Community forest crowdfunds trees

A community forest in the Scottish Highlands is aiming to raise £5,500 to reforest a storm damaged area through an innovative crowdfunding campaign.

For £20 each, members of the public can ‘Sponsor a Sapling’ at Kilfinan Community Forest in Tighnabruaich, Argyll, part of which was destroyed in the heavy storms of winter 2013. Donors are invited to name their tree and will receive a certificate with the tree’s name on it. Those wishing to donate more can choose from a range of perks, including a picnic and wild camping in the forest or a place on a woodcraft workshop.

The money raised will go towards purchasing 500 saplings, which will be tended in a nursery before planting on the site, as well as other measures to protect the trees from deer and invasive species, such as deer-fencing.

Sponsor a sapling campaign

Kilfinan Community Forest was damaged by last winter’s storms

Rob Borruso, Director of Kilfinan Community Forest Company, a registered charity, said: “By giving the native trees a head start in our new nursery we should avoid the need for more aggressive interventions in the future such as deer culling or rhododendron burning, as the majority of the saplings will grow strong to take care of themselves when they are transplanted out into the forest.”

The group hope that the reforestation project will encourage more local people to visit the forest for recreation. Pupils from Tighnabruaich Primary School already use the area for outdoor learning and will be involved in establishing the tree nursery.

Nikki Brown, Development Manager for the site, said: “We’re really excited to launch this project, as it enables people to be personally involved in the forest by fostering their own sapling, which will ultimately join many others to regenerate the native woodland.”

Crowdfunding is a fast-growing method of sourcing cash for small businesses and charities via the internet. ‘Sponsor a Sapling’ is delivered by Glasgow-based digital production company, Hot Tap Media, and supported by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Find out more about Kilfinan Community Forest


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Charlotte Rixon

A freelance nature, wildlife and environmental writer, journalist and blogger. Website: Twitter: @CharlotteRixon

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