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myForest for Education workshop at the National Forest

posted on April 28, 2016

The National Forest was humming with discussions about woodland management and forest education at the latest myForest for Education training workshop.

The workshop was held at Martinshaw Wood near Leicester, owned and managed by the Woodland Trust. Twelve Forest School Leaders, trainers and those interested in forest education and community-managed woodlands attended the half-day training event. Nottingham and Leicester Forest Education Network, the National Forest and the Sylva Foundation worked in partnership to:

  • introduce participants to basic principles of woodland management;
  • survey an area of woodland with the aim of creating a woodland management plan using myForest for Education;
  • provide opportunities for networking, sharing information and contacts to other forestry organisations.

Chris Williams, Woodland Trust Manager, led a walk through the woods to explain the management of this planted ancient woodland site. Simon Greenhouse, National Forest,  showed the group newly-planted areas adjacent to Martinshaw wood and explained how local communities, schools and sponsors are involved in the woodland creation and management.  The site visit ended at Groby Community College in an area of woodland well-used for education activities. Jen Hurst, Sylva Foundation Education Manager, showed the group how to map and survey the site including an assessment of ecological impacts on the woodland. Back in the workshop room the results of the survey were transferred to Sylva’s free online system myForest for Education to create management plans.

Jen Hurst at the myForest for Education workshop

Jen Hurst presenting at the myForest for Education workshop

myForest for Education workshop

Delegates at the National Forest myForest for Education workshop

One workshop participant said:

“it’s so valuable meeting other Forest School Leaders, woodland owners and organisations who manage woodland sites for education”.

Another — a newly-trained Forest School Leader — implored:

“I just want more of this kind of training!”.

With generous support from the Patsy Wood Trust until 2018, myForest for Education training workshops will continue to be provided free to any groups, networks or conferences.

Please contact Jen Hurst for further information about the workshops: jen@sylva.org.uk

Read more about myForest for Education

 

 


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myForest supports the Argyll Small Woodlands Co-operative

posted on February 26, 2016

Recently our Director for Forestry, Paul Orsi,  visited Argyll to find out how the myForest service will be helping an innovative group of woodlands owners.

Paul Orsi discussing ideas with the Argyll Small Woodland Co-operative

Paul Orsi discussing ideas with the Argyll Small Woodlands Co-operative

Whilst many of the large conifer forests in the area are being managed as part of a crop rotation there are many smaller woodlands, often part of mixed farms and estates, which are not being managed because costs can be prohibitive. The Argyll Small Woodlands Co-operative (ASWC) are looking to pool the combined resources of these small woodlands to make it economically viable to get these woods into active management.

Pooling of resources can only start once there is good knowledge about the resource itself. Neil Donaldson Secretary of the ASWC contacted Sylva in Spring 2015 to see if myForest could help them to collate information across land ownerships. The existing myForest service worked in a way that allows individual owners to map, store information and create a management plan for their woodlands, so we were keen to explore how we could add more functionality to the web service to support co-operation between owners.

The existing Agent account allows managers with multiple clients to store individual client accounts but not pool that information. Thanks to the relationship built up with Neil Donaldson and ASWC, we are now developing a tool that
will allow the ASWC to query woodland information across members of the co-operative and therefore allow them to assess opportunities for collaborative woodland management.

ASWC will pilot this functionality on myForest over the next year with the plan for it to be released to other groups soon after. If you run a similar co-operative, or would like to, please get in touch so that we can start discussing how we could support you in future. Watch out on our blog and newsletters as we follow this fascinating story over the next year.

Our thanks to Forestry Commission Scotland for funding this innovative project.

 


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Woodland area supported by myForest tops 40000 hectares

posted on December 10, 2015
myForest tops 40000ha

myForest tops 40000ha

A small cheer was heard in our forestry team this week when the area of woodland across the UK supported by our myForest service topped 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres).

Since the launch of the dedicated services for woodland owners and agents in Scotland we’ve seen encouraging growth in this nation. The number of woodland owners now using the service is just short of 3,500.

