We have now completed our first quarter since becoming a charity in late March. It has been an eventful and rewarding three months, with many of our ideas beginning to turn into reality. Some of our most major developments are still some months away, but now may be a good time to review our progress and to share it with our friends and supporters.
Forestry Horizons – our think-tank
A number of scientific papers have been published and are available on our Forestry Horizons website. A review of growing scattered broadleaves across Europe and the impacts of climate change has been co-written with eight other authors from across Europe. Sylva sponsored the proceedings of the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ National Conference titled “Trees, mutton or fuel?”. These are also on our think-tank website.
Applied science project
We have made very positive progress with a number of high profile partners, including a Government research body and a top flight university, in developing a new applied science project. We will announcing a new scholarship late in 2009.
Our innovative myForest project aiming to reconnect the wood chain was launched quietly as an R&D project in April. We took on an IT Manager to help us take the project forward as interest has grown. Business users have started to sign up in ever greater numbers; the most intriguing being 20 fine furniture designer makers from across England in one evening. Working closely with woodland owners in Oxfordshire we have signed many of these owners up to myForest, and worked closely with them to develop the services that we are able to supply. These include an easy to use woodland inventory and online management planning software. A number of exciting developments over coming months are imminent, including the support of a core partner, and a joint partnership with a regional woodland project covering several counties in England.
Our new education project is aiming to connect people with growing trees for wood, and with using wood, by following the life story of one oak tree. A large number of partners are now onboard. We are working with a major Oxfordshire estate as the tree donor, and we have an innovative sawmill signed up, along with a furniture design college, many designer-makers, a research partner and a carbon footprint company. We have the agreement of some six local primary schools to work with us closely in the project which is great news. We hope to launch the dedicated project website, www.OneOak.info, in September 2009.
We are pleased to be able to continue our support of the Oxfordshire Forest School Service. We are also putting a funding proposal together with the Institute of Outdoor Learning, the Forest School Special Interest Group, and the Forest Education Initiative for a national co-ordinator for England. If successful, the post would be hosted by Sylva.
Our project websites combined now attract over 3000 visits every month. Interest in this blog is modest but should grow as content develops! We must be one of the few forestry organisations using Twitter – and embeded in our Sylva website news section, it provides a useful feature for headline news. We had a foray in the national media when our letter, arguing the case for sustainable woodland management, was published in The Guardian in April.
Our thanks …
… go to all our friends, supporters and donors.
Gabriel Hemery, CEO