As we come to the end of 2023, I am delighted to report that Sylva Foundation has continued to flourish. In this impact report you will read how our vision of a society that cares for nature, while living with it in harmony, is evident in all the diverse areas of our charity. Fundamental to this are our key values, and in this, our third impact report, I am delighted to share how one of our values – innovation runs throughout our work at Sylva Foundation.
More than ever, the past year has demonstrated how innovation takes many forms at Sylva. While you will read about our exciting projects, innovation at Sylva Foundation is also about our approach – we are a small charity, but through innovation we are able to punch above our weight. We look to the latest technologies and inspiring collaborations; we develop creative ways to support the woodworking sector, and unique approaches to improving resilience to climate change.
This impact report also gives us the opportunity to highlight the wonderful people who have contributed to Sylva’s work. From those in the UK forestry sector, to our new ‘stewardship scientists’; from the participants at our Woodworking and Gender seminar, to our unique collaborations within the furniture industry; these are but a few of those who have ensured our work at Sylva has gone from strength to strength. I would also like to thank all of our supporters, and in particular, our Sylva Friends. The scheme recently had its first anniversary, and is proving invaluable in providing us with steady support, allowing us to plan and develop our work.
I hope you enjoy reading our Impact Report for 2023, and once again thank you for your continued interest and support.
Dr Gabriel Hemery FICFor
You can also download the report (pdf)
The monthly community lunch at the Sylva Wood Centre is an excellent opportunity to bring together Wood Centre craftspeople, Wood School students and the Sylva Foundation team.
This month we welcomed new community members running their company Foris Studio. John Makepeace, renowned British furniture maker and designer, also joined us and enjoyed talking with our current cohort of Professional Course students. We also welcome Nina who is visiting from France to work with our Master Boat Builder, Colin Henwood.
As part of our outreach work, we have been providing support to undergraduates on the Rural Enterprise and Land Management, Rural Property Management and Environmental Land Management degree courses, at Harper Adams University in Shropshire
Last week, Paul Orsi, Sylva Director of Operations, and Harper Adams alumni, offered two days to support undergraduates. As part of their Forestry Module, students have to design a new woodland, making sure they take into account factors such as designations, soil and future climate scenarios. Paul demonstrated how myForest could help design their new woodland spatially using the mapping tool, in addition to understanding woodland creation considerations using the woodland creation plan embedded into myForest. As part of this work Sylva Foundation has provided access to paid account plans for all of the students while they work on their assignment.
“We really appreciate the contribution which the Sylva Foundation makes to our forestry modules at Harper Adams. Not only do they provide face to face tuition and access to myForest but our students tell us that they feel more confident in expressing their ideas around woodland creation after these sessions. Thanks to Sylva Foundation for being such an important part of encouraging young people into woodland management at Harper Adams.”Nick Covarr Lecturer in Forestry & Woodland, Harper Adams
“I love getting out and talking to the next generation of land managers. We hope myForest can help them to design the well thought through sustainable woodlands we need for the future and be able to take those skills into practice when they have graduated.”Paul Orsi, Sylva Foundation
Students on the Sylva Professional Course were given a behind the scenes tour of Gaze Burvill and a tour of English Woodlands Timber last week, and it was a perfect opportunity to launch an exciting new collaboration.
Sylva Wood School students will be working on a new project in collaboration with Gaze Burvill to make a batch of trays using Grown in Britain certified oak. Students were given a tour of the Gaze Burvill yard and warehouse, before going to tour English Woodlands Timber, where they selected the oak for the tray project from their broad range of homegrown Grown in Britain certified timber.
The prototypes will be launched just in time for Christmas – we will keep you posted!
We were delighted to host a village Apple Day at the the Sylva Wood Centre last weekend.
Organised by Wittenham Warriors, the fifth Village Apple Day took place on 15h October 2023 with more than two dozen people congregating at Sylva Wood Centre to take part in the successful community event.
A total of 200kg of various varieties of apples, including the very first crop from the Sylva-hosted village community orchard, produced ninety-five bottles of pasteurised juice and a couple of dozen of unpasteurised juice. Each bottle is different due to the mix of apple varieties; one of the joys of locally-produced juice.
Left Image: volunteer Colin Johnstone feeding the macerator; Right image: first small crop of apple picked from the Wittenhams Community Orchard.
The Wittenham Warriors gave a big thank you to Gabriel Hemery, and the Sylva Foundation for hosting the day, and to all those who brought apples, helped production and bought the juice.