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Innovative support launched for existing and new woods across England

posted on May 30, 2022

An innovative new project known as PIES, standing for protect, improve, expand, and sustain, has been launched to help with the creation and management of woodlands across England.

PIES project

PIES project

PIES project. Image (c)GabrielHemery

The project is funded by the Trees Call to Action Fund. The fund was developed by Defra in partnership with the Forestry Commission and is being administered by the Heritage Fund.

The PIES project will be delivered by a partnership between three organisations: Sylva Foundation, Forestry Canopy Foundation, and Grown in Britain.

The project team is also working closely with the Forestry Commission and the NFU to support engagement, provide advice, and deliver long-term plans to foster and expand resilient woodlands over the next three years. The PIES project is providing a network of independent forestry agents to deliver high-quality and standardised advice to landowners across England, supporting them in planning to comply with the UK Forestry Standard, achieving Grown in Britain certification, and improving access to the Woodland Carbon Code. Landowners taking part in the project will receive subsidised support, including one-to-one advice with ongoing online support and technical services.

The invitation to landowners to take part is expected to be ready from July, meanwhile more information about the project and an expression of interest form is available on the project webpage.

The PIES team combines the strategic work and information technology provided by Sylva Foundation, the network of independent forestry managers supported by the Forest Canopy Foundation, and the work of Grown in Britain in supporting the green economy. Together, the partnership will provide a joined-up approach, supporting landowners in meeting the objectives of the government’s England Trees Action Plan. As all three organisations are not-for-profit, and focussed on delivery of sustainable forest management for public good, therefore the partnership will have a long-term view and ongoing positive impact for the sector.

Dr Gabriel Hemery, CEO of Sylva Foundation, commented:

We are delighted to be working with our partners to deliver this innovative approach to supporting landowners across England. The PIES project will help meet many of the key elements of the England Trees Action Plan, including expanding and connecting woodlands, promoting the green economy, and protecting and improving existing woodlands.

Mr Justin Mumford, Director of Forestry Canopy Foundation, said:

This project will revolutionise the way that we are able to engage with landowners and will open up the critical dialogue needed to address key government targets on bringing woodland back into management and increasing woodland cover. These key natural capital assets can only be enhanced when we have strong collaboration between private landowners and government agencies, and this project will allow for that to happen.

Mr Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, added:

There have never been so many opportunities for land owners and managers to provide nature-based solutions for the economy, planet and people. We are excited to be part of this project that will build and sustain vital connections between different parts of the supply chain, for timber, carbon, and the array of benefits that woodlands can provide.

 


For Editors

Sylva Foundation is an environmental charity focussing on trees and woodland. It uses its forestry knowledge and information technology skills to provide innovative solutions to some of the greatest environmental challenges facing modern society. Its platform myForest helps more than 9,000 woodland owners and managers care for 160,000ha across Britain. It also provides an environmental matchmaking platform NatureBid which has supported the £24M of funding in the last three years. From its base in south Oxfordshire the charity runs a Wood Centre and Wood School supporting training and the use of home-grown timber. www.sylva.org.uk

Forest Canopy Foundation is a not-for-profit partnership of professionals from across the forestry industry who have come together to play their part in mitigating climatic change and reviving biodiversity in the UK. The FCF now manages an innovative scheme combining public and private finance to make it more feasible for landowners to plant trees and is also supporting the industry through an ongoing research and development programme. The FCF has has a national network of 11 Expert Providers (EPs) operating under the Foundation’s umbrella. Each EP is certified by FCF’s independent auditor Grown in Britain. Each EP can support landowners with various forms of tree planting, including woodland creation, agroforestry, and hedgerows by providing expert advice and practical support on funding streams available, establishment and long-term management. www.forestcanopyfoundation.co.uk.

Grown in Britain is a not-for-profit, independent certification body supporting UK forestry and global plant health. GiB works to create a sustainable future for forests and forest products, to increase canopy cover in the UK and to protect our natural habitats from the threat of pests and diseases. Their vision is to put trees and plants at the heart of a healthier, more biodiverse, resilient and prosperous UK economy. www.growninbritain.org

 

Trees Call to Action

Trees Call to Action


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Summer School 2021

posted on October 12, 2021

In September, Sylva Foundation hosted a Summer School for young creative people to promote design and craft using home-grown timber. The inspiring report from the workshop is published today to coincide with Grown in Britain week.

Sylva Foundation cares passionately about trees and people, and at its Wood School in south Oxfordshire it has set out to nurture a wood culture, enhancing the potential of a home-grown timber supply while promoting the benefits of managing woodlands for people and nature. It is promoting excellence in creativity and craft using home-grown timber, and this year’s week-long Summer School was no exception. This inspiring event was the perfect vehicle to educate, collaborate, and innovate.

The concept of the 2021 Summer School was to bring together a group of passionate creative people and provide them with all of the necessary ingredients to explore, design, and create prototypes in the charity’s professional workshops.

Summer School 2021

Summer School 2021

A series of talks by industry leaders inspired and educated delegates about the potential of under-utilised home-grown timber, providing context for the fast-paced design-and-make experience which followed. The delegates were then encouraged and fostered a ‘thinking through making’ approach, supported by a brilliant team of tutors.

The added dimension of the group was that all identified as women or non-binary, creating a community of makers that went against the grain of most furniture craft courses, and indeed the wider industry. This led to some supportive conversations about gender and hopefully a group that will continue to support one another into the future.

