of socially and environmentally desirable local governance and community by-laws which meet the needs and aspirations of local communities, while contributing to the formulation of more effective national and regional policies.
It has lots of ways in which you could help …
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Our recent activities

Over the last 3 months the work of the Forest of Avon Trust has included Forest School training at Kingsweston House (pictured on the right) and

  • Running the final phase of our successful accredited training courses in 2016 and producing our 2017 training programme.  Feedback and details of our most recent courses is here;
  • Completing our Dementia Wellbeing pilot project in partnership with Bristol Dementia Partnership and based on this, being contracted to run a new project with them in 2017/18;
  • Promoting free tree packs to 74 primary schools in Bristol and Avon for the Woodland Trust, as the first phase of a (hopefully longer) contract with them;
  • Reviewing tree planting opportunities in primary school grounds in Bristol, Avon and Swindon, linked to a possible Community Forest tree planting scheme;
  • Delivering the Woodland Skills project supported by the OVO Foundation, most recently working with  Friends Groups for the Malago Valley and the Kingsweston Estate in Bristol; and Splatt’s Abbey Wood in South Gloucestershire;
  • Completing Forestry Commission Woodland Management Plans for three woodland owners, discussing two more and being commissioned to update three others;
  • Securing Awards for All Lottery grant funding to lay the hedgerows, improve access and information at The Retreat community woodland;
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Get the Latest Charity Newsletter

Please click for our latest quarterly e-newsletter.

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Mistletoe matters

We didn’t know until recently that there was a Mistletoe Matters website, but there is.  It might be thought rather late (or early) to draw attention to this, but mistletoe is important and interesting at any time of year.

Mistletoe Matters is a consultancy based in Storehouse, Glos, and its website outlines its work and the advice available.  There’s information on growing and managing mistletoe, mistletoe surveys, talks, walks and workshops, and details of books, information sheets and posters.


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The Forestry Commission’s post-mince pie strategy

Here’s some helpful advice from the Forestry Commission about how woods are good for us after our Christmas excesses.  They are, the Commission says, the best places for getting fit.

Their feature begins:

“Forestry Commission England is helping visitors to the forest to burn off excess festive calories this New Year by matching some of its most popular walking, running and cycling trails to the calorie counts of favourite Christmas treats.  A leisurely 1.5 mile walk around a forest or woodland could burn off the 270 calories in a mince pie.  Or for those feeling more active, the calories in a Christmas pudding could fuel an hour on a forest cycle trail.  With over 1,500 miles of varied trails, Forestry Commission England provides a chance to escape busy, stuffy gyms and to get fit where you can be inspired by stunning natural surroundings.  In a recent survey by Cycling UK 78% of people believed broadleaf woodland was the environment where they were most likely to enjoy their activity “a lot”, followed by coniferous woodland (63%). This backs up results from the public opinion survey 2013 where 88 per cent of people agreed that forests provide great locations in which to exercise and keep fit.  …”

Happily, the Forest of Avon means that you don’t need to travel far in your car to do this.

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Historic pine forest saved

The BBC reported just before Christmas that a community group has worked with the Woodland Trust to purchase a historic pine forest in the Highlands.  Arkaig Community Forest in partnership with the trust raised thousands of pounds to buy the 2,500 acre site after Forestry Commission Scotland gave the organisations first refusal to purchase the land.

Well done to you all.

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