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Trees for Life founder awarded top prize

Adam Watson-Featherstone with Lesley Riddoch

Alan Watson Featherstone, founder and executive director of conservation charity Trees for Life, has won The Environment category of the prestigious Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards 2012.

“As the winners of these awards are decided by public vote in the UK, this is inspiring, national recognition of Trees for Life’s restoration of the Caledonian Forest. I’m very grateful to everyone who voted – it’s an honour that shows how deeply people care about conserving Scotland’s world-class wild landscapes, and about protecting our stunning biodiversity and wildlife,”said Alan Watson Featherstone.

The charity has now planted more than one million trees at dozens of locations in the Highlands, and has created 10,000 acres of new Caledonian Forest. It has pledged to establish one million more trees by planting and natural regeneration within the next five years.

The Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards mark the achievements of individuals who provide inspiration through outstanding contributions to Scottish cultural life. The categories commemorate all that is great about Scotland, and this year covered Art, Business, Food, Music, Screen, Sport and Writing as well as the Environment.

The Caledonian Forest, Scotland’s equivalent of a rainforest, once covered much of the Highlands. Today only a fraction of the original forest survives, but Trees for Life is restoring the forest and its unique wildlife to an inspiring, spectacular wilderness region of 1,000 square miles to the west of Loch Ness and Inverness.

In his acceptance speech for the Award, Alan acknowledged all the support he’s received from the present and past staff of Trees for Life, and the thousands of volunteers who have worked on the project since 1989. He also dedicated the award to everyone who’s been inspired by, and cares about, the Caledonian Forest, which he described as ‘a Scottish national treasure’.

Alan’s wide-ranging, long-term work to change humanity’s impact on Nature and the planet has also helped to provide inspiration for ecological restoration projects in the Scottish borders, on Dartmoor in England, and for the endangered Parana pine forest in south east Brazil.

The Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards were set up 14 years ago to recognise the pioneering spirit of those who have helped Scotland punch above its weight in culture, science, or sport. The public are invited to vote on a shortlist. Also nominated in the Environment category was outdoors writer and campaigner, Chris Townsend. The Top Scot prize was awarded to Michael Forbes who has campaigned against Donald Trump’s golf course development at Balmedie near Aberdeen and featured in the recent You’ve Been Trumped documentary.




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