Live myForest stats are available to view at any time

 

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Educational inspiration in the National Forest

posted on November 26, 2015

In partnership with the National Forest Company, the Sylva Foundation recently ran a successful one day myForest for Education workshop for Forest School Leaders and woodland owners.

The workshop began with walks and talks on woodland management. Charles Robinson, National Forest Woodland Management Officer, gave an overview of the 20 year old woodland created on the site of a former coal mine and the next phase of its management. Woodland owner David Scott-Malden explained his management objectives and highlighted the value of having a Forest School group use his site. The mutual benefits of managing the woodland together was further emphasised by Nicola Mailer from Ashby Castle Day Nursery who runs popular weekly Forest School Sessions and summer holiday schemes in the wood.

Participants used the survey form from myForest for Education to do a sketch map of the site, tree inventory and record ecological impacts and benefits of having a regular Forest School in the woodland.

After an inspiring field visit, Jen Hurst, Sylva Foundation’s Education Manager presented myForest for Education online management planning tool and participants enjoyed using the system to map their own Forest School sites and start their management plans.

Participants commented in the evaluation:

“the training has given me a better understanding of managing my site”

“myForest for Education will change the way we approach writing management plans”

Sue Anderson, Community Liaison Officer commented:

“For the National Forest and Sylva Foundation the workshop succeeded in bringing together woodland owners and educators to discuss the value of managing woodlands for education and providing them with practical support to achieve this. It was an enjoyable, informal session that has helped us in developing our woodland network locally.”

We are very grateful to Sue Anderson and the National Forest team for excellent organisation of the day and venue. We look forward to working in partnership again in the new year, when we plan to run a myForest for Education workshop in another part of the National Forest.

Please contact Jen Hurst if you are interested to attending.

 


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Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards open for entries

posted on November 17, 2015

This year the Sylva Foundation is delighted to be a supporter of Scotland’s Finest Woods Award. The award chimes perfectly with the recent expansion of the support we offer to Scottish woodland owners through the myForest service – read more.

Scotlands Finest Woods AwardThe Scotland’s Finest Woods Award 2016 is now open for entries! For more information and to apply visit their website at: www.sfwa.co.uk.

Entries to all four categories are encouraged and there is one for all aspects of the very best standards of woodland management across Scotland including:

  • quality timber at whole estate or compartment/stand/small wood scales;
  • new woodlands both native and commercial;
  • community woodlands; and
  • schools and pre-schools projects related to trees, woodlands or forests.

Angela Douglas Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, said:

“We, at Scotland’s Finest Woods, want to recognise the very best of Scotland woods, their management and all they can offer.”

In 2016 there is nearly £7,000 of prize money and striking trophies for winners. Do you have a wood you are involved with, own or manage that you consider could be one of the finest in Scotland? If so, don’t delay apply today! Simply complete a short entry form with basic location, contact details and state in no more than 500 words why you think your entry would make a worthy winner of the particular prestigious award.

Entries are encouraged before the year ends on 31st December 2015. Please submit as early as possible, ideally before Christmas 2015.  Any entries received after 31st March 2016 will not be considered. The closing date for next year (the 2017 Awards) onwards will change to end December at the very latest annually, except for Schools that will remain with a 31st March deadline.


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Managing Atlantic woodland for lichens and bryophytes: free workshops for land managers

posted on November 16, 2015

Sylva is pleased to promote an important new project that will provide support for owners of Atlantic woodland.

The Atlantic woodlands of south-west England are internationally important for their lichens and bryophytes. However, these often-overlooked lower plant communities face a range of threats from habitat loss and climate change, to impacts from management practices and invasive species. Plantlife’s Make the Small Things Count Project has produced a Habitat Toolkit to provide practical management advice. These one day workshops will be hands-on, practical sessions to launch the toolkit and support land managers to:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of Atlantic woodland ecology and the requirements of lichens and bryophytes;
  • Identify priority areas for management;
  • Identify what management is appropriate in different scenarios;
  • Monitor lichens and bryophytes and assess the impacts of management.

All participants will receive a copy of the toolkit as well as Plantlife’s ID guides for key lichens and bryophytes.

