Future Forest springs to life

posted on April 23, 2017

From a bare field in January to a new growing woodland in April boasting 7,500 trees and a wildflower meadow, we reflect on four amazing months of activity with our new Forest Friends.

To the south of the Sylva Wood Centre lay a small arable field. It was too small to manage efficiently with modern farm machinery and was a relatively sterile landscape with no public access. With our passion for trees it shouted out to be planted! As we write, the first trees are coming into leaf and the wildflowers are peeping up between the grasses, and a network of paths have been created through the woodland. None of this would have been possible without help from our funders, volunteers, donors and of course all our new Forest Friends

With support from four main funders we were able to turn our vision for a demonstration ‘Future Forest’ into reality. We are very grateful to:

  • Woodland Trust
  • Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) with funding from Grundon Waste Management
  • D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
  • Finnis Scott Foundation

The forest was divided into more than 250 plots of 25 trees, each of which was made available to sponsor by our new Forest Friends. Most of these were individuals and families who wanted to make a difference to the environment and create a lasting legacy to be passed down through generations.

Some plots were sponsored by corporate partners and we were very grateful for support from Forest Holidays, Grown in Britain, Kubota UK, North Oxford Property Services, and Rokesmith.

Thanks to additional support from TESCO and the Ernest Cook Trust we were able to dedicate an area of the Future Forest especially for schools. We invited more 700 primary school children, plus young adults from local youth groups, to each plant a tree. The funding enabled us to build a shelter and fire pit, erect a fence to exclude dogs, and pay a subsidy to help the schools recover transport costs.

We look forward to working with all our new Forest Friends to care for the Future Forest over the years to come.

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Kubota UK supports the Sylva Future Forest

posted on April 18, 2017

Kubota UK, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of agricultural, construction, groundcare equipment and industrial engines, has teamed up with Sylva Foundation, an environmental charity, to support the local community and its surrounding landscape.

Kubota launched its partnership with the charity by taking part in an ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’ event at the Sylva Foundation Wood Centre, situated in the South Oxfordshire countryside.

Kubota employees planted 25 trees throughout a 10×10 metre plot as part of the Sylva Foundation Future Forest scheme, which allows people to build a lasting affinity with a growing woodland by sponsoring their own plot. The new initiative spans over three hectares and contains 325 individual plots that can be sponsored by individuals, families, schools and businesses.

Speaking of the partnership, Candice Dillingham, HR Manager for Kubota UK, said: “Working with the Sylva Foundation is such a natural and organic fit for Kubota as the charity’s commitment to the safekeeping of the natural environment and creating a sustainable future is very similar to our own.”

“The Earth, Wind and Fire event was a fantastic experience for all of the Kubota employees involved. As we are one of the biggest employers in Thame, we are dedicated to giving back to the local community, so being able to support and develop the region’s natural landscape allows us to do just that.”

Throughout the day Kubota employees planted a range of trees, including Japanese red cedar and wild cherry to name but a few. Employees were also offered the opportunity to explore the 14 operational wood-based businesses located on site, allowing them to meet with different experts and craftsmen. Here they could see how versatile the various types of wood are and how their applications can vary exponentially.

Gabriel Hemery, Chief Executive of Sylva Foundation, said:

“At Sylva we help people and trees grow together. Being able to work alongside Kubota UK to help fulfil this mission has already been a great experience for all involved. The newly-planted trees demonstrate the beginning of a working countryside that will help to connect local people to the natural environment around them.

“As both organisations have so much in common, it’s fantastic that we can work together to support good countryside management throughout Oxfordshire.”

The event marks just the beginning of the partnership between Kubota UK and the Sylva Foundation, with Kubota employees being able to tend to their trees and watch them develop over the coming years.

To find out more about Kubota and its market-leading range of agricultural, construction and groundcare machinery solutions, visit and to find out more about the Sylva Foundation and its range of sponsorship opportunities, visit

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