Head of Wood School Joseph Bray commented:

Everyone involved was blown away by the experience and certainly, everyone involved went home exhausted yet inspired. The results were incredibly impressive and represent the hard work of this remarkable cohort.

Download the report


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Sylva summer school shines a light on under-utilised home-grown timber

posted on October 7, 2019

Earlier this year the Sylva Foundation approached Grown in Britain (GiB) to collaborate on a project to promote the potential of under-utilised home-grown timber aiming to inspire innovation and creativity. Students and recent graduates from Rycotewood, the renowned furniture college in Oxford, were asked to explore the potential of Douglas-fir and Alder for furniture making. To add to the challenge, the Douglas-fir was kiln-dried whereas the Alder was freshly sawn, resulting in differing methods of working.

GiB CEO Dougal Driver set out a design brief that challenged the participants to think creatively and work collaboratively.

Sylva-Summer-School-2019-GiB

Sylva-Summer-School-2019-GiB

Marketing at conferences and shows can mean many journeys up and down the country often end up with a car boot full of pull-up banners, folding tables, and plastic leaflet holders. Finding a beautiful off-the-peg solution that is easy to use and assemble, that displays marketing materials effectively and is well crafted in sustainable materials is impossible. 

Your brief for this Sylva Summer School is to work exclusively with two under-utilised home-grown timber species, Douglas-fir and Alder, to design and prototype a solution. We would like you to develop a functional concept that can be dismantled easily, fits into a car for transportation, and is not too heavy to be carried by the user. 

 

With only five days to develop a fully-functional response the group had to work at a fast pace. To kickstart the creative process they were given a talk by Sylva CEO Gabriel Hemery arguing the case for the increased use of home-grown timbers . This was followed by a tour of our workshops, timber store and recently planted ‘future forest’. There is so much to be inspired by the Sylva Wood Centre, but they were particularly taken by the ‘House of Wessex’, an Anglo-Saxon house being faithfully reconstructed using traditional methods.  The day ended with a visit from furniture designer-maker Richard Williams, who gave supportive feedback on their emerging ideas. He encouraged them to explore the materials and allow that experience to inform the direction of their ideas.

The project gave everyone the opportunity to work within the professionally equipped workshops and to experience working with both timbers for the first time. They worked tirelessly all week helping each other to solve problems and making the most of the opportunity to produce three excellent solutions.

Andrew, Carina, Daisy, David and Paul collectively produced three collapsible tables with some beautiful detailing – all ready to be loaded into a car ready for the next marketing event! We are very excited about the potential of these products and of these students. They are a credit to Rycotewood and have a very bright future ahead of them.

We are very pleased to promote the project during GiB week and believe that our summer school has shone a light on under-utilised timber species that could have a very bright future. We would like to thank GiB for working with us and their member Vastern Timber for supplying the Douglas-fir. After such a successful week we plan to offer an annual summer school experience to continue to explore the potential for home-grown timber.

The Makers

Tutor:    Joseph Bray, Head of Wood School. Sylva Foundation

  • Andrew Joye, @andrew.joye
  • Carina Day
  • Daisy Brunsdon, @lula_furniture
  • David Cheng
  • Paul Lippard

Find our more about the Sylva Wood School

Summer School 2019 group with Tutor Joseph Bray

Summer School 2019 group with Tutor Joseph Bray


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Plaque celebrates support from Grown in Britain for innovative cladding

posted on November 11, 2015

As regular readers will know, we were the proud recipients of innovative thermally-modified hardwood cladding earlier this year when we opened our first building at the Sylva Wood Centre. The cladding featured on BBC Countryfile and has attracted a great deal of interest: read the full story.

The costs of the cladding were met partly by a grant provided by Grown in Britain; the material supplied by Tyler Hardwoods. This week we were pleased to receive a handsome plaque using the same thermally-modified timber; this time made from a board of sycamore complete with decorative fiddleback figure (commonly used in violins and other string instruments). The laser-engraved plaque, which has been erected near the entrance to our first building at the Wood Centre, celebrates the close working relationship between the Sylva Foundation and Grown in Britain.

Grown in BritainWe are indebted to Grown in Britain and Tyler Hardwoods for their support.


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Sylva supports Grown in Britain

posted on March 22, 2013
Grown in Britain

Grown in Britain

Sylva is pleased to lend its support to a new movement known as Grown in Britain that has been launched with cross-Government support and the involvement of all parts of the forestry sector across Britain.

Its aims are to:

  1. Create a new and stronger market ‘pull’ for the array of products derived from our forests and woodlands.
  2. Develop private sector funding that supports the planting and management of forests and woodlands through funding from corporates as part of their corporate social responsibility.
  3. Connect together and harness the positive energy and feelings towards our forests and woodlands that many in our society share to create a strong ‘wood culture’.  A wood culture that captures personal health and fitness, well-being, community and encourages use of more wood and forest products.

Sylva is pleased to endorse the movement, and in particular are pleased that its work with partners B&Q and BioRegional (read more) can offer an early and practical example of how the sector can work together to make a lasting impact on the future of Britain’s forests. It also chimes perfectly with Sylva’s mission to ‘revive Britain’s wood culture‘, that we have been working hard towards since our inception five years ago. We look forward to supporting the movement in every way that we can.

Read more about Grown in Britain


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