Lobaria pulmonaria (c) Ray Woods-Plantlife

Lobaria pulmonaria in an Atlantic woodland. (c) Ray Woods, Plantlife

 

Workshop dates:

  • Tuesday 19th January 10am-3pm at Yarner Wood, East Dartmoor NNR TQ13 9LJ
  • Thursday 28th January 10am-3pm at Holford Village Hall, Quantocks AONB TA5 1SD
  • Thursday 4th February 10am-3pm at Piles Mill, Exmoor National Park TA24 8HP
  • Wednesday 10th February 10am-3pm at Burrator Discovery Centre PL20 6PE

Booking essential. Register online here at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/VNY7RYN

There is a limit of 15 people per workshop. You only need to attend one session. Please book early to avoid disappointment. For further information contact:
alison.smith@plantlife.org.uk

In January 2016 a web-link to the toolkit will be created in the myForest resources section.


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New myForest services launched in Scotland

posted on September 30, 2015

Forestry Commission Scotland, Royal Scottish Forestry Society and the Sylva Foundation have come together to help foster sustainable forest management in Scotland.

Forestry Commission Scotland, Royal Scottish Forestry Society, and Sylva Foundation's myForest service

The partners

From today a suite of dedicated forest management tools are available to support woodland owners and managers in Scotland via the Sylva Foundation’s myForest service.  Forestry Commission Scotland have made available their new management planning template which is now embedded into myForest, while the Royal Scottish Forestry Society are offering discounted membership for myForest users.

myForest is an existing online platform for woodland owners and managers which aims to support sustainable forest management.  This free service now includes Forestry Commission Scotland’s new management planning template, which can be used for woodlands under 100ha.

myForest provides three applications to help woodland owners:

  1. Woodland Manager: allows owners to produce maps, store information and produce management plans.
  2. Business Directory: allows owners to easily link to other businesses in the forestry sector.
  3. Woodland Star Rating: a self-evaluation tool to measure how woodland management activities match up to the United Kingdom Forestry Standard.
Screen shot of myForest Woodland Manager

Screen shot of the myForest Woodland Manager

Chris Stark, Forestry Commission Scotland’s SRDP Technical Support Officer said:

“A management plan is the basis of good woodland stewardship and management plans are a requirement to allow woodland owners to access grant funding under the new Forestry Grant Scheme. We recognise that many of Scotland’s forests are managed by professional agents due to their size or complexity, but we are hoping that myForest will encourage and support more woodland owners to bring their woodlands into active management.”

Also from today, both existing and new users of the myForest Service will be eligible to join the Royal Scottish Forestry Society at a discounted rate. The offer is open to anyone who has signed up to the myForest Service providing that they have not recently been a member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society. Full details about the offers are available via the myForest website: www.myforest.org.uk/membership-offer

James Hepburne Scott, Royal Scottish Forestry Society Vice-President, said:

“The Society is delighted to be able to partner with the Sylva Foundation and Forestry Commission Scotland to provide access, for present and new members, to the woodland management support systems developed by the Sylva Foundation and enjoyed by many woodland owners South of the border.”

Paul Orsi, the Sylva Foundation’s Director for Forestry said:

“myForest already supports some 3000 woodland owners across Britain but until today we were unable to provide services specifically designed to support Scottish woodland owners and managers.  As the Sylva Foundation does not have members we are delighted to be working with RSFS who provide membership support.  As a charity registered in Scotland these developments are important steps forward in our work supporting good woodland management.”

 


Notes for Editors:

Sylva Foundation is a charity working across Britain caring for forests, to ensure they thrive for people and for nature, and supporting innovation in home-grown wood.  The myForest service is a project of the Sylva Foundation.  Contact: Paul Orsi, Director of Forestry paul@sylva.org.uk  paul@sylva.org.uk

Forestry Commission Scotland advises and implements forestry policy to protect and expand Scotland’s forests and to increase their value to society and the environment. Contact: Chris Stark SRDP Technical Support Officer chris.stark@forestry.gsi.gov.uk  chris.stark@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

The Royal Scottish Forestry Society (incorporating the Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society) was founded in 1854. It is devoted to the advancement of forestry and arboriculture in all its branches.  Its members come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, welcoming both professionals and amateurs. Contact: Alistair Harding, Director  director@rsfs.org.uk

Category: FORESTRY, myForest
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myForest supports three thousand woodland stewards

posted on August 28, 2015
myForest mapped woodlands, August 2015

myForest mapped woodlands, August 2015. Click to view live stats.

More than 3000 people are using online tools provided by the myForest service to help bring woodlands into good economic and environmental condition across the UK.

The three thousandth user is a major milestone for the service that was launched in 2010. Since then there has been steady uptake of these tools by woodland stewards, as indicated with some 38,000 hectares (86,000 acres) of woodland mapped.

This is a significant area yet, in relation to the total area of UK woodlands that are owned privately1, it equates to under 2% of the total.

There is evidently much more to be done to support the stewards of woodlands, right across the UK. There are also nations and regions where uptake of myForest has been less evident.

Working in partnership with others the myForest team are developing some exciting plans and activities to bring the benefits of the myForest service to more areas of the UK. Interest from new partners and supporters is always welcomed.


1.  Privately-owned woodlands represent 72% of UK forest area or 2,268,000 ha. Forestry Commission Statistics, 2014.

Live Statistics

You can view live stats for the myForest service at any time: click here

myForest area August 2015

Area of woodland registered on myForest, August 2015

 

 

 

 

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Video guidance for myForest

posted on May 19, 2015
Video help on myForest

Video help on myForest

Following on from the launch of myForest v3.0, we have launched video guidance on how to use the various myForest applications and features.

Feedback from users has been that the online help for myForest could be improved.  We have worked hard to make Version 3.0 more intuitive, as well as providing context-sensitive hints and tips, plus a more in-depth Help section.

The six videos that are now live on the site take users step-by-step through the functionality of the Woodland Manager (the main myForest application).  You can find these videos embedded within the Help section of the Woodland Manager and in their own page under the ‘More’ tab.

We hope you find the guidance videos useful.  We will be adding more videos over the coming months. Please let us know if you think we could provide a video to help with a particular feature not already covered.


These videos are directed at users with Woodland Owners or Agent accounts.  Video guidance for those using the myForest for Education account will be available soon.

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myForest for Education – a national first for forest education

posted on May 6, 2015

myForest for EducationWe are excited to announce the launch of myForest for Education: the UK’s first woodland management planning application designed specifically for education.

myForest for Education has been developed as a new feature in the recently-launched myForest version 3.0. In designing and building myForest for Education, we consulted closely with more than 100 Forest School Leaders, environmental educators and teachers who participated in early trials and contributed ideas.

The outcome is myForest for Education – an easy-to-use and free online application that enables any educator, or young person, to generate straightforward woodland management plans, maps and ecological impact assessments for woodland sites and school grounds.

myForest education

A screenshot from the myForest for Education application. The smallest of features can be mapped and described. A management plan can then be created for your site.

 

Key Features:

  • Forest School Leaders undertaking Level 3 training users can produce a Forest School site management plan and ecological impact assessment.
  • Educators using any school grounds, woodland site or other outdoor space in the UK can create printable maps with features and labels.
  • Responsive design, which means it fits the size of the screen you are using, making it easy to use with tablets and laptops.
  • Guidance throughout using ‘context-sensitive’ help.

Sylva Foundation’s Education Manager Jen Hurst said,

“​myForest for Education creates a bridge between the worlds of forestry and education, and it will increase engagement of educators and young people in real life sustainable forest management”.

myForest for Education training workshops are currently being planned at several locations across the UK. They will be targeted at Forest School Leaders, environmental educators or teachers interested learning more about the power of myForest for Education. More information will be posted here soon.

 

We are grateful to our partners the Oxfordshire Forest School Service, based at Hill End Centre near Oxford, and the national Forest School Association for their input and for providing opportunities to run consultation and training workshops with educators.

Find out more myForest for Education

You can also email Jen Hurst for more information

Patsy Wood Trust

Funded by the Patsy Wood Trust


We are indebted to the Patsy Wood Trust for supporting the appointment of Sylva’s Education Manager, and the development of the myForest for Education application.

 


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